The case of the vanishing honeybees

In the past decade, the US honeybee population has been decreasing at an alarming and unprecedented rate. While this is obviously bad news for honeypots everywhere, bees also help feed us in a bigger way — by pollinating our nation’s crops. Emma Bryce investigates potential causes for this widespread colony collapse disorder.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-case-of-the-vanishing-honeybees-emma-bryce

Lesson by Emma Bryce, animation by Lillian Chan.

via TED Education.


Grammar’s great divide: The Oxford comma

If you read “Bob, a DJ and a clown” on a guest list, are three people coming to the party, or only one? That depends on whether you’re for or against the Oxford comma — perhaps the most hotly contested punctuation mark of all time. When do we use one? Can it really be optional, or is there a universal rule? TED-Ed explores both sides of this comma conundrum.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/grammar-s-great-divide-the-oxford-comma-ted-ed

Lesson by TED-Ed, animation by Zedem Media.

via TED Education.


A-rhythm-etic. The math behind the beats

Ready to dance in your seat? Drummer Clayton Cameron breaks down different genres of music—from R&B to Latin to pop—by their beats. A talk that proves hip hop and jazz aren’t cooler than math—they simply rely on it.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/a-rhythm-etic-the-math-behind-the-beats-clayton-cameron

Talk by Clayton Cameron.

via TED Education.


The science of spiciness

When you take a bite of a hot pepper, your body reacts as if your mouth is on fire — because that’s essentially what you’ve told your brain! Rose Eveleth details the science and history behind spicy foods, giving insights into why some people continue to pay the painful price for a little spice.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-science-of-spiciness-rose-eveleth

Lesson by Rose Eveleth, animation by Flaming Medusa Studios Inc.

via TED Education.


Ed Yong: Suicidal wasps, zombie roaches and other parasite tales

We humans set a premium on our own free will and independence … and yet there’s a shadowy influence we might not be considering. As science writer Ed Yong explains in this fascinating, hilarious and disturbing talk, parasites have perfected the art of manipulation to an incredible degree. So are they influencing us? It’s more than likely.

via jtotheizzoe:

Let This Awesome Science Infect Your Mind

Ed Yong is one of the finest science writers in the world. His National Geographic blog is chock full of the weird, wild, and WTF-inducing stories that make our living world so darn interesting. So I was overjoyed when I heard he would be speaking at this year’s TED.

He didn’t disappoint. In his talk above, he unlocks the under-appreciated and often cringe-worthy world of mind-controlling parasites. They get no respect, I tell ya, no respect at all. Yet they are cornerstones of countless ecosystems, determining food availability and managing population sizes like armies of freaky fauna, each deployed in a Trojan Horse of evolution’s design. Every parasite’s life is a story, by definition, an elaborate chain that extends from host to host, and I think they’ve found their minstrel in Ed. I mean that as a compliment, of course.

Listen to him weave a tapestry of tapeworms, explain what makes flamingos munch on zombie shrimp, show you how a cricket is like a TARDIS, how a wasp turns a cockroach into a cocker spaniel, and how a brain-controlling protozoan reminds him of an Elizabeth Gilbert novel. My favorite part of this? The idea that ideas themselves may be parasites.

I haven’t loved a TED talk this much in a long time. Or maybe that’s just the parasite talking. 

What is the universe made of?

The atoms around you have existed for billions of years — and most originated in the flaming, gaseous core of a star. Dennis Wildfogel tells the captivating tale of these atoms’ long journeys from the Big Bang to the molecules they form today.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/what-is-the-universe-made-of-dennis-wildfogel

Lesson by Dennis Wildfogel, animation by Pew36 Animation Studios.

via TED Education.


An athlete uses physics to shatter world records

When Dick Fosbury couldn’t compete against the skilled high jumpers at his college, he tried jumping in a different way — backwards. Fosbury improved his record immediately and continued to amaze the world with his new technique all the way to Olympic gold. Asaf Bar-Yosef explains the physics behind the success of the now dominant Fosbury Flop.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/an-athlete-uses-physics-to-shatter-world-records-asaf-bar-yosef

Lesson by Asaf Bar-Yosef, animation by NEIGHBOR.

via TED Education.


The Pangaea Pop-up

The supercontinent Pangaea, with its connected South America and Africa, broke apart 200 million years ago. But the continents haven’t stopped shifting — the tectonic plates beneath our feet (in Earth’s two top layers, the lithosphere and the asthenosphere) are still traveling at about the rate your fingernails grow. Michael Molina discusses the catalysts and consequences of continental drift.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-pangaea-pop-up-michael-molina/

Lesson by Michael Molina, animation by TED-Ed.

via TED Education.


Animation basics: The art of timing and spacing

Expert timing and spacing is what separates a slide show from a truly amazing animation. TED-Ed demonstrates, by manipulating various bouncing balls, how the smallest adjustments from frame to frame can make all the difference.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/animation-basics-the-art-of-timing-and-spacing-ted-ed

Lesson and animation by TED-Ed.

via TED Education.


How fast are you moving right now?

"How fast are you moving?" seems like an easy question, but it’s actually quite complicated — and perhaps best answered by another question: "Relative to what?" Even when you think you’re standing still, the Earth is moving relative to the Sun, which is moving relative to the Milky Way, which is…you get the idea. Tucker Hiatt unravels the concepts of absolute and relative speed.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-fast-are-you-moving-right-now-tucker-hiatt

Lesson by Tucker Hiatt, animation by Zedem Media.

via TED Education.


Biodiesel: The afterlife of oil

How could you dispose of your cooking oil when you’re done cooking? The easiest thing to do might be to pour it down your drain — but if you save it up and send it to a processing plant, it can gain useful new life as biodiesel, a biodegradable energy source which can run in diesel engines instead of refined petroleum. Natascia Radice describes the process of turning goop into good.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/biodiesel-the-afterlife-of-oil-natascia-radice

Lesson by Natascia Radice, animation by Lippy.

via TED Education.


History vs. Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was both beloved and loathed during his presidency. In this imaginary courtroom, you get to be the jury, considering and weighing Jackson’s part in the spoils system, economic depression, and the Indian Removal Act, as well as his patriotism and the pressures of the presidency. James Fester explores how time shapes our relationship to controversial historical figures.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/history-vs-andrew-jackson-james-fester

Lesson by James Fester, animation by Brett Underhill.

via TED Education.


The Infinite Hotel Paradox

The Infinite Hotel, a thought experiment created by German mathematician David Hilbert, is a hotel with an infinite number of rooms. Easy to comprehend, right? Wrong. What if it’s completely booked but one person wants to check in? What about 40? Or an infinitely full bus of people? Jeff Dekofsky solves these heady lodging issues using Hilbert’s paradox.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-infinite-hotel-paradox-jeff-dekofsky

Lesson by Jeff Dekofsky, animation by The Moving Company Animation Studio.

via TED Education.


The mystery of motion sickness

Although one third of the population suffers from motion sickness, scientists aren’t exactly sure what causes it. Like the common cold, it’s a seemingly simple problem that’s still without a cure. And if you think it’s bad on a long family car ride, imagine being a motion sick astronaut! Rose Eveleth explains what’s happening in our bodies when we get the car sick blues.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-mystery-of-motion-sickness-rose-eveleth

Lesson by Rose Eveleth, animation by Tom Gran.

via TED Education.


How to build a fictional world

Why is J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy so compelling? How about The Matrix or Harry Potter? What makes these disparate worlds come alive are clear, consistent rules for how people, societies — and even the laws of physics — function in these fictional universes. Author Kate Messner offers a few tricks for you, too, to create a world worth exploring in your own words.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-to-build-a-fictional-world-kate-messner

Lesson by Kate Messner, animation by Avi Ofer.

via TED Education.