For the last 17 years, I've had the good fortune of participating in TED, both as a listener and a speaker. The talks often move me to tears. Listening to stories of passion, dedication and triumph remind me of how truly amazing humans can be. Below are some of my favorites.
First, Keith Barry shows us how our brains can fool our bodies -- in a trick that works via podcast too. Then he involves the audience in some jaw-dropping (and even a bit dangerous) feats of brain magic.
Kenichi Ebina moves his body in a manner that appears to defy the limits imposed by the human skeleton. He combines breakdancing and hip-hop with mime using movements that are simultaneously precise and fluid.
In this unmissable look at the magic of comics, Scott McCloud bends the presentation format into a cartoon-like experience, where colorful diversions whiz through childhood fascinations and imagined futures that our eyes can hear and touch.
The suits, numbers and colors in a deck of cards correspond to the seasons, moon cycles and calendar. Marco Tempest straps on augmented reality goggles and does a card trick like you've never seen before, weaving a lyrical tale as he deals. (This version fixes a glitch in the original performance, but is otherwise exactly as seen live by the TED...
What was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution? Hans Rosling makes the case for the washing machine. With newly designed graphics from Gapminder, Rosling shows us the magic that pops up when economic growth and electricity turn a boring wash day into an intellectual day of reading.
In this highly personal talk from TEDMED, magician and stuntman David Blaine describes what it took to hold his breath underwater for 17 minutes -- a world record (only two minutes shorter than this entire talk!) -- and what his often death-defying work means to him. Warning: do NOT try this at home.
Like your uncle at a family party, the rumpled Swedish doctor Lennart Green says, "Pick a card, any card." But what he does with those cards is pure magic -- flabbergasting, lightning-fast, how-does-he-do-it? magic.
Math is logical, functional and just ... awesome. Mathemagician Arthur Benjamin explores hidden properties of that weird and wonderful set of numbers, the Fibonacci series. (And reminds you that mathematics can be inspiring, too!)
Sugar pills, injections of nothing -- studies show that, more often than you'd expect, placebos really work. At TEDMED, magician Eric Mead does a trick to prove that, even when you know something's not real, you can still react as powerfully as if it is. (Warning: This talk is not suitable for viewers who are disturbed by needles or blood.)
What do rap shows, barbershop banter and Sunday services have in common? As Christopher Emdin says, they all hold the secret magic to enthrall and teach at the same time — and it's a skill we often don't teach to educators. A longtime teacher himself, now a science advocate and cofounder of Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. with the GZA of the Wu-Ta...
For more than 1,000 years, Khmer dancers in Cambodia have been seen as living bridges between heaven and earth. In this graceful dance-talk hybrid, artist Prumsodun Ok -- founder of Cambodia's first all-male and gay-identified dance company -- details the rich history of Khmer classical dance and its current revival, playing the ancient and agel...
Marco Tempest uses charming stagecraft to demo EDI, the multi-purpose robot designed to work very closely with humans. Less a magic trick than an intricately choreographed performance, Tempest shows off the robot’s sensing technology, safety features and strength, and makes the case for a closer human-robot relationship. (Okay, there’s a little ...
Small coincidences. They happen all the time and yet, they pass us by because we are not looking for them. In a delightfully subtle trick, magician Helder Guimarães demonstrates with a deck of cards, a dollar bill and a stuffed giraffe.
Cards that fly all over the table, spill onto the floor, and disappear beneath a laser beam. Welcome to the chaotic and flabbergasting magical world of Lennart Green, grand master of close-up card trickery.
In a lively show, mathemagician Arthur Benjamin races a team of calculators to figure out 3-digit squares, solves another massive mental equation and guesses a few birthdays. How does he do it? He’ll tell you.
Danielle Feinberg, Pixar's director of photography, creates stories with soul and wonder using math, science and code. Go behind the scenes of Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Brave, WALL-E and more, and discover how Pixar interweaves art and science to create fantastic worlds where the things you imagine can become real. This talk comes from the PBS sp...
Marco Tempest spins a beautiful story of what magic is, how it entertains us and how it highlights our humanity -- all while working extraordinary illusions with his hands and an augmented reality machine.