Beyoncé, a.k.a. goddess among mortals slash queen of everything, dropped a surprise album this morning  and guess what? She sampled a TEDx Talk! One of our favorites, actually. It’s a killer talk by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about gender and femaleness and why we should all be feminists. You can hear the excerpt above in the second verse of ”***Flawless,” bookended by Beyoncé reminding you that she can own it. TEDxEuston, FTW.

Read more »

Watch Adichie’s talk here »

A TED/TEDx Playlist: 27 songs to celebrate women innovators

TEDWomen is today, so we’re rocking out to this Spotify playlist, put together by a resident team of music dorks (one of them writing to you right now) with songs about women who’ve innovated, made a difference, taken a stand, and changed history in the process.

Our mixtape of tunes includes: a Swedish dance-pop tribute to Marie Curie’s research on radioactivity, Jane Birkin’s ode to the work and ideals of Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi, an emotional love song for Georgia O’Keefe, and a tongue-in-cheek punk rock commentary on Margaret Thatcher.

Check it out below or on Spotify:

(Above — clockwise — Benazir Bhutto, Ada Lovelace, Georgia O’Keefe, Virginia Woolf, Sojourner Truth, Nelly Bly)

Swag for days — a TEDx speaker’s bopping robot

Robotics expert Guy Hoffman creates robots that act more like Pixar’s adorably expressive, imperfect Wall-E than a TI-83. In short, they’re less robotic robots.With a background in animation and acting, Guy was fascinated by the complex ways that humans show emotion through their bodies, and wanted to create equally expressive robots; ones that appear to be more than just animated calculators.

Guy’s robots can improvise on the marimba, freestyle with rappers, dance to Snoop Dogg, and even nuzzle you when you’re sad. They’re charming company, really. “Maybe robots that are a little less than perfect are just perfect for us,” Guy says. Above, a couple of his creations in action.

For more on these robotic wonders, check out Guy’s whole talk here.

7 fantastic musical talks to celebrate TEDxPenn

Andrew Bird takes over the TED stage

From the TEDitorial team’s fabulous Liz Jacobs:

I’m super excited about tomorrow’s TEDxPenn event in Philadelphia. Maybe I’m a bit biased because I just graduated from Penn and now work at TED, but this weekend’s conference is shaping up to be a great one.
Inspired by the University’s year-long exploration of sound, this year’s TEDxPenn theme is “Creating the Sound." Penn is at the forefront of cutting-edge research in fields as diverse as bioengineering, cinema studies, entrepreneurship, and ethnomusicology, and TEDxPenn is poised to help the University’s brightest minds share their ideas beyond the ivory tower.
In the spirit of this weekend’s event, I gathered together seven of my favorite talks that showcase the off-beat and mind-blowing sounds that have been shared on the TED and TEDx stages. These talks illustrate the incredible ways we communicate ideas through sound. Enjoy!

**Andrew Bird’s one-man orchestra
An awe-inspiring meditation on music and how we make it. Andrew Bird’s genius electric loops of violins, xylophones and his own whistling create a euphony at TED2010 that’s both mesmerizing and inspiring.

**Sound health: Julian Treasure at TEDxYouth@Manchester
We need to take control of our soundscapes to create a more beautiful sound world, says Julian Treasure, speaking on the stage at TEDxYouth@Manchester. Treasure has devoted his life to studying the sound in the world around us, and in this talk, he offers tips on how to keep your ears healthy and your outlook positive.

**Pamelia Kurstin plays the theremin
Without laying a finger on her instrument, Pamelia Kurstin electrifies TED2002 with the theremin. This unusual electronic instrument operates on sound waves, which create a harrowingly beautiful sound as Kurstin seemingly creates sound out of thin air. (Bonus: check out another theremin performance by Lydia Kavina at TEDxGhent!)

**The world’s ugliest music: Scott Rickard at TEDxMIA
The world’s first pattern-free piano sonata.
What makes music beautiful? Mathematician Scott Rickard deconstructs the patterns and rhythm that make music to our ears, and shares a piece of music so ugly, that only a mathematician could write it.

Read More