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TED Talks

“How did I get so old, so fast?” That’s what artist Tony Luciani’s mom, Elia, often asks him. 91-year-old Elia battles with dementia, and Tony uses photography and painting to document her life and spirit. These photos became a way for the two of them to collaborate and connect, and they made Elia feel wanted and needed. Together, they created work that captures some of the sadness of caring for an aging parent (like the frustration Elia feels when she can’t vocalize the thoughts in her head), as well as some of the joy (like her relentless playfulness as she jumps rope or climbs trees). To watch the full #TEDTalk, visit go.ted.com/elia
Photo courtesy of @ynotphoto256


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This is an installation on the US-Mexico border by artist and TED Prize recipient @JR. In October 2017, JR held a “Giant Picnic,” inviting people on both sides of the border to share food through the slats of the border wall. The eyes depicted in the image belong to a 32-year-old woman named Mayra, a DACA recipient whose mother brought her into the United States when Mayra was a toddler. This installation is part of JR’s project called INSIDE OUT where he invites anyone in the world to take portraits in their community with a social message in mind. He then prints the images as large-scale posters and displays them in public spaces. “What we see changes who we are,” he says. “When we act together, the whole thing is much more than the sum of the parts.” To learn more, visit go.ted.com/insideout

Photo courtesy of @JR


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How many times a week do you think, “ugh, I really should go work out”? We know exercising is good for us, but it’s tough! And time-consuming! And sometimes we just don’t wanna do it! Thankfully, wellness specialist Lauren Parsons has a trick to make it a little easier: incorporate exercise into your routine in manageable, four-minute chunks. She calls it “exercise snacking,” and while four minutes of fitness won’t help you complete a triathlon tomorrow, you can still gain health benefits from those brief, intense bursts of activity. “There are so many different ways that you can snack on exercise,” Lauren says. “It could be that while the kettle boils in the morning, you do some push-ups on your kitchen counter [or] … when you’re at the playground, you play with your kids.” Anything that gets your heart rate up or strengthens your muscles. Lauren’s idea is part of TED’s “How to Be a Better Human” series, which features helpful advice from speakers in the TED community throughout the month of January. Visit go.ted.com/exercisesnacking to learn more.
Illustration by @raulsoria_


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Imagine how easy moving would be if your furniture could assemble itself right out of the box. Well, @TEDFellow and computational architect Skylar Tibbits is working to make that happen. His team at MIT’s International Design Center is creating items that can change-shape according to instructions pre-programmed into them. How? “Every material has some property that allows it to respond to an energy source, which points to how you can activate the transformation,” he explains. “We’ve figured out how to print custom wood grain by taking sawdust and plastic, combining it into a filament and extruding or forcing it out. This gives us the freedom to design the direction of the grain, which we can then activate by moisture to produce useful, repeatable transformations, like folding, twisting, curling and so on.” To learn more about @skylartibbits and his work at the @selfassemblylab, visit go.ted.com/smartmaterials


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If you made a resolution to write more this year, don’t let fear or frustration hold you back. “Every writer you know writes really terrible first drafts, but they keep their butt in the chair,” writer Anne Lamott says. “That's probably the main difference between you and them. They just do it. They tell stories that come through them one day at a time, little by little.” Make 2019 the year that you tell your story in your own words. To hear more of Anne’s twelve truths on life and writing, watch her #TEDTalk at go.ted.com/annelamott.


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Are you getting a little tired of hearing the same stories told each year at your family gatherings and holiday parties? Here’s a trick from facilitator Priya Parker that will help you mix things up and connect with your loved ones on a deeper level: ask people to share a moment from their life that changed how they viewed the world — a story that no one else in the room knows. You might think you know everything about your brother or best friend, but you’d be surprised what comes up when you commit to exploring the stories you don’t typically share. For more, visit go.ted.com/storyconnection
Illustration by @mkondrich


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The global refugee crisis is a mental-health catastrophe for millions of people. Children, in particular, experience immense trauma after witnessing conflict and being forced to flee their homes. That’s why child psychologist and @TEDFellow Essam Daod works in camps, rescue boats, and the shorelines of Greece and the Mediterranean Sea to provide refugees with the immediate psychological support they need to move forward. He uses psychological interventions to stimulate the good memories in their brains, helping them reframe their experiences and establish a new narrative in their minds. “We need to acknowledge that first aid is not just needed for the body, but it has also to include the mind, the soul,” Essam says. “The impact on the soul is hardly visible, but the damage can be there for life.” To watch his #TEDTalk, visit go.ted.com/essamdaod

Photo by Laurence Geai


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Why are co-workers so often attracted to each other? On a basic level, people tend to develop feelings for each other the more time they spend together. But there’s another factor that fuels attraction called task interdependence, which occurs when you work collaboratively with someone else. In this week’s episode of our new video series, The Way We Work, organizational psychologist Amy Nicole Baker dives into this question and many other common queries about romance at the office. Should you date your co-worker? Should workplace couples keep their relationship secret? Watch the full episode (which was made possible thanks to @Dropbox!) at go.ted.com/workplaceromance
Animation by @swartstephanie


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Introducing the cutest thing you’ll see today: a baby tapir. Would you believe us if we told you this little guy will grow up to weigh around 300 kilos, or 661 pounds? These forest-dwelling mammals are actually the largest land mammals in South America, and they look like a mix between a wild boar and an anteater. Unfortunately, tapirs are facing extinction due to hunting and deforestation. That’s why @TEDFellow Patricia Medici fights to protect them. “Tapirs are sadly misjudged as stupid and not worthy of saving,” she says. “While many people think of them like a donkey, I prefer to compare tapirs with jaguars – they’re powerful and majestic. That’s something I’m working hard to change as I think greater recognition will help conservation efforts.” To learn more, visit go.ted.com/babytapir
Photo by Ilana John


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In 2006, civil rights activist Tarana Burke sat in her room, took out a piece of paper, wrote “Me Too” across the top, and created an action plan for a movement that supported all survivors of sexual violence. Now, #MeToo has become a global movement, and while its mission is often misinterpreted, Tarana is determined to keep working to dismantle the building blocks of sexual violence: power and privilege. “Power and privilege doesn't always have to destroy and take -- it can be used to serve and build,” she says. To watch her TED Talk from #TEDWomen, visit go.ted.com/taranaburke


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This is an interactive inflatable sculpture made by artist and @TEDFellow Alicia Eggert. It’s called “You Are Magic,” and it only inflates when two people touch the sensors on either side and hold hands, completing a circuit for a 2 volt electrical charge. Once they let go, the circuit is broken and the sculpture deflates. Alicia’s work is one of the art installations at this year’s #TEDWomen in Palm Springs, California. The conference will celebrate the dynamic, diverse, and powerful women and men who are solving problems, pushing boundaries, and building a better future for us all. Follow our Instagram stories for coverage all week, including speaker quotes, interviews, exhibits, and more.


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How often do you truly thank someone? Author A.J. Jacobs decided to thank every single person involved in producing his morning cup of coffee — from the barista to the farmers to the artists to the truckers and everyone in-between. His journey took him across the globe and taught him how gratitude can really make us feel happier and more connected. So this holiday season, think about the people who have made an impact on your daily life. Say thank you to the crossing guard you see every morning, your neighbor for watching over your home while you’re out of town, your sibling for providing a listening ear. They’ll appreciate knowing that you don’t take them for granted. For more, check out an excerpt from A.J.’s new TED Book, “Thanks a Thousand,” at go.ted.com/spreadgratitude


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