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The 10 most popular TED-Ed Animations of 2022

By Lauren McAlpine on December 13, 2022 in News + Updates, TED-Ed Lessons

Xixi Wang

Xixi Wang

In 2022, our YouTube audience spent nearly 24 million hours watching TED-Ed Animations (that’s equal to over 2,700 years!). Our most-viewed videos of 2022 include an eye-opening glimpse into the diverse world of animal pupils, a bring-your-son-to-work day gone terribly, tragically wrong, the surprising electrical powers of sausage, one to help you understand why you procrastinate (even though you know you shouldn’t), and more.

Behold our top 10 most popular videos of 2022:

1. Why is it so hard to escape poverty?

Imagine that you’ve been unemployed for months. Government benefit programs have helped you cover your expenses, but you’re barely getting by. Finally, you receive a paycheck— but there’s a catch. Your new job pays enough to disqualify you from benefit programs, but not enough to cover your costs. So how do we design benefit programs that don’t penalize you for working? Ann-Helén Bay investigates.

2. Why do cats have vertical pupils?

Peering into the eyes of different animals, you’ll see some extraordinarily shaped pupils. House cats, for one, are twilight hunters with vertically elongated pupils. Many grazing animals, like goats, have rectangular pupils. Other animals have crescent- or heart-shaped pupils. So, what’s going on? Why are there so many different pupil shapes? Emma Bryce digs into the science of animal vision.

3. Why you procrastinate even when it feels bad

The report you’ve been putting off is due tomorrow. It’s time to buckle down, open your computer … and check your phone. Maybe watch your favorite YouTube channel? Or maybe you should just start in the morning? This is the cycle of procrastination. So, why do we procrastinate when we know it’s bad for us? Explore how your body triggers a procrastination response, and how you can break the cycle.

4. How does heart transplant surgery work?

Your heart beats more than 100,000 times a day. In just a minute, it pumps over five liters of blood throughout your body. But unlike skin and bones, the heart has a limited ability to repair itself. So if this organ is severely damaged, there’s often only one medical solution: replacing it. Roni Shanoada explores how this complex and intricate procedure works.

5. Why are cockroaches so hard to kill?

In ancient Egypt, there was a spell that declared, “Be far from me, O vile cockroach.” Thousands of years later, we’re still trying to oust these insects. But from poison traps to brandished slippers, cockroaches seem to weather just about everything we throw at them. So, what makes cockroaches so hard to kill? Ameya Gondhalekar digs into the genetic wonders of this troublingly tenacious creature.

6. Why is the Mona Lisa so famous?

More than 500 years after its creation, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” is arguably the world’s most famous painting. Many scholars consider it an outstanding work of Renaissance art— but history is full of great paintings. So, how did this particular portrait skyrocket to unprecedented fame? Noah Charney explores the factors that helped create a worldwide sensation.

7. The tragic myth of the Sun God’s son

Every morning, Helios unleashed his golden chariot, and set out across the sky. As the Sun God transformed dawn into day, he thought of his son, Phaethon, below. To prove to Phaethon that he was truly his father, Helios decided to grant him anything he wanted. Unfortunately, what Phaethon wanted was to drive Helios’ chariot for a day. Iseult Gillespie shares the tragic myth of the charioteer.

8. The myth of Hades and Persephone

One day, Persephone was frolicking in a meadow with the nymph, Cyane. As they admired a flower, they noticed it tremble in the ground. Suddenly, the earth split, and a terrifying figure arose. It was Hades, god of the underworld. He wrenched Persephone from Cyane, dragged her into his inky chariot, and blasted back through the earth. Iseult Gillespie shares the myth of the goddess of spring.

9. Why a sausage does what your gloves cannot

In 2010, South Korea experienced a particularly cold winter. People couldn’t activate their smartphones while wearing gloves, so they began wielding snack sausages— causing one company to see a 40% rise in sausage sales. So, what could sausages do that gloves couldn’t? In other words, how do touchscreens actually work? Charles Wallace and Sajan Saini dig into the science of touchscreens.

10. What is the rarest color in nature?

Plants, animals, or minerals found in nature bear almost every color imaginable. There are two factors that influence what hues you see in the wild: physics and evolution. So, which colors are you least likely to see in the natural world? Victoria Hwang explores one of nature’s rarest spectacles.

On behalf of everyone here at TED-Ed, thanks for learning with us this year!

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Check out our most popular Animations for 202120202019, and 2018.

Tags: Animation