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Jennifer Doudna: We can now edit our DNA. But let’s do it wisely

Geneticist Jennifer Doudna co-invented a groundbreaking new technology for editing genes, called CRISPR-Cas9. The tool allows scientists to make precise edits to DNA strands, which could lead to treatments for genetic diseases … but could also be used to create so-called “designer babies.” Doudna reviews how CRISPR-Cas9 works — and asks the scientific community to pause and discuss the ethics of this new tool.

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Will Potter: The secret US prisons you’ve never heard of before

Investigative journalist Will Potter is the only reporter who has been inside a Communications Management Unit, or CMU, within a US prison. These units were opened secretly, and radically alter how prisoners are treated — even preventing them from hugging their children. Potter, a TED Fellow, shows us who is imprisoned here, and how the government is trying to keep them hidden. “The message was clear,” he says. “Don’t talk about this place.” Find sources for this talk at willpotter.com/cmu

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Alyson McGregor: Why medicine often has dangerous side effects for women

For most of the past century, drugs approved and released to market have been tested only on male patients, leading to improper dosing and unacceptable side effects for women. The important physiological differences between men and women have only recently been taken into consideration in medical research. Emergency doctor Alyson McGregor studies these differences, and in this fascinating talk she discusses the history behind how the male model became our framework for medical research and how understanding differences between men and women can lead to more effective treatments for both sexes.

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Vijay Kumar: The future of flying robots

At his lab at the University of Pennsylvania, Vijay Kumar and his team have created autonomous aerial robots inspired by honeybees. Their latest breakthrough: Precision Farming, in which swarms of robots map, reconstruct and analyze every plant and piece of fruit in an orchard, providing vital information to farmers that can help improve yields and make water management smarter.

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Michael Green: How we can make the world a better place by 2030

Can we end hunger and poverty, halt climate change and achieve gender equality in the next 15 years? The governments of the world think we can. Meeting at the UN in September 2015, they agreed to a new set of Global Goals for the development of the world to 2030. Social progress expert Michael Green invites us to imagine how these goals and their vision for a better world can be achieved.

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Neri Oxman: Design at the intersection of technology and biology

Designer and architect Neri Oxman is leading the search for ways in which digital fabrication technologies can interact with the biological world. Working at the intersection of computational design, additive manufacturing, materials engineering and synthetic biology, her lab is pioneering a new age of symbiosis between microorganisms, our bodies, our products and even our buildings.

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Alice Bows-Larkin: Climate change is happening. Here’s how we adapt

Imagine the hottest day you’ve ever experienced. Now imagine it’s six, 10 or 12 degrees hotter. According to climate researcher Alice Bows-Larkin, that’s the type of future in store for us if we don’t significantly cut our greenhouse gas emissions now. She suggests that it’s time we do things differently—a whole system change, in fact—and seriously consider trading economic growth for climate stability.

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Martin Pistorius: How my mind came back to life — and no one knew

Imagine being unable to say, “I am hungry,” “I am in pain,” “thank you,” or “I love you,” — losing your ability to communicate, being trapped inside your body, surrounded by people yet utterly alone. For 13 long years, that was Martin Pistorius’s reality. After contracting a brain infection at the age of twelve, Pistorius lost his ability to control his movements and to speak, and eventually he failed every test for mental awareness. He had become a ghost. But then a strange thing started to happen — his mind began to knit itself back together. In this moving talk, Pistorius tells how he freed himself from a life locked inside his own body.

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Mac Stone: Stunning photos of the endangered Everglades

For centuries, people have viewed swamps and wetlands as obstacles to avoid. But for photographer Mac Stone, who documents the stories of wildlife in Florida’s Everglades, the swamp isn’t a hindrance — it’s a national treasure. Through his stunning photographs, Stone shines a new light on a neglected, ancient and important wilderness. His message: get out and experience it for yourself. “Just do it — put your feet in the water,” he says. “The swamp will change you, I promise.”

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2015 MacArthur ‘genius grant’ winners include two TED Fellows: Patrick Awuah and LaToya Ruby Frazier

The MacArthur Foundation revealed its list of 2015 Fellows this morning. Twenty-four people received the “genius grant,” a $625,000 no-strings-attached stipend — and two of them are TED Fellows: Patrick Awuah and LaToya Ruby Frazier. Patrick Awuah founded Ashesi University, a college in his home country of Ghana dedicated to educating Africa’s next generation of leaders by []

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Samuel Cohen: Alzheimer’s is not normal aging — and we can cure it

More than 40 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to increase drastically in the coming years. But no real progress has been made in the fight against the disease since its classification more than 100 years ago. Scientist Samuel Cohen shares a new breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research from his lab as well as a message of hope. “Alzheimer’s is a disease,” Cohen says, “and we can cure it.”

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David Rothkopf: How fear drives American politics

Does it seem like Washington has no new ideas? Instead of looking to build the future, it sometimes feels like the US political establishment happily retreats into fear and willful ignorance. Journalist David Rothkopf lays out a few of the major issues that US leadership is failing to address — from cybercrime to world-shaking new tech to the reality of modern total war — and calls for a new vision that sets fear aside.

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BJ Miller: What really matters at the end of life

At the end of our lives, what do we most wish for? For many, it’s simply comfort, respect, love. BJ Miller is a palliative care physician who thinks deeply about how to create a dignified, graceful end of life for his patients. Take the time to savor this moving talk, which asks big questions about how we think on death and honor life.

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A “living fossil” spotted in the South Pacific, a machine that vomits + poetry that rethinks assumptions about inmates

The TED community has news to share. Read on for highlights. The rarest animal on Earth, spotted once again. Peter Ward hadn’t seen his “old friend,” the Allonautilus scrobiculatus, since 1984. But he recognized its hairy, slimy, golden shell instantly. Ward wrote about his rediscovery of this creature — alongside its more-common relative, the nautilus, []

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