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TED Talks  Ideas worth spreading

Why are co-workers so often attracted to each other? On a basic level, people tend to develop feelings for each other the more time they spend together. But there’s another factor that fuels attraction called task interdependence, which occurs when you work collaboratively with someone else. In this week’s episode of our new video series, The Way We Work, organizational psychologist Amy Nicole Baker dives into this question and many other common queries about romance at the office. Should you date your co-worker? Should workplace couples keep their relationship secret? Watch the full episode (which was made possible thanks to @Dropbox!) at go.ted.com/workplaceromance
Animation by @swartstephanie

Introducing the cutest thing you’ll see today: a baby tapir. Would you believe us if we told you this little guy will grow up to weigh around 300 kilos, or 661 pounds? These forest-dwelling mammals are actually the largest land mammals in South America, and they look like a mix between a wild boar and an anteater. Unfortunately, tapirs are facing extinction due to hunting and deforestation. That’s why @TEDFellow Patricia Medici fights to protect them. “Tapirs are sadly misjudged as stupid and not worthy of saving,” she says. “While many people think of them like a donkey, I prefer to compare tapirs with jaguars – they’re powerful and majestic. That’s something I’m working hard to change as I think greater recognition will help conservation efforts.” To learn more, visit go.ted.com/babytapir
Photo by Ilana John

In 2006, civil rights activist Tarana Burke sat in her room, took out a piece of paper, wrote “Me Too” across the top, and created an action plan for a movement that supported all survivors of sexual violence. Now, #MeToo has become a global movement, and while its mission is often misinterpreted, Tarana is determined to keep working to dismantle the building blocks of sexual violence: power and privilege. “Power and privilege doesn't always have to destroy and take -- it can be used to serve and build,” she says. To watch her TED Talk from #TEDWomen, visit go.ted.com/taranaburke

This is an interactive inflatable sculpture made by artist and @TEDFellow Alicia Eggert. It’s called “You Are Magic,” and it only inflates when two people touch the sensors on either side and hold hands, completing a circuit for a 2 volt electrical charge. Once they let go, the circuit is broken and the sculpture deflates. Alicia’s work is one of the art installations at this year’s #TEDWomen in Palm Springs, California. The conference will celebrate the dynamic, diverse, and powerful women and men who are solving problems, pushing boundaries, and building a better future for us all. Follow our Instagram stories for coverage all week, including speaker quotes, interviews, exhibits, and more.

How often do you truly thank someone? Author A.J. Jacobs decided to thank every single person involved in producing his morning cup of coffee — from the barista to the farmers to the artists to the truckers and everyone in-between. His journey took him across the globe and taught him how gratitude can really make us feel happier and more connected. So this holiday season, think about the people who have made an impact on your daily life. Say thank you to the crossing guard you see every morning, your neighbor for watching over your home while you’re out of town, your sibling for providing a listening ear. They’ll appreciate knowing that you don’t take them for granted. For more, check out an excerpt from A.J.’s new TED Book, “Thanks a Thousand,” at go.ted.com/spreadgratitude

Though protests did not stop the Dakota Access Pipeline from being built, activists are still feeling the impact of the movement, says tribal attorney and Couchiching First Nation citizen Tara Houska. “The #NODAPL movement stands as a moment where we saw so many people around the world becoming aware of indigenous peoples, how indigenous rights are being violated today, and the imminent threat of climate change,” she says. “And it was a moment of solidarity and resistance in that people were willing to take a stand with us.” The fight is not over, though. To support indigenous activism, learn more about the next protest Tara is working on — the efforts to block Line 3, a pipeline across Native territories that would carry nearly one million barrels of tar sands a day through the headwaters of the Mississippi River to the shore of Lake Superior. “These issues — issues of climate change and protecting our earth’s resources — should not lie just on the shoulders of Native people. It should rest on all of our shoulders,” Tara adds. “Standing in solidarity is something we should all aspire to do and we can do if we work together.” To learn more, visit go.ted.com/nativeactivism
Photo by @camilleseaman

Talk about a good boy. This is Seamus, one of the dogs on the front lines of wildlife conservation. At the Working Dogs for Conservation (WD4C), wildlife biologist Megan Parker trains dogs like Seamus to catch poachers and smugglers, track endangered species, sniff out invasive plants and animals, and so much more. These pups typically end up in shelters because they’re a little too hyper for home life or an occupation like the police force. But thanks to the WD4C, they now have a world-changing purpose. To learn more, visit go.ted.com/doggo.

Photo by Elizabeth Stone

Fifteen seconds into singer Ariana Grande’s music video for “God is a Woman,” you’ll see Ariana floating in a pool of swirling white, purple and pink liquid with streaks of paint across her skin. That’s the signature work of artist Alexa Meade. Alexa paints on the human body, creating art that plays with the space between 2D and 3D. For this project, Alexa and Ariana worked together to achieve the mesmerizing final look. For example, while Alexa typically covers all or most of her subjects’ bodies with paint, it was Ariana who had the idea to let her skin show in-between the brushstrokes to create a contrast between her body and the paint. “That was something improvised in the moment, and it turned out beautifully,” says Alexa. “Some of my favorite work comes out of collaboration, in part because ways of looking at the world are introduced that are counter to what your brain is preloaded with. It allows you to step outside of what your instincts would have told you to do.” To see more of @alexameadeart’s work and hear what she learned about creativity from this project, visit go.ted.com/godisawoman
First photo courtesy of @alfredoflores. Second photo is a still from @arianagrande's "God is a Woman" video.

This is bacteria! Bet you never thought germs could look so pretty. While observing the intricate patterns bacteria form in Petri dishes, synthetic biologist and @TEDFellow Tal Danino decided to turn that science into colorful works of art. The photo here is from his project, Microuniverse, where he grew bacteria under different conditions for varying lengths of time to create a series of stunning abstract images. @tdanino hopes that his work will inspire people to learn more about our microbial world and all the good that bacteria can do, like fight cancer. “It’s really difficult to teach people about DNA and proteins and molecular cloning,” he says. “But I think when you see an image, regardless of your background, it attracts you to learn more about the science.” To learn more, visit go.ted.com/prettybacteria

Photo by Eyebeam/@magaliduzant

You’re looking at a demo of an accidental discovery…. a discovery that eventually led to the invention of the X-ray. Let’s back up: in the 19th century, a physicist named J. J. Thompson conducted an experiment using magnets and electricity like the one shown here. In the process, he discovered the first subatomic particle, which we now call electrons. At the time, Thompson thought it was a useless discovery. Little did he know that it would revolutionize technology. Thanks to his curiosity, it was soon discovered that these electrons can create high-energy light, and thus the X-ray was born. “We need to invest in curiosity-driven research,” says physicist Suzie Sheehy. “History tells us that if we can remain curious and open-minded about the outcomes of research, the more world-changing our discoveries will be.” To watch her #TEDTalk, visit go.ted.com/curiousscience

It’s OK to acknowledge if you’re feeling stressed right now. Luckily, a small shift in perspective could help ease the feeling. A Harvard University study found that viewing stress as a helpful response causes us feel less anxious and more confident. It even quelled participants’ physical symptoms — the ones that could hurt your health in the future. So instead of thinking negatively about your stress symptoms, try to view them as signs that your body is energized and gearing you up to face whatever life throws at you. “When you choose to view stress in this way, you’re not just getting better at stress. You’re saying that you can trust yourself to handle life’s challenges,” says health psychologist Kelly McGonigal. Watch her #TEDTalk at go.ted.com/goodstress
Animation by @libbyvanderploeg

If you could pick any superpower, what would it be? If your answer is “flying,” check this out. Extreme action specialist Elizabeth Streb has spent her life trying to defy gravity and learn to fly. How does she do it? By mastering how to land. Now she’s teaching kids and adults how to fly, fall, land, and experience the rush of pushing past the limits of the human body. “I've found that the effect of flying causes smiles to get more common, self-esteem to blossom, and people get just a little bit braver,” Elizabeth says. “And people do learn to fly, as only humans can.” Watch her #TEDTalk at go.ted.com/defygravity. (And PSA: We do not recommend flinging yourself off of things, so please be careful). Video courtesy of Elizabeth Streb

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