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Think about everyday services, and what comes to mind? Probably practical matters: housing, food, health, education. Artist Theaster Gates wants to add a new item to the list. He makes the case for why, really, beauty is the most important basic service.

Rob Knight | ideas.ted.com

In this excerpt from his TED Book, microbial researcher Rob Knight shares his — and other scientists’ — work to understand the human microbiome — and the key diseases in which it now seems that microbes may play a part, including inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, and allergies and asthma.

Interested in improving your own upstreamist health care? Below, six simple ways to start.

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In Africa, ebola has already killed hundreds and sickened more than a thousand people so far this year — and the pandemic continues to spread into new countries. When did the current outbreak begin? Why can’t it be stopped? How much should you freak out? 3 ideas behind the week’s headlines.

Psychologist Kelly McGonigal used to believe that stress is bad for your health. Then, new research changed her mind. Here are 7 studies that suggest new ways of looking at stress.

What are your drugs trying to tell you? | ideas.ted.com

The label on the back of your medical pill box is important — and incomprehensible. Find out what Thomas Goetz, former executive editor at Wired, is doing to help you understand the dangers and common side-effects of your drugs.

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Physician Larry Brilliant shares data from his digital system for early detection of pandemics.