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Cultural & Academic Films

This library of academic and cultural films features collections from the Academic Film Archive and the Media Burn Independent Film Archive, as well as a selection of documentaries created by Dorothy Fadiman. In addition, films from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology are presented including those by Watson Kintner who used film to document his world travels, and the popular television show from the 1950s: “What in the World?”

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Title
Date Reviewed
Creator
TED Talks
Oct 30, 2019 TED.com
movies
eye 1,909
favorite 6
comment 1
For foreigners, learning to speak Chinese is a hard task. But learning to read the beautiful, often complex characters of the Chinese written language may be less difficult. ShaoLan walks through a simple lesson in recognizing the ideas behind the characters and their meaning -- building from a few simple forms to more complex concepts. Call it Chineasy.
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, china, education, language, TED2013, 2013
TED Talks
Jan 21, 2015 TED.com
movies
eye 1,399
favorite 2
comment 1
Speaking at TED in 1998, Rev. Billy Graham marvels at technology's power to improve lives and change the world -- but says the end of evil, suffering and death will come only after the world accepts Christ. A legendary talk from TED's archives.
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Topics: TEDTalks, TED1998, TED, Talks, Christianity, God, death, faith, religion, technology, 1998
TED Talks
May 26, 2014 TED.com
movies
eye 1,136
favorite 2
comment 1
Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus studies memories. More precisely, she studies false memories, when people either remember things that didn't happen or remember them differently from the way they really were. It's more common than you might think, and Loftus shares some startling stories and statistics, and raises some important ethical questions we should all remember to consider.
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, memory, psychology, science, TEDGlobal 2013, 2013
TED Talks
Mar 12, 2014 TED.com
movies
eye 1,333
favorite 1
comment 1
Terry Moore found out he'd been tying his shoes the wrong way his whole life. In the spirit of TED, he takes the stage to share a better way. (Historical note: This was the very first 3-minute audience talk given from the TED stage, in 2005.)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Topics: TEDTalks, TED2005, TED, Talks, culture, demo, entertainment, 2005
TED Talks
Oct 5, 2012 TED.com
movies
eye 1,068
favorite 1
comment 1
After hitting on a brilliant new life plan, our first instinct is to tell someone, but Derek Sivers says it's better to keep goals secret. He presents research stretching as far back as the 1920s to show why people who talk about their ambitions may be less likely to achieve them.
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Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, personal growth, self, storytelling, success, TEDGlobal 2010, 2010
TED Talks
movies
eye 2,042
favorite 1
comment 0
In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to just ignore the ordinary stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED2003, TED, Talks, business, choice, culture, marketing, shopping, storytelling, 2003
TED Talks
movies
eye 577
favorite 1
comment 0
Damon Horowitz teaches philosophy through the Prison University Project, bringing college-level classes to inmates of San Quentin State Prison. In this powerful short talk, he tells the story of an encounter with right and wrong that quickly gets person
Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, crime, culture, education, global issues, philosophy, prison, 2011
TED Talks
movies
eye 802
favorite 1
comment 0
The world is becoming increasingly open, and that has implications both bright and dangerous. Marc Goodman paints a portrait of a grave future, in which technology's rapid development could allow crime to take a turn for the worse.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, Internet, biology, crime, future, global issues, law, open-source, security,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 146
favorite 1
comment 0
Sometimes it's hard to know what statistics are worthy of trust. But we shouldn't count out stats altogether ... instead, we should learn to look behind them. In this delightful, hilarious talk, data journalist Mona Chalabi shares handy tips to help question, interpret and truly understand what the numbers are saying.
Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, art, communication, data, education, funny, journalism, math, politics,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 220
favorite 1
comment 0
A quarter of the world's population cares a lot about the Chinese zodiac. Even if you don't believe in it, you'd be wise to know how it works, says technologist and entrepreneur ShaoLan Hseuh. In this fun, informative talk, ShaoLan shares some tips for understanding the ancient tradition and describes how it's believed to influence your personality, career, marriage prospects and how you'll do in a given year. What does your sign say about you?
Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, china, economics, education, entrepreneur, family, identity, world cultures,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 997
favorite 2
comment 0
How do fast-paced video games affect the brain? Step into the lab with cognitive researcher Daphne Bavelier to hear surprising news about how video games, even action-packed shooter games, can help us learn, focus and, fascinatingly, multitask.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, education, gaming, TEDxCHUV, 2012
TED Talks
movies
eye 884
favorite 2
comment 0
What makes a great leader? Management theorist Simon Sinek suggests, it’s someone who makes their employees feel secure, who draws staffers into a circle of trust. But creating trust and safety — especially in an uneven economy — means taking on big responsibility.
Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, business, leadership, military, work, TED2014, 2014
TED Talks
movies
eye 873
favorite 1
comment 0
What's it like to be pals with a genius? Onstage at TEDxCaltech, physicist Leonard Susskind spins a few stories about his friendship with the legendary Richard Feynman, discussing his unconventional approach to problems both serious and ... less so.
Topics: TEDTalks, TEDxCaltech, TED, Talks, culture, history, physics, science, storytelling, 2010
TED Talks
movies
eye 819
favorite 2
comment 0
Master storyteller Malcolm Gladwell tells the tale of the Norden bombsight, a groundbreaking piece of World War II technology with a deeply unexpected result.
Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2011, TED, Talks, invention, war, 2011
TED Talks
movies
eye 1,061
favorite 1
comment 0
People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses to Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch to today's high-velocity web.
Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2010, TED, Talks, collaboration, innovation, novel, science, technology, 2010
TED Talks
movies
eye 1,272
favorite 1
comment 0
Steven Pinker charts the decline of violence from Biblical times to the present, and argues that, though it may seem illogical and even obscene, given Iraq and Darfur, we are living in the most peaceful time in our species' existence.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED2007, TED, Talks, business, culture, global issues, media, violence, war, 2007
TED Talks
movies
eye 669
favorite 2
comment 0
Accepting his 2007 TED Prize, war photographer James Nachtwey shows his life’s work and asks TED to help him continue telling the story with innovative, exciting uses of news photography in the digital era.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED2007, TED, Talks, TED Prize, activism, arts, culture, death, global issues, media,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 480
favorite 1
comment 0
Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell gets inside the food industry's pursuit of the perfect spaghetti sauce -- and makes a larger argument about the nature of choice and happiness.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED2004, TED, Talks, business, choice, culture, economics, food, marketing, media,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 7,812
favorite 3
comment 0
Michael Anti (aka Jing Zhao) has been blogging from China for 12 years. Despite the control the central government has over the Internet -- "All the servers are in Beijing" -- he says that hundreds of millions of microbloggers are in fact creating the first national public sphere in the country's history, and shifting the balance of power in unexpected ways.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, china, global issues, journalism, social media, technology, TEDGlobal 2012,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 876
favorite 1
comment 0
Explorer Ben Saunders wants you to go outside! Not because it’s always pleasant and happy, but because that’s where the meat of life is, “the juice that we can suck out of our hours and days.” Saunders’ next outdoor excursion? To try to be the first in the world to walk from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back again.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, culture, extreme sports, personal growth, potential, sports, TEDSalon London...
TED Talks
movies
eye 615
favorite 1
comment 0
How do creative people come up with great ideas? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant studies "originals": thinkers who dream up new ideas and take action to put them into the world. In this talk, learn three unexpected habits of originals — including embracing failure. "The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they're the ones who try the most," Grant says. "You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones."
Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, business, creativity, curiosity, decision-making, exploration, failure,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 649
favorite 1
comment 0
Using three iPods like magical props, Marco Tempest spins a clever, surprisingly heartfelt meditation on truth and lies, art and emotion.
Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2011, TED, Talks, art, arts, design, entertainment, illusion, magic, music,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 988
favorite 1
comment 0
On any given day we're lied to from 10 to 200 times, and the clues to detect those lie can be subtle and counter-intuitive. Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting, shows the manners and "hotspots" used by those trained to recognize deception -- and she argues honesty is a value worth preserving.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, culture, psychology, science, society, TEDGlobal 2011, 2011
TED Talks
movies
eye 799
favorite 1
comment 0
Patenting a new drug helps finance its immense cost to develop -- but that same patent can put advanced treatments out of reach for sick people in developing nations, at deadly cost. Ellen 't Hoen talks about an elegant, working solution to the problem: the Medicines Patent Pool. (Filmed at TEDxZurich.)
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, TEDxZurich, 2012
TED Talks
movies
eye 126
favorite 1
comment 0
TED Fellow Negin Farsad weaves comedy and social commentary to cleverly undercut stereotypes of her culture. In this uproarious talk/stand-up hybrid, Farsad speaks on her documentary, The Muslims Are Coming!, narrates her fight with the MTA in New York and offers a detailed breakdown of the different types of haters she's encountered in her work. "Comedy is one of our best weapons," she says. "We've tried a lot of approaches to social justice, like war and competitive ice dancing...
Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, TED Fellows, activism, comedy, community, entertainment, funny, identity,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 671
favorite 1
comment 0
Humankind has been looking for the giant squid (Architeuthis) since we first started taking pictures underwater. But the elusive deep-sea predator could never be caught on film. Oceanographer and inventor Edith Widder shares the key insight -- and the teamwork -- that helped to capture the squid on film for the first time.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, oceans, technology, TED2013, 2013
TED Talks
movies
eye 3,323
favorite 2
comment 0
Finding the right mate is no cakewalk — but is it even mathematically likely? In a charming talk, mathematician Hannah Fry shows patterns in how we look for love, and gives her top three tips (verified by math!) for finding that special someone.
Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, love, math, statistics, TEDxBinghamtonUniversity, 2014
TED Talks
movies
eye 384
favorite 1
comment 0
Al Seckel, a cognitive neuroscientist, explores the perceptual illusions that fool our brains. Loads of eye tricks help him prove that not only are we easily fooled, we kind of like it.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED2004, TED, Talks, arts, brain, cognitive science, culture, design, illusion,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 545
favorite 1
comment 0
In this powerful talk, P.W. Singer shows how the widespread use of robots in war is changing the realities of combat. He shows us scenarios straight out of science fiction -- that now may not be so fictitious.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, design, future, global issues, politics, robots, technology, violence, war,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 829
favorite 1
comment 0
Janine Benyus has a message for inventors: When solving a design problem, look to nature first. There you'll find inspired designs for making things waterproof, aerodynamic, solar-powered and more. Here she reveals dozens of new products that take their cue from nature with spectacular results.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biodiversity, biology, biomimicry, biotech, creativity, design, innovation,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 1,402
favorite 3
comment 0
"Bonk" author Mary Roach delves into obscure scientific research, some of it centuries old, to make 10 surprising claims about sexual climax, ranging from the bizarre to the hilarious. (This talk is aimed at adults. Viewer discretion advised.)
Topics: TEDTalks, TED2009, TED, Talks, book, culture, history, humor, science, sex, writing, 2009
TED Talks
movies
eye 1,254
favorite 1
comment 0
Like your uncle at a family party, the rumpled Swedish doctor Lennart Green says, "Pick a card, any card." But what he does with those cards is pure magic -- flabbergasting, lightning-fast, how-does-he-do-it? magic.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, entertainment, humor, illusion, magic, TED2005, 2005
TED Talks
movies
eye 908
favorite 1
comment 0
Vilayanur Ramachandran tells us what brain damage can reveal about the connection between celebral tissue and the mind, using three startling delusions as examples.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED2007, TED, Talks, brain, consciousness, culture, illness, illusion, science,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 968
favorite 1
comment 0
This whimsical wrap-up of TED2006 -- presented by Einstein, the African grey parrot, and her trainer, Stephanie White -- simply tickles. Watch for the moment when Einstein has a moment with Al Gore.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED2006, TED, Talks, animals, education, entertainment, performance, 2006
TED Talks
movies
eye 464
favorite 1
comment 0
Why is 'x' the symbol for an unknown? In this short and funny talk, Terry Moore gives the surprising answer.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, culture, history, language, math, TED2012, 2012
TED Talks
movies
eye 264
favorite 1
comment 0
"Secrets can take many forms -- they can be shocking, or silly, or soulful." Frank Warren, the founder of PostSecret.com, shares some of the half-million secrets that strangers have mailed him on postcards.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, arts, creativity, design, memory, storytelling, TED2012, 2012
TED Talks
movies
eye 833
favorite 1
comment 0
Why can't two slices of pizza be used as a slide clicker? Why shouldn't you make music with ketchup? In this charming talk, inventor Jay Silver talks about the urge to play with the world around you. He shares some of his messiest inventions, and demos MaKey MaKey, a kit for hacking everyday objects.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, technology, TEDSalon NY2013, 2013
TED Talks
movies
eye 2,139
favorite 2
comment 0
With help from some surprising footage, Derek Sivers explains how movements really get started. (Hint: it takes two.)
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, business, dance, entertainment, leadership, marketing, video, TED2010, 2010
TED Talks
movies
eye 1,226
favorite 3
comment 0
Combining projection mapping and a pop-up book, Marco Tempest tells the visually arresting story of Nikola Tesla -- called “the greatest geek who ever lived” -- from his triumphant invention of alternating current to his penniless last days.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, science, storytelling, technology, TED2012, 2012
TED Talks
movies
eye 1,089
favorite 1
comment 0
Until recently, many teachers only got one word of feedback a year: “satisfactory.” And with no feedback, no coaching, there’s just no way to improve. Bill Gates suggests that even great teachers can get better with smart feedback -- and lays out a program from his foundation to bring it to every classroom.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, culture, education, global issues, TED Talks Education, 2013
TED Talks
movies
eye 895
favorite 3
comment 0
David Gallo shows jaw-dropping footage of amazing sea creatures, including a color-shifting cuttlefish, a perfectly camouflaged octopus, and a Times Square's worth of neon light displays from fish who live in the blackest depths of the ocean.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, animals, evolution, exploration, fish, oceans, science, short talk,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 1,130
favorite 1
comment 0
Kenichi Ebina moves his body in a manner that appears to defy the limits imposed by the human skeleton. He combines breakdancing and hip-hop with mime using movements that are simultaneously precise and fluid.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED2007, TED, Talks, arts, culture, dance, entertainment, short talk, 2007
TED Talks
movies
eye 1,833
favorite 3
comment 0
Is there a definitive line that divides crazy from sane? With a hair-raising delivery, Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test, illuminates the gray areas between the two. (With live-mixed sound by Julian Treasure and animation by Evan Grant.)
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, culture, mind, prison, storytelling, TED2012, 2012
TED Talks
movies
eye 833
favorite 2
comment 0
From the EG conference: Productivity guru Tim Ferriss' fun, encouraging anecdotes show how one simple question -- "What's the worst that could happen?" -- is all you need to learn to do anything.
Topics: TEDTalks, EG 2008, TED, Talks, book, dance, language, life, productivity, work, 2008
TED Talks
movies
eye 1,062
favorite 1
comment 0
Dan Gilbert presents research and data from his exploration of happiness -- sharing some surprising tests and experiments that you can also try on yourself. Watch through to the end for a sparkling Q and A with some familiar TED faces.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, choice, culture, entertainment, happiness, psychology, self, society,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 493
favorite 1
comment 0
Neuroscientist Michael Merzenich looks at one of the secrets of the brain's incredible power: its ability to actively re-wire itself. He's researching ways to harness the brain's plasticity to enhance our skills and recover lost function.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED2004, TED, Talks, brain, computers, consciousness, education, entrepreneur, mind, 2004
TED Talks
movies
eye 1,080
favorite 2
comment 0
How can a super-thin, three-inch disk levitate something 70,000 times its own weight? In a riveting, futuristic demonstration, Boaz Almog shows how a phenomenon known as quantum locking allows a superconductor disk to float over a magnetic rail -- completely frictionlessly and with zero energy loss.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, demo, innovation, magic, physics, science, technology, TEDGlobal 2012, 2012
TED Talks
movies
eye 1,360
favorite 1
comment 0
First, Keith Barry shows us how our brains can fool our bodies -- in a trick that works via podcast too. Then he involves the audience in some jaw-dropping (and even a bit dangerous) feats of brain magic.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED2004, TED, Talks, brain, entertainment, illusion, magic, 2004
TED Talks
movies
eye 861
favorite 1
comment 0
An orchestra conductor faces the ultimate leadership challenge: creating perfect harmony without saying a word. In this charming talk, Itay Talgam demonstrates the unique styles of six great 20th-century conductors, illustrating crucial lessons for all leaders.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, business, leadership, music, psychology, society, TEDGlobal 2009, 2009
TED Talks
movies
eye 862
favorite 1
comment 0
“The world needs you, badly,” begins celebrated biologist E.O. Wilson in his letter to a young scientist. Previewing his upcoming book, he gives advice collected from a lifetime of experience -- reminding us that wonder and creativity are the center of the scientific life. (Filmed at TEDMED.)
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, TED Prize, education, failure, math, science, storytelling, student, success,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 826
favorite 1
comment 0
Musical innovator Andrew Bird winds together his trademark violin technique with xylophone, vocals and sophisticated electronic looping. Add in his uncanny ability to whistle anything, and he becomes a riveting one-man orchestra
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, arts, entertainment, music, performance, TED2010, 2010
TED Talks
movies
eye 255
favorite 1
comment 0
Hidden truths permeate our world; they're inaccessible to our senses, but math allows us to go beyond our intuition to uncover their mysteries. In this survey of mathematical breakthroughs, Fields Medal winner Cédric Villani speaks to the thrill of discovery and details the sometimes perplexing life of a mathematician. "Beautiful mathematical explanations are not only for our pleasure," he says. "They change our vision of the world."
Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, collaboration, discovery, education, history, innovation, intelligence, math,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 829
favorite 1
comment 0
Why do people succeed? Is it because they're smart? Or are they just lucky? Neither. Analyst Richard St. John condenses years of interviews into an unmissable 3-minute slideshow on the real secrets of success.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED2005, TED, Talks, business, culture, education, entertainment, happiness, psychology,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 1,148
favorite 1
comment 0
Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, health, psychology, TEDGlobal 2013, 2013
TED Talks
movies
eye 823
favorite 1
comment 0
Oops! Nobody wants to see the 404: Page Not Found. But as Renny Gleeson shows us, while he runs through a slideshow of creative and funny 404 pages, every error is really a chance to build a better relationship.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, marketing, technology, web, TED2012, 2012
TED Talks
movies
eye 1,294
favorite 1
comment 0
Reggie Watts’ beats defy boxes. Unplug your logic board and watch as he blends poetry and crosses musical genres in this larger-than-life performance.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, arts, entertainment, humor, live music, music, performance, poetry, TED2012,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 590
favorite 1
comment 0
Sheena Iyengar studies how we make choices -- and how we feel about the choices we make. At TEDGlobal, she talks about both trivial choices (Coke v. Pepsi) and profound ones, and shares her groundbreaking research that has uncovered some surprising attitudes about our decisions.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, business, choice, culture, economics, psychology, social change, society,...