May 16, 2015

Magical houses, made of bamboo

You’ve never seen buildings like this. The stunning bamboo homes built by Elora Hardy and her team in Bali twist, curve and surprise at every turn. They defy convention because the bamboo itself is so enigmatic. No two poles of bamboo are alike, so every home, bridge and bathroom is exquisitely unique. In this beautiful, immersive talk, she shares the potential of bamboo, as both a sustainable resource and a spark for the imagination. “We have had to invent our own rules,” she says.

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We’ve heard that bees are disappearing. But what is making bee colonies so vulnerable? Photographer Anand Varma raised bees in his backyard — in front of a camera — to get an up-close view. This talk, based on photos from National Geographic, gives a lyrical glimpse into a beehive — and reveals one of its biggest threats. Watch »

Roman Mars is obsessed with flags — and after you watch this talk, you might be, too. These ubiquitous symbols of civic pride are often designed, well, badly. But they don’t have to be. In this surprising and hilarious talk about vexillology — the study of flags — Mars reveals the five basic principles of flag design and shows how they can be applied to just about anything. Watch »

The ten women in this chorus have all been sentenced to life in prison. They share a moving song about their experiences — one that reveals their hopes, regrets and fears. “I’m not an angel,” sings one, “but I’m not the devil.” Filmed at an independent TEDx event inside Muncy State Prison, it’s a rare and poignant look inside the world of people imprisoned with no hope of parole. Watch »

What do you call a veterinarian who can only take care of one species? A physician. In a fascinating talk, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz shares how a species-spanning approach to health can improve medical care of the human animal — particularly when it comes to mental health. Watch »

Quote of the Week

W ask the bamboo what it’s good at, what it wants to become, and what it says is: Respect it, design for its strengths, protect it from water, and make the most of its curves.”