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Reflecting back on 2017, it was an unpredictable, wild year — one which seems to have happened in a flash. Conversations in real life and in our social media feeds were constantly filled with fleeting topics on politics and social issues, ever-evolving technology leaps, and scientific events.

The most successful TEDxMileHigh talks from 2017 seemed to reflect the bigger conversation around the nation, from an intriguing experiment on the relationship between Internet culture and race, an illuminating talk on the total solar eclipse event, to the secret to maintaining a bipartisan friendship.

Each of these talks made an attempt to answer questions that we all pondered in 2017, so we’ve gathered the top 10 most popular Talks of 2017!

1. You owe it to yourself to experience a total-solar eclipse

On August 21, 2017, the moon’s shadow raced from Oregon to South Carolina in what some consider to be the most awe-inspiring spectacle in all of nature: a total solar eclipse. Umbraphile David Baron chases these rare events across the globe, and in this ode to the bliss of seeing the solar corona, he explains why you owe it to yourself to witness one, too.

2. Your friendship can survive the 2016 election

The 2016 election uncovered a level of polarization like we’ve never seen before and many friendships didn’t survive it. But for Caitlin & Lauran, two best friends who think very differently about politics, breaking up wasn’t an option. How did they maintain a strong relationship across party lines? This inspiring talk offers answers to a seemingly impossible problem.

3. A Black Man Undercover In The Alt-Right*

Scroll down below any viral video and you will find users waging war in the comments section, dropping racial slurs and epithets from another time. Curious about his haters, Theo E.J. Wilson did the only reasonable thing – he went undercover and joined their ranks. In this insightful and downright hilarious talk, Theo shares some surprising discoveries about both sides of the aisle.

4. The real reason I traveled to 196 countries

In 2017, 27-year-old Cassie De Pecol set two Guinness World Records for the fastest travel around the world to every sovereign country. Join Cassie for an in-depth look at how she did it, what it was like, and for the first time publicly, the real reason why she started the expedition.

5. What the Columbine Shooting taught me about pain and addiction

“Less than an hour after scrambling out the back door of the Columbine High School library, I was lying in a hospital bed, medicated on a variety of substances intended to relieve my pain,” recalls survivor Austin Eubanks. That was the beginning of a decade-long addiction that led to a profound realization about the current opioid epidemic: how we manage pain is both the problem and the solution.

6. A new way to measure time

Our modern lives are ruled by clocks and meticulously scheduled down to the minute or hour. We take this measure for granted, but did it ever occur to you that there is more than one way to measure time? Creative technologist Arielle Hein discovered that redesigning time gave her life more meaning and freedom.

7. Supersonic flight is coming – get ready!

Technology in the 21st century is developing with exponential speed, but aviation has fallen behind. In fact, commercial flight today is slower than it was fifty years ago. How can this be? Join entrepreneur Blake Scholl for an awe-inspiring look at the future of aviation where the cheapest flight is also the fastest one.

8. Increase your self-awareness with one simple fix

Self-awareness has countless proven benefits — stronger relationships, higher performance, more effective leadership. Sounds pretty great, right? Here’s the bad news: 95% of people think that they’re self-aware, but only 10-15% actually are! Luckily, Tasha Eurich has a simple solution that will instantly improve your self-awareness.

9. The fight against teen suicide begins in the classroom

We’ve heard it in the news – the U.S. is gripped by an epidemic of teen suicide. Following the suicide of one student and the attempted suicide of another, high school teacher Brittni Darras realized that just watching for the signs isn’t enough. But how do we begin to tackle such a complicated and insurmountable problem? The answer is surprisingly simple.

1o. We let kids design our city — here’s what happened

As adults, we think of kids as “future citizens.” Their ideas and opinions will matter someday, but not today — there must be a reason the voting age is 18, right? But kids make up 25% of the population — shouldn’t we include them in some important conversations? In this inspiring talk, urban planner Mara Mintzer wonders what would happen if we let children design our cities.


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