In Brief

Peak season for fireflies, the meaning of the word ‘slash’ and architecture made of paper tubes

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Fireflies in a forest. Photo: Spencer Black/

Fireflies streak through a forest. Photo: Spencer Black/

Below, a look at some members of the TED community with news to share this week:

Sara Lewis confirms to a local paper that there are in fact more fireflies this summer, and that we are in midst of peak firefly season. Hurry—it ends mid-August! (Watch Sara’s TED Talk, “The loves and lies of fireflies.”)

Language historian Anne Curzan speaks out on the spelling out of “slash” as a word instead of using “/” to denote dual concepts. She notes that word is evolving to have a definition of its own—an unusual distinction for something that started as punctuation. (Watch Anne’s talk, “What makes a word ‘real?’”)

Architect Shigeru Ban gets featured in The New Yorker this week for his low-cost, environmentally friendly buildings made out of paper tubing. (Watch Shigeru’s talk, “Emergency shelters made from paper.”)

Graham Hill’s super-efficient micro apartment is officially on the market! It is listed for $995,000. (Watch Graham’s TED Talk, “Less stuff is more happiness.”)

When neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor had a stroke, one of the most disturbing parts of the experience was the absence of the voices usually running through her head—her inner monologue simply stopped. Taylor explains why this felt so strange in an episode of Radiolab about words, which was rerun this week on NPR. (Watch Jill’s classic talk, “My stroke of insight.”)

While we were closed for vacation, Andrew Solomon wrote in The New Yorker about traveling back to his family’s place of origin in Romania. He concludes, “It’s a horrible place and we were lucky to get out of there, but it’s also a wonderful place and I’m lucky to have returned.” (Watch Andrew’s talks, “Love, no matter what,” “Depression, the secret we share” and “How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are.”)

Susie Ibarra, a TED Fellow, has released a new album called Drum Codes. A collaboration with fellow electronic percussionist Roberto Rodriguez, the album explores the “talking gongs” of the Philippines, and the language they create when played. (Read more about Susie’s work.)

Terry Moore and his shoelace-tying skills will appear on the National Geographic Channel, in the August 11th episode of Going Deep with David Rees. Watch and learn more than you ever thought was possible on the subject of shoe-tying. (Check out Terry’s talks, “How to tie your shoes” and “Why is ‘x’ the unknown.”)