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Hier — 1 juillet 2020Divers

Beauty everywhere: The talks of Session 6 of TED2020

Par Ann Powers

We’re six weeks into TED2020! For session 6: a celebration of beauty on every level, from planet-trekking feats of engineering to art that deeply examines our past, present, future — and much more.

Planetary scientist Elizabeth “Zibi” Turtle shows off the work behind Dragonfly: a rotorcraft being developed to explore Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, by air. She speaks at TED2020: Uncharted on June 25, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Elizabeth “Zibi” Turtle, planetary scientist 

Big idea: The Dragonfly Mission, set to launch in 2026, will study Titan, the largest moon orbiting Saturn. Through this mission, scientists may discover the secrets of the solar system’s origin, the history of life on Earth — and even the potential for life beyond our planet.

How? Launched in 1997, the Cassini-Huygens Mission provided scientists with incredible information about Titan, a water-based moon with remarkable similarities to Earth. We learned that Titan’s geography includes sand dunes, craters and mountains, and that vast oceans of water — perhaps 10 times as large as Earth’s total supply — lie deep underneath Titan’s surface. In many ways, Titan is the closest parallel to pre-life, early Earth, Elizabeth Turtle explains. The Cassini-Huygens Mission ended in 2004, and now hundreds of scientists across the world are working on the Dragonfly Mission, which will dramatically expand our knowledge of Titan. Unlike the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, Dragonfly will live within Titan’s atmosphere, flying across the moon to gather samples and study its chemical makeup, weather and geography. The data Dragonfly sends back may bring us closer to thrilling discoveries on the makeup of the solar system, the habitability of other planets and the beginnings of life itself. “Dragonfly is a search for greater understanding — not just of Titan and the mysteries of our solar system, but of our own origins,” Turtle says.


“Do you think human creativity matters?” asks actor, writer and director Ethan Hawke. He gives us his compelling answer at TED2020: Uncharted on June 25, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Ethan Hawke, actor, writer, director

Big idea: Creativity isn’t a luxury; it’s vital to the human experience.

How? We often struggle to give ourselves permission to be creative because we’re all a little suspect of our own talent, says Ethan Hawke. Recounting his own journey of creative discovery over a 30-year career in acting — along with the beauty he sees in everyday moments with his family — Hawke encourages us to reframe this counterproductive definition of human creativity. Creative expression has nothing to do with talent, he says, but rather is a process of learning who you are and how you connect to other people. Instead of giving in to the pull of old habits and avoiding new experiences — maybe you’re hesitant to enroll in that poetry course or cook that complicated 20-step recipe — Hawke urges us to engage in a rich variety of creative outlets and, most importantly, embrace feeling foolish along the way. “I think most of us really want to offer the world something of quality, something that the world will consider good or important — and that’s really the enemy,” Hawke says. “Because it’s not up to us whether what we do is any good. And if history has taught us anything, the world is an extremely unreliable critic. So, you have to ask yourself, do you think human creativity matters?”


Singer-songwriter and multiinstrumentalist Bob Schneider performs for TED2020: Uncharted on June 25, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Keeping the beauty of the session flowing, singer-songwriter Bob Schneider performs “Joey’s Song,” “The Other Side” and “Lorena.”


“We have thousands of years of ancient knowledge that we just need to listen to and allow it to expand our thinking about designing symbiotically with nature,” says architect Julia Watson. “By listening, we’ll only become wiser and ready for those 21st-century challenges that we know will endanger our people and our planet.” She speaks at TED2020: Uncharted on June 25, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Julia Watson, architect, landscape designer, author

Big idea: Ancient Indigenous technology can teach us how to design with nature, instead of against it, when facing challenges. We just need to look and listen. 

How? In her global search for ancient design systems and solutions, Julia Watson has encountered wondrous innovations to counter climate challenges that we all can learn from. “High-tech solutions are definitely going to help us solve some of these problems, but in our rush towards the future, we tend to forget about the past in other parts of the world,” she says. Watson takes us to the villages of Khasi, India, where people have built living bridges woven from ancient roots that strengthen over time to enable travel when monsoon season hits. She introduces us to a water-based civilization in the Mesopotamian Marshlands, where for 6,000 years, the Maʻdān people have lived on manmade islands built from harvested reeds. And she shows us a floating African city in Benin, where buildings are stilted above flooded land. “I’m an architect, and I’ve been trained to seek solutions in permanence, concrete, steel, glass. These are all used to build a fortress against nature,” Watson says. “But my search for ancient systems and Indigenous technologies has been different. It’s been inspired by an idea that we can seed creativity in crisis.”


TED Fellow and theater artist Daniel Alexander Jones lights up the stage at TED2020: Uncharted on June 25, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

TED Fellow and theater artist Daniel Alexander Jones lights up the (virtual) stage by channeling Jomama Jones, a mystical alter ego who shares some much-needed wisdom. “What if I told you, ‘You will surprise yourself’?” Jomama asks. “What if I told you, ‘You will be brave enough’?”


“It takes creativity to be able to imagine a future that is so different from the one before you,” says artist Titus Kaphar. He speaks at TED2020: Uncharted on June 25, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Titus Kaphar, artist

Big idea: Beauty can open our hearts to difficult conversations.

How? A painting’s color, form or composition pulls you in, functioning as a kind of Trojan horse out of which difficult conversations can emerge, says artist Titus Kaphar. (See for yourself in his unforgettable live workshop from TED2017.) Two weeks after George Floyd’s death and the Movement for Black Lives protests that followed, Kaphar reflects on his evolution as an artist and takes us on a tour of his work — from The Jerome Project, which examines the US criminal justice system through the lens of 18th- and 19th-century American portraiture, to his newest series, From a Tropical Space, a haunting body of work about Black mothers whose children have disappeared. In addition to painting, Kaphar shares the work and idea behind NXTHVN, an arts incubator and creative community for young people in his hometown of Dixwell, Connecticut. “It takes creativity to be able to imagine a future that is so different from the one before you,” he says.

Titus_Kaphar_0001_logo

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À partir d’avant-hierDivers

US Financial Services Committee Hearing Discussed the Creation of a ‘Digital Dollar’

Par Jamie Redman
US Financial Services Committee Hearing Discussed the Creation of a 'Digital Dollar'

On June 11, 2020, the United States Congress Financial Services Committee held a remote hearing about the creation of a “digital dollar.” A number of well known individuals participated including the former Chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Christopher Giancarlo, and members from the Electronic Transactions Association.

The Covid-19 outbreak and following panic, invoked members of Congress to initiate massive stimulus for businesses and individuals. While incumbent financial institutions and large corporations got a massive share of the stimulus funds, all eligible Americans got a $1,200 check or more, depending on spouse and child dependencies. The funds were distributed after Congress and U.S. President Donald Trump approved the CARES Act.

Since then, the need for widespread economic relief continues because lots of Americans still haven’t gotten their money, and many are waiting for the inefficient postal service to deliver. A number of Americans got EID cards with the funds loaded on the card, but most people still haven’t received a stimulus check and others report that they experience extreme difficulties obtaining the funds.

The issues of delivery and contact have spurred politicians to start talking about a “digital dollar.” At 12 p.m. EDT on June 11, the United States Congress Financial Services Committee listened to testimony from a myriad of witnesses and members of the ‘Digital Dollar’ foundation.

The Digital Dollar foundation has been heralded on various occasions during the last two months from people like Christopher Giancarlo and Daniel Gorfine. The project is a partnership between Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and advisors include members like Adrienne Harris, Alan Lane, Chris Brummer, Cuy Sheffield, Don Wilson, Elizabeth Gray, Jim Harper, Jesse McWaters, and Tom Jessop. The DDF website states:

The Digital Dollar Foundation [was created] to advance the exploration of a United States Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). The purpose of the Project is to encourage research and public discussion on the potential advantages of a digital dollar, convene private sector thought leaders and actors, and propose possible models to support the public sector. The Project will develop a framework for potential, practical steps that can be taken to establish a dollar CBDC.

At the virtual hearing with members of the DDF, Congress, and leaders from the Electronic Transactions Association, the group listened to a number of speakers. Speaking with the financial columnist, Rachel McIntosh, Christopher Giancarlo told the publication “the purpose of the hearing,” which includes “ [discussion concerning] Inclusive Banking During a Pandemic: Using FedAccounts and Digital Tools to Improve Delivery of Stimulus Payments,’ [but it wasn’t] only to discuss the ‘digital dollar,’ but to spark a conversation around better digital solutions for financial inclusion.” Giancarlo further stated:

A tokenized CBDC is one of these solutions that we’re advocating that the Fed explore further. Shouting into the void of academic research…about how our banking system leaves out some of our most vulnerable communities.

Of course, after watching the virtual hearing and the following statements told to the press, the DDF and the creation of the digital dollar is still likely 1-2 years out. However, Giancarlo said he is excited to see the ball start rolling.

“We are thrilled that everyone, public and private, share a common desire to look more deeply into new digital solutions for faster delivery of payments,” the former CFTC Chair told McIntosh.

“The best-case scenario for us that we are heard and a series of pilot programs of a tokenized CBDC can be explored next,” Giancarlo concluded. News.Bitcoin.com readers can also watch the recorded hearing via the Youtube video below, published by the U.S. Financial Services Committee.

What do you think about the Digital Dollar hearing on June 11, 2020? Let us know in the comments below.

The post US Financial Services Committee Hearing Discussed the Creation of a ‘Digital Dollar’ appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Market Update: Bullish Bitcoin S2F Chart, 6-Digit Prices, Liquidations Prime Crypto Values

Par Jamie Redman
Market Update: Bullish Bitcoin S2F Chart, 6-Digit Prices, Liquidations Prime Crypto Values

The price of bitcoin and a number of cryptocurrencies have been sliding downward in value during the last 72 hours, after bitcoin touched a high of $9,700 on May 30, 2020. On Monday, June 1, the price is up 0.06% and trading for $9,578 per coin during the morning trading sessions. The market capitalization of the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem is around $270 billion, while 24-hour trade volume for all 5,000+ coins is $22 billion.

Crypto Value’s Slide After Briefly Touching Heavy Resistance

Cryptocurrency prices were rather bullish on Saturday evening as BTC and a number of other coins like ETH, BCH, XRP, and LTC were up in value. Bitcoin (BTC) touched a high of over $9,700 on Saturday evening and the price got pushed back at that point. The following Monday, BTC is swapping for $9,578 per coin and the crypto has around $5.9 billion in global trades.

Market Update: Bullish Bitcoin S2F Chart, 6-Digit Prices, Liquidations Prime Crypto Values

ETH is trading for $239 per coin and is up 0.58% at press time. The third-largest market cap held by XRP is seeing around $475 million in trades and is priced at $0.20 per XRP. The stablecoin tether (USDT) still commands the fourth largest market valuation and more than 60% of the global crypto economy is paired with USDT.

Market Update: Bullish Bitcoin S2F Chart, 6-Digit Prices, Liquidations Prime Crypto Values

Bitcoin Cash (BCH/USD) Market Action

While BTC and other coins have been consolidating, bitcoin cash (BCH) has been rising in value. A single BCH is worth $243.91 per unit and there’s around $621 million in global trades. The top trading pair with BCH today is USDT and tether represents 73% of all bitcoin cash trades. Other pairs include BTC (15.49%), KRW (3.13%), USD (2.33%), ETH (2.16%), GBP (1.08%), USDC (0.70%), and PAX (0.56%). The overall market valuation of BCH is around $4.49 billion on Monday, June 1, 2020. BCH touched a high of $252 per unit on May 30 and the cryptocurrency is down 1.9% in the last 24 hours.

Market Update: Bullish Bitcoin S2F Chart, 6-Digit Prices, Liquidations Prime Crypto Values

Stock-to-Flow Hopium Expects $100k Bitcoin

Despite all the criticisms toward stock-to-flow (S2F) theories, the popular bitcoin pundit, Plan B, shared an S2F chart that shows some bullish trajectory. “Bitcoin S2F chart update… Red dot released,” Plan B tweeted.

Market Update: Bullish Bitcoin S2F Chart, 6-Digit Prices, Liquidations Prime Crypto Values
Chart by Plan B via Twitter.

The chart’s trajectory shows that BTC could touch an all-time high (ATH) of $50,000 to $100,000 in the near future. BTC has already touched an ATH of $19,600 per coin on December 17, 2017. Even though S2F charts are extremely bullish and Plan B’s chart shows extreme gains, lots of people dismiss these predictions and claim they are no different than the reading of tarot cards.

Some Believe Bitcoin Will be Smacked Down Again at $10k

One trader has noticed that the current upward trajectory is very similar to past movements, and BTC may be in a bull trap. “So far, the current BTC approach to $10k has shared elements of the prior two,” the Twitter account ’Hsaka’ tweeted. “Spot books heavily skewered to the sell side, lack of bid side backfilling, [and] no substantial derivatives interest (to cause a short squeeze). The only marked difference is ETH strength.”

Market Update: Bullish Bitcoin S2F Chart, 6-Digit Prices, Liquidations Prime Crypto Values

The Twitter account ‘Calmly Full-Time Trader’ said: Deleted the last tweet because I’m not yet convinced. Just going to stay short until we make another high. Then if we start getting hourly closes above that high, I’ll flip long. Right now, still looking bearish.” Ever since the ‘Black Thursday’ bitcoin price bottom, bitcoin has coasted along rising toward heavier resistance levels at $10k and $11k. Many people believe that if BTC can push past this zone then it will give a more prominent bullish signal.

Market Analyst Says Short Liquidations Pushed the Market Price of Bitcoin Higher

A recent report written by the financial columnist Daniel Cawry details that short-seller liquidations may have been the catalyst to push BTC above $9,500. “Bitcoin broke through $9,500 Thursday and those short-sellers betting on lower prices got liquidated by some crypto derivatives exchanges,” Cawry wrote. “That also helped push the world’s oldest cryptocurrency higher.” Fairfield Strategies analyst Katie Stockton who says a push above $10k per unit would bolster bullish sentiment.

“A breakout above $10,055 would be a catalyst for significant upside in our work, and support is now defined by the 200-day moving average, which is now at $8,377,” Stockton told Cawry. “We think intermediate-term trend-following indicators are pointing higher,” Stockton added.

Vishal Shah, founder of the startup Alpha5 believes short liquidations and derivatives markets have been priming crypto markets.

“There are definitely topside liquidations on Bitmex, and more than on average,” Shah said. “I do think Bitmex is turning more into a fractal of the market than the anchor. Open interest is definitely in osmosis,” Shah added.

What do you think about the crypto market action lately? Let us know in the comments below.

The post Market Update: Bullish Bitcoin S2F Chart, 6-Digit Prices, Liquidations Prime Crypto Values appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin.com’s Mining Video Censored: The Tale of Youtube’s Blatant Censorship and Propaganda

Par Jamie Redman
Bitcoin.com's Mining Video Censored: The Tale of Youtube's Blatant Censorship and Propaganda

During the last few years, the Google-owned Youtube platform has been accused of massive censorship and in the last three months, the video streaming business resembles the Ministry of Propaganda, more than an online video-sharing platform. This week Bitcoin.com was also censored for sharing a video about our bitcoin mining pool. Bitcoin.com’s Youtube account was given one strike for allegedly “violating community guidelines.”

Youtube Took Part in Historic Amounts of Censorship During the Covid-19 Outbreak – People Will Not Forgive and Forget the Firm’s Transgressions

When the online video-sharing platform Youtube was first released in February 2005, it was a community of people sharing ideas with very little censorship and moderation. Nowadays, Youtube is under the ownership of Google, and the firm’s CEO Susan Wojcicki has been outspoken about removing videos. Weeks ago, Wojcicki told CNN that any videos that went against the WHO narrative in regards to the Covid-19 outbreak would be removed.

Last year, Youtube de-platformed a myriad of ‘alt-right’ and so-called ‘conspiracy’ groups and removed these channels from the video streaming site. Youtube also started harassing cryptocurrency content creators and Youtubers who operated channels that discussed bitcoin and other digital assets. During the holiday season in 2019, Youtube officials purged a massive number of cryptocurrency video channels for very little reasoning. The company typically just tells the person that the channel had “violated community guidelines.”

Bitcoin.com's Mining Video Censored: The Tale of Youtube's Blatant Censorship and Propaganda

Prior to Bitcoin.com’s recent video removal and strike, Wojcicki’s words came to fruition as her company banned many videos that spoke out against the WHO’s narrative when it came to an oppositional narrative toward ‘official’ coronavirus data. Youtube and Wojcicki took it upon themselves to shelter the public from an opposite narrative that claims herd immunity works and the fatality rate for Covid-19 was extremely over-exaggerated.

Bitcoin.com's Mining Video Censored: The Tale of Youtube's Blatant Censorship and Propaganda
California Dr. Daniel W. Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi had their video removed after it gained 5 million views. Erickson’s statements suggested that the lockdowns were unnecessary for a virus that has a 99% survival rate and that so-called experts like Dr. Fauci were disregarding basic herd immunity science.

We now know that the proof is right in front of our faces and many respected scientific think tanks and epidemiologists have told the public that the lockdowns were very irrational. Despite the proof, Youtube has banned a number of videos that go against the ongoing fear-mongering narrative. When a video was posted on Youtube that featured Dr. Daniel W. Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi from California, the video got 5 million views before it was removed. Youtube’s excuse was:

We quickly remove flagged content that violate [sic] our Community Guidelines, including content that explicitly disputes the efficacy of local health authority recommended guidance on social distancing that may lead others to act against that guidance.

Youtube also banned a video called “Plandemic,” which featured Dr. Judy Mikovits soon after it was published on the online video sharing platform. Youtube, however, does allow videos that rebut Judy Mikovits, Daniel W. Erickson, and Dr. Artin Massihi’s narratives. The company has no issues allowing rebuttals that stay on course with the fear-mongering narrative.

Bitcoin.com's Mining Video Censored: The Tale of Youtube's Blatant Censorship and Propaganda
Youtube removed a video called “Plandemic” which featured Doctor Judy Mikovits. Mainstream media slandered Mikovits and she explained this week she is willing to testify in Congress about her perspective that goes against the current MSM narrative.

But any dissenting views against the lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing continued to be removed to this day. The former head of biostatistics, epidemiology, and research design at Rockefeller University, Dr. Knut M. Wittkowski, recently told the public that Youtube had banned his video that went against the lockdown, and over-reaction narrative after it gathered more than 1.3 million views. Dr. Andrew Kaufman’s videos were also removed, when he spoke out against the stay-at-home narrative and the data spread by people like the epidemiologist Neil Ferguson.

Bitcoin.com's Mining Video Censored: The Tale of Youtube's Blatant Censorship and Propaganda
Youtube has banned videos from Dr. Andrew Kaufman, and the former head of biostatistics, epidemiology, and research design at Rockefeller University, Dr. Knut M. Wittkowski.

Youtube Bans a Video About Bitcoin.com’s Mining Pool

Now Youtube has banned one of Bitcoin.com’s videos for sharing information about our mining pool. The video removal was based on the company’s “sale of regulated goods” policy and the video allegedly went against “community guidelines.” The Bitcoin.com account was given a single strike, which gives the account a one week probation period. Two to three strikes could lead to far worse restrictions against the Bitcoin.com account that merely shares information and resources about cryptocurrency solutions. Bitcoin.com’s CEO Mate Tokay has spoken out against the Youtube censorship in a tweet letting the company and Wojcicki know they have been immoral.

Bitcoin.com's Mining Video Censored: The Tale of Youtube's Blatant Censorship and Propaganda
This week, Youtube banned one of Bitcoin.com’s videos about bitcoin mining. Youtube’s censorship and propaganda these past few months have been irrational and illogical. “Crypto is the future and if you think censoring Bitcoin.com will do any good you are delusional,” tweeted Bitcoin.com’s CEO Mate Tokay. “Myspace used to dominate and look at what happened to them,” he added.

History shows that censorship has produced some manipulated realities and it has furthered evil time and time again. Youtube is a private company and it can do whatever it wants, but the censorship still speaks volumes on the company’s tethered relationship with the status quo. There’s a reason why cryptocurrency videos are removed and it is because it goes against Youtube’s financial masters. The reason why Youtube bans certain groups is because those groups gain grass-roots attention and make people think critically.

Let us know what you think about Youtube's action.😕😑 We will make sure to update all of you! Stay tuned and watch our Weekly Show: https://t.co/jOjTQqOQI9 #BitcoinCash #StayHome #cryptocurrencies #youtube pic.twitter.com/OfqjVDDYQn

— Bitcoin.com ⚡️ (@BitcoinCom) May 17, 2020

Youtube Wants to Ban Videos That Promote Critical Thinkers

Youtube has banned videos that go against the Covid-19 narrative as well, because people started realizing that a virus with a 99% survival rate isn’t as horrible as we all thought. Concrete evidence shows that the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders did absolutely nothing, even though Youtube continues to scream the less-powerful Covid-19 mantras. “Staying at home saves lives,” “We’re all in this together,” “Flatten the curve,” and other propaganda slogans are still aired on nearly every ad published on Youtube today.

Censorship and propaganda techniques paint a clear perspective of Youtube’s true colors. Censoring Bitcoin.com’s mining video bolsters the argument that Youtube does not have the best interests of global citizens in mind. If anything, people who understand Youtube’s vile acts of censorship and misinformation, should vacate the platform in great numbers and leverage a more decentralized online video sharing application like Lbry, or Bitchute. As the economic think tank Fee.org has said: “Youtube’s censorship of dissenting doctors will backfire.”

What do you think about Youtube’s censorship and propaganda techniques these last few months? Let us know in the comments below.

The post Bitcoin.com’s Mining Video Censored: The Tale of Youtube’s Blatant Censorship and Propaganda appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Switzerland’s Famed “Crypto Valley” Seeks $103 Million Government Bailout

Par Jeffrey Gogo
Switzerland's Famed "Crypto Valley" Seeks $103 Million Government Bailout

Switzerland’s “crypto valley” is asking the government for 100 million Swiss francs ($102.7 million) in funding, local media reported.

The once flourishing Swiss cryptocurrency industry is struggling to survive following the withdrawal of private equity investors.

About 80% of 203 firms surveyed by the Swiss Blockchain Federation recently warned of imminent bankruptcy. Only half of the 50 biggest companies in crypto valley expect to last a year in business.

Now, the industry is turning to government, requesting for a fund that is expected to draw on federal guarantees, local government and private investments, according to Zug finance director Heinz Taennler.

The celebrated blockchain hub is located in Zug and other towns of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Taennler noted that the 154 million francs credit facility for startups recently announced by the Swiss government will not be enough for the cryptocurrency sector’s ambitious financing needs. He wants a separate, dedicated fund for Zug companies.

While start-ups are generally threatened by the Covid-19 impact, “crypto valley”’s loss of venture capital constitutes an underlying condition.

A mid-2019 analysis of the 50 top companies valued them at $40 billion, which was two times their value at the beginning of the year. The report also listed six unicorns. As a whole, the “crypto valley” had more than 800 companies with over 4,000 employees.

However, even then, a number of companies like Tend had already started to close shop without revealing much about their disappearance. Crypto Valley Association (CVA) president Daniel Haudenschild indicates that the hub is a hardened community whose members simply take up a new venture after one fails.

According to marketing firm Relevance House co-founder German Ramirez, it is normal for 80% of startups to fail in any industry, outside the Covid-19 impact. The picture of contrasting fortunes in the 2019 survey may support his view and lend case against recent reports about the “drying up” of the Zug-centred crypto industry.

Historical funding challenges, as well as decreased risk appetite by investors have prompted the “crypto valley” to turn to government though Haudenschild maintains:

The modus operandi of the crypto scene does not include surviving on state handouts – we are not a state-sponsored industry.

Ramirez predicts long-term success for Swiss crypto startups as blockchain innovations are expected to disrupt traditional financial infrastructures after the pandemic. The CVA president says the sector is already hardened by adversity including being frozen out by banks, which then cannot be expected to issue the firms emergency loans.

What do you think about the funding needs of the Swiss cryptocurrency industry? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post Switzerland’s Famed “Crypto Valley” Seeks $103 Million Government Bailout appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Human Readability and Privacy: BCH Can Be Sent by Email With Tips Tool, No Usernames Required

Par Graham Smith
Human Readability and Privacy: BCH Can Be Sent by Email With Tips Tool, No Usernames Required

Tips.Bitcoin.com allows users of crypto to tip BCH to friends and family via email address, arguably cutting out some of the inconvenience associated with standard bitcoin address formats. Unlike Coinbase Wallet’s new username option, which achieves similar ease for transactions, sending keys via email does not require a centralized database of usernames connected to crypto wallets. The tips method is a means for using bitcoin in this fashion, and there are hints the process will become even more streamlined in the future, enabling customizable QR code payments to be sent directly to email addresses.

Also read: Cryptocurrency Payment Gateway Gocrypto Onboards 1,000 Locations Worldwide

Human Readable Bitcoin Addresses

On February 26 Coinbase Wallet announced that “Starting today, Coinbase Wallet users can send crypto using short human-friendly usernames instead of traditional long addresses.” The benefit to users being they can send crypto to other wallets without having to deal with clunky and awkward-to-read strings of numbers and characters.

“Every Coinbase Wallet user has a username (like @walletfan). You can now easily send to other Wallet users with just their username instead of their full-length crypto address,” the announcement reads. While this method sounds very convenient, some issues are raised for those who value privacy.

Human Readability and Privacy: BCH Can Be Sent by Email With Tips Tool, No Usernames Required
Standard crypto addresses can be difficult to read, and make users want to double and triple check to make sure they are correct before sending, which can be inconvenient and time-consuming.

The group that says “We value your privacy” is nonetheless subject to powerful financial and regulatory groups, such as the United States IRS, and has turned over private customer information in the past. As such, crypto enthusiasts wishing to send peer-to-peer cash in a more direct fashion, while maintaining the convenience of human readability, could leverage email and a wallet that does not connect individuals to wallets.

As lawyer and crypto business expert Daniel Kelman stated of the Bitcoin.com Wallet in a recent Youtube video:

Even if the IRS sent a letter demanding that we send over who owns what wallet, we couldn’t tell them, ’cause we don’t know.

Of course, an email provider may spy on or compromise user security as well, but the risk of an identifiable username associated with a proven data sharer like Coinbase could be mitigated. Especially if messages are encrypted. Like usernames, email addresses are easy to read, and making mistakes is much harder to do when sending to a friend’s email, instead of a scramble of characters.

Sending Bitcoin Cash via Email With Tips.Bitcoin.com

Human Readability and Privacy: BCH Can Be Sent by Email With Tips Tool, No Usernames Required
Printable bitcoin cash tips ready to be claimed. Recipients simply follow the link written on the card, enter their address, and push “send.” Alternatively, a link can be sent via email. There are hints a directly scannable QR code send system may be made available in the future.

The recently rebranded tips.Bitcoin.com is one way to send crypto via paper tickets or emailed links, with some interesting special features. Senders follow the simple prompts on the page, entering their own BCH refund address and designating an expiration time after which the tip will expire. Once the tip or tips (multiple tips can be created at once) are paid for, links appear which can be copied, pasted, and sent to recipients via email. Once clicked, the links allow recipients to enter their own BCH address and receive the funds.

If left unclaimed, rewards return non-custodially and automatically to the sender’s wallet after the designated cutoff time.

Human Readability and Privacy: BCH Can Be Sent by Email With Tips Tool, No Usernames Required
tips.Bitcoin.com

Some may wonder how this is preferable to other methods, as refund addresses and receiver addresses still need to be entered. That may seem like a lot of steps compared to username systems for sending crypto like that of Coinbase Wallet, but aside from the privacy benefits, there is talk of more streamlined versions coming down the pike.

Bitcoin.com Executive Chairman Roger Ver also hinted at a new iteration of this idea in the aforementioned Youtube video, saying “Here’s what we’re building.” He then referenced the existing tips tool and taking it further: “It’s literally a private key, with money at that address, and if they don’t claim it, the money can bounce back to you after 30 days. Totally non-custodially as well. So we can do the exact same thing, but with an email.”

You just send an email of the private key to the person you want to send money to. They can scan it right from their email [via QR code] and claim the money, and if they don’t, after however many days you decide in the beginning, the money bounces back to your wallet.

Peer-to-Peer, Right Now

Of course, nothing is stopping anyone from generating their own private keys right now and using them to send crypto via email, but for the average user, tools like the Bitcoin Cash Tips generator can come in handy, especially with the customization and refund options. There’s no set date for the hinted-at QR code tool’s release, but in the meantime there are at least ways to send crypto without relying on copy/pasting a recipient’s bitcoin address. And perhaps most importantly, there are ways to send crypto that don’t require unnecessary risk and loss of privacy.

What do you think is the best way to implement user-friendly addresses for bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, fair use.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Human Readability and Privacy: BCH Can Be Sent by Email With Tips Tool, No Usernames Required appeared first on Bitcoin News.

From Star Trek to Wikipedia: Crashing Bitcoin SV Fails to Impress

Par Jamie Redman
From Star Trek to Wikipedia - Crashing Bitcoin SV Fails to Impress

The Bitcoin SV network and the infamous Craig Wright have been publicly scrutinized by two well known individuals. Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales criticized BSV technology and said he doesn’t think recorded data from Wikipedia would be beneficial stored on a blockchain like BSV. Moreover, former Star Trek actor William Shatner tweeted about Craig Wright’s claim of being the creator of Bitcoin and told the public Wright’s bonded courier story is a scene right out of the film “Back to the Future.”

Also read: Bitcoin, Tesla Stock, Tron: How Warren Buffett Got His First Bitcoin

Bitcoin SV Nodes Crash While Wikipedia Founder Criticizes the Beliefs of BSV Supporters

On February 10, a few days after the Bitcoin SV ‘Genesis’ hard fork, Arthur van Pelt tweeted about the number of nodes on the BSV network dropping like a rock. “Six days after the BSV Genesis downgrade, it appears more and more to me that some 80-85 nodes have forked off and are creating a new chain after block 620538,” van Pelt stressed. “Another 30 nodes are left behind in the process [and] only 250 nodes are now left — A year ago, BSV had 636 nodes.”

From Star Trek to Wikipedia: Crashing Bitcoin SV Fails to Impress
Crypto observers have noticed a significant decline of BSV nodes since the ‘Genesis’ hard fork.

In addition to the node issues this week, the public has been observing a conversation between BSV supporters and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Prominent BSV supporters like Kevin Pham and Daniel Krawisz tweeted to Wales and said that it would be beneficial to Wikipedia if the company adopted the BSV chain. “It would be so cheap to record enough information about all Wikipedia interactions on the BSV blockchain,” Krawisz explained in a recent tweet. “What the blockchain does though is record an immutable record of the history of a Wikipedia page’s edits,” Pham tweeted to Wales. The Wikipedia founder responded to Pham’s comment:

We have that. It is called a database.

When Wales responded to Krawisz, he noted that he didn’t understand what was being proposed. “I was just thinking about how you said you didn’t like Bitcoin and imagining ways that it could be used to improve Wikipedia. More generally, Bitcoin can help any system to become more Byzantine fault-tolerant,” Krawisz replied. The Wikipedia founder again said: “But what specifically are you proposing?” Following a few more remarks from Krawisz, Wales said that he’s thought very deeply about it and stated: “You can’t even explain what you are proposing.”

From Star Trek to Wikipedia: Crashing Bitcoin SV Fails to Impress
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales recently got flak for speaking at the upcoming Coingeek conference. Wales has been debating with BSV proponents on Twitter this week.

The Bonded Courier Story Is a Scene Right Out of Back to the Future, Says William Shatner

Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales is not the only celebrity speaking about the controversies surrounding BSV. Star Trek star William Shatner gave his thoughts on Craig Wright’s claim to being Satoshi Nakamoto as well. A BSV supporter tweeted to Shatner that “Craig is Satoshi and BSV is bitcoin.” The former actor who played the famous role of Captain Kirk responded “Why can’t he prove it? From what I’ve read is that some mysterious bonded courier would deliver the keys (which honestly is a scene right out of Back to the Future.) If he is, he should be able to prove it.” Shatner continued:

This is like the modern-day search for Anastasia.

From Star Trek to Wikipedia: Crashing Bitcoin SV Fails to Impress
Former Star Trek star William Shatner discussed Craig Wright asserting that he is Satoshi Nakamoto on Twitter. Shatner has been commenting on the cryptocurrency space for a while now.

The Shatner tweet about CSW and the bonded courier got the crypto community all fired up and there’s plenty of responses to Shatner’s tweet. Coingeek owner and BSV advocate Calvin Ayre disagreed with Shatner’s opinion. “He can prove everything…He had all the evidence in with his lawyers preparing for trial with McClown [podcast host Peter McCormack] which is real proof. He owes us all nothing in this and having keys is not proof like what he is doing in court. Plus to me the proof is out there already if [you are] smart,” Ayre tweeted.

Even Captain Kirk knows it's a nonsense claim that Craig Wright is Satoshi 😏😏😏 #Bitcoin pic.twitter.com/S6iKFIfMgX

— Bitcoin Meme Hub 🔞 (@BitcoinMemeHub) February 10, 2020

Former Bitcoin Foundation director Bruce Fenton replied to Ayre’s claim. “No one asked for proof until he volunteered,” Fenton wrote. Shatner again took to Twitter and responded to the BSV community’s statements about his tweet.

“It’s really amusing to watch these crypto kiddies frothing because I question a statement made by some guy,” Shatner detailed. “It’s almost as bad as the Outlander trolls who have created a fantasy of lies while ignoring everything that has been said [and are] making excuses for it.”

A number of people wondered why the Star Trek star was commenting on a cryptocurrency subject, not realizing that Shatner has been involved in the space for quite some time now. Shatner has tweeted about bitcoin, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology on many occasions. Shatner is also involved with a blockchain project called Mattereum, which claims to help prevent collectibles fraud by leveraging a distributed ledger.

What do you think about the recent comments regarding the Bitcoin SV chain? What do you think about Jimmy Wales’ opinion? Do you agree with William Shatner that CSW has not yet proven anything? Let us know what you think about this topic in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Image credits: Shutterstock, William Shatner Pixabay stock, Jimmy Wales, Wiki Commons, Fair Use, Pixabay, and Twitter.


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The Big Rethink: Notes from Session 3 of TEDSummit 2019

Par Ann Powers

Marco Tempest and his quadcopters perform a mind-bending display that feels equal parts science and magic at TEDSummit: A Community Beyond Borders, July 23, 2019, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo: Bret Hartman / TED)

In an incredible session, speakers and performers laid out the biggest problems facing the world — from political and economic catastrophe to rising violence and deepfakes — and some new thinking on solutions.

The event: TEDSummit 2019, Session 3: The Big Rethink, hosted by Corey Hajim and Cyndi Stivers

When and where: Tuesday, July 23, 2019, 5pm BST, at the Edinburgh Convention Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland

Speakers: George Monbiot, Nick Hanauer, Raghuram Rajan, Marco Tempest, Rachel Kleinfeld, Danielle Citron, Patrick Chappatte

Music: KT Tunstall sharing how she found her signature sound and playing her hits “Miniature Disasters,” “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” and “Suddenly I See.”

The talks in brief:

“We are a society of altruists, but we are governed by psychopaths,” says George Monbiot. He speaks at TEDSummit: A Community Beyond Borders, July 23, 2019, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

George Monbiot, investigative journalist and self-described “professional troublemaker”

Big idea: To get out of the political mess we’re in, we need a new story that captures the minds of people across fault lines.

Why? “Welcome to neoliberalism, the zombie doctrine that never seems to die,” says George Monbiot. We have been induced by politicians and economists into accepting an ideology of extreme competition and individualism, weakening the social bonds that make our lives worth living. And despite the 2008 financial crisis, which exposed the blatant shortcomings of neoliberalism, it still dominates our lives. Why? We haven’t yet produced a new story to replace it — a new narrative to help us make sense of the present and guide the future. So, Monbiot proposes his own: the “politics of belonging,” founded on the belief that most people are fundamentally altruistic, empathetic and socially minded. If we can tap into our fundamental urge to cooperate — namely, by building generous, inclusive communities around the shared sphere of the commons — we can build a better world. With a new story to light the way, we just might make it there.

Quote of the talk: “We are a society of altruists, but we are governed by psychopaths.”


Nick Hanauer, entrepreneur and venture capitalist.

Big idea: Economics has ceased to be a rational science in the service of the “greater good” of society. It’s time to ditch neoliberal economics and create tools that address inequality and injustice.

How? Today, under the banner of unfettered growth through lower taxes, fewer regulations, and lower wages, economics has become a tool that enforces the growing gap between the rich and poor. Nick Hanauer thinks that we must recognize that our society functions not because it’s a ruthless competition between its economically fittest members but because cooperation between people and institutions produces innovation. Competition shouldn’t be between the powerful at the expense of everyone else but between ideas battling it out in a well-managed marketplace in which everyone can participate.

Quote of the talk: “Successful economies are not jungles, they’re gardens — which is to say that markets, like gardens, must be tended … Unconstrained by social norms or democratic regulation, markets inevitably create more problems than they solve.”


Raghuram Rajan shares his idea for “inclusive localism” — giving communities the tools to turn themselves around while establishing standards tp prevent discrimination and corruption — at TEDSummit: A Community Beyond Borders, July 23, 2019, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

Raghuram Rajan, economist and former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India

Big idea: As markets grow and governments focus on solving economic problems from the top-down, small communities and neighborhoods are losing their voices — and their livelihoods. But if nations lack the tools to address local problems, it’s time to turn to grass-roots communities for solutions.

How? Raghuram Rajan believes that nations must exercise “inclusive localism”: giving communities the tools to turn themselves around while establishing standards tp prevent discrimination and corruption. As local leaders step forward, citizens become active, and communities receive needed resources from philanthropists and through economic incentives, neighborhoods will thrive and rebuild their social fabric.

Quote of the talk: “What we really need [are] bottom-up policies devised by the community itself to repair the links between the local community and the national — as well as thriving international — economies.”


Marco Tempest, cyber illusionist

Big idea: Illusions that set our imaginations soaring are created when magic and science come together.

Why? “Is it possible to create illusions in a world where technology makes anything possible?” asks techno-magician Marco Tempest, as he interacts with his group of small flying machines called quadcopters. The drones dance around him, reacting buoyantly to his gestures and making it easy to anthropomorphize or attribute personality traits. Tempest’s buzzing buddies swerve, hover and pause, moving in formation as he orchestrates them. His mind-bending display will have you asking yourself: Was that science or magic? Maybe it’s both.

Quote to remember: “Magicians are interesting, their illusions accomplish what technology cannot, but what happens when the technology of today seems almost magical?”


Rachel Kleinfeld, democracy advisor and author

Big idea: It’s possible to quell violence — in the wider world and in our own backyards — with democracy and a lot of political TLC.

How? Compassion-concentrated action. We need to dispel the idea that some people deserve violence because of where they live, the communities they’re a part of or their socio-economic background. Kleinfeld calls this particular, inequality-based vein of violence “privilege violence,” explaining how it evolves in stages and the ways we can eradicate it. By deprogramming how we view violence and its origins and victims, we can move forward and build safer, more secure societies.

Quote of the talk: “The most important thing we can do is abandon the notion that some lives are just worth less than others.”


“Not only do we believe fakes, we are starting to doubt the truth,” says Danielle Citron, revealing the threat deepfakes pose to the truth and democracy. She speaks at TEDSummit: A Community Beyond Borders, July 23, 2019, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

Danielle Citron, professor of law and deepfake scholar

Big idea: Deepfakes — machine learning technology used to manipulate or fabricate audio and video content — can cause significant harm to individuals and society. We need a comprehensive legislative and educational approach to the problem.

How? The use of deepfake technology to manipulate video and audio for malicious purposes — whether it’s to stoke violence against minorities or to defame politicians and journalists — is becoming ubiquitous. With tools being made more accessible and their products more realistic, what becomes of that key ingredient for democratic processes: the truth? As Danielle Citron points out, “Not only do we believe fakes, we are starting to doubt the truth.” The fix, she suggests, cannot be merely technological. Legislation worldwide must be tailored to fighting digital impersonations that invade privacy and ruin lives. Educational initiatives are needed to teach the media how to identify fakes, persuade law enforcement that the perpetrators are worth prosecuting and convince the public at large that the future of democracy really is at stake.

Quote of the talk: “Technologists expect that advances in AI will soon make it impossible to distinguish a fake video and a real one. How can truths emerge in a deepfake ridden ‘marketplace of ideas?’ Will we take the path of least resistance and just believe what we want to believe, truth be damned?”


“Freedom of expression is not incompatible with dialogue and listening to each other, but it is incompatible with intolerance,” says editorial cartoonist Patrick Chappatte. He speaks at TEDSummit: A Community Beyond Borders, July 23, 2019, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

Patrick Chappatte, editorial cartoonist and graphic journalist

Big idea: We need humor like we need the air we breathe. We shouldn’t risk compromising our freedom of speech by censoring ourselves in the name of political correctness.

How? Our social media-saturated world is both a blessing and a curse for political cartoonists like Patrick Chappatte, whose satirical work can go viral while also making them, and the publications they work for, a target. Be it a prison sentence, firing or the outright dissolution of cartoon features in newspapers, editorial cartoonists worldwide are increasingly penalized for their art. Chappatte emphasizes the importance of the art form in political discourse by guiding us through 20 years of editorial cartoons that are equal parts humorous and caustic. In an age where social media platforms often provide places for fury instead of debate, he suggests that traditional media shouldn’t shy away from these online kingdoms, and neither should we. Now is the time to resist preventative self-censorship; if we don’t, we risk waking up in a sanitized world without freedom of expression.

Quote of the talk: “Freedom of expression is not incompatible with dialogue and listening to each other, but it is incompatible with intolerance.”

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A new malaria vaccine begins testing in Malawi and more TED news

Par Yasmin Belkhyr

Faith Osier speaks during Fellows Session at TED2018 – The Age of Amazement in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED

The TED community is brimming with new projects and updates. Below, a few highlights.

Malaria vaccine begins wide-scale testing in Malawi. RTS,S — the only malaria vaccine to successfully pass clinical trials — will be made available to 360,000 children in Kenya, Malawi and Ghana in the first round of implementation testing. Immunologist Faith Osier spoke to the Sierra Leone Times about the process and next steps for her work, tracking the efficacy and potential side effects of the vaccine, the results of which are expected in 3-5 years. “While we wait, the scientific effort to develop a more effective vaccine will continue as vigorously as ever,” she said. “Researchers like myself are energized by the limited success of the current vaccine and are convinced that we can do better.” (Watch Osier’s TED Talk.)

A new set of clean standards for the final frontier. Space environmentalist Moriba Jah and space engineer Danielle Wood will join an international team of scientists to design the Space Sustainability Rating (SSR), a new system to help reduce space debris. The SSR plans to create and distribute guidelines and models to space tech manufacturers to encourage low-waste production and highlight the importance of sustainability. “We need to ensure that the environment around Earth is as free as possible from trash left over from previous missions,” Wood said in a statement. “Creating the Space Sustainability Rating with our collaborators is one key step to ensure that all countries continue to increase the benefits we receive from space technology.” (Watch Wood’s TED Talk.)

TEDsters honored at 2019 Webby Awards. Climate change advocate Greta Thunberg and anti-bullying activist Monica Lewinsky were among those honored by this year’s Webby Awards. Lewinsky received the Webby Award for Best Influencer Endorsements on behalf of her campaign, #DefyTheName. Thunberg was given the Special Achievement Webby Social Movement of the Year to recognize her work in climate activism, including her #FridaysForFuture campaign, School Strike for Climate and for “igniting a global movement for climate justice led by youth activists, and for using the Internet to draw the world’s attention to the urgent issue of climate change,“ according to a statement on the Webby Awards website. (Check out the full lineup of winners and watch Thunberg’s and Lewinsky’s TED Talks.)

Meet 2019’s Stephen Hawking Science Medal Awardee. For his work promoting and furthering space travel, entrepreneur Elon Musk has been awarded the Stephen Hawking Science Medal by biennial science festival STARMUS. Other 2019 honorees include musician Brian Eno and the film Apollo 11. Musk will be presented the award by astrophysicist and Queen guitarist Brian May for “his astounding accomplishments in space travel and for humanity.” The winners will receive their medals in June at the STARMUS Science Communications Festival in Zurich. (Watch Musk’s latest TED Talk.)

Vanity Fair profiles Brené Brown. On the heels of her groundbreaking Netflix special, vulnerability researcher Brené Brown spoke to Vanity Fair about how success has changed her life — and how she wants to help change yours. Brown’s TED Talks, books and new Netflix special encourage people to embrace vulnerability as vital superpowers, instead of bottling it up in fear. (Watch Brown’s TED Talks on vulnerability and on shame.)

Have a news item to share? Write us at contact@ted.com and you may see it included in this round-up.

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Wonder: Notes from Session 11 of TED2019

Par Daryl Chen
Richard Bona performs at TED2019

Multi-instrumental genius, Grammy winner and songwriter Richard Bona held the audience spellbound at TED2019: Bigger Than Us, April 18, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

Session 11 of TED2019 amazed, enriched, inspired and dazzled — diving deep into the creative process, exploring what it’s like to be a living artwork and soaring into deep space.

The event: Talks and performances from TED2019, Session 11: Wonder, hosted by TED’s Helen Walters and Kelly Stoetzel

When and where: Thursday, April 18, 2019, 5pm, at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, BC

Speakers: Beau Lotto with performers from Cirque du Soleil, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jon Gray, Daniel Lismore, Richard Bona, Es Devlin and Juna Kollmeier

Music: Multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Richard Bona, mesmerizing the audience with his “magic voodoo machine” — weaving beautiful vocal loops into a mesh of sound

Beau Lotto, neuroscientist, accompanied by performers and artists from Cirque du Soleil

  • Big idea: Awe is more than an experience; it’s a physiological state of mind, one that could positively influence how we approach conflict and uncertainty.
  • How? Humans possess a fundamental need for closure that, when unmet, often turns to conflict-heavy emotions like fear and anger. The antidote may be one of our most profound perceptual experiences: awe. Lotto and his team recorded the brain activity of 280 people before, during and after watching a Cirque du Soleil performance, discovering promising insights. In a state of awe, research shows that humans experience more connection to others and more comfort with uncertainty and risk-taking. These behaviors demonstrate that a significant shift in how we approach conflict is possible — with humility and courage, seeking to understand rather than convince. Read how this talk was co-created by Beau Lotto’s Lab of Misfits and the Cirque du Soleil.
  • Quote of the talk: “Awe is neither positive nor negative. What’s really important is the context in which you create awe.”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, actor, filmmaker and founder of HITRECORD

  • Big idea: If your creativity is driven by a desire to get attention, you’re never going to be creatively fulfilled. What drives truly fulfilling creativity? Paying attention.
  • How? Social media platforms are fueled by getting attention, and more and more people are becoming experts at it — turning creativity from a joyous expression into a means to an end. But while Joseph Gordon-Levitt certainly knows what it feels like to get attention — he’s been in show business since he was 6, after all — he realized that the opposite feeling, paying attention, is the real essence of creativity. He describes the feeling of being locked in with another actor — thinking about and reacting only to what they’re doing, eliminating thoughts about himself. So get out there and collaborate, he says. Read more about Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s talk here.
  • Quote of the talk: “It’s like a pavlovian magic spell: ​rolling, speed, marker ​(clap)​, set and action​. Something happens to me, I can’t even help it. My attention narrows. And everything else in the world, anything else that might be bothering, or that might otherwise grab my attention, it all goes away.”
Jon Gray speaks at TED2019

“We decided the world needed some Bronx seasoning on it”: The founder of Ghetto Gastro, Jon Gray, speaks at TED2019: Bigger Than Us. April 18, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED

Jon Gray, designer, food lover, entrepreneur and cofounder of Ghetto Gastro

  • Big idea: We can bring people together, connect cultures and break stereotypes through food.
  • How? Jon Gray is a founder of Ghetto Gastro, a collective based in the Bronx that works at the intersection of food, art and design. Their goal is to craft products and experiences that challenge perceptions. At first, Gray and his co-creators aimed to bring the Bronx to the wider world. Hosting an event in Tokyo, for example, they served a Caribbean patty made with Japanese Wagyu beef and shio kombu — taking a Bronx staple and adding international flair. Now Ghetto Gastro is bringing the world to the Bronx. The first step: their recently opened “idea kitchen” — a space where they can foster a concentration of cultural and financial capital in their neighborhood.
  • Quote of the talk: “Breaking bread has always allowed me to break the mold and connect with people.”
Daniel Lismore speaks at TED2019

“These artworks are me”: Daniel Lismore talks about his life as a work of art, created anew each morning. He speaks at TED2019: Bigger Than Us. April 15 – 19, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED

Daniel Lismore, London-based artist who lives his life as art, styling elaborate ensembles that mix haute couture, vintage fabrics, found objects, ethnic jewelry, beadwork, embroidery and more

  • Big idea: We can all make ourselves into walking masterpieces. While it takes courage — and a lot of accessories — to do so, the reward is being able to express our true selves.
  • How? Drawing from a massive, 6,000-piece collection that occupies a 40-foot container, three storage units and 30 IKEA boxes, Lismore creates himself anew every day. His materials range from beer cans and plastic crystals to diamonds, royal silks and 2,000-year-old Roman rings. And he builds his outfits from instinct, piling pieces on until — like a fashion-forward Goldilocks — everything feels just right.
  • Quote of the talk: “I have come to realize that confidence is a concept you can choose. I have come to realize that authenticity is necessary and it’s powerful. I have spent time trying to be like other people; it didn’t work. it’s a lot of hard work not being yourself.”
Es Devlin speaks at TED2019

“So much of what I make is fake. It’s an illusion. And yet every artist works in pursuit of communicating something that’s true.” Artist and stage designer Es Devlin speaks at TED2019: Bigger Than Us, April 18, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

Es Devlin, artist and stage designer

  • Big idea: Art is about communication and expression, and designers have the power to foster lasting connections and deep empathy with their work.
  • How? Es Devlin weaves boundless thinking into her stunning stage designs, emphasizing empathy, intimacy and connection for the performers and the audience. As a set designer for some of the world’s most iconic performers and events — including Beyoncé’s Formation tour, Adele’s first live concert in five years, U2 and Kanye West, among many others — Devlin dives into the heart of each performer’s work. She sculpts visual masterpieces that reflect the shape and sound of each artist she works with. Audiences come to shows for connection and intimacy, Devlin says, and it’s the task of set designers, directors and artists to deliver it for the fans.
  • Quote of the talk: “Most of what I’ve made over the last 25 years doesn’t exist anymore — but our work endures in memories, in synaptic sculptures in the minds of those who were once present in the audience.”

Juna Kollmeier, astrophysicist

  • Big idea: Mapping the observable universe is … a pretty epic proposition. But it’s actually humanly achievable.
  • How? We’ve been mapping the stars for thousands of years, but the Sloan Digital Sky Survey is on a special mission: to create the most detailed three-dimensional maps of the universe ever made. Led by Kollmeier, the project divides the sky into three “mappers” that it documents: galaxies, black holes and stars. Our own Milky Way galaxy has 250 billion(ish) stars. “That is a number that doesn’t make practical sense to pretty much anybody,” says Kollmeier. We’re not going to map all of those anytime soon. But galaxies? We’re getting there. On our current trajectory, we’ll map every large galaxy in the observable universe by 2060, she says.
  • Quote of the talk: “Black holes are among the most perplexing objects in the universe. Why? Because they are literally just math incarnate in a physical form that we barely understand.”
Juna Kollmeier speaks at TED2019

“Stars are exploding all the time. Black holes are growing all the time. There is a new sky every night”: Astronomer Juna Kollmeier speaks at TED2019: Bigger Than Us, April 18, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

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Jon Gray speaks at TED2019

Daniel Lismore speaks at TED2019

Es Devlin speaks at TED2019

Juna Kollmeier speaks at TED2019

In Case You Missed It: Highlights from day 1 of TED2019

Par Daryl Chen

Sheperd Doeleman, head of the Event Horizon Telescope, shares how the international collaboration helped us see the unseeable. He speaks at TED2019: Bigger Than Us, on April 15, 2019 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. (Photo: Bret Hartman / TED)

The theme of TED2019 is “Bigger than us,” and day 1 did not disappoint. Even though it had just three sessions, they were chock full of compelling ideas and calls for action. Here are seven takeaways: 

We’re shining light into some really dark places. Sheperd Doeleman, head of the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, takes us inside the new (and iconic) black hole image and the epic effort involved in making it. The petabytes (1 petabyte = 1 million GB) of data that were used to construct the image came from a network of telescopes operated by 200 people in 60 countries who, he says, “effortlessly sidestepped the issues that divide us.” (Here’s a thought: Let’s get competing political candidates to work on science projects … together!) And two TED Fellows showed documentary projects that exposed hidden truths: Taghi Amirani shares footage from his just-finished Coup 53, which reveals the British and American conspiracy that overthrew the Iranian government in 1953 and shaped the country’s fate (and his family’s), while Nanfu Wang speaks about One Child Nation, her film about the traumas caused by China’s one-child policy.

And some places still need illumination. British journalist Carole Cadwalladr describes her investigation into the Facebook ads that targeted people with lies prior to the 2016 Brexit vote, but most of the evidence of what occurred remains locked in the “black boxes” of Facebook, Google and Twitter. She urges them to release their data, saying: “It’s a crime scene, and you have the evidence.” Writer Baratunde Thurston shares examples of people in the US who had the police called on them because they were “living while black” — when they went to a swimming pool, donated food to the homeless or played golf, “concerned” observers phoned 911 to report them. Systemic racism underlies these 911 calls, and even though changing it may sound impossible, Thurston has hope. He believes that if we can see the humanity of people targeted by racism, we can change our actions; when we change our actions, we change the story; and when we change the story, we can change the system.

The words we use matter. We’re living in polarizing times, and many fractures occur during our conversations. By tweaking what we say, political pollster Frank Luntz shows how to keep our discussions open and respectful. One standout from his suggestions: instead of saying the passive “I’m listening,” try the active, empathic “I get it.”

Businesses need to look beyond balance sheets and focus on their people. TED Fellow Jess Kutch created coworker.org, a platform that helps employees organize. While it tends to scare executives, Kutch says corporate leaders should view organizing as a positive — it’s what she calls “productive conflict,” offering “an opportunity to build a better workplace, a stronger business and an economy that works for all of us.” (Besides, she notes, the people most passionate about changing their workplace tend to be the people who love their workplace the most.) … Creating a company that puts employees first is part of what Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya calls his “anti-CEO playbook.” Other actions in his playbook: Asking communities what they need instead of demanding tax breaks and concessions from them; being accountable to one’s customers rather than one’s shareholders; and taking sides on political issues — because, he says, businesses should use their power to make a difference.

Ethics shouldn’t be an afterthought. While Cadwalladr calls out the tech giants and Ulukaya calls for humanity in business, a slew of TED Fellows echo the theme of responsibility. MIT researcher Arnav Kapur demos a technology that can communicate a person’s thoughts — but he stressed it’s not mind reading. It picks up only “deliberate speech” while “control resides with the user.” … Cofounder and executive director of The Good Food Institute Bruce Friedrich says humans have a responsibility to the earth not to tax it with the consequences of meat consumption. He’s championing research and investment into plant-based and cell-based meat. … Finally, astrodynamicist Moriba Jah speaks about our planet’s responsibility to, well, the rest of the universe. There are more than 500,000 objects in space put there by humans — “most of us what we launch never comes back,” he says. The world’s nations should pool their efforts and data to track the trash.  

Music can be used to teach history and biology. Teachers might want to take a lesson from these TED Fellows. Amma Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin shares a rousing excerpt from her in-progress musical At Buffalo, which examines black identity through the events of the 1901 World’s Fair in Buffalo, New York. And biologist Danielle N. Lee led the crowd in a version of Naughty by Nature’s “O.P.P.” to illustrate the concept of “extra-pair copulation.” (Trust us — it was amazing.)  

Fishing cats are the cutest cat you’ve never heard of. Oh yes, they are.

That concludes this highly abbreviated rundown of the day’s doings, which also included walking Easter Island statues, innovative ways of creating new medications, a Kenyan music festival with the winning name of “Blankets and Wine” (sign us up!), an astrophysicist who is taking how she studies stellar explosions and applying them to city lights and the criminal justice system, restoring the Maldives with canvas “bladders,” spoken word from the sublime Sarah Kay and Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and much more.

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Looking at stars: Notes from Session 2 of TED2019 Fellows talks

Par TED Staff

Biologist Danielle N. Lee  teaches a memorable lesson on animal monogamy during TED Fellows Session 2 at TED2019: Bigger Than Us, on April 15, 2019 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. (Photo: Dian Lofton / TED)

The event: An afternoon session of talks and performances from TED Fellows, hosted by TED Fellows director Shoham Arad and TED Senior Fellow Jedidah Isler.

When and where: Monday, April 15, 2019, 2pm, at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, BC.

The talks, in brief:

Erika Hamden, an astrophysicist who builds telescopes at the University of Arizona.

  • Big idea: When we look at the universe we can see stars, but what we can’t see are most of the known atoms that form the universe. Learning more about those atoms, such as hydrogen, would go a long way in telling us how galaxies and stars are created, and how the universe evolved.
  • How? Over the past 10 years, Hamden and her team have been building FIREBall, a UV telescope that can observe extremely faint light from huge clouds of hydrogen gas in and around galaxies. It hangs on a cable from a giant balloon from 130,000 feet in the stratosphere, at the very edge of space, for one night, to help observe these atoms. 
  • Quote of the talk: “I work on FIREBall because what I want to take our view of the universe from one of mostly darkness, with just light from stars, to one where we can see and measure nearly every atom that exists.”

Erika Hamden shows a view of the Moon next to, at lower left, a giant balloon carrying a space telescope she and her team designed. She speaks during TED Fellows Session 2 during TED2019: Bigger Than Us, on April 15, 2019 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

Christopher Bahl, molecular engineer and protein designer.

  • Big idea: New, exciting kinds of medicine made from very small and stable proteins, called constrained peptides, are nontoxic and highly potent for the treatment of disease. However, it’s expensive and time-consuming to reengineer constrained peptides found in nature to work as drugs.
  • How? Bahl solves this problem by using computational design to build constrained peptides totally from scratch, using open source design software. The software can position individual atoms incredibly accurately, so that the peptide molecules are custom-tailored for drug development. So far, constrained peptides have been designed to safely neutralize influenza virus, protect against botulism poisoning and block cancer cells from growing.
  • Quote of the talk: “Ultimately, I believe that designed peptide drugs will allow us to break free from the constraints of our diseases.”

Alexis Gambis, a filmmaker and biologist, as well as founder and executive director of film festival Imagine Science Films and creator of streaming film platform Labocine.

  • Big idea: Storytelling through film can playfully help explain important scientific advancements and social issues, and science can be used as a lens through which to understand our own humanity.
  • How? Gambis makes surreal, magical realist films grounded in real scientific fact while straddling experimental, documentary and fiction genres. Son of Monarchs tells a story of immigration and identity while incorporating current evolutionary biology research on the colors, patterns of a butterfly wing, climate justice and CRISPR. His heartfelt portrayal of scientists shifts stereotypes to make them more human and relatable.
  • Quote of the talk: “We need more real science in fictional movies to create more eclectic, more inclusive, more poetic portrayals of science and scientists in the world.”

Hiromi Ozaki, an artist who explores the social and ethical implications of emerging technologies.

  • Big idea: Recent developments in biotechnology and genetic engineering have made things possible that in the past we attributed only to gods and mythologies. Today, we have the knowledge of the pragmatics of science to create the magic of art.
  • How? To create a real-life version of the Red String of Fate – string that binds romantic partners in an Asian lore – Ozaki worked with a geneticist to genetically engineer a silkworm with the DNA of a red glowing coral, adding the love hormone oxytocin. After rendering the mythical real, Ozaki brought it back into the realm of pop culture, making a bio-mythical film featuring an aspiring genetic engineer who creates the Red Silk to win the heart of her crush.
  • Quote of the talk: “We managed to create something that we thought only existed in the world of mythology, through science.”

Muthoni Drummer Queen, musician and founder of two East African festivals: Blankets & Wine and Africa Nouveau.

  • Big idea: Kenya is suffering from an identity crisis that, at its heart, has an attitude of exclusionism of otherness — a relic of its colonial past. It needs cultural spaces that celebrates and embraces its misfits.
  • How? Muthoni Drummer Queen argues that Kenya’s creative industries have a huge role to play in building an inclusive, national pride. She points to examples in Kenyan film, radio, television music and fashion, as well as the music festivals she founded that have offered a platform to a diversity of talents and identities while creating a creative economy, and calls for more progress in these areas so that jobs can be created and Kenyan ideas exported world-wide.
  • Quote of the talk: “We cannot build a nation unless we truly love it, and we cannot love it until we love ourselves.”

Conservationist Moreangels Mbizah worked with the famous Cecil the lion — until he was shot by a trophy hunter. How can we prevent the next tragedy? By enlisting locals to protect the species they coexist with. Mbizah speaks during TED Fellows Session 2 at TED2019: Bigger Than Us, on April 15, 2019 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

Moreangels Mbizah, a lion conservationist and founder of Carnivore Conservation Zimbabwe.

  • Big idea: Most conservationists working to protect wildlife in Zimbabwe are not from the countries or communities they serve. Yet the communities that live near this wildlife are the people best positioned to protect them.
  • How? While local people grow up near wildlife, they often don’t come into contact with it unless they travel out to nature preserves. Mbizah suggests that conservationists should bring schoolchildren to national parks for a chance to connect with wildlife, while offering environmental education and teaching conservation skills. Most of all, conservation must include the economies of the people who share the land with wildlife. Locals play an important role in fighting poaching and illegal wildlife trade, so it’s important to embed conservation skills into these communities.
  • Quote of the talk: “Sometimes change can only come when the people most affected and impacted take charge.”

Leila Pirhaji, a biotech entrepreneur and founder of ReviveMed, an AI-driven metabolomics platform focused on discovering drugs for metabolic diseases.

  • Big idea: Many diseases, including fatty liver disease, are driven by metabolites – small molecules in our body like fat, glucose or cholesterol. To develop therapies that treat metabolic disorders, we need to study and understand metabolites, but identifying the vast numbers of metabolites in our bodies would require many experiments, which could take decades and billions of dollars.
  • How? Pirhaji is developing an AI platform that can identify and understand a large set of metabolites from individual patients’ blood or tissues. It’s now working to develop treatments for diseases driven by metabolic dysregulation.
  • Quote of the talk: “By collecting more and more data from metabolites and understanding how changes in metabolites lead to developing diseases, our algorithms will get smarter and smarter to discover the right therapeutics for the right patients.”

Moriba Jah shares a visualization of space junk during TED Fellows Session 2 at TED2019: Bigger Than Us, on April 15, 2019 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

Moriba Jah, a space environmentalist and inventor of the orbital garbage monitoring software AstriaGraph.

  • Big idea: We have a space garbage problem: Around half a million objects, some as small as a speck of paint, orbit the Earth and there’s no consensus on what’s in orbit or where. 
  • How? The ever-growing density of untracked flying debris poses a danger to the satellites and space vehicles being launched, yet we don’t yet have tools or policies to monitor and manage them. Jah’s AstriaGraph is an open and transparent database of space objects that aggregates multiple sources of space information. The database lets scientists quantify, assess and predict the behaviors of objects in space, to inform evidence-based space policy and decision-making.
  • Quote of the talk: “In the absence of a framework to monitor activity in space, we risk losing the ability to use space for humanity’s benefit.”

Brandon Anderson, a data entrepreneur and inventor of the police-reporting platform Raheem.

  • Big idea: People in the United States interact with police nearly 63 million times a year, but with 18,000 separate police departments in the US, those interactions aren’t methodically tracked — too often with tragic results. That needs to change.
  • How? The majority of people who experience police violence, says Anderson, do not report it. So when he lost his life partner to police violence during a routine traffic stop, the former military engineer built Raheem, a platform that lets citizens log interactions with police, including the officer’s identity. During its pilot run in San Francisco, Raheem collected twice as many reports in three months as the city had collected in a year. This data is used by police oversight boards to write policies governing police performance, while public defenders use it as evidence against violent police officers.
  • Quote of the talk: “We all deserve a world where we feel safe to live freely, a world where we feel safe to love freely. We are not only fighting for our right to live. We are fighting for our right to love.”

Skylar Tibbits, a designer, computational architect and founder of the Self-Assembly Lab at MIT.

  • Big idea: As we react to climate change, how can we adapt and build resilience? Perhaps by studying natural materials that assemble themselves and adapt to their environment
  • How? Tibbits’ lab was asked to weigh in on this question: Could self-assembly be used to tackle sea level rise in the fragile islands of the Maldives, where climate change is causing land loss? As they watched the motion of the waves and the topography of the reef cause natural sandbars to form, Tibbits and his colleagues realized they could use these natural forces to build sandbars where they’re needed, by assembling underwater forms that work with the tides to pick up the sand where it can accumulate. Think of it as a movable, adaptable reef.
  • Quote of the talk: “It’s a different model for climate change: One that’s about adaptation and resilience rather than resistance and fear.” 

Danielle N. Lee, a behavioral biologist, educator and STEM advocate.

  • Big idea: Lee uses hip hop to communicate science concepts and terms to audiences that popular science often overlooks.
  • How? Take “O.P.P.” by Naughty By Nature, released in 1991 – a song whose lyrics about monogamy (or lack of it) perfectly mirror an evolutionary biology discovery of around the same time: that songbirds – once thought to be strictly monogamous – engaged in what’s politely called Extra Pair Copulation. “You down with EPC? / Yeah, you know me!”
  • Quote of the talk: “Hip hop song references are a really good tool for teaching concepts to students from hip hop culture or urban communities. I use it intentionally, tapping into vocabulary they already know and systems they already comprehend. In the process is it ratifies them – us, our culture – as knowledge purveyors.”

Andrew Nemr, tap dancer and dance oral historian, artistic director of the Vancouver Tap Dance Society

  • Big idea: The audio aspect of the craft of tap dance is just as essential as the visual.
  • How? Dancing us into TED2019, Nemr and ensemble perform a choose-your-own-adventure dance, inviting audience members to close their eyes and open them throughout the piece, as they feel led.
  • Quote of the talk: “I want the audience to experience the form without the visual component, so that they can understand that the music-making part of tap dance is equally important.”

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Education Everywhere: A night of talks about the future of learning, in partnership with TED-Ed

Par Brian Greene

TED-Ed’s Stephanie Lo (left) and TED’s own Cloe Shasha co-host the salon Education Everywhere, on January 24, 2019, at the TED World Theater in New York City. (Photo: Dian Lofton / TED)

The event: TED Salon: Education Everywhere, curated by Cloe Shasha, TED’s director of speaker development; Stephanie Lo, director of programs for TED-Ed; and Logan Smalley, director of TED-Ed

The partner: Bezos Family Foundation and ENDLESS

When and where: Thursday, January 24, 2019, at the TED World Theater in New York City

Music: Nora Brown fingerpicking the banjo

The big idea: We’re relying on educators to teach more skills than ever before — for a future we can’t quite predict.

Awesome animations: Courtesy of TED-Ed, whose videos are watched by more than two million learners around the world every day

New idea (to us anyway)Poverty is associated with a smaller cortical surface of the brain. 

Good to be reminded: Education doesn’t just happen in the classroom. It happens online, in our businesses, our social systems and beyond.

Nora Brown, who picked up the ukulele at age six, brings her old-time banjo sound to the TED stage. (Photo: Dian Lofton / TED)


The talks in brief:

Kimberly Noble, a neuroscientist and director of the Neurocognition, Early Experience and Development Lab at Columbia University

  • Big idea: We’ve learned that poverty has a measurable effect on the cortical surface of the brain, an area associated with intelligence. What could we do about that?
  • How: Experience can change children’s brains, and the brain is very sensitive to experience in early childhood. Noble’s lab wants to know if giving impoverished families more money might change brain function in their preschool kids.
  • Quote of the talk: “The brain is not destiny, and if a child’s brain can be changed, then anything is possible.”

Olympia Della Flora, associate superintendent for school development for Stamford Public Schools in Connecticut, and the former principal at Ohio Avenue Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio

  • Big idea: Healthy emotional hygiene means higher academic scores and happier kids.
  • How: With help from local colleges and experts, the teachers at Ohio Avenue Elementary learned new ways to improve kids’ behavior (which in turn helped with learning). Rather than just reacting to kids when they acted out, teachers built healthy coping strategies into the day — simple things like stopping for brain breaks, singing songs and even doing yoga poses — to help kids navigate their emotions in and out of the classroom.
  • Quote of the talk: “Small changes make huge differences, and it’s possible to start right now. You don’t need bigger budgets or grand, strategic plans. You simply need smarter ways to think about using what you have, where you have it.”

Marcos Silva, a TED-Ed Innovative Educator and public school teacher in McAllen, Texas; and Ana Rodriguez, a student who commutes three hours every day to school from Mexico

  • Big idea: Understanding what’s going on with students outside of school is important, too.
  • How: Silva grew up bringing the things he learned at school about American culture and the English language back to his parents, who were immigrants from Mexico. Now a teacher, he’s helping students like Ana Rodriquez to explore their culture, community and identity.
  • Quote of the talk: “Good grades are important, but it’s also important to feel confident and empowered.”

Joel Levin, a technology teacher and the cofounder of MinecraftEdu

  • Big idea: Educators can use games to teach any subject — and actually get kids excited to be in school.
  • How: Levin is a big fan of Minecraft, the game that lets players build digital worlds out of blocks with near-endless variety. In the classroom, Minecraft and similar games can be used to spark creativity, celebrate ingenuity and get kids to debate complex topics like government, poverty and power.
  • Quote of the talk: “One of my daughters even learned to spell because she wanted to communicate within the game. She spelled ‘home.'”

Jarrell E. Daniels offers a new vision for the criminal justice system centered on education and growth. (Photo: Dian Lofton / TED)

Jarrell E. Daniels, criminal justice activist and Columbia University Justice-In-Education Scholar

  • Big idea: Collaborative education can help us create more justice.
  • How: A few weeks before his release from state prison, Daniels took a unique course called Inside Criminal Justice, where he learned in a classroom alongside prosecutors and police officers, people he couldn’t imagine having anything in common with. In class, Daniels connected with and told his story to those in power — and has since found a way to make an impact on the criminal justice system through the power of conversation.
  • Quote of the talk: “It is through education that we will arrive at a truth that is inclusive and unites us all in a pursuit of justice.”

Liz Kleinrock, third-grade teacher and diversity coordinator at a charter school in Los Angeles

  • Big idea: It’s not easy to talk with kids about taboo subjects like race and equity, but having these conversations early prevents bigger problems in the future.
  • How: Like teaching students to read, speaking about tough topics requires breaking down concepts and words until they make sense. It doesn’t mean starting with an incredibly complex idea, like why mass incarceration exists — it means starting with the basics, like what’s fair and what isn’t. It requires practice, doing it every day until it’s easier to do.
  • Quote of the talk: “Teaching kids about equity is not about teaching them what to think. It’s about giving them the tools, strategies and opportunities to practice how to think.”

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Showing off: Notes from Session 5 of TEDWomen 2018

Par Brian Greene

The term “showing off” gets a bad rap. But for Session 5 of TEDWomen 2018, a lineup of speakers and performers reclaimed the phrase — showing off their talents, skills and whole extraordinary selves. Hosted by TED’s head of conferences, Kelly Stoetzel, and head of curation, Helen Walters, the talks ranged from architecture and the environment to education and grief, taking on the fundamental challenges that we face as humans. The session featured Ane Brun, Kotchakorn Voraakhom, Kate E. Brandt, Danielle R. Moss, Carla Harris, Helen Marriage and Nora McInerny.

Multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer Ane Brun kicks off Session 5 with a poised, intimate performance of “It All Starts With One” and “You Light My Fire.” She performs at TEDWomen 2018: Showing Up, on November 29, 2018, in Palm Springs, California. (Photo: Callie Giovanna / TED)

It all starts with a dramatic opening. The session starts with an air of anticipation, thanks to multi-instrumentalist Ane Brun‘s opening number, “It All Starts With One.” This cabaret workout for piano and string quartet is based on “the revolution of dreams” of the Arab Spring, written to celebrate “small victories … that little drop that I, as an individual, can add to the flood of change.” Her intimate follow-up number, “You Light My Fire,” is “a statue in the shape of a song” dedicated to the unacknowledged warriors who fight for women’s rights.

Our sinking cities. At this very moment, 48 major cities across the globe are sinking — cities like New York City, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, Shanghai and Bangkok, built on the soft ground alongside their rivers. Landscape architect and TED Fellow Kotchakorn Voraakhom comes from Bangkok herself and was displaced, along with millions of others, by the devastating flood that hit Thailand in 2011. “Our city’s modern infrastructure — especially our notion to fight floods with concrete — has made us extremely vulnerable to climate uncertainty,” she says. In the years since, she’s worked to combine the ingenuity of modern engineering with the reality of rising sea levels to help cities live with climate change. She and her team designed the Chulalongkorn Centenary Park, a big green crack in the heart of Bangkok and the city’s first new public park in more than three decades. The park is not only a site for recreation and beautification; it also helps the city deal with water through some ingenious design. Bangkok is a flat city, so by inclining the whole park, it harnesses the power of gravity to collect every drop of rain — holding and collecting up to a million gallons of water during severe floods. “This park is not about getting rid of flood water,” she says. “It’s about creating a way to live with it.” In a sinking city where every rainfall is a wake-up call, this “amphibious design” provides new hope of making room for water.

“Greening” Google with a circular approach. “What if, like nature, everything was repurposed, reused and reborn for use again?” asks Google’s head of sustainability, Kate E. Brandt, who is in charge of “greening” the tech giant. Every time someone completes a search on Google or uploads a video to YouTube, Google’s data centers are hard at work — filled with servers using a significant amount of energy. And with demand for energy and materials only continuing to grow, Brandt’s work is to figure a sustainable path forward. Her idea? To create a circular economy grounded in three tenets: designing out waste, keeping products and materials in use, and transitioning to renewable energy. In this circular world, all goods would be designed to be easily repaired and remanufactured. She imagines, for instance, that even clothes and shoes could be leased and returned — with old clothes going back to the designer to reuse the materials for a new batch of clothing. “If we each ask ourselves, ‘What can I do to positively impact our economy, our society, our environment?’ — then we will break out of the global challenges that have been created by our take-make-and-waste economy, and we can realize a circular world of abundance,” she says.

Activist Danielle R. Moss advocates for “the forgotten middle”: those students and coworkers who are often overlooked but who, when motivated and empowered to succeed, can reach their full potential. She speaks at TEDWomen 2018: Showing Up, November 29, 2018, Palm Springs, California. (Photo: Callie Giovanna / TED)

Tapping into the forgotten middle. We all know “the forgotten middle” — “they’re the students, coworkers and plain old regular folks who are often overlooked because they’re seen as neither exceptional nor problematic,” says activist and former educator Danielle R. Moss. But, she says, there is more here. “I think there are some unclaimed winning lottery tickets in the middle,” Moss says. “I think the cure for cancer and the path to world peace might very well reside there.” Moss has spent much of her career trying to help this group reach their full potential. In middle school, she herself was languishing in that strata, until her mother noticed and set her on a different path. Later, in New York City, Moss helped create a program to work with the forgotten middle and identified some of the core elements of a formula to motivate them. These include holding kids to high expectations (instead of asking, “Hey, do you want to go to college?”, ask, “What college would you like to attend?”), giving them “the hidden curriculum” needed to succeed (study skills, leadership development, liberal-arts coursework and adult support), and making them accountable to themselves, each other and their communities (seeing themselves as belonging to a group of young people who came from the same backgrounds and who were all aspiring for more). Moss says, “When I think of my kids, and I think of all the doctors, lawyers, teachers, social workers and artists who came from our little nook in New York City, I hate to think what wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t invested in the kids in the middle.”

In our careers, we all need a sponsor. Corporate America insists it is a meritocracy — a place where those who succeed simply “put their heads down and work really hard.” But former Wall Street banker Carla Harris tells us this simple truth: that’s not the case. To really move forward and be recognized for your work, you need someone else to make a case for you — especially in those pivotal decisions that are often made behind closed doors. This person isn’t a mentor, champion or advocate — but a sponsor, someone who is “carrying your paper into the room … pounding the table on your behalf.” Sponsors need three things: a seat at the table, power in the decision-making process and an investment in you and your work. Harris says you can attract a sponsor by utilizing two forms of social capital: performance currency, which you gain when you perform beyond expectations, and relationship currency, which you gain by engaging meaningfully with the people around you. “You can survive a long time in your career without a mentor,” Harris says, “but you are not going to ascend in any organization without a sponsor.”

Designer Helen Marriage creates moving, ephemeral moments that reveal beauty among ruins, reexamine history and whimsically demonstrate what’s possible. She speaks at TEDWomen 2018: Showing Up, November 29, 2018, Palm Springs, California. (Photo: Callie Giovanna / TED)

A moment when curiosity triumphs over suspicion, and delight banishes anxiety. Designer Helen Marriage brings people together through larger-than-life art and spectacle. “I want to take you to a different kind of world — a world of the imagination where using this most powerful tool that we have, we can transform our physical surroundings,” she says. With Artichoke, the company she cofounded in 2006, Marriage seeks to create moving, ephemeral moments that reveal beauty among ruins, reexamine history and whimsically demonstrate what’s possible. Why? “In doing so, we can change forever how we feel, and how we feel about the people we share the planet with.” On the TEDWomen stage, Marriage tells the tale of three cities she transformed into spaces of culture and connection. In Salisbury, French actors performed Faust on stilts with handheld pyrotechnics; in London, she conjured magic by shutting down the city streets for four days to tell the story of a little girl and an elephant. And in Derry (also known as Londonderry) — a town still gripped by Northern Ireland’s Protestant/Catholic conflict — she helped address community tribalism in Burning Man fashion, building a wooden temple that housed written hopes, thoughts, loves and losses — then burning it down. Reminiscent of a town ritual that usually deepens rifts, the work brought thousands of people together on both sides to share and experience a deeply profound moment. As she says: “In the end, this is all about love.”

Moving forward doesn’t mean moving on. In a heartbreaking, hilarious talk, writer and podcaster Nora McInerny shares her hard-earned wisdom about life and death. In 2014, soon after losing her second pregnancy and her father, McInerny’s husband Aaron died after three years fighting brain cancer. Since then, McInerny has made a career of talking about life’s hardest moments — not just her own, but also the losses and tragedies that others have experienced. She started the Hot Young Widows Club, a series of small gatherings where men and women can talk about their partners who have died and say the things that other people in their lives aren’t yet willing to hear. “The people who we’ve lost are still so present for us,” she says. Now remarried, McInerny says that we need to change how we think about grief — that it’s possible to grieve and love in the same year and week, even the same breath. She invites us to stop talking about “moving on” after the death of a loved one: “I haven’t moved on from Aaron, I’ve moved forward with him,” she says. And she encourages us to remind one another that some things can’t be fixed, and not all wounds are meant to heal.

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The art of possibility: The talks of TED@Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Par Brian Greene

For a second year, TED and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, have partnered to explore the art of possibility. (Photo: Richard Hadley / TED)

The possibilities life affords us are endless. We can find them everywhere, at the micro and macro levels and across all fields. Do you see them? Look closer: they are there every time we use our curiosity and imagination to explore and try new things.

For a second year, TED and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, have partnered to explore the art of possibility. At this year’s TED@Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, hosted by TED’s international curator Bruno Giussani at Staatstheater Darmstadt on November 26, 2018, a lineup of 13 visionaries, dreamers and changemakers shared the possibilities of past, present and future.

After opening remarks from Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, the talks of Session 1 kick off.

Sharks could be our newest weapons against cancer, says antibody researcher Doreen Koenning. She shares her work at TED@Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. (Photo: Richard Hadley / TED)

Can sharks help us fight cancer? The time-worn cliché, “If you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras,” is meant to remind us that the most obvious solution is usually the correct ones. Yet antibody researcher Doreen Koenning has dedicated her career to doing exactly the opposite — and in the process, she’s uncovered surprising weapons that may help us fight cancer. Koenning studies sharks — specifically, their antibodies, which are unusually stable and robust, and which interact with a wide variety of complex molecules. What does this have to do with cancer? Medicines made from human antibodies help us battle cancer — but since they blend into our immune system so well, it’s difficult to track their side effects. Shark antibodies, by contrast, stand out like a sore thumb. Because of this, they could become a valuable tool for neglected diseases and clinical drug trials — and potentially create a new breed of cancer medicines. In the end, Koenning reminds us that we can find useful molecules in many other species, each of them having very special traits. So our search for “zebras” shouldn’t stop at the shark tank.

By bridging immunology and biology, we can engineer vaccines that evolve alongside the superbugs, says pharmacist Vikas Jaitely. He speaks at TED@Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. (Photo: Richard Hadley / TED)

We can fight antibiotic-resistant superbugs with a new class of vaccines. We urgently need to revamp our approach to developing solutions for bacterial diseases, says pharmacist Vikas Jaitely. Deadly superbugs like MRSA and Clostridium difficile are quickly evolving to resist antibiotics by continuously mutating their genes and even borrowing stronger DNA from other bacteria. Although medical science is trying to keep up, these strains are progressing at a much faster rate than our antibiotics; by 2050, superbugs could claim up to 10 million lives a year globally. Jaitely proposes a new source of help: learning directly from the bacteria and developing what he calls an “ecosystem of evolving vaccines” that can be rapidly modified to target ever-changing bacteria strains. Jaitely says that by modeling superbug behavior and tracking the most probable adaptations (similar to how we approach the flu virus), we can engineer vaccines that evolve alongside the superbugs, functioning as protective shields in our bodies. By “bridging immunology and biology,” he concludes, “we can remove these bugs’ superpowers through the power of our own immune systems, fully trained by these new vaccines.”

What your breath could reveal about your health. There’s no better way to stop a disease than catching and treating it early, before symptoms show. That’s the whole point of medical screening techniques like radiography, MRIs and blood and tissue tests. But there’s a medium with overlooked potential for medical analysis: your breath. Technologist Julian Burschka shares the latest in the art of breath analysis — the screening of the volatile organic compounds we exhale — and how it can be used to better understand the biochemical processes happening inside a patient’s body. Burschka explains how research on breath analysis has skyrocketed recently, and that there’s substantial data suggesting that diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and even colon cancer can be detected in our breath. As the technology matures, the decision of whether or not to treat a disease based on early detection will still be debated, Burschka says. But it’s opening up exciting new possibilities like the creation of longitudinal data that could track the same patient over her lifetime, enabling doctors to detect abnormalities based on a patient’s own medical history, not the average population. “Breath analysis should provide us with a powerful tool not only to proactively detect specific diseases, but also to predict and ultimately prevent them,” Burschka says.

The possibilities of dynamic lighting. Light is all around us, yet many of us don’t realize how much of an effect it has on our behavior and productivity. Lighting researcher Sarah Klein believes we can use lighting to improve our daily lives. Lighting is often chosen with installation costs in mind — not designed to help us feel our best. Klein thinks we should change that approach and make it work with our biological needs. She suggests a “dynamic light system” — a network of adjustable, condition-specific LED lights that NASA uses to help their astronauts get the right amount of sleep. This kind of solution isn’t just for astronauts — it can be useful back on Earth, too, Klein says. For example, a dynamic light system could help travelers cope with jetlag on airplanes and enable people to heal faster in hospitals. Now that we know the impact that light has on us, she says, “We can create a healthier environment for our colleagues, our friends, our families — and ultimately ourselves.”

The impact of a TED Talk, one year later. In a personal, eye-opening talk at last year’s TED@Merck, patient advocate Scott Williams highlighted the invaluable role of informal caregivers — those friends and relatives who go the extra mile for their loved ones in need. More than a million views later, Williams is back on the TED stage, discussing the impact of his talk both within Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and on the general public. Since the talk, the company has launched a program called Embracing Carers that supports informal caregivers, and people from around the world have reached out to Williams to share their stories and perspectives. Now, Williams and Embracing Carers are partnering with like-minded organizations, such as Eurocarers and the American Cancer Society (and actor Rob Lowe!), to share tools and resources. “This journey generated interest and brought people together,” Williams says. “It sparked a dynamic conversation about the situation of carers.”

A grassroots healthcare revolution in Africa. The last several decades have brought revolutionary advances in medical technology — and yet, according to the World Health Organization, half of the world’s population still can’t get basic health care. How can we fix this glaring gap? Inclusive health care advocate Boris A. Hesser believes that the answer lies in community pharmacies, and developing them into bonafide centers of care. Throughout Africa, for example, small pharmacies can be logical local service points for basic medical care and long-term patient outcomes — if they can access the tools they need. Hesser’s team has already built five basic, sustainable facilities around Nairobi that provide preventative care, affordable medication and even refrigeration for medicines. It’s one step in bringing affordable health care to everyone, everywhere.

Scientist Li Wei Tan is passionate about bubbles. At TED@Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, she shares the magic of these soapy spheres. (Photo: Richard Hadley / TED)

The wonderful, surprisingly scientific world of bubbles. Ink formulation scientist Li Wei Tan wants to burst your bubble. It’s actually her job to do just that; when you hold a smartphone, it’s her work that helps give the screen such a crisp, clear quality, by removing the micro- and nano-sized bubbles that want to live in the ink beneath the screen. Tan knows all about the secret world of bubbles — how to remove tiny ones and create the giant bubbles that may have fascinated you as a child — and shares the magic of these soapy spheres. Bubbles are mathematical marvels because they’re constantly seeking geometric perfection, which gives them their shape, Tan says. (Did you know six connected bubbles form a cube in the center?) And these spectacular orbs have influenced industries from manufacturing and shipping (where boats are trying to mimic the bubble-producing tendencies of swimming penguins) to medicine — even down to the tiny bubbles in champagne. “As a scientist who is passionate about bubbles,” she says, “I love to see them, I love to play with them, I love study them, and also I love to drink them.”

Why multitasking works — if we slow it down. “To do two things at once is to do neither,” so the saying goes. But economist and journalist Tim Harford thinks that doing two things at once — or three or even four — is exactly what we should be going for, so long as we slow down to do them right. Harford calls this concept “slow-motion multitasking,” and it’s a pattern of behavior common in highly creative people of all stripes — from Einstein and Darwin to Michael Crichton and Twyla Tharp. Slow-motion multitasking is “when we have several projects in progress at the same time, and we move from one to the other and back again as the mood takes us or the situation demands,” he says. The benefits of this approach are manifold. For instance, creativity often comes from moving an idea out of its original situation and into a new context. As Harford puts it: “It’s easier to think outside the box if you spend some time clambering from one box to another.” What’s more, learning to do one thing may help you do something else. Harford gives the example of medical trainees who became significantly better at analyzing and diagnosing images of eye diseases after spending time studying art. And by balancing several fulfilling projects at once, Harford explains, you’re less likely to get stuck: a setback on one project presents itself as an opportunity to work on another. So how do you keep all these creative pursuits straight in your head? Harford suggests storing related information in separate boxes — whether these are actual physical boxes or digital folders — that can be easily accessed when inspiration strikes. “We can make multitasking work for us, unleashing our natural creativity,” Harford says. “We just need to slow it down.”

Breaking down cultural barriers — with cake. Materials scientist Kathy Vinokurov says that when faced with cultural boundaries in unfamiliar environments, we should be bold and take the first step to bridge those gaps. Born in Russia, Vinokurov moved to Israel as a teenager, where she says she built an imaginary wall between her and her classmates. Fast forward to a new job in Germany later in life and Vinokurov realized she had done the same thing at her workplace. While we can’t control the perceptions others have of us, Vinokurov says, we can control how we communicate and share with those around us. She suggests that when we’re in new settings, we can ease cultural barriers by showing up as our full, authentic selves — and, perhaps, bringing sweet treats from home, like cake. “This opens up the possibility to talk about all the bricks that, if not addressed, may build that wall,” Vinokurov says. While not everyone will immediately open up, she encourages us to spark conversation and “cultural barriers will start to melt away.” Though the tensions of a new workplace can be daunting, sometimes it really is as easy as pie.

By combining AI and blockchain, we could enter an era where we render all data — published and unpublished — searchable and shareable, says complexity specialist Gunjan Bhardwaj. He shares his vision of the future at TED@Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. (Photo: Richard Hadley / TED)

Technological tools for mining medical data. Complexity specialist Gunjan Bhardwaj begins his talk with a grim statement: “All of us in this room have a friend or a loved one who has suffered from a life-threatening disease.” When faced with this reality, we find ourselves trying to sort through a mountain of medical data to figure out what therapies are available, pinpoint where we can get them and identify the best experts to help. And this mountain is constantly growing; according to a study by Peter Densen: at the present rate, medical knowledge will double itself every 73 days in the year 2020. Doctors and researchers — let alone patients and their families — will find it impossible to attain a cohesive view of this “deep, dense and diverse” data. Bharwaj identifies two potential technological solutions to this problem: artificial intelligence and blockchain. An AI trained in the specialized language of medical science could crawl data and enable users to answer their most pressing questions. And using blockchain to encrypt siloed, proprietary and otherwise unavailable data could allow researchers to share their unpublished findings more securely, sparking innovation. By combining AI and blockchain, we could enter an era where we render all data — published and unpublished — searchable and shareable. “That era is now,” Bharwaj says.

The self-assembling circuits of the future. We’ve all experienced the frustration of an old computer or smartphone grinding to a halt. It’s the circuits to blame. In time, if we don’t develop better hardware for evolving tech like facial recognition and augmented reality, we could hit a point where the mind-blowing potential of software may be limited, warns developer Karl Skjonnemand. Right now, much of our technology runs thanks to transistors — big, hulking machines that after 50 years of continuous reinvention are now smaller than a red blood cell. But Skjonnemand says that we’re reaching their physical limits, while still needing to go smaller. It’s time for a totally different, robust and cost-effective approach inspired by nature and brought to life by science: designing self-assembling materials after membranes and cell structures in order to continue with the spectacular expansion of computing and the digital revolution. “This could even be the dawn of a new era of molecular manufacturing,” says Skjonnemand. “How cool is that?”

What should electric cars sound like? Renzo Vitale designs an automotive system that few of us consider — the sonic environments cars produce. Electric cars, with their low audio footprints, offer some welcome silence in our cities — as well as new dangers, since they can easily sneak up on unsuspecting pedestrians. So what kind of sounds should they make to keep people safe? Instead of an engine sound, Vitale explores “sonic textures that are able to transmit emotion … connecting feelings and frequencies” that “speak to the character and identity of the car” — or “sound genetics.” In practice, this could mean a car that sounds like a harmonious synthesizer reaching crescendo as it accelerates. Vitale is also an artist and a performer, using his automotive environments as blueprints for mind-boggling installations and musical scores. To close of his talk, he plays selections from his piano albums, Storm and Zerospace.

At TED@Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Daniel Sherling shares his work bringing the joy of science to American kids who don’t have access to high-tech facilities. (Photo: Richard Hadley / TED)

How a shipping container sparks students’ curiosity. “How can students get excited about science if they don’t have access to the resources that actually make science fun?” asks science education promoter Daniel Sherling. With his team at MilliporeSigma, Sherling transformed a yellow shipping container into a “Curiosity Cube” — a mobile science lab meant to create an engaging, dynamic learning environment. Inside the Curiosity Cube, students can find technology like programmable robots, 3D printers, interactive microscopes, virtual reality and more. The Cube is strapped to a trailer and travels throughout North America, visiting schools that lack the resources for real hands-on science experiments. This way, he says, interactive science can be brought to the students who need it most. And on weekends, families and students can find the Cube in large city centers or public spaces. It’s open to anyone interested in learning more about science — no matter their age. “If we can expose students to the wonders of science, if we can get them just that much more excited for science class the next day, we truly believe we can have a domino effect,” says Sherling. “Because what students need is the opportunity to see and experience how awesome science is. To feel safe to learn, to build their confidence, and most importantly to have their curiosity sparked.”

Deutsche Philharmonie Merck wrapped up the evening with a piece composed by Ben Palmer in 2018 to celebrate the 350th anniversary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. (Photo: Richard Hadley / TED)

“Part II. The Journey Through Time.” After closing remarks from Belén Garijo, CEO Healthcare, at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Deutsche Philharmonie Merck wraps up the evening performing a piece composed by its conductor Ben Palmer in 2018 to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the company. This is followed by a second piece by Mikhail Glinka, “Ruslan and Lyudmila,” an overture based on a poem by Pushkin, providing a contemplative melody with toiling bravado, soaring strings and notes of inspiration — which one could imagine as the sounds of a working mind struck by brilliance.

TED@Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany at Staatstheater Darmstadt, November, 26, 2018.

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New writing from Casey Gerald, Stephen Hawking’s final book and more TED news

Par Yasmin Belkhyr

The TED community is brimming with new books and projects. Below, a selection of highlights.

A powerful story of an American odyssey. Writer and business leader Casey Gerald has published a new memoir on his journey through American life. Titled There Will Be No Miracles Here, the book tells Gerald’s story from a childhood of scraping by, to Yale University, to his role as the leader of a nonprofit placing MBA graduates in communities where they can share their knowledge and make a difference. In an interview with NYMag, Gerald says, “I feel very certain that this book, writing it and giving it away, was the highest and best use of the luxury of being alive. Only time will tell whether that’s true.” The memoir, which The New York Times calls “magnificent,” can be found in bookstores and online. (Watch Gerald’s TED Talk.)

New insights on the benefits of playing instruments. In collaboration with neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, guitar manufacturer Fender has published a new report on the emotional, physical and mental benefits of playing instruments with a focus on the guitar. The study has some fascinating findings: women make up half of all new and aspiring guitar players, 72% of participants began playing guitar as a way of bettering themselves and 42% of participants considered guitar-playing a part of their identity. On the study, Levitin said, “Playing an instrument has a meditative aspect that can release positive hormones in the brain … When we play an instrument, it allows us to see ourselves differently — taking on something that is seen as being a masterful skill in society.” (Watch Levitin’s TED Talk.)

A free resource on integrating ethics and tech. In a closing keynote at the 2018 Borah Symposium, game designer and technologist Jane McGonigal spoke about the tangible benefits of video games. As quoted in The Argonaut, McGonigal said, “Microsoft Research estimated that the United States’ global life expectancy had increased by 2.825 million years just because of the amount of increase in physical activity [from the release of Pokémon Go]. That’s a real outcome.” McGonigal also discussed Ethical OS, her latest project, a free online ethics toolkit for technology makers and futurists. McGonigal crafted it in collaboration with the Omidyar Network and her team at the Institute for the Future, where she is the Director for Game Research and Development. (Watch McGonigal’s TED Talk.)

Marvel’s SHURI series is here. The Black Panther universe has a new addition: a comic series focusing on Shuri, the princess of Wakanda. Written by Afrofuturist writer Nnedi Okorafor and illustrated by Leonardo Romero, the first issue was released last week. This series signals a departure from the Black Panther lore so far. According to Marvel, SHURI leads the eponymous main character on exciting adventures and challenges as she strives to lead Wakanda — the fictional African country of the Black Panther universe — in the absence of her brother, King T’Challa. The first issue has three gorgeous covers by artist Sam Spratt and the second issue is out next month. (Watch Okorafor’s TED Talk. and read our new interview with her)

Brief Answers to Big Questions. The final book of the late theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking was published in October, seven months after Hawking passed away at age 76. Published by Bantam Books, Brief Answers to Big Questions explores some of life’s greatest mysteries, including the existence of God and the possibility of time travel (spoiler alert: Hawking says no and maybe, respectively). The book was finished and polished by Hawking’s family members, who drew from his research, notes and papers following his death. In addition, Hawking, widely considered one of the most influential scientists of his generation, will be honored at the 2019 Breakthrough Prize ceremony. Hawking was awarded a Special Fundamental Physics Prize by the organization in 2013 for his discovery that black holes emit radiation. (Watch Hawking’s TED Talk.)

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Preview our new podcast: The TED Interview

Par TED Staff

TED is launching a new way for curious audiences to immerse themselves more deeply in some of the most compelling ideas on our platform: The TED Interview, a long-form TED original podcast series. Beginning October 16, weekly episodes of The TED Interview will feature head of TED Chris Anderson deep in conversation with TED speakers about the ideas they shared in their TED Talks. Guests will include Elizabeth Gilbert and Sir Ken Robinson, as well as Sam Harris, Mellody Hobson, Daniel Kahneman, Ray Kurzweil and more. Listen to the trailer here.

NEW: Listen to the first episode, our conversation with Elizabeth Gilbert.

“If you look at the cast of characters who have given TED Talks over the past few years, it’s a truly remarkable group of people, and includes many of the world’s most remarkable minds,” Chris said. “We got a glimpse of their thinking in their TED Talk, but there is so much more there. That’s what this podcast series seeks to uncover. We get to dive deeper, much deeper than was possible in their original talk, allowing them to further explain, amplify, illuminate and, in some cases, defend their thinking. For anyone turned on by ideas, these conversations are a special treat.”

The launch comes at an exciting time when TED is testing multiple new formats and channels to reach even wider global audiences. In the past year TED has experimented with original podcasts, including WorkLife with Adam Grant, Facebook Watch series like Constantly Curious, primetime international television in India with TED Talks India Nayi Soch and more.

“We’ve been very ambitious in our goal of developing and testing new formats and channels that can support TED’s mission of Ideas Worth Spreading,” said Colin Helms, head of media at TED. “A decade after TED began posting talks online, there are so many more differing media habits to contend with—and, lucky for us, so many more formats to more to play with. The TED Interview is an exciting new way for us to offer curious audiences a front-row seat to some of the day’s most fascinating and challenging conversations.”

The first episode of the TED Interview debuts Tuesday, October 16, on Apple Podcasts, the TED Android app or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. Season 1 features eleven episodes, roughly 40 minutes each. New episodes will be made available every Tuesday. Subscribe and check out the trailer here.

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Moving healthcare forward: The talks of TED Salon: Catalyst

Par Brian Greene

TED and Optum partnered to cultivate the dialogue and collaboration that’s needed to understand and guide changes in healthcare. (Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED)

Healthcare is at a turning point. Big data, evolving consumer preferences and shifting cost structures are just a few of the many complex factors shaping the opportunities and challenges that will define the future. How can we all become forces for positive change and progress?

For the first time, TED partnered with Optum, a health services and innovation company, for a salon focused on what happens when we trust our ideas to change health and healthcare for the better. At the salon, held on July 31 at the ARIA Las Vegas, six speakers and a performer shared fresh thinking on how we can make a health system that works better for everyone.

Empathy shouldn’t be a nice-to-have, says Adrienne Boissy — it’s a hard skill that should be integrated into everything we do. (Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED)

How we can put empathy back in healthcare. Many in healthcare believe that empathy — imagining another person’s feelings and then doing something to help them — is a “soft skill,” and not an important factor in the success or failure of medical treatments. But according to Adrienne Boissy, chief experience officer for the Cleveland Clinic Health System, empathy is a critical part of healthcare that, when cultivated, delivers proven, positive impacts to everything from controlling high blood pressure to the outcomes of diabetes. Best of all, it’s something that healthcare workers can learn, in order to “bake caring fixes back into every single part of the healthcare system.” Boissy knows that patients and doctors both suffer under current healthcare systems and their long wait times, communications gaps, and the endemic pressures that lead to staff burnout. To address these problems in her health system, Boissy implemented some big fixes, like same-day appointments for patients, communications training for doctors and less bureaucratic pressure. Her strategies are designed to build empathy back into the healthcare system and “transform the human experience into something much more humane.”

The myth of obesity and the need for a social movement. The global obesity crisis has reached epidemic proportions — but its root cause may not be what you think. Obesity expert Lee Kaplan has studied the issue for nearly 20 years, and the misconceptions around obesity have remained fairly constant throughout: if people simply ate less and exercised more, the thinking goes, they’d be able to control their weight. But the reality is much more complex. “Numerous studies demonstrate that each of our bodies has a powerful, and very accurate, system for seeking and maintaining the right amount of fat,” Kaplan says. “Obesity is the disease in which that finely tuned system goes awry.” There are many types of obesity, with many causes — genetics, brain damage, sleep deprivation, medications that promote weight gain — but in the end, all obesity reflects the disruption of this internal system (controlled by the body’s adipostat). In order to begin solving this massive health crisis, Kaplan calls for us to stop stigmatizing obesity and take collective action to improve the lives of those affected. “We need to change the public perception of blame and responsibility, and support a social movement that will lead to real progress,” Kaplan says. “In so doing, we will begin to see society shrink before our eyes.”

If we design healthcare systems with trust, innovation and ambition, says Dr. Andrew Bastawrous, we can create solutions that change the lives of millions of people worldwide. (Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED)

Innovating the healthcare funding and distribution model. While working in an eye care clinic in Kenya, Andrew Bastawrous was frustrated to find that because of rigid funding regulations, he wasn’t able to help people in desperate need who didn’t have “the right problems.” Though specific resource allocation makes business sense, Bastawrous says, inflexible rules often block healthcare organizations from adapting to shifting situations on the ground. This makes it difficult to deliver even simple medical treatments — for example, though we’ve had glasses for over 700 years, 2.5 billion people still don’t have access to them. That’s why Peek Vision, the eye care organization Bastawrous co-founded and leads, is set up as both a company and a charity — an innovation that allows them to sustainably create healthcare products and serve the communities who need them most. Peek Vision’s successful partnership with the Botswana government to screen and treat every child in the country by 2021 shows that this model can work — now, it needs to be scaled globally. If we design health care systems with trust, innovation and ambition, Bastawrous says, we can create solutions that fulfill the needs of financial partners and improve the lives of millions of people worldwide.

One pill to rule them all? We live in the age of the “quantified self,” where it’s possible to measure, monitor and track much of our physiology and behavior with a few taps of a finger. (Think smartwatches and fitness trackers.) With all this information, says Daniel Kraft, we should be able to make the shift into “quantified health” and design truly personalized medicine that allows us to synthesize many of our medications into a single pill. Onstage, Kraft revealed a prototype that would not only engender an easier time taking medications but also print the drugs he envisions right in the home. “I’m hopeful that with the help of novel approaches like this, we can move from an era of intermittent data, reactive one-size-fits-all therapy,” he says, “improving health and medicine across the planet.”

When it comes to health, we’re not as divided as we think we are, says Rebecca Onie. (Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED)

Divided on healthcare, united on health. The American conversation around healthcare has long been divisive. Yet as health services innovator Rebecca Onie reveals in new research, people in the US are not as polarized as they think. She launched a new initiative to ask voters around the country one question: “What do you need to be healthy?” As it turns out, across economic, political and racial divides, Americans are aligned when it comes to their healthcare priorities: healthy food, safe housing and good wages. “When you ask the right questions, it becomes pretty clear: our country may be fractured on healthcare, but we are unified on health,” she says. The insights from her research demonstrate how our common experience can inform our approach to pressing healthcare questions — and even bring people across the political spectrum together.

Medicine isn’t made by miracles. Our narratives of our greatest medical and healthcare advances all follow the same script, Darshak Sanghavi says: “The heroes are either swashbuckling doctors fighting big odds and taking big risks, or miracle drugs found in the unlikeliest of places.” We love to hear — and tell — stories based on this script. But these stories cause us to redirect our resources toward creating hero doctors and revolutionary medications, and by doing so, “we potentially harm more people than we help,” Sanghavi says. He believes we should turn away from these myths and focus on what really matters: teamwork. Incremental refinements in treatments, painstakingly assembled by healthcare workers pooling their resources over time, are what really lead to improved survival rates and higher-quality lives for patients. “We don’t need to wait for a hero in order to make our lives better,” Sanghavi says. “We already know what to do. Small steps over time will get us where we need to go.”

Jessica Care Moore performs her poem “Gratitude Is a Recipe for Survival” to close out the salon. (Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED)

She has decided to live. Poet, performer and artist Jessica Care Moore closes out the salon with a performance of “Gratitude Is a Recipe for Survival” — a vigorous, personal, lyrical journey through the mind and life of a professional poet raising a young son in a thankless world.

TEDSalon Optum - July 31, 2018 at ARIA Resort & Casino, Las Vegas

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