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X Marks the Spot: Flying snakes, plus this week’s TEDx Talks

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Snakes slither along the ground, right? Well, not always. In this talk from TEDxVirginiaTech, snake expert Jake Socha introduces us to five species of snakes with the ability to fly — no plane or Samuel L. Jackson needed. It’s a fascinating look at how these creatures create lift, even though they are essentially cylinders, and appear to swim through the air.

This is the kind of fascinating fact that you hear about at TEDx events, dozens of which take place all across the globe every week. From these events, the TEDx team chooses their favorite talks to showcase a few of the inspiring ideas from the TEDx community. Below, watch this week’s featured talks

Building schools in Afghanistan: Mohammad Khan Kharoti at TEDxConcordiaUPortland
Growing up in Afghanistan, Mohammad Khan Kharoti was the first in his family who had the chance to go to school. At TEDxConcordiaUPortland, he shares how he’s now returned to Afghanistan — which still suffers from one of the highest rates of illiteracy in the world — to build schools and give girls and boys the chance to receive an education like he did. (Filmed at TEDxConcordiaUPortland)

An app that could change your vote: Nikita Bier at TEDxBoston
Most Americans vote against their financial self-interest, says Nikita Bier — not because they prioritize social issues, but because there’s a widespread ignorance of public policy. At TEDxBoston, he demos Outline, an interactive program which shows you how different policies would affect your personal finances. The app could very well change your next vote. (Filmed at TEDxBoston)

Should China stand up for global justice?: Michael Liu at TEDxHagueAcademy
Michael Liu wants China to step up. He’s a lawyer for the International Criminal Court, an organization that has captured many of the world’s most serious war criminals, but which his home country persistently refuses to support. In this passionate talk at TEDxHagueAcademy, Liu argues that Beijing should rethink its stance, for the good of China’s economy and for the good of humanity. (Filmed at TEDxHagueAcademy)

Also great reads on the TEDx blog: