Museums should honor the everyday, not just the extraordinary | Ariana Curtis

Who deserves to be in a museum? For too long, the answer has been “the extraordinary” — those aspirational historymakers who inspire us with their successes. But those stories are limiting, says museum curator Ariana Curtis. In a visionary talk, she imagines how museums can more accurately represent history by honoring the lives of people both extraordinary and everyday, prominent and hidden — and amplify diverse perspectives that should have always been included.

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3 kinds of bias that shape your worldview | J. Marshall Shepherd

What shapes our perceptions (and misperceptions) about science? In an eye-opening talk, meteorologist J. Marshall Shepherd explains how confirmation bias, the Dunning-Kruger effect and cognitive dissonance impact what we think we know — and shares ideas for how we can replace them with something much more powerful: knowledge.

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The story of Marvel’s first queer Latina superhero | Gabby Rivera

With Marvel’s “America Chavez,” Gabby Rivera wrote a new kind of superhero — one who can punch portals into other dimensions while also embracing her gentle, goofy, soft side. In a funny, personal talk, Rivera shares how her own childhood as a queer Puerto Rican in the Bronx informed this new narrative — and shows images from the comic book that reveal what happens when a superhero embraces her humanity. As she says: “That myth of having to go it alone and be tough is not serving us.”

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How video games turn players into storytellers | David Cage

Have you ever watched a film or read a novel, wishing that you could change the narrative to save your favorite character? Game designer David Cage allows you do just that in his video games, where players make decisions that shape an ever-changing plot. In a talk and live demo, Cage presents a scene from his new project, letting the audience control a character’s decisions. “Interactive storytelling can be what cinema was in the 20th century: an art that deeply changes its time,” Cage says.

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Is civility a sham? | Teresa Bejan

What exactly is civility, and what does it require? In a talk packed with historical insights, political theorist Teresa Bejan explains how civility has been used as both the foundation of tolerant societies and as a way for political partisans to silence and dismiss opposing views. Bejan suggests that we should instead try for “mere civility”: the virtue of being able to disagree fundamentally with others without destroying the possibility of a common life tomorrow. (This talk contains mature language.)

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My journey to thank all the people responsible for my morning coffee | AJ Jacobs

Author AJ Jacobs embarked on a quest with a deceptively simple idea at its heart: to personally thank every person who helped make his morning cup of coffee. More than one thousand “thank yous” later, Jacobs reflects on the globe-trotting journey that ensued — and shares the life-altering wisdom he picked up along the way. “I discovered that my coffee would not be possible without hundreds of people I take for granted,” Jacobs says.

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How I accidentally changed the way movies get made | Franklin Leonard

How does Hollywood choose what stories get told on-screen? Too often, it’s groupthink informed by a narrow set of ideas about what sells at the box office. As a producer, Franklin Leonard saw too many great screenplays never get made because they didn’t fit the mold. So he started the Black List, an anonymous email that shared his favorite screenplays and asked: Why aren’t we making these movies? Learn the origin story of some of your favorite films with this fascinating insider view of the movie business.

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Why I have coffee with people who send me hate mail | Özlem Cekic

Özlem Cekic’s email inbox has been full of hate mail since 2007, when she won a seat in the Danish Parliament — becoming the first female Muslim to do so. At first she just deleted the emails, dismissing them as the work of fanatics, until one day a friend made an unexpected suggestion: to reach out to the hate mail writers and invite them to meet for coffee. Hundreds of “dialogue coffee” meetings later, Cekic shares how face-to-face conversation can be one of the most powerful forces to disarm hate — and challenges us all to engage with people we disagree with.

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Intimate photos of a senior love triangle | Isadora Kosofsky

Photographer and TED Fellow Isadora Kosofsky is a chronicler of love, loss and loneliness. In this searching talk, she shares photos from her four years documenting the lives of a senior citizen love triangle — and reveals what they can teach us about the universal search for identity and belonging.

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How to build a thriving music scene in your city | Elizabeth Cawein

How does a city become known as a “music city”? Publicist Elizabeth Cawein explains how thriving music scenes make cities healthier and happier and shares ideas for bolstering your local music scene — and showing off your city’s talent to the world.

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