Topic: communication

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Why (and how) do whales sing?

Whale vocalizations are a bit of a mystery. We know that only the males of some baleen whales sing, but we're not sure what those compositions—specifically structured phrases and melodies that repeat and evolve within...

Starling murmuration, a stunning clip from Jan van Ijken’s ‘The Art of Flying’

Murmurations, those dense clouds of whirling, pulsating, shapeshifting starling flocks, are a breathtaking dusk phenomenon. How do thousands of birds change directions and seemingly move as one without colliding? Dutc...

Road painters painting road markings by hand

The painted lines and symbols on streets, in parking lots, and along our city and country roads are created with a variety of mobile machines, vehicles, and hand-painting techniques. In a parking spot in Sokcho, South...

What does the wheelchair symbol actually mean?

Some of the world’s most recognizable symbols exist to sell products. Others, to steer traffic or advance political causes. But there’s one whose main purpose is to help people. You may know it as the wheelchair symbo...

How To Forgive – The School of Life

How can we bring ourselves to forgive someone who has been wrong, mean, or thoughtless to us? The School of Life explores How To Forgive, an animated video that aims to change our perspective, and help us come around ...

Secrets of Schooling: Investigating the collective behavior of fish

Collective behavior is embodied in swarms of insects, flocks of birds, herds of antelope, and schools of fish. In each of these cases, individuals move through their environment and respond to threats and opportunitie...

Where do new words come from? – TED Ed

There are over 170,000 words currently in use in the English language. Yet every year, about a thousand new words are added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Where do they come from, and how do they make it into our e...

What does the word ‘theory’ mean in science?

There’s an important difference between a scientific theory and the fanciful theories of an imaginative raconteur, and this quirk of semantics can lead to an all-too-common misconception. In general conversation, a ‘t...

How to spot a misleading graph

When they’re used well, graphs can help us intuitively grasp complex data. But as visual software has enabled more usage of graphs throughout all media, it has also made them easier to use in a careless or dishonest w...

A Few Things to Know About American Sign Language

What might people who use American Sign Language (ASL) want people who don't use it to better understand? DT Bruno, Kallissa Bailey, Ardavan Guity, Leyland Lyken, and Felicia Williams answer that question in this vide...

Chaser, the Border Collie that can understand 1022 words (or more)

Border Collies are known to be super smart and disciplined dogs that can take detailed verbal commands while herding sheep and performing other helpful tasks. How many verbal commands can they understand? This demonst...

Poet on the Shore by Yuxi Liu

An autonomous robot rolls across the beach. Though it might stop moving, its sensors haven't stopped taking in information about its surrounding environment: the waves, the wind, the sounds of people and animals both ...

The evolution of the book

What makes a book a book? Is it just anything that stores and communicates information? Or does it have to do with paper, binding, font, ink, its weight in your hands, the smell of the pages? To answer these questions...

Bouquet, a device that translates colors into fragrances

Point the cone at a patch of blue and sniff the other end. An ocean scent wafts through the nozzle and into your nose. The Bouquet color-to-smell translator was created in just one week by Erika Marthins, Arthur Mosca...

Why Is A Group Of Crows Called A “Murder”?

A leap of leopards, a flamboyance of flamingos, a barrel of monkeys, a murmuration of starlings: Collective nouns for animals are fun and full of personality and information, but how did these descriptions come about?...

Genevieve von Petzinger & the invention of graphics on cave walls

Northern Spain's Cueva de El Castillo and Cueva de La Pasiega both contain incredible specimens of Franco-Cantabrian cave art, paintings and engravings in Cantabria province and southwestern France. El Castillo cave i...

Invisible Nature: Code of the Treehopper

Hiding in plain sight and deceptively still, treehoppers have evolved an ingenious way to communicate—using a complex series of vibrations. Now, scientists are listening in and starting to crack the treehopper code. A...

Spend a Day With the World’s Only Grass-Eating Monkeys

Geladas, one of the flagship species of Africa’s alpine grasslands, are found only in the Ethiopian Highlands. They are the smallest vestige of a genus that millions of years ago stretched from South Africa to Spain a...

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