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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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The Wheel, the Original Meme

June 13, 2013, 1:52 PM
Invention_wheel

Ideas spread for lots of reasons.  It might be a catchy tune or a funny joke that you’ve heard that sticks in the brain and makes you want to propagate it, to tell others.  But one reason that we know that ideas stick and spread is because they’re useful.  The useful ones propagate. 

So an example is the wheel.  The wheel was invented in Egypt but it was improved upon hundreds of years later in Sumaria by going from a solid disk to spokes.  How did it get to Sumaria?  Well, merchants used it to travel and spread their goods from point A to point B.  So that utility to them, the fact that it was a useful invention helped the invention itself spread from place to place.  It was carried by humans to other places where then it was improved upon by other people. 

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The Wheel, the Original Meme

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