Tag Archives: TED-Ed

How Thor got his hammer – Scott A. Mellor

Loki the mischief-maker, was writhing uncomfortably in Thor’s iron grip. The previous night, while the rest of the gods slept, he’d snuck up on Thor’s wife Sif and shorn off her beautiful hair. It’d seemed like a funny prank at the time, but now Thor was about to break every bone in his body. Loki… Read More »

Can you solve the famously difficult green-eyed logic puzzle? – Alex Gendler

Imagine an island where 100 people, all perfect logicians, are imprisoned by a mad dictator. There’s no escape, except for one strange rule. Any prisoner can approach the guards at night and ask to leave. If they have green eyes, they’ll be released. If not, they’ll be tossed into the volcano. As it happens, all… Read More »

Who were the Vestal Virgins, and what was their job? – Peta Greenfield

A lone priestess walks towards an underground chamber. People line the streets to watch as she proclaims her innocence. It doesn’t matter. She’s already been judged and found guilty. The sentence? Live burial. The underground chamber contains a portion of bread, water, milk, and oil. She will have a lamp, a bed, and a blanket,… Read More »

Can you solve the penniless pilgrim riddle? – Daniel Finkel

After months of travel, you’ve arrived at Duonia, home to the famous temple that’s the destination of your pilgrimage. Entering from the northwest, you pass through the city gates and the welcome center, where you’re given a map and a brochure. The map reveals that the town consists of 16 blocks, formed by five streets… Read More »

The Atlantic slave trade: What too few textbooks told you – Anthony Hazard

Slavery, the treatment of human beings as property, deprived of personal rights, has occurred in many forms throughout the world. But one institution stands out for both its global scale and its lasting legacy. The Atlantic slave trade, occurring from the late 15th to the mid 19th century and spanning three continents, forcibly brought more… Read More »

The tragic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice – Brendan Pelsue

It was the perfect wedding, the guests thought. The groom was Orpheus, the greatest of all poets and musicians. The bride Eurydice, a wood nymph. Anyone could tell the couple was truly and deeply in love. Suddenly, Eurydice stumbled, then fell to the ground. By the time Orpheus reached her side, she was dead, and… Read More »

The five major world religions – John Bellaimey

Translator: Andrea McDonough Reviewer: Jessica Ruby In all times and places in our history, human beings have wondered, “Where did we come from? What’s our place in the world? What happens to us after we die?” Religions are systems of belief that have developed and evolved over time in response to these and other eternal… Read More »

The myth of Arachne – Iseult Gillespie

From sailors who were turned into pigs, nymphs that sprouted into trees, and a gaze that converted the beholder to stone, Greek mythology brims with shape-shifters. The powerful gods usually changed their own forms at will, but for mortals, the mutations were often unwanted. One such unnerving transformation befell the spinner Arachne. Arachne was the… Read More »

How high can you count on your fingers? (Spoiler: much higher than 10) – James Tanton

How high can you count on your fingers? It seems like a question with an obvious answer. After all, most of us have ten fingers, or to be more precise, eight fingers and two thumbs. This gives us a total of ten digits on our two hands, which we use to count to ten. It’s… Read More »

The myth of Cupid and Psyche – Brendan Pelsue

“Beauty is a curse,” Psyche thought as she looked over the cliff’s edge where she’d been abandoned by her father. She’d been born with the physical perfection so complete that she was worshipped as a new incarnation of Venus, the goddess of love. But real-life human lovers were too intimidated even to approach her. When… Read More »