The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it | Katharine Hayhoe

How do you talk to someone who doesn’t believe in climate change? Not by rehashing the same data and facts we’ve been discussing for years, says climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. In this inspiring, pragmatic talk, Hayhoe shows how the key to having a real discussion is to connect over shared values like family, community and religion — and to prompt people to realize that they already care about a changing climate. “We can’t give in to despair,” she says. “We have to go out and look for the hope we need to inspire us to act — and that hope begins with a conversation, today.”

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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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How to motivate people to do good for others | Erez Yoeli

How can we get people to do more good: to go to the polls, give to charity, conserve resources or just generally act better towards others? MIT research scientist Erez Yoeli shares a simple checklist for harnessing the power of reputations — or our collective desire to be seen as generous and kind instead of selfish — to motivate people to act in the interest of others. Learn more about how small changes to your approach to getting people to do good could yield surprising results.

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100 solutions to reverse global warming | Chad Frischmann

What if we took out more greenhouse gases than we put into the atmosphere? This hypothetical scenario, known as “drawdown,” is our only hope of averting climate disaster, says strategist Chad Frischmann. In a forward-thinking talk, he shares solutions to climate change that exist today — conventional tactics like the use of renewable energy and better land management as well as some lesser-known approaches, like changes to food production, better family planning and the education of girls. Learn more about how we can reverse global warming and create a world where regeneration, not destruction, is the rule.

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The fascinating science of bubbles, from soap to champagne | Li Wei Tan

In this whimsical talk and live demo, scientist Li Wei Tan shares the secrets of bubbles — from their relentless pursuit of geometric perfection to their applications in medicine and shipping, where designers are creating more efficient vessels by mimicking the bubbles created by swimming penguins. Learn more about these mathematical marvels and tap into the magic hidden in the everyday world.

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When technology can read minds, how will we protect our privacy? | Nita Farahany

Tech that can decode your brain activity and reveal what you’re thinking and feeling is on the horizon, says legal scholar and ethicist Nita Farahany. What will it mean for our already violated sense of privacy? In a cautionary talk, Farahany warns of a society where people are arrested for merely thinking about committing a crime (like in “Minority Report”) and private interests sell our brain data — and makes the case for a right to cognitive liberty that protects our freedom of thought and self-determination.

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The radical possibilities of man-made DNA | Floyd E. Romesberg

Every cell that’s ever lived has been the result of the four-letter genetic alphabet: A, T, C and G — the basic units of DNA. But now that’s changed. In a visionary talk, synthetic biologist Floyd E. Romesberg introduces us to the first living organisms created with six-letter DNA — the four natural letters plus two new man-made ones, X and Y — and explores how this breakthrough could challenge our basic understanding of nature’s design.

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How a fleet of wind-powered drones is changing our understanding of the ocean | Sebastien de Halleux

Our oceans are unexplored and undersampled — today, we still know more about other planets than our own. How can we get to a better understanding of this vast, important ecosystem? Explorer Sebastien de Halleux shares how a new fleet of wind- and solar-powered drones is collecting data at sea in unprecedented detail, revealing insights into things like global weather and the health of our fish stocks. Learn more about what a better grasp of the ocean could mean for us back on land.

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How a long-forgotten virus could help us solve the antibiotics crisis | Alexander Belcredi

Viruses have a bad reputation — but some of them could one day save your life, says biotech entrepreneur Alexander Belcredi. In this fascinating talk, he introduces us to phages, naturally-occurring viruses that hunt and kill harmful bacteria with deadly precision, and shows how these once-forgotten organisms could provide new hope against the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

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What to trust in a “post-truth” world | Alex Edmans

Only if you are truly open to the possibility of being wrong can you ever learn, says researcher Alex Edmans. In an insightful talk, he explores how confirmation bias — the tendency to only accept information that supports your personal beliefs — can lead you astray on social media, in politics and beyond, and offers three practical tools for finding evidence you can actually trust. (Hint: appoint someone to be the devil’s advocate in your life.)

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