What’s the deal with bees? They’re more important than you think. 

You may have heard that bees are dying off in massive numbers. But did you know that bees are crucial to your almond milk latte, and that more than one third of the world’s crop production depends on bee pollination? Well, it’s time to learn.

1. Take Bee 101 with bee expert Marla Spivak, who broke down the scary realities bees face on this planet and made us all want to be beekeepers at TEDGlobal 2013.

2. Brush up on the issues honey bees face in cities and learn how urban beekeepers are trying to make cities safe for these very important insects in Noah Wilson-Rich’s TEDxBoston talk, "Every city needs healthy honey bees."

Also, we found this awesome fact: When bees pollinate a flower, they vibrate the flower at the frequency of a musical C note. 

(Photos: Flickr user Liz; a gif from Louie Schwartzberg’s TEDxSF talk; Flickr user Dan Mullen)

We were promised flying cars…so where are they?

We may not be too far from the stuff of sci-fi fantasies. In this fascinating talk at TEDxKC, designer Jared Ficklin introduces a new type of transportation: high-speed urban cable cars that run on wires above the ground. Modeled after ski lifts, these fast, energy efficient cable cars reduce traffic, save cities money, and help everyone avoid a heinous morning commute. We’d swap New York’s jam-packed subways for these flying pod cars any day. 

Watch his whole talk here.

Our latest language playlist: 4 talks in Russian

This week’s language playlist — in Russian! — features the finest talks from Russia and Central Asia. We have a cities theme going here, so you’ll learn all about how bookstores become gathering places, why cities need more theaters, and much more. Enjoy!

Подборка этой недели — на русском языке! В неё включены лучшие выступления из России и Центральной Азии. Тема этой подборки — города. Вы узнаете, как книжные магазины становятся излюбленным местом для встреч, почему города нуждаются в большем количестве театров и многое другое! Наслаждайтесь выступлениями! 

City bookstores foster freedom and humanity: Shashi Martynova at TEDxTurgenevLibrary
At TEDxTurgenevLibrary, publisher and transaltor Shashi Martynova discusses how the role of Russian bookstores is shifting. Bookstores are becoming more than mere places to purchase books — they are now hubs of communication. Rather fitting for a TEDx event in a library.

На конференции TEDxTurgenevLibrary издатель и переводчик Шаши Мартынова рассуждает о том, как меняется роль книжных магазинов в России. Они теперь не просто места для покупки книг, а настоящие центры общения. Неплохая тема для выступления на конференции TEDx в библиотеке.

Classic literature today: Evgeniya Butenina at TEDxYauzaRiver
Evgeniya Butenina suggests that classic literature inspires modern society in this amusing talk at TEDxYauzaRiver, with a hilarious joke about Pushkin rapping to boot.

В этом весёлом выступлении на TEDxYauzaRiver Евгения Бутенина подсказывает, что классическая литература вдохновляет современное общество, и начинает она с шутки про рэп и Пушкина.

Город как открытое культурное пространство: Константин Гаранин at TEDxYaroslavl
What makes a city truly great? In this rousing call to arms at TEDxYaroslavl, Garanin decries the lack of culture in cities, pushing for greater access to museums and theatres. In his ideal world, cities would be spaces where people can communicate freely with the arts.

Что делает город по-настоящему великим? В этом пылком воззвании на TEDxYaroslavl Гаранин осуждает недостаток культуры в городах, призывая сделать музеи и театры более доступными. В его идеальном мире города были бы пространством свободного взаимодействия людей с искусством.

Changing Almaty: Egor Korobeynikov at TEDxAlmaty
At TEDxAlmaty in Central Asia, Egor Korobeynikov discusses how Almaty is doing today, explores the city’s relationship to its space, and suggests ways to promote change in the Kazazkhstan’s former capital.

На TEDxAlmaty в Центральной Азии Егор Коробейников обсуждает состояние Алма-Аты на сегодня, изучает отношения города с пространством вокруг и подсказывает, как можно изменить к лучшему бывшую столицу Казахстана.

Translated and reviewed by Aliaksandr Autayeu and Olga Dmitrochenkova.

Join the TED translation team! For more information go to the OTP website.

Re-imagining the city — worldwide: TEDxCity2.0 goes global

Just a few days ago, at over 100 TEDxCity2.0 events — in 48 countries  — global citizens gathered together in schools, cultural centers, theaters — even a city street — to dream the city of the future.

When 70% of the world’s population live in urban areas (the year 2050, according to the UN) what will these cities look like? How will we grow our food? Power our homes? Travel?

These questions are what TEDxCity2.0 events set out to answer. Above, snapshots from some of the dozens of events across the globe — including ones in Shanghai, Austin, Milan, Melbourne, and Trieste.

(Photos: Instagram users @visionary_lifestyle_guide, @couldyoujustnot, @stecq, @kaseykitz, @breeaea & TEDx organizers)