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10 brand stories. The Pyschology of Energy Savings. Alex Laskey of Opower shows the amount of coal that should be able to power a lightbulb for a year.

The Pyschology of Energy Savings

But because of massive energy waste, ten timess as much coal is needed. Photo: James Duncan Davidson “For the past five years we’ve been running the largest behavioral science experiment in the world,” says Alex Laskey in today’s TED Talk, given at this year’s 2013 conference in Long Beach. “And, it’s working.” Alex Laskey: How behavioral science can lower your energy bill Laskey’s company Opower partners with utility companies to deliver personalized home energy reports, all based off the insight that people are more inclined to take action on an issue when they think other people are doing better than they are.

This idea was sparked by a study run a decade ago by Arizona State University psychology professor, Robert Cialdini, who conducted an experiment to see what might make people turn off their air conditioner, and turn on their fan. Alex Laskey: I came across it accidentally. Recovery After Injury. Cross-country skier Janine Shepherd was Olympics-bound in 1986, with many thinking that she was a strong contender to earn Australia’s first-ever medal at the winter games.

Recovery After Injury

But everything changed on a training bike ride through the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. Shepherd was hit by a truck, and broke both her back and neck. Doctors did not expect Shepherd to survive. And when she made it through surgery she received some jarring words. As Shepherd recalls in today’s talk, filmed at TEDxKC, “The doctor came over to me and said, ‘Janine, the operation was a success … but the damage is permanent. To hear how Shepherd recovered, learning to walk again with only a slight limp, watch her incredible talk. Shepherd’s is a powerful story of recovery. The Big Picture.

The beauty & difficulty of being creative. Radio host Julie Burstein has found the perfect analogy for creativity—raku pottery.

The beauty & difficulty of being creative

A Japanese art form in which molded clay is heated for 15 minutes and then dropped in sawdust which bursts into flames, what makes this pottery so beautiful is its imperfections and cracks. Burstein interviewed hundred of artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers for her book, Spark: How Creativity Works, and heard many of them describe their process in similar terms — that the best parts of their work came from embracing challenges, misfortunes and the things they simply couldn’t control. As Burstein explains in this talk given at TED2012, “I realized that creativity grows out of everyday experiences more often than you would think.”

In this talk, Burstein identifies four lessons that creative people should embrace: To hear how Burstein learned these lessons from filmmaker Mira Nair, writer Richard Ford, sculptor Richard Serra and photographer Joel Meyerowitz, listen to her wonderful talk. Disruptive Innovation. Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

Disruptive Innovation

As a mathematician, Max Little hasn't spent most of his career in a doctor's office or a hospital, but with a pad and pencil or behind a laptop. And yet it is he who has crafted a radically lower cost and more ubiquitous method for diagnosing Parkinson's. Steve Jobs loved music, but hadn't spent his life as a disc jockey. He was not a professional musician or a stereo hardware designer and he didn't focus on music marketing. That is, until he and his team at Apple released the iPod. Two doctors in Western Australia, far from the center of the world's cutting edge medical research, discovered that most ulcers were caused by bacteria -- not stress or acid as previously assumed -- and that they could easily and quickly be treated. This isn't a coincidence. In trying to solve a problem, we default to the set of knowledge and experience each one of us has. Why did we evolve this way? Earth Day. Planet Earth doesn’t exactly have a birthday.

Earth Day

But every year on April 22, we celebrate Earth Day — the anniversary of the moment the environmental movement went mass. According to, Earth Day was founded in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, who called for a “national teach-in on the environment” after witnessing the terrible effects of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. The first Earth Day brought major actions to the streets of many major U.S. Cities. Earth Day went global in 1990 and, today, is celebrated in an estimated 192 countries. Sound Affects. The emergence of "4D printing". Very Dry. Play with Smart Materials. 10 Extra Years Of Life.