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X marks the spot: This week’s TEDx Talks

TEDx-2.8Each week, TEDx chooses four of our favorite talks, highlighting just a few of the great speakers from the TEDx community and its diverse constellation of ideas worth spreading. Below, give this week’s talks a listen.

What can dolphins teach us? Scott Gass at TEDxOrlando
When one of the youngest dolphins at Sea World invented a new kind of air-bubble to play with, Scott Gass and his colleagues were astounded — and that was before all the adult dolphins joined in on the fun and copied the “ring bubble” technique. Showing an enchanting video of what he calls a “walking-on-the-moon rare” event for dolphins, Gass challenges our notions about the limits of creativity and encourages us to, like his dolphins, be wise enough to learn from the young. (Filmed at TEDxOrlando)

Experiments that can’t be done on earth: Julie Robinson at TEDxNASAJSCWomen
What does a burning candle look like in space? How can microgravity help scientists develop vaccines for salmonella? What will happen to your salad dressing in orbit? At TEDxNASAJSCWomen, Julie Robinson shares the answers to these questions and more as she gives an introduction to the experiments that researchers are running on the International Space Station. (Filmed at TEDxNASAJSCWomen)

Your brain is more than a bag of chemicals: David Anderson at TEDxCaltech
Professor David Anderson believes that the traditional view of psychiatric disorders — that they are the product of a simple chemical imbalance — is outdated and even dangerous. Drawing from thorough research into the workings of the fruit fly brain, Anderson portrays a significantly more complicated picture of how the brain works that may pave the way for a new class of psychiatric drugs. (Filmed at TEDxCaltech)

Visualizing the earliest lifeforms: Brad Samuels and Alex Maloof at TEDxCooperUnion
Sponges might not seem like the most noble of creatures, but they are some of our earliest ancestors. The problem is that their fossils (some of which may be 650 million years old) are riddled with limestone that filled the dead sponges’ innumerable pores. Working together, architect Brad Samuels and biologist Adam Maloof built a scanner that can draft 3D images of these most ancient creatures by distinguishing the once-living material from simple stone — revealing the shape Earth’s earliest life. (Filmed at TEDxCooperUnion)

And here, some of the week’s highlights from the TEDx blog this week: