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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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Quoted at Science...

March 31, 2008, 4:57 PM
A few weeks ago I highlighted this relevant finding from the massive amount of data contained in Pew's annual State of the Media report. And Chris highlighted the results of this separate survey. The posts grabbed the attention of a reporter for Science and the news nuggets are featured in the latest edition of the magazine with some quick analysis from me.

SCIENCE OFF THE AIR

Nearly half of Americans cannot name a "role model" scientist, living or dead. And only 11% can come up with the name of a living one, according to a survey released last week by the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois. And whom do they think of most often? Bill Gates and Al Gore. Each was named by 6% of the sample, on a par with Albert Einstein. Most respondents also reported that citizens' ignorance of science is "a detriment to our nation."

A possible source of the problem emerged from another study released last week by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. It found that for every 5 hours of U.S. cable television news, only 2 minutes are devoted to science or the environment. By contrast, the same period contains 10 minutes of celebrity news and nearly half an hour on crime.

Given the priorities in their major news outlets, "it's not surprising that in polls, few Americans rank climate change or the environment as a top political priority or even a major national problem," says Matthew Nisbet, a social scientist at American University in Washington, D.C.

 

Quoted at Science...

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