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The neuro-revolution is coming: Greg Gage’s neuroscience kits put research in the hands of the curious

The neuro-revolution is coming: Greg Gage’s neuroscience kits put research in the hands of the curious

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Greg Gage is a reliable source of both shock and awe at TED. Onstage over the years, this TED Fellow has demonstrated his low-cost DIY teaching kits by amputating a cockroach leg to show how neurons fire, remote-controlling a cyborg cockroach to demonstrate how electrical stimulation guides behavior, and taking away an audience member’s free will to show how one person’s brain can control the arm movements of []

Astronomer, actor, role model: TED Fellow Aomawa Shields looks for life on other planets

Astronomer, actor, role model: TED Fellow Aomawa Shields looks for life on other planets

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Aomawa Shields is a woman of “contradictions.” An astronomer and astrobiologist, she searches for exoplanets where life might exist by using computer models to calculate the kind of atmosphere they’d need to support it. And she’s also a classically trained actor, who — through her organization Rising Stargirls — teaches astronomy to middle school girls of color using theater, writing and visual art to []

The dinosaur hunter: TED Fellow Nizar Ibrahim searches for lost worlds

The dinosaur hunter: TED Fellow Nizar Ibrahim searches for lost worlds

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Like many kids, German-Moroccan paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim nursed a fascination for dinosaurs from a young age. The difference is, he grew up and actually found one. Ibrahim vividly remembers learning about Spinosaurus, a massive aquatic dinosaur whose only known bones were destroyed during World War II. As a kid, Ibrahim dreamed of finding new fossils of []

Avoiding the hunger season: How a TED Fellow is working to save African cassava from whiteflies

Avoiding the hunger season: How a TED Fellow is working to save African cassava from whiteflies

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For decades, the farmers of East Africa have battled the African whitefly, a tiny insect that infests the cassava crop. Cassava, also called manioc, arrowroot or tapioca, is an important food all over the world — more than half a billion people (yes, billion with a b) rely on cassava for their daily meals. For East African farmers, a whitefly infestation can completely destroy the year’s []

TED Fellow Tal Danino programs bacteria to detect and treat cancer – and make art

TED Fellow Tal Danino programs bacteria to detect and treat cancer – and make art

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Did you know that bacteria can be programmed as though they were computers? Bioengineer and artist Tal Danino is working out how to instruct bacteria to enter cancerous tumors — where it can detect and treat the disease noninvasively. And when Danino isn’t tinkering with bacteria’s healing potential, he makes artwork with it. With Danino’s TED talk posted just yesterday, he []

Straw into gold: A TED Fellow cultivates mushrooms to fight climate change

Straw into gold: A TED Fellow cultivates mushrooms to fight climate change

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In agricultural entrepreneur Trang Tran’s native Vietnam, farmers traditionally burn the straw and husks that remain after the rice harvest. This practice happens at least twice a year for two months at a time, releasing noxious smoke and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Tran’s solution: using rice straw to cultivate mushrooms. Her social enterprise Fargreen is []

Signs of friendship: A conversation between Christine Sun Kim & Renée Hlozek

Signs of friendship: A conversation between Christine Sun Kim & Renée Hlozek

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Above, Christine Sun Kim and Renée Hlozek share a snippet of conversation using American Sign Language and the Big Words app. Christine has been teaching Renée American Sign Language so they can communicate more directly. Renée Hlozek is a cosmologist from South Africa who studies the cosmic microwave background, radiation left over from the Big Bang. Christine Sun Kim is []

Why I chose to stand up, alone: TED Fellow Boniface Mwangi on risking his life for justice in Kenya

Why I chose to stand up, alone: TED Fellow Boniface Mwangi on risking his life for justice in Kenya

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Award-winning photojournalist Boniface Mwangi captured the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya unflinchingly through the lens of his camera. But the horrors he witnessed propelled him into a new career as an activist and artist. Here, Mwangi talks to the TED Blog about the events that led him to stand up against injustice, literally, rather than simply document it. Tell us about your experience on []

Octopus’s garden: A TED Fellow with a radical approach to saving fisheries

Octopus’s garden: A TED Fellow with a radical approach to saving fisheries

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Eco-entrepreneur Alasdair Harris is passionate about conserving marine biodiversity, and he’s doing it in unusual ways. While most marine conservationists focus on what’s in the water, Harris’ company Blue Ventures works with people in poverty-stricken coastal communities to engage them in rebuilding tropical fisheries and in the process of protecting both their ecosystems and livelihoods. The company’s approach: eco-tourism. We spoke []

Design for dying: A TED Fellow thinks deeply about the architecture of death

Design for dying: A TED Fellow thinks deeply about the architecture of death

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Alison Killing thinks a lot about death … and specifically, how its ubiquitous, hidden presence shapes our cities. In Death in Venice, her June 2014 exhibition on the topic, Killing mapped London’s death-associated architectural features — hospitals, cemeteries, crematoria, and so on — making visible the invisible mechanics of death and dying. She asks us to consider: What might []