High-momentum nucleon pairs challenge the nuclear shell model



NASA urged to stay on course by planetary science review panel



How urban spaces can preserve history and build community | Walter Hood

Can public spaces both reclaim the past and embrace the future? Landscape architect Walter Hood has explored this question over the course of an iconic career, with projects ranging from Lafayette Square Park in San Francisco to the upcoming International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. In this inspiring talk packed with images of his work, Hood shares the five simple concepts that guide his approach to creating spaces that illuminate shared memories and force us to look at one another in a different way.

Nnedi Okorafor pens a new Black Panther comic series, and more updates from TED speakers


We’ve been on break but the TED community definitely hasn’t — here are some highlights from the past few weeks.

Black Panther’s Shuri stars in her own comic. Writer Nnedi Okorafor will team up with visual artist Leonardo Romero to bring Marvel’s newest Black Panther comic series to life. Shuri will follow Wakandan princess and tech genius Shuri as she struggles to lead Wakanda after the mysterious disappearance of her brother, T’Challa, the Black Panther and Wakandan king. Okorafor will infuse her signature Afrofuturist style into the African fantasy franchise, which has also been written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and TED speaker Roxane Gay. In an interview with Bustle, Okorafor said “[Shuri is] a character in the Marvel Universe who really sings to me.” (Watch Okorafor’s TED Talk.)

Saving media through blockchain technology. Alongside Jen Poyant, journalist Manoush Zomorodi has launched Stable Genius Productions, a podcast production company that aims to “help people navigate personal and global change” through the lens of technological advances. In an innovative move, the company has joined forces with Civil, a decentralized marketplace operating with blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies to fund digital journalism. Their first project, ZigZag, is a podcast about “changing the course of capitalism, journalism and women’s lives,” and documents the co-founders’ journey building Stable Genius Productions. In an interview with Recode, Zomorodi comments on her partnership with Civil: “The idea is that there’s this ecosystem of news sites … niche is okay; they don’t need to be massive. We’re not trying to build another New York Times on here. This is small and specific and quality.” (Watch Zomorodi’s TED Talk.)

Pope declares death penalty “inadmissible.” Pope Francis recently instituted a change in the Catholic Church’s position on capital punishment, naming it an “attack” on the “dignity of the person.” Though the Catholic Church has been vocally opposed to the death penalty for several decades, with Pope John Paul II calling the practice “cruel and unnecessary,” this move sets a clear and firm position from the Vatican that the death penalty is inexcusable. Pope Francis also urged bishops to advocate for rehabilitation and social integration for offenders, rather than punishment for the sake of deterring future crimes, and announced a goal to work toward the abolishment of the death penalty globally. (Watch the Pope’s TED Talk.)

Two nominations for the alternative Nobel Prize in literature. More great news for Nnedi Okorafor! Both Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Nnedi Okorafor have been longlisted for the New Academy Prize in Literature. Following the announcement that the Swedish Academy would withhold awarding a 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature due to sexual assault allegations, The New Academy was founded to ensure that an international literary prize was awarded this year. Adichie and Okorafor have been nominated along with other international literary luminaries such as Jamaica Kincaid, Neil Gaiman, Arundhati Roy and Margaret Atwood. (Watch Adichie’s TED Talk.)

A new exhibition on the strength and beauty of the Black Madonna. Artist Theaster Gates has funneled his fascination with how the Virgin Mary and Christ are represented into his new solo exhibition at Kunstmuseum Basel in Switzerland. Inspired by Maerten van Heemskerck’s Virgin and Child, Gates’ new work urges viewers to complicate their understanding of the Virgin Mary, a character who is most often rendered as white in traditional fine art. Speaking to BBC Culture, Gates says his show “weaves back and forth from religious adoration to political manifesto to self-empowerment to historical reflection.” Other aspects of the exhibition include a 2,600-strong photo collection of black women whom Gates calls “Black Madonnas…everyday women who do miraculous things,” drawn from the iconic Ebony magazine archive. (Watch Gates’ TED Talk.)



Moving healthcare forward: The talks of TED Salon: Catalyst


TED and Optum partnered to cultivate the dialogue and collaboration that’s needed to understand and guide changes in healthcare. (Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED)

Healthcare is at a turning point. Big data, evolving consumer preferences and shifting cost structures are just a few of the many complex factors shaping the opportunities and challenges that will define the future. How can we all become forces for positive change and progress?

For the first time, TED partnered with Optum, a health services and innovation company, for a salon focused on what happens when we trust our ideas to change health and healthcare for the better. At the salon, held on July 31 at the ARIA Las Vegas, six speakers and a performer shared fresh thinking on how we can make a health system that works better for everyone.

Empathy shouldn’t be a nice-to-have, says Adrienne Boissy — it’s a hard skill that should be integrated into everything we do. (Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED)

How we can put empathy back in healthcare. Many in healthcare believe that empathy — imagining another person’s feelings and then doing something to help them — is a “soft skill,” and not an important factor in the success or failure of medical treatments. But according to Adrienne Boissy, chief experience officer for the Cleveland Clinic Health System, empathy is a critical part of healthcare that, when cultivated, delivers proven, positive impacts to everything from controlling high blood pressure to the outcomes of diabetes. Best of all, it’s something that healthcare workers can learn, in order to “bake caring fixes back into every single part of the healthcare system.” Boissy knows that patients and doctors both suffer under current healthcare systems and their long wait times, communications gaps, and the endemic pressures that lead to staff burnout. To address these problems in her health system, Boissy implemented some big fixes, like same-day appointments for patients, communications training for doctors and less bureaucratic pressure. Her strategies are designed to build empathy back into the healthcare system and “transform the human experience into something much more humane.”

The myth of obesity and the need for a social movement. The global obesity crisis has reached epidemic proportions — but its root cause may not be what you think. Obesity expert Lee Kaplan has studied the issue for nearly 20 years, and the misconceptions around obesity have remained fairly constant throughout: if people simply ate less and exercised more, the thinking goes, they’d be able to control their weight. But the reality is much more complex. “Numerous studies demonstrate that each of our bodies has a powerful, and very accurate, system for seeking and maintaining the right amount of fat,” Kaplan says. “Obesity is the disease in which that finely tuned system goes awry.” There are many types of obesity, with many causes — genetics, brain damage, sleep deprivation, medications that promote weight gain — but in the end, all obesity reflects the disruption of this internal system (controlled by the body’s adipostat). In order to begin solving this massive health crisis, Kaplan calls for us to stop stigmatizing obesity and take collective action to improve the lives of those affected. “We need to change the public perception of blame and responsibility, and support a social movement that will lead to real progress,” Kaplan says. “In so doing, we will begin to see society shrink before our eyes.”

If we design healthcare systems with trust, innovation and ambition, says Dr. Andrew Bastawrous, we can create solutions that change the lives of millions of people worldwide. (Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED)

Innovating the healthcare funding and distribution model. While working in an eye care clinic in Kenya, Andrew Bastawrous was frustrated to find that because of rigid funding regulations, he wasn’t able to help people in desperate need who didn’t have “the right problems.” Though specific resource allocation makes business sense, Bastawrous says, inflexible rules often block healthcare organizations from adapting to shifting situations on the ground. This makes it difficult to deliver even simple medical treatments — for example, though we’ve had glasses for over 700 years, 2.5 billion people still don’t have access to them. That’s why Peek Vision, the eye care organization Bastawrous co-founded and leads, is set up as both a company and a charity — an innovation that allows them to sustainably create healthcare products and serve the communities who need them most. Peek Vision’s successful partnership with the Botswana government to screen and treat every child in the country by 2021 shows that this model can work — now, it needs to be scaled globally. If we design health care systems with trust, innovation and ambition, Bastawrous says, we can create solutions that fulfill the needs of financial partners and improve the lives of millions of people worldwide.

One pill to rule them all? We live in the age of the “quantified self,” where it’s possible to measure, monitor and track much of our physiology and behavior with a few taps of a finger. (Think smartwatches and fitness trackers.) With all this information, says Daniel Kraft, we should be able to make the shift into “quantified health” and design truly personalized medicine that allows us to synthesize many of our medications into a single pill. Onstage, Kraft revealed a prototype that would not only engender an easier time taking medications but also print the drugs he envisions right in the home. “I’m hopeful that with the help of novel approaches like this, we can move from an era of intermittent data, reactive one-size-fits-all therapy,” he says, “improving health and medicine across the planet.”

When it comes to health, we’re not as divided as we think we are, says Rebecca Onie. (Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED)

Divided on healthcare, united on health. The American conversation around healthcare has long been divisive. Yet as health services innovator Rebecca Onie reveals in new research, people in the US are not as polarized as they think. She launched a new initiative to ask voters around the country one question: “What do you need to be healthy?” As it turns out, across economic, political and racial divides, Americans are aligned when it comes to their healthcare priorities: healthy food, safe housing and good wages. “When you ask the right questions, it becomes pretty clear: our country may be fractured on healthcare, but we are unified on health,” she says. The insights from her research demonstrate how our common experience can inform our approach to pressing healthcare questions — and even bring people across the political spectrum together.

Medicine isn’t made by miracles. Our narratives of our greatest medical and healthcare advances all follow the same script, Darshak Sanghavi says: “The heroes are either swashbuckling doctors fighting big odds and taking big risks, or miracle drugs found in the unlikeliest of places.” We love to hear — and tell — stories based on this script. But these stories cause us to redirect our resources toward creating hero doctors and revolutionary medications, and by doing so, “we potentially harm more people than we help,” Sanghavi says. He believes we should turn away from these myths and focus on what really matters: teamwork. Incremental refinements in treatments, painstakingly assembled by healthcare workers pooling their resources over time, are what really lead to improved survival rates and higher-quality lives for patients. “We don’t need to wait for a hero in order to make our lives better,” Sanghavi says. “We already know what to do. Small steps over time will get us where we need to go.”

Jessica Care Moore performs her poem “Gratitude Is a Recipe for Survival” to close out the salon. (Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED)

She has decided to live. Poet, performer and artist Jessica Care Moore closes out the salon with a performance of “Gratitude Is a Recipe for Survival” — a vigorous, personal, lyrical journey through the mind and life of a professional poet raising a young son in a thankless world.