To really understand climate change, we need to see the big picture. This beautiful globe is an animated climate model, made to help scientists figure out what the eff is going on.
This particular model (which you can see in all its mesmerizing glory at 8:33) shows many atmospheric particles moving around the globe. The reddish-orange is dust streaming off the Sahara; the white is pollution from burning coal and volcanoes; the red dots are fires; and the blue swirls are sea salt whipped into the air by the wind.
All those swirling particles affect our climate. “There are so many different factors at work,” says climate scientist Gavin Schmidt. "Everything from how light travels through the atmosphere to how the winds move the ocean around to how rain hits the ground has an effect on what actually happens on Earth both now and in the future."
Andrew Zolli: Why have art in space at all? What does it say about us as a species?
Forest Stearns: Symbolic mark-making has always been an important part of the human experience. From caves to canvases to satellites, we all have an ambition to tell our story. And as we migrate upwards and outwards with space technology, we felt it was important to take this expressive instinct with us.
“After the TED talk, Hadfield met with press to discuss all things space. And I had to ask: what does Hadfield think about all the private space companies, like Virgin Galactic and SpaceX, that are popping up? Can they really democratize spaceflight?
"You could ask the exact same question a century ago about airplanes. We’re at 1912 or maybe 1915 in spaceflight. The shuttle is a ridiculous vehicle, and yet it’s the best in the world.”
As Ronda Carnegie, Head of Global Partnerships at TED, says, “The best ads are excellent content—driven by ideas. Culturally relevant content with strong storytelling has the power to spark change, raise awareness, and communicate new ways of thinking.”
Lately, though, there have been some cracksin the facade of the genius of TED’s speakers. The main gist of the criticism is that turning ideas into an industry is potentially problematic: Empty ideas that have no tangible effects aren’t usually worth so much. In launching a new series of Onion Talks, The Onion has taken this issue and turned it into comedic gold.
The highlight of TED thus far appears to be a promo piece for Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s quasi-prequel to Alien that is coming out later this year. The promo film was presented as a TED Talk from 2023, it stars Guy Pearce (Memento) and is written by “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof.
Parents of the world, get jealous: in a talk for TED, cognitive scientist Deb Roy revealed his amazing experiment in which he and his wife documented every home moment of his son’s first five years on this planet. And you thought you had it bad when you had to pose for photos at Thanksgiving.
From the day he and his wife brought their son home five years ago, the family’s every movement and word was captured and tracked with a series of fisheye lenses in every room in their house. The purpose was to understand how we learn language, in context, through the words we hear.
A combination of new software and human transcription called Blitzscribe allowed them to parse 200 terabytes of data to capture the emergence and refinement of specific words in Roy’s son’s vocabulary. (Luckily, the boy was an early talker.) In one 40-second clip, you can hear how “gaga” turned into “water” over the course of six months. In a video clip, below, you can hear and watch the evolution of “ball.”
Unreal 3-D visualizations allowed his team to zoom through the house like a dollhouse and map the utterance of each word in its context. In a landscape-like image with peaks and valleys, you can see that the word “water” was uttered most often in the kitchen, while “bye” took place at the door.