Venice is sinking. To save it, Rachel Armstrong says we need to outgrow architecture made of inert materials and, well, make architecture that grows itself. She proposes a not-quite-alive material that does its own repairs and sequesters carbon, too.
After a traumatic brain injury, it sometimes happens that the brain can repair itself, building new brain cells to replace damaged ones. But the repair doesn't happen quickly enough to allow recovery from degenerative conditions like motor neuron disease (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease or ALS). Siddharthan Chandran walks through some new tec...
Imagine the brain could reboot, updating its damaged cells with new, improved units. That may sound like science fiction — but it's a potential reality scientists are investigating right now. Ralitsa Petrova details the science behind neurogenesis and explains how we might harness it to reverse diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. [Directe...
Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies, with a surface area of about 20 square feet in adults. When we are cut or wounded, our skin begins to repair itself through a complex, well-coordinated process. Sarthak Sinha takes us past the epidermis and into the dermis to investigate this regenerative response.
Can architects re-engineer their design process? Joshua Prince-Ramus shows how the results can be spectacular. He walks us through his fantastic re-creation of the Wyly Theater as a giant "theatrical machine" that reconfigures itself at the touch of a button.
Through treating everything from strokes to car accident traumas, neurosurgeon Jocelyne Bloch knows the brain's inability to repair itself all too well. But now, she suggests, she and her colleagues may have found the key to neural repair: Doublecortin-positive cells. Similar to stem cells, they are extremely adaptable and, when extracted from a...
Humanity is on its way to creating a "black ball": a technological breakthrough that could destroy us all, says philosopher Nick Bostrom. In this incisive, surprisingly light-hearted conversation with Head of TED Chris Anderson, Bostrom outlines the vulnerabilities we could face if (or when) our inventions spiral beyond our control -- and explor...
Susan Blackmore studies memes: ideas that replicate themselves from brain to brain like a virus. She makes a bold new argument: Humanity has spawned a new kind of meme, the teme, which spreads itself via technology -- and invents ways to keep itself alive
The legendary fashion designer — who created the wrap dress and remains an icon in the industry (she's also President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America) — picks the 5 TED talks that have inspired her most.
"How will this generation define itself?" asks spoken word artist Ise Lyfe. Accompanied by cellist Michael Feckses, Lyfe challenges those in Silicon Valley to reflect and embrace humanity as technology progresses.
Neuroscientist Michael Merzenich looks at one of the secrets of the brain's incredible power: its ability to actively re-wire itself. He's researching ways to harness the brain's plasticity to enhance our skills and recover lost function.
In tough economic times, our exploratory science programs -- from space probes to the LHC -- are first to suffer budget cuts. Brian Cox explains how curiosity-driven science pays for itself, powering innovation and a profound appreciation of our existence.
Using the fundamentals of set theory, explore the mind-bending concept of the "infinity of infinities" -- and how it led mathematicians to conclude that math itself contains unanswerable questions. [Lesson by Dennis Wildfogel, directed by Aaron Augenblick, narrated by Dennis Wildfogel].
Aboard Mission Blue, scientist Greg Stone tells the story of how he helped the Republic of Kiribati to create an enormous protected area in the middle of the Pacific -- protecting fish, sealife and perhaps the island nation itself.
Plenty of good things are done in the name of religion, and plenty of bad things too. But what is religion, exactly — is it good or bad, in and of itself? Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah offers a generous, surprising view.
The brain uses a quarter of the body's entire energy supply, yet only accounts for about two percent of the body's mass. So how does this unique organ receive and, perhaps more importantly, rid itself of vital nutrients? New research suggests it has to do with sleep.
Thelma Golden, curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, talks through three recent shows that explore how art examines and redefines culture. The "post-black" artists she works with are using their art to provoke a new dialogue about race and culture -- and about the meaning of art itself.
Videos on the web should work like the web itself: dynamic, full of links, maps and information that can be edited and updated live, says Ryan Merkley. On the TED stage he demos Mozilla's Popcorn Maker, a web-based tool for easy video remixing.