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Tag: TED-Ed

A brief history of goths – Dan Adams

The Goths were a Germanic people who were referred to as “barbarians” by the Romans, famous for sacking the city of Rome in A.D. 410, but who were they, really? And what do fans of atmospheric post-punk music have in common with the ancient barbarians? Not much … so why are both known as “goths”? …

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TED-Ed: The evolution of animal genitalia – Menno Schilthuizen

Genitals are the fastest-evolving organs in the animal kingdom. But why is this so? And what’s the point of having decorative private parts? Menno Schilthuizen explains how the evolutionary biology of nature’s nether regions uncovers a hidden world of seduction, conflict, and rivalry.  

TED-Ed: Why do we itch?

The average person experiences dozens of individual itches each day. We’ve all experienced the annoyance of an inconvenient itch — but have you ever pondered why we itch in the first place? Is there actually an evolutionary purpose to the itch, or is it simply there to annoy us? Emma Bryce digs deep into the …

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TED-Ed: How Magellan circumnavigated the globe – Ewandro Magalhaes

Ferdinand Magellan (1480 – 1521) was the first to sail from Europe westwards towards South America and find a way to the Pacific Ocean with the goal of finding the Spice Islands in Indonesia. After sailing across the Pacific Ocean, he died in battle on the island of Mactan in the Philippines. Of his fleet, …

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TED-Ed: How the food you eat affects your gut – Shilpa Ravella

The bacteria in our guts can break down food the body can’t digest, produce important nutrients, regulate the immune system, and protect against harmful germs. And while we can’t control all the factors that go into maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, we can manipulate the balance of our microbes by paying attention to what we …

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TED-Ed: Why do we feel nostalgia? – Clay Routledge

Nostalgia was once considered an illness confined to specific groups of people. Today, people all over the world report experiencing and enjoying nostalgia. But how does nostalgia work? And is it healthy? Clay Routledge details the way our understanding of nostalgia has changed since the term was first coined in the late 17th century. Lesson …

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TED Ed: Is there a limit to technological progress? – Clément Vidal

Many generations have felt they’ve reached the pinnacle of technological advancement. Yet, if you look back 100 years, the technologies we take for granted today would seem like impossible magic. So — will there be a point where we reach an actual limit of technological progress? And if so, are we anywhere near that limit …

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TED Ed: How much of human history is on the bottom of the ocean?

Sunken relics, ghostly shipwrecks, and lost cities aren’t just wonders found in fictional adventures. Beneath the ocean’s surface, there are ruins where people once roamed and shipwrecks loaded with artifacts from another time. Peter Campbell takes us into the huge underwater museum that is our ocean to see what these artifacts can tell us about …

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TED Ed: Could human civilization spread across the whole galaxy?

Could human civilization eventually spread across the whole Milky Way galaxy? Could we move beyond our small, blue planet to establish colonies in the multitude of star systems out there? These questions are pretty daunting, but their (theoretical) answers were actually put forth decades ago. Roey Tzezana describes the conceptual von Neumann machine.  

TED Ed: The history of the Cuban Missile Crisis

Imagine going about your life knowing that, at any given moment, you and everyone you know could be wiped out without warning at the push of a button. This was the reality for millions of people during the forty-five year period after World War II now known as the Cold War. Matthew A. Jordan explains …

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TED-Ed: The paradox of value – Akshita Agarwal

Imagine you’re on a game show and you can choose between two prizes: a diamond … or a bottle of water. It’s an easy choice – the diamonds are more valuable. But if given the same choice when you were dehydrated in the desert, after wandering for days, would you choose differently? Why? Aren’t diamonds …

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TED Ed: How a single-celled organism almost wiped out life on Earth

There’s an organism that changed the world. It caused the first mass extinction in Earth’s history … and also paved the way for complex life. How? Anusuya Willis explains how cyanobacteria, simple organisms that don’t even have nuclei or any other organelles, wrote a pivotal chapter in the story of life on Earth.  

TED-Ed: Why the metric system matters – Matt Anticole

For the majority of recorded human history, units like the weight of a grain or the length of a hand weren’t exact and varied from place to place. Now, consistent measurements are such an integral part of our daily lives that it’s hard to appreciate what a major accomplishment for humanity they’ve been. Matt Anticole …

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TED-Ed: Why do we hiccup?

The longest recorded case of hiccups lasted for 68 years … and was caused by a falling hog. While that level of severity is extremely uncommon, most of us are no stranger to an occasional case of the hiccups. But what causes these ‘hics’ in the first place? John Cameron takes us into the diaphragm …

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TED Ed: Should we be looking for life elsewhere in the universe? – Aomawa Shields

As the number of “potentially habitable” planets that astronomers find continues to rise, we seem ever closer to answering the question, “Are we alone in the universe?” But should we be looking for life elsewhere? If we were to find life in one of these worlds, should we try to contact any beings who may …

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TED Ed: Rosalind Franklin: DNA’s unsung hero – Cláudio L. Guerra

The discovery of the structure of DNA was one of the most important scientific achievements in human history. The now-famous double helix is almost synonymous with Watson and Crick, two of the scientists who won the Nobel prize for figuring it out. But there’s another name you may not know: Rosalind Franklin. Cláudio L. Guerra …

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TED-Ed: What is obesity? – Mia Nacamulli

Obesity is an escalating global epidemic. It substantially raises the probability of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and cancer. But what is the distinction between being overweight and being obese? And how does a person become obese? Mia Nacamulli explores obesity.

TED: How to spot a fad diet – Mia Nacamulli

Conventional wisdom about diets, including government health recommendations, seems to change all the time. And yet ads routinely come out claiming to have THE answer about what we should eat. So how do we distinguish what’s actually healthy from what advertisers just want us to believe is good for us? Mia Nacamulli gives the facts …

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TED-Ed: How do schools of fish swim in harmony? – Nathan S. Jacobs

How do schools of fish swim in harmony? How do the tiny cells in your brain give rise to the complex thoughts, memories, and consciousness that are you? Oddly enough, those questions have the same general answer. Nathan S. Jacobs explains the concept of emergence, the spontaneous creation of sophisticated behaviors and functions from large …

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TED Ed: Can wildlife adapt to climate change? – Erin Eastwood

With rising temperatures and seas, massive droughts, and changing landscapes, successfully adapting to climate change is increasingly important. For humans, this can mean using technology to find solutions. But for some plants and animals, adapting to these changes involves the most ancient solution of all: evolution. Erin Eastwood explains how animals are adapting to climate …

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