Before life existed on Earth, there was just matter, inorganic dead "stuff." How improbable is it that life arose? And -- could it use a different type of chemistry? Using an elegant definition of life (anything that can evolve), chemist Lee Cronin is exploring this question by attempting to create a fully inorganic cell using a "Lego kit" of in...
Aris Venetikidis is fascinated by the maps we draw in our minds as we move around a city -- less like street maps, more like schematics or wiring diagrams, abstract images of relationships between places. How can we learn from these mental maps to make better real ones? As a test case, he remakes the notorious Dublin bus map.
FLA head Auret van Heerden talks about the next frontier of workers' rights -- globalized industries where no single national body can keep workers safe and protected. How can we keep our global supply chains honest? Van Heerden makes the business case for fair labor.
Dong Woo Jang has an unusual after school hobby. Jang, who was 15 when he gave the talk, tells the story of how living in the concrete jungle of Seoul inspired him to build the perfect bow. Watch him demo one of his beautiful hand-crafted archer's bows.
In Lebanon there is one gunshot a year that isn’t part of a scene of routine violence: The opening sound of the Beirut International Marathon. In a moving talk, marathon founder May El-Khalil explains why she believed a 26.2-mile running event could bring together a country divided for decades by politics and religion, even if for one day a year.
Using robotics, laser rangefinders, GPS and smart feedback tools, Dennis Hong is building a car for drivers who are blind. It's not a "self-driving" car, he's careful to note, but a car in which a non-sighted driver can determine speed, proximity and route -- and drive independently.
Kristina Gjerde studies the law of the high seas -- the 64 percent of our ocean that isn't protected by any national law at all. Gorgeous photos show the hidden worlds that Gjerde and other lawyers are working to protect from trawling and trash-dumping, through smart policymaking and a healthy dose of PR.
Alison Quirk tells the personal story of taking in a teenager from Nigeria who was recruited to play basketball at her daughter's high school. Through midnight phone calls, hospital visits, and important milestones, Alison explores the wonderful messiness of families – and how to leave a mark on the world.
Using simple, delightful illustrations, designer Stefan Sagmeister shares his latest thinking on happiness -- both the conscious and unconscious kind. His seven rules for life and design happiness can (with some customizations) apply to everyone seeking more joy.
As of 2005, only 15 percent of the world was mapped. This slows the delivery of aid after a disaster -- and hides the economic potential of unused lands and unknown roads. In this short talk, Google's Lalitesh Katragadda demos Map Maker, a group map-making tool that people around the globe are using to map their world.
Phil Plait was on a Hubble Space Telescope team of astronomers who thought they may have captured the first direct photo of an exoplanet ever taken. But did the evidence actually support that? Follow along as Plait shows how science progresses -- through a robust amount of making and correcting errors. "The price of doing science is admitting wh...
Physicists are used to the idea that subatomic particles behave according to the bizarre rules of quantum mechanics, completely different to human-scale objects. In a breakthrough experiment, Aaron O'Connell has blurred that distinction by creating an object that is visible to the unaided eye, but provably in two places at the same time. In this...
In business today, the need for innovation and rapid decision-making trumps yesterday's drive for efficiency. How does this influence what it means to be an effective leader? Charlene Li explains that it's less about control and more about empowerment: enabling employees to acquire the information they need, so they can make their own decisions.
Is it better to be lucky or good? Should we trust our gut feelings or rely on probabilities and careful analysis when making important decisions? In this quick talk, professional poker player Liv Boeree shares three strategies she's learned from the game and how we can apply them to real life.