Say hello to Katie Spotz — the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean (2,817 miles!), the first person to swim the entire length of the Allegheny River in the US, and someone gutsy enough to run 150 miles across the Mojave Desert and Colorado Desert alone … AKA a fearless adventurer owning the term girl power.

In a talk at TEDxSMU, Katie explains how she overcame the expectations she had set for herself by stepping out of her comfort zone. For most of her life she thought that running marathons and entering triathlons were for “those people,” she says, and told herself that she would just never be one of them — until one day she decided that the only real thing stopping her from running, rowing, and swimming was not trying.

Here, she recounts her epic adventures »

Photos via Katie Spotz


Teenagers offer a lot. A lot of times, people think of teenagers as not caring, and that’s a big mistake. We do care about a lot of things, we just don’t know where to start. — Julia Bluhm

Julia Bluhm is a teenager who offers a lot. At just 14, fed up with seeing her friends stress over trying to be like the girls they saw in magazines, Julia and friend Izzy started an online petition protesting the overuse of Photoshop in Seventeen magazine.
What started out small soon gained momentum. Within days, the petition had over 25,000 signatures. After a month, Julia was outside Seventeen magazine headquarters presenting a petition that now had over 84,000 signatures.
In the end, her efforts paid off — Seventeen magazine issued a Body Peace Treaty, signed by all the editors, agreeing to show real, un-Photoshopped girls in their pages.
Julia and Izzy dominated TEDxWomen last year with their story, showing how to be a super, A+, no-nonsense, clever, ever-questioning, butt-kicking, media monitor — no matter your age. You can watch their talk here.
And for more evidence why you should never underestimate a teenager with a cause, read our interview with Julia on the TED Blog.

Teenagers offer a lot. A lot of times, people think of teenagers as not caring, and that’s a big mistake. We do care about a lot of things, we just don’t know where to start. 
— Julia Bluhm

Julia Bluhm is a teenager who offers a lot. At just 14, fed up with seeing her friends stress over trying to be like the girls they saw in magazines, Julia and friend Izzy started an online petition protesting the overuse of Photoshop in Seventeen magazine.

What started out small soon gained momentum. Within days, the petition had over 25,000 signatures. After a month, Julia was outside Seventeen magazine headquarters presenting a petition that now had over 84,000 signatures.

In the end, her efforts paid off — Seventeen magazine issued a Body Peace Treaty, signed by all the editors, agreeing to show real, un-Photoshopped girls in their pages.

Julia and Izzy dominated TEDxWomen last year with their story, showing how to be a super, A+, no-nonsense, clever, ever-questioning, butt-kicking, media monitor — no matter your age. You can watch their talk here.

And for more evidence why you should never underestimate a teenager with a cause, read our interview with Julia on the TED Blog.

3 smart talks to get you through the US government shutdown

Heyyy Congress,

TEDx here. We noticed you’re having a wee bit of trouble working out this government shutdown snafu, so we thought, hey, since you’ve got extra time on your hands and we’re taking a lunch break, we should totally hang. Want to come watch talks with us? We picked some just for you! Nice talks about getting along and talking it out and being super awesome standup citizens. Because we all get by with a little help from our friends. Hearts, guys.

—The TEDx staff


The walk from “no” to “yes”: William Ury at TEDxMidwest
Decisions are hard, right? Well, this talk is all about how to make them. When you’re staring at the options with no idea what you should do, this guy’s got you covered.

The multiplicity of truth: Julian Baggini at TEDxKingsCollegeLondon
Okay, so, everything isn’t black and white, and no one is always right. Not exactly a politician’s M.O., but take it from a philosopher — it is totally possible to get through all those gray areas.

Take “the Other” to lunch: Elizabeth Lesser at TEDWomen
Our girl Liz has some good news: it’s A-OK to take your lunch break. The catch? You have to eat with someone you don’t agree with. Yeah, it’s kinda awkward, but in order to get the other side, you’ve gotta actually talk.