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You know what blood is — it's that red stuff that oozes out if you get a paper cut. The average person has about 1 to 1½ gallons (4-6 liters) of it. But what is blood, really, and where does it come from?

Your body doesn't go to the store to buy those ingredients. It makes them. Bone marrow — that goopy stuff inside your bones — makes the red blood cells, the white blood cells, and the platelets. Plasma is mostly water, which is absorbed from the intestines from what you drink and eat, with the liver supplying important proteins.

Put all these ingredients together and you have blood — an essential part of the circulatory system. Thanks to your heart (which pumps blood) and your blood vessels (which carry it), blood travels throughout your body from your head to your toes.

Vanilla is one of those powerful ingredients we use all the time, but probably take for granted. Whether it's vanilla extract in your chocolate chip cookies or scraped vanilla beans for custard or ice cream, vanilla is called for in all kinds of recipes. With so many uses and so many different types of vanilla -- from "Bourbon" to Mexican -- vanilla is an omnipresent ingredient whose value cannot be overstated.

As ubiquitous as vanilla is, however, its origin isn't known to everyone. Do you know where vanilla comes from? Vanilla's origin story is anything but... er... vanilla.

While chocolate may be superior to vanilla in all ways, vanilla is still pretty great. The fact that it comes from a beautiful, delicate orchid makes it that much better.

If you want to get even more from TED, like the ability to save talks to watch later,  sign up for a TED account now .

­Just ­about every tree has an outer layer of cork bark, but the cork oak (Quercus suber) is the primary source of most cork products in the world, including wine bottle stoppers. These trees primarily grow in countries that run along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, where there's plenty of sunshine, low rainfall and high humidity. The countries that produce the most cork include Portugal, Algeria, Spain, Morocco, France, Italy and Tunisia.

Cork has been used as bottle stoppers for more than 400 years. It is possibly the best suited material to use as a bottle stopper because it contains a natural waxy substance, called suberin . This substance makes cork impermeable to liquids and gas, and prevents the cork from rotting.

You know what blood is — it's that red stuff that oozes out if you get a paper cut. The average person has about 1 to 1½ gallons (4-6 liters) of it. But what is blood, really, and where does it come from?

Your body doesn't go to the store to buy those ingredients. It makes them. Bone marrow — that goopy stuff inside your bones — makes the red blood cells, the white blood cells, and the platelets. Plasma is mostly water, which is absorbed from the intestines from what you drink and eat, with the liver supplying important proteins.

Put all these ingredients together and you have blood — an essential part of the circulatory system. Thanks to your heart (which pumps blood) and your blood vessels (which carry it), blood travels throughout your body from your head to your toes.

You know what blood is — it's that red stuff that oozes out if you get a paper cut. The average person has about 1 to 1½ gallons (4-6 liters) of it. But what is blood, really, and where does it come from?

Your body doesn't go to the store to buy those ingredients. It makes them. Bone marrow — that goopy stuff inside your bones — makes the red blood cells, the white blood cells, and the platelets. Plasma is mostly water, which is absorbed from the intestines from what you drink and eat, with the liver supplying important proteins.

Put all these ingredients together and you have blood — an essential part of the circulatory system. Thanks to your heart (which pumps blood) and your blood vessels (which carry it), blood travels throughout your body from your head to your toes.

Vanilla is one of those powerful ingredients we use all the time, but probably take for granted. Whether it's vanilla extract in your chocolate chip cookies or scraped vanilla beans for custard or ice cream, vanilla is called for in all kinds of recipes. With so many uses and so many different types of vanilla -- from "Bourbon" to Mexican -- vanilla is an omnipresent ingredient whose value cannot be overstated.

As ubiquitous as vanilla is, however, its origin isn't known to everyone. Do you know where vanilla comes from? Vanilla's origin story is anything but... er... vanilla.

While chocolate may be superior to vanilla in all ways, vanilla is still pretty great. The fact that it comes from a beautiful, delicate orchid makes it that much better.

You know what blood is — it's that red stuff that oozes out if you get a paper cut. The average person has about 1 to 1½ gallons (4-6 liters) of it. But what is blood, really, and where does it come from?

Your body doesn't go to the store to buy those ingredients. It makes them. Bone marrow — that goopy stuff inside your bones — makes the red blood cells, the white blood cells, and the platelets. Plasma is mostly water, which is absorbed from the intestines from what you drink and eat, with the liver supplying important proteins.

Put all these ingredients together and you have blood — an essential part of the circulatory system. Thanks to your heart (which pumps blood) and your blood vessels (which carry it), blood travels throughout your body from your head to your toes.

Vanilla is one of those powerful ingredients we use all the time, but probably take for granted. Whether it's vanilla extract in your chocolate chip cookies or scraped vanilla beans for custard or ice cream, vanilla is called for in all kinds of recipes. With so many uses and so many different types of vanilla -- from "Bourbon" to Mexican -- vanilla is an omnipresent ingredient whose value cannot be overstated.

As ubiquitous as vanilla is, however, its origin isn't known to everyone. Do you know where vanilla comes from? Vanilla's origin story is anything but... er... vanilla.

While chocolate may be superior to vanilla in all ways, vanilla is still pretty great. The fact that it comes from a beautiful, delicate orchid makes it that much better.

If you want to get even more from TED, like the ability to save talks to watch later,  sign up for a TED account now .




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