December 17, 2017 - Fake news

Fake news: How do you ensure the news you get is trustworthy?


SYSK Selects: How Population Works

Population may not seem like the most scintillating topic in the world, but Josh and Chuck beg to differ. Join them as they explore how population works, from demographics to population control, in this episode.


Want to get great at something? Get a coach | Atul Gawande

How do we improve in the face of complexity? Atul Gawande has studied this question with a surgeon's precision. He shares what he's found to be the key: having a good coach to provide a more accurate picture of our reality, to instill positive habits of thinking, and to break our actions down and then help us build them back up again. "It's not how good you are now; it's how good you're going to be that really matters," Gawande says.


Putting the breaks on driverless cars, and dolphins that can muffle their ears

Whales and dolphins have incredibly sensitive hearing and are known to be harmed by loud underwater noises. David Grimm talks with Sarah Crespi about new research on captive cetaceans suggesting that some species can naturally muffle such sounds—perhaps opening a way to protect these marine mammals in the wild. Sarah also interviews Staff Writer Jeffrey Mervis about his story on the future of autonomous cars. Will they really reduce traffic and make our lives easier? What does the science say?    Listen to previous podcasts.    [Image: Laura Wolf/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]


How China is changing the future of shopping | Angela Wang

China is a huge laboratory of innovation, says retail expert Angela Wang, and in this lab, everything takes place on people's phones. Five hundred million Chinese consumers -- the equivalent of the combined populations of the US, UK and Germany -- regularly make purchases via mobile platforms, even in brick-and-mortar stores. What will this transformation mean for the future of shopping? Learn more about the new business-as-usual, where everything is ultra-convenient, ultra-flexible and ultra-social.


How the Globe of Death Works

The Globe of Death – el Globo de la Muerte to our Spanish-speaking friends – is perhaps the greatest of all the circus arts. It requires no smoke, no mirrors, only motorcycles, a giant sphere and fearless riders with the will to bend physics.


A new weapon in the fight against superbugs | David Brenner

Since the widespread use of antibiotics began in the 1940s, we've tried to develop new drugs faster than bacteria can evolve -- but this strategy isn't working. Drug-resistant bacteria known as superbugs killed nearly 700,000 people last year, and by 2050 that number could be 10 million -- more than cancer kills each year. Can physics help? In a talk from the frontiers of science, radiation scientist David Brenner shares his work studying a potentially life-saving weapon: a wavelength of ultraviolet light known as far-UVC, which can kill superbugs safely, without penetrating our skin. Followed by a Q&A with TED Curator Chris Anderson.


Not Your Grandmother’s I.M.F.

The International Monetary Fund has long been the "lender of last resort" for economies in crisis. Christine Lagarde, who runs the institution, would like to prevent those crises from ever happening. She tells us her plans.


14 December 2017: Volcanoes, viruses & electric eels

This week, electric eel inspired batteries, virus inspired protein shells, and modelling magma viscosity.


Success stories from Kenya's first makerspace | Kamau Gachigi

Africa needs engineers, but its engineering students often end up working at auditing firms and banks. Why? Kamau Gachigi suspects it's because they don't have the spaces and materials needed to test their ideas and start businesses. To solve this problem, Gachigi started Gearbox, a makerspace and hardware accelerator that provides a rapid prototyping environment for both professionals and people with no formal engineering background. In this forward-thinking talk, he shares some of the extraordinary projects and innovations coming out of his Kenyan fab lab.


Lessons from a solar storm chaser | Miho Janvier

Space physicist Miho Janvier studies solar storms: giant clouds of particles that escape from the Sun and can disrupt life on Earth (while also producing amazing auroras). How do you study the atmosphere on the Sun, which burns at temperatures of up to around 10 million degrees Kelvin? With math! Join the TED Fellow as she shares her work trying to better understand how the Sun affects us here on Earth.


The Deal With Doulas

Doulas aren't midwives or nurses, but they can provide an invaluable service as advocates. Learn about the deal with doulas right now!


Free yourself from your filter bubbles | Joan Blades and John Gable

Joan Blades and John Gable want you to make friends with people who vote differently than you do. A pair of political opposites, the two longtime pals know the value of engaging in honest conversations with people you don't immediately agree with. Join them as they explain how to bridge the gaps in understanding between people on opposite sides of the political spectrum -- and create opportunities for mutual listening and consideration (and, maybe, lasting friendships).


Adventures of an interplanetary architect | Xavier De Kestelier

How will we live elsewhere in the galaxy? On Earth, natural resources for creating structures are abundant, but sending these materials up with us to the Moon or Mars is clunky and cost-prohibitive. Enter architect Xavier De Kestelier, who has a radical plan to use robots and space dust to 3D print our interplanetary homes. Learn more about the emerging field of space architecture with this fascinating talk about the (potentially) not-too-distant future.


December 10, 2017 - The dangers of alcohol

Governments are struggling to get a handle on legal marijuana, while fighting the growing death toll from opioids. But the substance behind the highest numbers of deaths and social dislocation is still alcohol. Are we forgetting about booze?