Tag «Ted education»

How do blood transfusions work? – Bill Schutt

In 1881, doctor William Halsted rushed to help his sister Minnie, who was hemorrhaging after childbirth. He quickly inserted a needle into his arm, withdrew his own blood, and transferred it to her. After a few uncertain minutes, she began to recover. Halsted didn’t know how lucky they’d gotten. His transfusion only worked because he …

Can you solve the fish riddle? – Steve Wyborney

Can you solve the fish riddle? –  Steve Wyborney

You are the cargo director on the maiden voyage of the S.S. Buoyant, and you’ve agreed to transport several tanks containing the last specimens of a critically endangered fish species to their new aquarium. Unfortunately, as you’re passing through shark-infested waters, the boat is battered by a fierce storm, throwing your precious cargo overboard. And …

One of the most epic engineering feats in history – Alex Gendler

One of the most epic engineering feats in history – Alex Gendler

In the mid-19th century, suspension bridges were collapsing all across Europe. Their industrial cables frayed during turbulent weather and snapped under the weight of their decks. So when a German-American engineer named John Roebling proposed building the largest and most expensive suspension bridge ever conceived over New York’s East River, city officials were understandably skeptical. …

Why is cotton in everything? – Michael R. Stiff

Why is cotton in everything? – Michael R. Stiff

Centuries ago, the Inca developed ingenuous suits of armor that could flex with the blows of sharp spears and maces, protecting warriors from even the fiercest physical attacks. These hardy structures were made not from iron or steel, but rather something unexpectedly soft: cotton. These thickly woven, layered quilts of cotton could distribute the energy …

The myth of Arachne – Iseult Gillespie

The myth of Arachne  – Iseult Gillespie

From sailors who were turned into pigs, nymphs that sprouted into trees, and a gaze that converted the beholder to stone, Greek mythology brims with shape-shifters. The powerful gods usually changed their own forms at will, but for mortals, the mutations were often unwanted. One such unnerving transformation befell the spinner Arachne. Arachne was the …

The myth of Prometheus – Iseult Gillespie

The myth of Prometheus – Iseult Gillespie

Before the creation of humanity, the Greek gods won a great battle against a race of giants called the Titans. Most Titans were destroyed or driven to the eternal hell of Tartarus. But the Titan Prometheus, whose name means foresight, persuaded his brother Epimetheus to fight with him on the side of the gods. As …

A brief history of banned numbers – Alessandra King

A brief history of banned numbers – Alessandra King

They say the pen is mightier than the sword, and authorities have often agreed. From outlawed religious tracts and revolutionary manifestos to censored and burned books, we know the potential power of words to overturn the social order. But as strange as it may seem, some numbers have also been considered dangerous enough to ban. …