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)

Ferrofluids, how do they work? Above, TEDx speaker Fabian Oefner paints with ferrofluids and a magnet. 

This year at TEDGlobal, a crazy scene unfolded. Photographer/artist/TEDxWarwick speaker/science geek Fabian Oefner took to the stage with a magnet, plate, syringes, some watercolors, and … ferrofluid.

What’s ferrofluid? Ferrofluid is a type of strongly magnetic liquid that, when manipulated with magnets, does some crazy things — like build spikes, bubble up, and cluster into geometric patterns — all thanks to the attraction and the repulsion of the liquid’s individual particles, as Fabian explains in his talk, "Psychedelic science."

Taking it a step further, Fabian added regular old watercolors to the magic magnetic gloop, and showed how, like oil, water and ferrofluid do not mix. "It doesn’t mix with the water," he says in his talk, "and at the same time, it tries to maintain its position above the magnet, and therefore, it creates those amazing-looking structures of channels and tiny little ponds of colorful water paint."

Amazing, indeed. A+, science.

What sound looks like … in GIFs: TEDx speaker Fabian Oefner visualizes sound

Above, GIFs from photographer (and TEDxWarwick speaker) Fabian Oefner’s talk at TEDGlobal 2013, Psychedelic science.
Says Fabian of his work:

Sound travels in waves, so if you have a speaker, a speaker actually does nothing else than taking the audio signal, transform it into a vibration, which is then transported through the air, is captured by our ear, and transformed into an audio signal again.

Now I was thinking, how can I make those sound waves visible? So I came up with the following setup. I took a speaker, I placed a thin foil of plastic on top of that speaker, and then I added tiny little crystals on top of that speaker. And now, if I would play a sound through that speaker, it would cause the crystals to move up and down. Now this happens very fast, in the blink of an eye, so, together with LG, we captured this motion with a camera that is able to capture more than 3,000 frames per second.

This is what that looks like. As Bill Nye says, "Science rules!"

Where are all the women speakers at TED?

At TEDGlobal this year, TED producer June Cohen posed a question that has her stumped: Where are the women speakers?

She’s been asking this question since before she joined TED, and at the TEDx Workshop at TEDGlobal, she explained why she’s still asking it now. The main reason, she believes, is that women are more likely to say no. When turning down an offer to speak, women often say “I’m not ready,” citing a lack of experience or under-developed research.    

There are plenty of other reasons as well, from different leadership styles to skewed recommendations, but, here, June offers three tactics to help change the ratio.

Below, June explains how we’re solving this imbalance here at TED:

Plus, a few other highlights from the TEDx Workshop at TEDGlobal: