Six TED Talks to Engage your Brain

Posted by: Claudia Downs
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There’s only so many times you can rewatch Friends before your brain turns to mush. So we’ve picked out a handful of great TED Talks to check out.

TED Talks (standing for Technology, Entertainment, and Design) are free, short videos on a huge range of topics. There are lots of great talks about the current pandemic if you are interested in learning more, however, we’ve chosen to focus on other videos - for when you need to take your mind off things!

"This is what happens when you reply to spam email": James Veitch


Suspicious emails: unclaimed insurance bonds, diamond-encrusted safe deposit boxes, close friends marooned in a foreign country. They pop up in our inboxes, and standard procedure is to delete on sight. But what happens when you reply? Follow along as writer and comedian James Veitch narrates a hilarious, weeks-long exchange with a spammer who offered to cut him in on a hot deal. Watch here.

"Where joy hides and how to find it": Ingrid Fetell Lee


Cherry blossoms and rainbows, bubbles and googly eyes: Why do some things seem to create such universal joy? In this captivating talk, Ingrid Fetell Lee reveals the surprisingly tangible roots of joy and shows how we all can find -- and create -- more of it in the world around us. Watch here. 

"How the magic of kindness helped me survive the Holocaust": Werner Reich


Holocaust survivor Werner Reich recounts his harrowing adolescence as a prisoner transported between concentration camps -- and shares how a small, kind act can inspire a lifetime of compassion. "If you ever know somebody who needs help, if you know somebody who is scared, be kind to them," he says. "If you do it at the right time, it will enter their heart, and it will be with them wherever they go, forever." Watch here.

"The real story of Rosa Parks - and why we need to confront myths about black history": David Ikard


Black history taught in US schools is often watered-down, riddled with inaccuracies and stripped of its context and rich, full-bodied historical figures. Equipped with the real story of Rosa Parks, professor David Ikard highlights how making the realities of race more benign and digestible harms us all -- and emphasizes the power and importance of historical accuracy. Watch here.

"Your body was forged in the spectacular death of stars": Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz


We are all connected by the spectacular birth, death and rebirth of stars, says astrophysicist Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz. Journey through the cosmic history of the universe as Ramirez-Ruiz explains how supernovas forged the elements of life to create everything from the air you breathe to the very atoms that make you. Watch here.

"A campaign for period positivity": Ananya Grover


Having your period is exhausting -- and for many people across the world, menstruation is even more challenging because of stigmas and difficulty getting basic hygiene supplies, says social activist Ananya Grover. In this uplifting, actionable talk, she shares how "Pravahkriti," her campaign to spread period positivity, creatively engages with everyone to promote menstrual health, raise awareness and break taboos around periods. Watch here.


Want to watch more? Try this playlist of the most popular 25 talks of all time. They also have a playlist dedicated to the fight against viruses, featuring talks about the coronavirus and pandemic management. Watch it here.

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