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TEDTalks on Tuesdays (at noon)

Join us at noon in room SH141 each Tuesday for another entertaining, educational, provocative, and inspiring TED Talk. Each talk lasts less than 30 minutes followed by a short discussion. Bring your lunch, bring a friend and come as you are! (TED is a non-profit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Talks are prerecorded.)

January 14
Malcolm Gladwell: The unheard story of David and Goliath
It’s a classic underdog tale: David, a young shepherd armed only with a sling, beats Goliath, the mighty warrior. The story has transcended its origins to become shorthand for unlikely victory. But is that really what the David and Goliath story is about?

January 21
Esther Duflo: Social experiments to fight poverty
Alleviating poverty is more guesswork than science, and lack of data raises questions about how to provide it. Esther Duflo says it’s possible to know which development efforts help and which hurt.

January 28
Jake Barton: The museum of you
Exhibits at the 9/11 Memorial Museum will reflect the diversity of the world’s experiences of that day. Designer Jake Barton gives a peek at some of those installations, as well as several other projects that aim to make the observer an active participant in the exhibit.

February 4
Iwan Baan: Ingenious homes in unexpected places
In the center of Caracas, Venezuela, stands the unfinished, abandoned 45-story “Tower of David.” About eight years ago, people started moving in. Photographer Iwan Baan shows how people build homes in unlikely places. Glorious images celebrate humanity’s ability to survive and make a home anywhere.

February 11
Bunker Roy: Learning from a barefoot movement

In Rajasthan, India, an extraordinary school teaches rural women and men—many of them illiterate—to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors in their own villages. It’s called the Barefoot College, and its founder explains how it works.

February 18
Michael Dickinson: How a fly flies
An insect’s ability to fly is perhaps one of the greatest feats of evolution. Michael Dickinson looks at how a fruit fly takes flight with such delicate wings. But the secret ingredient: the incredible fly brain.

February 25
Elizabeth Loftus: The fiction of memory

Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus studies false memories: when people either remember things that didn’t happen or remember them differently from the way they really were. Loftus shares some startling stories and statistics, and raises important ethical questions.

March 4
Paul Bloom: The origins of pleasure

Why do we like an original painting better than a forgery? Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that our beliefs about the history of an object change how we experience it.

March 11
Andrew McAfee: What will future jobs look like?
Economist Andrew McAfee suggests that, yes, probably, droids will take our jobs—or at least the kinds of jobs we know now. In this far-seeing talk, he thinks through what future jobs might look like and how to educate coming generations to hold them.

March 18
Charmian Gooch: Meet global corruption’s hidden players

When the son of the president of a desperately poor country starts buying mansions and sports cars on a monthly salary of $7,000, corruption is probably somewhere in the picture. In an eye-opening talk she details how global corruption trackers follow the money to some surprisingly familiar faces.

March 25
Colin Powell: Kids need structure
In this heartfelt talk, Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State, asks parents, friends and relatives to support children from before they get to primary school, through community and a strong sense of responsibility.

April 1
Mechai Viravaidya: How Mr. Condom made Thailand a better place

Thailand’s “Mr. Condom” walks us through the country’s bold plan to raise its standard of living, starting in the 1970s. First step: population control. And that means a lot of frank, funny talk about condoms.

April 8
Stuart Firestein: The pursuit of ignorance

What does scientific work look like? This witty talk gets to the heart of science as it’s practiced and suggests we should value what we don’t know as much as what we do know.

April 15
David Christian: The history of our world in 18 minutes

David Christian narrates a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in a riveting 18 minutes. This is an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline.

April 22
Marla Spivak: Why bees are disappearing
Honeybees have thrived for 50 million years, each colony 40 to 50,000 individuals coordinated in amazing harmony. So why, seven years ago, did colonies start dying en masse? Marla Spivak reveals four reasons which are interacting with tragic consequences.

April 29
James Flynn: Why our IQ levels are higher than our grandparents’

It’s called the “Flynn effect”—the fact that each generation scores higher on an IQ test than the generation before it. Are we actually getting smarter or just thinking differently? James Flynn suggests that changes in the way we think have had surprising consequences.

May 6
Hans Rosling: Religions and babies

Do some religions have a higher birth rate than others and how does this affect global population growth? With his trademark humor and sharp insight, Hans reaches a surprising conclusion on world fertility rates.

May 13
Aaron Huey: America’s native prisoners of war

Aaron Huey’s effort to photograph poverty in America led him to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where the struggle of the Lakota people compelled him to refocus. Five years later, his photos intertwine with a shocking history lesson in this courageous talk.

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