TED Talk: What the people of the Amazon know that you don’t

“‘The greatest and most endangered species in the Amazon rainforest is not the jaguar or the harpy eagle,’ says Mark Plotkin, ‘It’s the isolated and uncontacted tribes.’ In an energetic and sobering talk, the ethnobotanist brings us into the world of the forest’s indigenous tribes and the incredible medicinal plants that their shamans use to heal. He outlines the challenges and perils that are endangering them — and their wisdom — and urges us to protect this irreplaceable repository of knowledge.”

Maps Have Been Lying To You Your Entire Life

“One of the most popular projections is the Mercator, but of course, it too has its flaws. In truth, Africa is 14 times larger than Greenland, Canada is only 1.2 times the size of the United States, and Antarctica is definitely not the colossal continent it is portrayed to be.

“However, don’t get the idea that the Mercator is a bad map. It’s not. The map preserves “true compass bearings between any two points” and has become a standard in nautical navigation.

“Since there is no perfect map for all occasions, your best bet is to pinpoint what you need a map for and then to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each to suit your goal.”


Stigma Around Physician-Assisted Dying Lingers

“But in the realms of politics, medical ethics, religion and technological innovation, the reality is that death is far, very far, from nothing at all. It is the source of challenging legal and moral questions, perhaps none more searing than whether doctors ought to be permitted to usher incurably ill patients into that next room. Should they be able to help sufferers end their lives by supplying medication that would make looming death come faster?”


New York Times Euthanasia topic archive


TED Talk: How sampling transformed music

“Sampling isn’t about ‘hijacking nostalgia wholesale,’ says Mark Ronson. It’s about inserting yourself into the narrative of a song while also pushing that story forward. In this mind-blowingly original talk, watch the DJ scramble 15 TED Talks into an audio-visual omelette, and trace the evolution of ‘La Di Da Di,’ Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick’s 1984 hit that has been reimagined for every generation since.”

TED Talk: How Autism freed me to be myself

“‘People are so afraid of variety that they try to fit everything into a tiny little box with a specific label,’ says 16-year-old Rosie King, who is bold, brash and autistic. She wants to know: Why is everyone so worried about being normal? She sounds a clarion call for every kid, parent, teacher and person to celebrate uniqueness. It’s a soaring testament to the potential of human diversity.”