The Higgs Boson, breaking the sound barrier, Occupy Wall Street, oh my! — 9 TEDx Talks to remember 2012

2012 saw major advances in science, remarkable feats of human achievement, and sea-changes in politics, international conflict, and human relations. These nine talks should help you frame the essential ideas that shaped events this past year.

The Higgs Boson: What You Don’t Know: Dr. Dan Hooper at TEDxNaperville

Earlier this year, CERN uncovered overwhelming evidence pointing toward the discovery of the elusive Higgs-Boson particle — providing experimental backing for some of the most fundamental theories in physics. Dan Hooper explains what makes this discovery so special. (Filmed at TEDxNaperville.)

STRATOS - The longest free fall in history: Dr. Jon Clark at TEDxUSC

On October 14, 2012, Felix Baumgartner lept off a ledge 39,045 meters in the air, broke the sound barrier, and landed safely on the ground. Dr. Jon Clark worked on the suit that helped Felix survive. Watch the talk to find out how he did it. (Filmed at TEDxUSC.)

The aftermath of Occupy: Naomi Colvin at TEDxHousesofParliament

Last year, the Occupy Wall Street movement spread like wildfire across the globe. This year, members have struggled with critics who dismiss the campaign for its inability to articulate specific demands. Naomi Colvin thinks they miss the point entirely; that the protests were not about rushing into specific negotiations based on conventional principles, but about disrupting the way we reform altogether. In this reflective talk, she lays out a new vision of political identity. (Filmed at TEDxHousesofParliament.)

Be optimistic about the US and China: Geoffrey Garrett at TEDxSydney

When, in April of this year, civil rights activist Chen Guangcheng fled from house arrest to seek asylum at the US embassy in Beijing, the US and China faced a delicate situation that challenged both countries’ policies and basic ethics.  Geoffrey Garrett believes that because the issue was resolved with relative ease — he can outline a vision of the future where these codependent superpowers can peaceably exist. (Filmed at TEDxSydney.)

What are your universal rights?: Philippe Sands at TEDxHousesofParliament

In addition to leaving thousands and countless homeless, the ongoing conflict in Syria has tried international stability — forcing every nation to reflect on its philosophy of intervention. In a call for consistent international conduct, Philippe Sands reframes intervention as a moral issue. He makes the case that no government should be free to abuse its citizens, that the rights of individuals supersede those of the state and that those rights must be protected by a powerful international force. (Filmed at TEDxHousesofParliament.)

Fixing election coverage: Jay Rosen at TEDxColumbiaEngineering 

In November, America re-elected Barack Obama. But before they could do that, they were inundated with a barrage of press coverage, most of which, according to Jay Rosen, wasn’t very helpful. In this talk, he lays out the problems with the press’s election coverage and offers a simple fix. (Filmed at TEDxColumbiaEngineering.)

How Curiosity Changed My Life, and I Changed Hers: Adam Steltzner atTEDxNewEngland

Aside from representing a major achievement in science, engineering, and the exploration of space, the Curiosity rover is simply, incredibly cool. Adam Steltzner, landing lead for the Curiosity rover, explains how NASA got a 1-ton SUV onto Mars. (Filmed at TEDxNewEngland.)

Hate Speech Beyond Borders: Nazila Ghanea at TEDxEastEnd

In September, a hate-filled video posted to YouTube sparked a slew of violent protests across the Arab world and left serious questions about how cultures of free speech can peaceably coexist with cultures of censorship. Oxford professor of International Human Rights Law, Nazila Ghanea, gives us a look into the wider international picture of contemporary hate speech and the nature of the violence it incurs. (Filmed at TEDxEastEnd.)

A History of Violence:  Steven Pinker atTEDxNewEngland

Several times this year, headlines described traumatic, violent events. But, through it all, it’s essential to remember that we live in the least violent time in history, says philosopher Steven Pinker. In this talk, he breaks down the numbers behind the decline of violence and lays out his expectations for the future of conflict. (Filmed at TEDxNewEngland.)


"We live in the privileged region of Orange County, California, one of the safest counties in the US," says the organizer of TEDxOrangeCoastWomen in California, Mojdeh Eskandari. “Although we share many women’s issues with others in the world, we do not experience them to the same degree. The first response if you Google “Women in OC” is The Real Housewives of Orange County.

"But while our lifestyle is somewhat different" she says, “we have more in common with all women in the world than we have differences.” 
On December 1st, they will join TEDxWomen's conversation on the state of affairs for women worldwide — not just in California or the United States — but for all of those who, they say are brave enough to “challenge and redefine traditional rules and roles.”

"There may never have been a better time to host TEDxWomen than following the historic 2012 election when a record number of women were swept into public office in the United States," the TEDxOrangeCoastWomen team writes in a blog post detailing their event. “Twenty women will serve in the 100-member Senate and at least 81 of the 435 members of the House of Representatives will be women. Of the newly elected, three women are the first female senators from their states, two have military experience, one is the first Hindu in Congress and one is the first Asian-American woman in the senate.”

But why do the team at TEDxOrangeCoastWomen feel this is important to their event?
"Aside from the practical matter of having half of the country better represented in its own governance," they say, "it indicates that more women than ever are seeking an active role in society, and society agrees there’s value in that."
Today and tomorrow, over 150 events will join in the conversation taking place during TEDxWomen in D.C. and around the world. But until Saturday, check out TEDxOrangeCoastWomen’s website, and find out more about the TEDxWomen initiative here: http://tedxwomen.org/

"We live in the privileged region of Orange County, California, one of the safest counties in the US," says the organizer of TEDxOrangeCoastWomen in California, Mojdeh Eskandari. “Although we share many women’s issues with others in the world, we do not experience them to the same degree. The first response if you Google “Women in OC” is The Real Housewives of Orange County.

"But while our lifestyle is somewhat different" she says, “we have more in common with all women in the world than we have differences.”

On December 1st, they will join TEDxWomen's conversation on the state of affairs for women worldwide — not just in California or the United States — but for all of those who, they say are brave enough to “challenge and redefine traditional rules and roles.”

"There may never have been a better time to host TEDxWomen than following the historic 2012 election when a record number of women were swept into public office in the United States," the TEDxOrangeCoastWomen team writes in a blog post detailing their event. “Twenty women will serve in the 100-member Senate and at least 81 of the 435 members of the House of Representatives will be women. Of the newly elected, three women are the first female senators from their states, two have military experience, one is the first Hindu in Congress and one is the first Asian-American woman in the senate.”

But why do the team at TEDxOrangeCoastWomen feel this is important to their event?

"Aside from the practical matter of having half of the country better represented in its own governance," they say, "it indicates that more women than ever are seeking an active role in society, and society agrees there’s value in that."

Today and tomorrow, over 150 events will join in the conversation taking place during TEDxWomen in D.C. and around the world. But until Saturday, check out TEDxOrangeCoastWomen’s website, and find out more about the TEDxWomen initiative here: http://tedxwomen.org/

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10 TEDxTalks every American should watch before Election Day

With Americans electing their president tomorrow, we revisit our playlist from last week—10 TEDxTalks every American should watch before voting:

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As a New York Times article put it this morning, “The presidential campaign entered a delicate phase on Tuesday, suddenly becoming a sideshow to the hurricane.” In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, it’s hard to remember that in just a week, Americans will be heading to the polls and, with their presidential selection, answering big questions about the future of the economy, education and their country’s place in this world.

In these 10 TEDxTalks, a global selection of speakers suggest altogether new ways of looking at these questions.

More banks, fewer problems: Scott Shay at TEDxWallStreet

Scott Shay is a small banker with a big idea: No more big banks. The way he sees it, the bigger they are, the harder they fall and the bigger the global disaster they can leave in their wake. At TEDxWallStreet, he appeals for a massive break-up — spreading out the risk, diversifying the field, lowering the dependency, and creating a more secure financial system overall. 

Be optimistic about the US and China: Geoffrey Garrett at TEDxSydney

Americans are unsure what the future of China means for them. Many are apprehensive about it’s policies and even fearful of the competition escalating into a perilous rivalry. Geoffrey Garrett thinks the US-China relationship is better than ever. At TEDxSydney, he outlines a vision of the future where codependent superpowers can peaceably exist.

A new Sudan: Tarig Hilal at TEDxKhartoum

A fresh start: From the Revolutionary war to westward migration and the history of immigration — it’s an idea emblazoned onto the American psyche. Now, nations across Africa and the Middle East are looking for new ways to start over for themselves. In this powerful talk from TEDxKhartoum, Tarig Hilal tells the story of a hopeful generation of Sudanese that are coming to terms with their past and setting a new direction for their country’s future. A story that can remind Americans what it means to be start from scratch.

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