The colossal consequences of supervolcanoes

In 1816, Europe and North America were plagued by heavy rains, odd-colored snow, famines, strange fogs and very cold weather well into June. Though many people believed it to be the apocalypse, this “year without a summer” was actually the result of a supervolcano eruption that happened one year earlier over 1,000 miles away. Alex Gendler describes the history and science of these epic eruptions.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-colossal-consequences-of-supervolcanoes-alex-gendler

Lesson by Alex Gendler, animation by Andrew Foerster.

via TED-Ed.


A brief history of religion in art

Before we began putting art into museums, art mostly served as the visual counterpart to religious stories. Are these theological paintings, sculptures, textiles and illuminations from centuries ago still relevant to us? Jeremiah Dickey describes the evolution of art in the public eye and explains how the modern viewer can see the history of art as an ongoing global conversation.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/a-brief-history-of-religion-in-art-ted-ed

Lesson and animation by TED-Ed.

via TED-Ed.


Why aren’t we only using solar power?

Solar power is cheaper and more sustainable than our current coal-fueled power plants, so why haven’t we made the switch? The real culprits here are the clouds, which make solar power difficult to control. Alexandros George Charalambides explains how solar towers and panels create electricity and how scientists are trying to create a system that can function even under cloud cover.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/why-aren-t-we-only-using-solar-power-alexandros-george-charalambides

Lesson by Alexandros George Charalambides, animation by Ace & Son Moving Picture Co., LLC.

via TED-Ed.


How bees help plants have sex

Plants have a hard time finding mates — their inability to get up and move around tends to inhibit them. Luckily for plants, bees and other pollinator species (including butterflies, moths and birds) help matchmake these lonely plants in exchange for food. Fernanda S. Valdovinos explains how these intricate pollination networks work and how it can all change from one season to the next.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-bees-help-plants-have-sex-fernanda-s-valdovinos

Lesson by Fernanda S. Valdovinos, animation by The Moving Company Animation Studio.

via TED-Ed.


Tycho Brahe, the scandalous astronomer

If you think scientists lead boring, monotonous lives, you must not know about Tycho Brahe. The 16th century astronomer who accurately predicted planetary motion led quite a dramatic life — complete with a kidnapping, a sword duel and even a clairvoyant dwarf. Dan Wenkel dives into the history behind this sensational scientist, explaining how he continued to inspire intrigue even after his death.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/tycho-brahe-the-scandalous-astronomer-dan-wenkel

Lesson by Dan Wenkel, animation by Andrew Nam.

via TED-Ed.