Not to be confused with the droll econ lectures you slept through in college, TED Talks are -- at their best -- informative, enlightening, and legitimately entertaining. Even better? They're almost always under 15 minutes.
We pulled together a few of the best talks told on the TED stage this year, which cover everything from how procrastination can actually make your life better to why the discovery of gravitational waves is such a huge freaking deal. Sit back, relax, and enjoy. And not to freak you out or anything, but you might even learn something.
Big Boi From OutKast Introduces Cliff to Atlanta’s Food Scene
Length: 10:58 If you still don't understand why scientists flipped out over the "discovery of the century" earlier this year, physicist Allan Adams breaks it down. He explains what exactly they are, how they were created (black holes!), and how they'll help reveal how the universe came to be. WATCH IT NOW
"Can we build AI without losing control over it?"
Length: 14:27 In this foreboding talk, neuroscientists-cum-philosopher Sam Harris explains why we should be wary of the rise of artificially intelligent technology, and the potential doom it could spell out for humankind (hint: a real, real bad robot takeover). WATCH IT NOW
"A prosecutor's vision for a better justice system"
Length: 15:57 Former Boston prosecutor Adam Foss theorizes that our emphasis on throwing the book at young criminals is a counterintuitive way to reform them. Instead of imprisonment, he explains, we ought to push them towards change by giving them a chance to recognize their potential. WATCH IT NOW
"Inside the mind of a master procrastinator"
Length: 14:03 Most of us don't need any reminding that procrastinating can be bad, but in this funny presentation, blogger Tim Urban discusses how we can harness the sense of panic it induces to improve our relationships, get ahead in our careers, and generally be better at life. WATCH IT NOW
"Gene editing can now change an entire species -- forever"
Length: 12:25 Whether or not you've heard much about CRISPR, the burgeoning and controversial method that allows us to edit our genes, you'll want to check this out. Journalist Jennifer Kahn breaks down the reasons it's potentially so dangerous, and how scientists are already hatching grand plans to use it for good and wipe out horrendous diseases. WATCH IT NOW
"The reporting system that sexual assault survivors want"
Length: 5:59 In this brief talk, Jessica Ladd introduces an amazingly simple new way for sexual assault survivors to report, and one that could lead to more rapists facing justice for their crimes. Essentially, it involves allowing a survivor to confidentially create a time-stamped report immediately following their assault, but wait until they're comfortable to submit it, thus eliminating the issue of "time limits" that allow so many offenders to go free. WATCH IT NOW
"What do you think when you look at me?"
Length: 16:16 Muslim studies scholar Dalia Mogahed discusses the dangers of our biases, and how they are exhibited even without us realizing. Specifically, she compels us to confront our latent Islamophobia and fight it. WATCH IT NOW
"The gospel of doubt"
Length: 18:19 In this talk, business leader Casey Gerald recounts a few big moments in his life in which he faced the reality that some things he desperately believed in were not true. He describes how it led him to realize the importance of embracing uncertainty, and how we should apply that mantra to many of the beliefs and institutions we hold in high regard. WATCH IT NOW
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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. If you're a fan of TED talks, you should also check this out.