Why is cotton in everything? – Michael R. Stiff

From TED Ed. Dig into the science of how cotton transforms from seed to fiber, and how these cotton fibers are used to make everything from fabrics, to currency, and fishing nets. — Centuries ago, the Inca developed ingenuous suits of armor that could protect warriors from even the fiercest physical attacks. These hardy structures…

What’s so special about Viking ships? – Jan Bill

From TED Ed. Explore the history and technology of Viking longships, which helped the Scandinavians conquer trade routes and new territories. — As the Roman Empire flourished, Scandinavians had small settlements and no central government. Yet by the 11th century, they had spread far from Scandinavia, gaining control of trade routes throughout Europe, conquering kingdoms…

The ballet that incited a riot – Iseult Gillespie

From TED Ed. Dive into the history and controversy of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet, “The Rite of Spring,” which shattered the conventions of classical ballet. — Ballet is typically thought of as harmonious, graceful and polished— hardly something that would trigger a riot. But at the first performance of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring,” audience…

The Artists | Think Like A Coder, Ep 5

From TED Ed. The adventure continues! Episode 5: Ethic and Hedge arrive in the 198forest in search of the second artifact. Can they sneak past the guards to get to the tower? — This is episode 5 of our animated series “Think Like A Coder.” This 10-episode narrative follows a girl, Ethic, and her robot…

The mysterious life and death of Rasputin – Eden Girma

From TED Ed. Get to know the story of Rasputin, known as the “Mad Monk,” who was assassinated for his involvement with the Russian monarchy. — On a night in 1916, Russian aristocrats set a plot of assassination into motion. If all went as planned, a man would be dead by morning, though others had…

Could a breathalyzer detect cancer? – Julian Burschka

From TED Ed. Discover how scientists are analyzing compounds in the breath to create a versatile breathalyzer capable of detecting disease. — How is it that a breathalyzer can measure the alcohol content in someone’s blood, hours after they had their last drink, based on their breath alone? And could we use this same technology…

A brief history of alcohol – Rod Phillips

From TED Ed. Trace the 7,000 year old history of alcohol, from its first known origins in China to cultures all over the world fermenting their own drinks. — Nobody knows exactly when humans began to create fermented beverages. The earliest known evidence comes from 7,000 BCE in China, where residue in clay pots has…

The philosophy of cynicism – William D. Desmond

From TED Ed. Explore the ancient Greek philosophy of cynicism, which calls for the rejection of materialism and conformity in favor of a simple life. — In the 4th century BCE, a young Diogenes of Sinope was found to be counterfeiting coins. He was stripped of his citizenship, his money, all his possessions and sent…

Why should you read “Dune” by Frank Herbert? – Dan Kwartler

From TED Ed. Discover Frank Herbert’s science fiction classic, “Dune,” which tells the story of a man catapulted into the middle of a planetary revolution. — A mother and son trek across an endless desert. Wearing special suits to dissipate heat and recycle moisture, the travelers aren’t worried about dying of thirst. Their fears are…

Hacking bacteria to fight cancer – Tal Danino

From TED Ed. Explore how synthetic biologists are programming bacteria to fight cancer by manipulating their DNA. — In 1884, an unlucky patient who had a rapidly growing cancer in his neck came down with an unrelated bacterial skin infection. As he recovered from the infection, the cancer surprisingly began to recede. The infection had…