TED Talks are my brain food.
If you want inspiration, if you want to find a different perspective on life, if you want to learn something – take a break and watch a TED Talk.
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. It was started in 1984 by architect Richard Saul Wurman with the idea of inviting people to a dream dinner party. Diverse and brilliant minds with passionate and fresh ideas getting together for shared inspiration and insight.
Originally it was a very exclusive conference, and has since branched out to smaller (still exclusive) events around the world. But you don’t have to worry about scoring a ticket, as every TED Talk is archived online.
The longest a TED Talk will be is about 18 minutes, many more are closer to 6. It’s an amount of time you can spare before bed, or in between the hectic moments of your day, and it’s a few minutes you need to find.
Recently the TED Blog made a list of 9 remarkable kids giving talks. After the jump, meet a 12 year old app developer, a 15 year old who has discovered a test for pancreatic cancer, and 7 other kids who will help feed your brain.
Lions are the top tourist attraction in Kenya. One of Kenya’s main industries is tourism. But lions are in decreasing numbers because of conflicts between humans and the animals. Nairobi National Park takes up 16% of the city, an area where wildlife and people co-exist. Richard invented a flashlight device that helped save his family’s cattle by scaring away the lions.
Uncertainty is a hard thing to adapt to as an adult. Most of how we answer questions and solve problems is how we’ve behaved in the past. “If you don’t know if that animal is a predator, it’s too late,” says Beau Lotto. Play, however, celebrates uncertainty, and children are the best at play. Science is about investigating uncertainty, so Beau Lotto invited 25 8-10 year olds to help him devise an experiment. The kids wanted to know if bees could think like human beings. Amy O’Toole was a part of Lotto’s study and is now one of the youngest published scientists in the world, and the youngest to ever speak at TED.
Tavi is a pop-culture feminist looking for strong female role models. She’s found that most powerful females in media are “completely flat two dimensional characters.” She’s looking for someone to look up to who is a “bundle of contradictions.” So she created an online forum for young girl to be redefine what it means to be feminists.
4. Jennifer Lin
Can you set out to be creative? Can you just sit down at a blank page and come up with something creative? It’s hard when you force it, but when it comes naturally, it just flows. Jennifer admits that she gets easily distracted, so she uses drawing to help her write music. Watch until the end to see how Goldie Hawn helps her improvise an absolutely moving piece of music.
5. Jack Andraka
Jack won the world’s largest science competition by devising a way to diagnose pancreatic cancer. Currently pancreatic cancer isn’t recognized until it’s too late. Jack is just 15, and his test is being hailed a life-saver that could have the survival rate jump from 5% to more than 50%.
These three were all winners of a Google sponsored science fair. Grilled chicken has carcinogens? Lauren Hodge put a series of theories together to find out that yes, it does, unless you marinate it in lemon juice. Shree Bose started as a kid who thought children would eat more spinach if it was blue, and has moved on to studying ovarian cancer and chemotherapy. Naomi Shaw looks at how to help asthmatic patients by improving indoor air quality.
7. Adora Svitak
When was the last time you were called childish? Adora argues that adults could learn a lot from children. She even goes so far as to call for banning the term “childish” as an “age discriminatory word when it comes to criticizing behaviour when it is associated with irresponsibility and irrational thinking.”Kids still dream and believe in ultimate possibility. Perhaps we should all be a little more childish.
8. Sirena Huang
Sirena learned to play violin at 4. Now 11, she is a master of the instrument and a student of not only music, but design. She talks of her love of violin from a different angle, and admits that when given a choice to have started learning the piano or violin, she chose the smaller one because “if I don’t want to practice, I can hide it.”
Thomas is an app developer, and he’s 12. This is my wheelhouse. My brother and I used to write computer games when we were Thomas’ age. We did it on a Commodore 64, in BASIC. Like my bother and I, Thomas taught himself programming. One difference: the iTunes App Store. Thomas has an app club at his school and thinks that when it comes to emerging technology, there is a chance for kids to teach the teachers.