TED Radio Hour
TED Radio Hour draws from the vast archive of TED Talks and weaves in new interviews to tackle a central theme or question. It’s a journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions, and new ways to think and create.
Stories ignite our imagination, let us leap over cultural walls and cross the barriers of time. In this hour, TED speakers explore the art of storytelling — and how good stories have the power to transform our perceptions of the world. (Original broadcast date: June 7, 2013)
Let's face it: people lie. We lie to each other and to ourselves. Is there a deeper reason why we do it? In this episode, TED speakers deconstruct the hard truths of deception. (Original broadcast date: June 20, 2014)
Does something serious happen when we play? In this episode, TED speakers describe how all forms of amusement — tossing a ball to video games — can make us smarter, saner and more collaborative. Comedian Charlie Todd and his group Improv Everywhere choreograph bizarre, hilarious and unexpected public scenes, creating whimsical opportunities for total strangers to play together. Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing and fantasy are more than just fun; humans are hard-wired to play. He came to this conclusion after conducting some somber research about the stark childhoods of murderers. Primatologist Isabel Behncke explains how bonobo apes learn by constantly playing. She says play isn't frivolous; it appears to be a critical way to solve problems and avoid conflict. When video game researcher Jane McGonigal was bedridden after a concussion, she gave herself a prescription: play a game. She says games helped her get better; and for many of us, virtual games can improve our real lives.
Even the most original ideas are essentially remixes. When is copying flattery, when is it thievery, and when is it sheer genius? In this hour, TED speakers explore how sampling, borrowing, and riffing make all of us innovators. Sampling music isn't about "hijacking nostalgia wholesale," says DJ Mark Ronson. It's about inserting yourself into the narrative of a song while also pushing that story forward. Filmmaker Kirby Ferguson says nothing is original and that our most celebrated creators steal ideas — and transform them into something new. Clothing designs aren't protected by copyright --and the industry benefits by being more innovative, says Johanna Blakley. People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" moments. But writer Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story.
We communicate with each other in all sorts of ways, spoken and unspoken. But how did the origins of language influence action, and can words actually change human behavior, even alter the course of history? In this hour, TED speakers reflect on how our words and methods of communication affect us, more than you might expect. Linguist John McWhorter says that texting has come of age with such speed and force that it's created an entirely new language within a generation. Biologist Mark Pagel believes our complex language system is a piece of "social technology", simply created to help us get things done. Teacher Phuc Tran tells a personal story of how being caught in a world between the subjunctive and indicative tense — yes, grammar — helped him find his identity. Etymologist Mark Forsyth shares the surprising backstory of the word "president." Social psychologist Amy Cuddy explains how "power posing" can affect our brains, and might even have an impact on our success.
Math intimidates a lot of us, but it can deliver surprising answers to life's most pressing questions. In this episode, TED speakers discuss the elegant simplicity, and giddy complexity, of solving for X. Writer Randall Munroe doesn't love math, but has made a career out of solving equations. By answering outlandish hypotheticals, he uses numbers as a playground for the imagination. Polymath Terry Moore wondered why "X" is the universal unknown in Algebra. He dove into the history of numbers to come up with an unexpected answer. Percussionist Clayton Cameron dissects the mathematics of improvisational jazz, discovering how numerical patterns make him a better musician. Entrepreneur and artist Kevin Slavin shows how algorithms can reshape finance, culture and physical environments, with potentially harmful consequences. Mathematician Hannah Fry says math can help you find love. Using mathematical models, she explains how to find an ideal mate and the secret to maintaining a healthy relationship.