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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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Mind Matters Posts

Human behavior in a post-rational world

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Mind Matters

Guns, Crime and Doctors

800px-guiteau_s_pistol
over 4 years ago

It's safer to travel by airplane than by car, but people feel more secure on the road. The likely reason is that we feel less threatened when we have some control: Unlike passive passengers in jets, drivers can enjoy the illusion that their risk depends completely on their own actions. Some ...

Mind Matters

Why Winners Are Geniuses and Losers Are Dolts

Lion-zoo
over 4 years ago

Being a social animal saves you a lot of trouble. You don't need to grow huge claws or massive armored plates to protect yourself; your weapons and your shield are in your relationships to other members of your pack. In many bird species, a flock will ``mob'' a predator. And in Alaska I've seen ...

Mind Matters

Department of It Ain't Necessarily So

759px-paul_cezanne_leda_au_cygne
over 4 years ago

A number of evolutionary psychologists have claimed men and women have innate, inescapable differences in their approach to sex. It's supposed to be a logical consequence of the two genders' different reproductive strategies. The theory is, as the old rhyme goes, Higgamous, Hoggamous, woman's ...

Mind Matters

Attack of the Racist Babies, Part 2

120px-black_triggerfish
over 4 years ago

My last post was focussed on how white parents talk about race. The reason, of course, is that African-Americans and other minorities in the U.S. aren't in the same boat when it comes to these questions. Claiming that they are -- that we should talk about racism as if it's the same problem for ...

Mind Matters

High Tech, Meet Low Tech

Netgear-dg834g-router
over 4 years ago

I've been happy with my wifi router for the most part, but its signal isn't that strong at the furthest part of the apartment from where it sits. I've sometimes thought about buying boosters or antennae or some other gadget to try to improve the situation. Turns out there was a cheaper solution ...

Mind Matters

Losses

Paintbrush
over 4 years ago

I had a neighbor years ago, a nice woman in a happy second marriage with two adult kids and two elderly parents. Devoted to Martha Stewart's algorithms for a gracious life. The last time I spoke to her she was painting her front door yet again because she wasn't satisfied with the color from two ...

Mind Matters

Why (I Think) Conservatism is Unnatural

Bt-old_vampire_young_sleeper
over 4 years ago

America's health-care debate is like a grown-up version of the silly '90's-era ``culture wars'': Today's fights are exposing profound and serious differences between ``progressive'' and ``conservative'' worldviews. There is some research to suggest that these differences are rooted in ...

Mind Matters

Shandaloon Versus Scarsdale

Shandaloon
over 4 years ago

The fuel that drives science forward is a combustible mixture of two contrary principles. The first is that the universe follows rules. The second is that the universe is full of surprises. If you accept only one of those two, you can't have science.  Universally true explanations that can't be ...

Mind Matters

The Myth of Prevention

Obesity-waist_circumference
over 4 years ago

In the raging debate over healthcare here in the U.S., there is one point on which everybody, from Newt Gingrich to Barack Obama, seems to agree: We should be spending more to prevent expensive diseases from striking in the first place, and thereby save society a great deal of money in the long ...