Many generations have felt they’ve reached the pinnacle of technological advancement. Yet, if you look back 100 years, the technologies we take for granted today would seem like impossible magic. So — will there be a point where we reach an actual limit of technological progress? And if so, are we anywhere near that limit now? Clément Vidal consults Kardashev’s scale to find out.
Lesson by Clément Vidal, animation by CUB animation.
The genre of dystopia – the ‘not good place’– has captured the imaginations of artists and audiences alike for centuries. But why do we bother with all this pessimism? Alex Gendler explains how dystopias act as cautionary tales – not about some particular government or technology, but the very idea that humanity can be molded into an ideal shape.
Lesson by Alex Gendler, animation by TED-Ed.
Could human civilization eventually spread across the whole Milky Way galaxy? Could we move beyond our small, blue planet to establish colonies in the multitude of star systems out there? These questions are pretty daunting, but their (theoretical) answers were actually put forth decades ago. Roey Tzezana describes the conceptual von Neumann machine.
Lesson by Roey Tzezana, animation by Eoin Duffy.
Imagine you’re on a game show and you can choose between two prizes: a diamond … or a bottle of water. It’s an easy choice – the diamonds are more valuable. But if given the same choice when you were dehydrated in the desert, after wandering for days, would you choose differently? Why? Aren’t diamonds still more valuable? Akshita Agarwal explains the paradox of value.
Lesson by Akshita Agarwal, animation by Qa’ed Mai.
To human eyes, the world at night is a formless canvas of grey. Many nocturnal animals, on the other hand, experience a rich and varied world, bursting with details, shapes, and colors. What is it, then, that separates moths from men? Anna Stöckl uncovers the science behind night vision.
Lesson by Anna Stöckl, animation by TED-Ed.
The longest recorded case of hiccups lasted for 68 years … and was caused by a falling hog. While that level of severity is extremely uncommon, most of us are no stranger to an occasional case of the hiccups. But what causes these ‘hics’ in the first place? John Cameron takes us into the diaphragm to find out.
Lesson by John Cameron, animation by Black Powder Design.
For the majority of recorded human history, units like the weight of a grain or the length of a hand weren’t exact and varied from place to place. Now, consistent measurements are such an integral part of our daily lives that it’s hard to appreciate what a major accomplishment for humanity they’ve been. Matt Anticole traces the wild history of the metric system.
Lesson by Matt Anticole, animation by Globizco.
When it comes to what you bite, chew and swallow, your choices have a direct and long-lasting effect on the most powerful organ in your body: your brain. So which foods cause you to feel so tired after lunch? Or so restless at night? Mia Nacamulli takes you into the brain to find out.
Lesson by Mia Nacamulli, animation by Private Island.
Modern computers are revolutionizing our lives, performing tasks unimaginable only decades ago. This was made possible by a long series of innovations, but there’s one foundational invention that almost everything else relies upon: the transistor. Gokul J. Krishnan describes what a transistor is and how this small device enables all the amazing things computers can do.
Lesson by Gokul J. Krishna, animation by Augenblick Studios.
Human bodies aren’t built for extreme aging: our capacity is set at about 90 years. But what does aging really mean, and how does it counteract the body’s efforts to stay alive? Monica Menesini details the nine physiological traits that play a central role in aging.
Lesson by Monica Menesini, animation by Cinematic.