What do you get when you get a college diploma? To hear David Foster Wallace tell it, you get a muscle that will help you forever after — in shopping lines, overcrowded parking lots, in traffic jams. This muscle, he says, frees you when the world gets painfully dull.
May 17, 2013 You can give away almost anything — your time, money, food, your ideas. Giving helps define who we are and helps us connect with others. Thanks to the Internet and a rise in social consciousness, there's been a seismic shift not only in what we're giving, but how. In this hour, stories from TED speakers who are "giving it away" in new and surprising ways, and the things that happen in return.
May 17, 2013 Sex is nice, but can animals make babies without it? One summer, two little boys, their tutor and the tutor's two friends did an experiment to explore this question. What they discovered, back in 1740, shocked the world.
May 14, 2013 Bees could build flat honeycombs from just three shapes: squares, triangles or hexagons. But for some reason, bees choose hexagons. Always "perfect" hexagons. Why?
May 11, 2013 If you live in North America, this week we had a crescent moon — a skinny sliver of light shaped like a toenail in the sky. Why that shape? Astronomers say it's a "phase." Most of the moon is in shadow. Pixar knows better. Meet the Moon Sweepers. A Grandpa, a dad and a boy.
May 10, 2013 What would it be like to be a string that made music? Not anything simple, like a guitar string or a cello string, but a magical string, a sine curve that's taut then loose, that doubles then doubles again, that sheds then dissolves into showers of notes.
May 9, 2013 Welcome to the New World in which, no kidding, insects run robots. In this case, 14 moths take 14 drives in a wheeled vehicle and steer right to the target. Seeing is believing.
May 7, 2013 Turns out our solar system — with its medium sized sun, its four small rocky planets, its four big gassy ones farther out — isn't like the others. We are unusual. Very unusual. Says one prominent astronomer, we are "a bit of a freak."