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.)
When you are curvy and overweight, everyone really likes to remind you of that — like kids at school, your parents, the fitting room girl at the Gap — just in case you’d forgotten all the reasons you’re supposed to be hating yourself.
Now I spent elementary school and high school being bullied. My first few years at college, I spent bulimic. And the last 10 or so years, I’ve really been trying to come to terms with how I really look. And I’ve done that — give or take — I’ve learned to like my body overall; it just kind of seems like other people still have a problem with it.
For example, I get comments like this…”I have no idea how someone as obese as you managed to land a husband,” or, “Maybe instead of writing about food, you should go on a diet,” or, “I’m not sure why anyone’s telling you you are pretty, I just see another fat girl on the Internet.” The shocking part? All from women — every single one of those comments. And they stung, but I’m used to hearing them and they don’t disable me anymore.
…But then, I had a daughter. And everything kind of changed. The thought, for one moment, that anybody would tell her that she was worthless based on how she looked — my stomach dropped, my heart stopped. Every single emotion I felt when I was 8 and had been mooed at in elementary school came back to me.
…so I decided…that talking about change is really great, but what’s more important is being the change that you want to see. So that’s what I had to do — I had to be the change. I had to redefine what normal in beauty looked like in this country…
So on May 26th, at 7 AM, with 5 of my friends in the middle of Times Square on Good Morning America, between Emeril Lagasse and a cart selling hot nuts, I stood in my bathing suit — on national television…Every single part of my body wanted me to find my pants, get the hell out of there, but I didn’t. And I didn’t, because I wanted to show people what women in this country look like…
I did this for you. And I did this for my daughter, and your daughter, and your mom, and your friends, and your sister, and all of those people. So if I can inspire you enough that you can get up in the morning and hate your body less than you did the day before, it was worth every second next to that hot nut cart.