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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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Why Elon Musk is Betting on Solar

September 12, 2013, 12:00 AM

Elon Musk is not interested in making safe bets. In fact, as the legendary entrepreneur told Big Think, he tends to be interested in industries that "a lot of people think are impossible or think you can’t succeed at - that’s usually where there’s opportunity."

Consider solar. Wall Street tends to be bullish on solar energy, but is bearish on solar stocks. No one has yet figured out how to deliver solar energy cheaply. Musk, the co-founder of PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors, among other companies, is looking to prove the doubters wrong with his solar energy company SolarCity

While SolarCity has been consistently unprofitable, the company's shares recently "popped" (up 14.4%) this week following an announcement that it had created, along with Direct Energy, a dedicated investment fund capable of financing up to $124 million in solar projects. 

Consider that the Earth is "not a frozen ice ball," says Musk. "It’s due to the sun." The challenge is to capture just a tiny amount of energy "compared to what the sun puts on the Earth every day."

So how long will it take to get there? Musk hopes to accelerate the process with innovation.

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