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We are Big Idea Hunters…

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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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Age of Engagement Posts

Communication, culture, and public affairs

Age of Engagement

CROWDING OUT SCIENCE: "Perfect Storm" of Foreign Policy Crises Likely to Push Climate Change, Stem Cell Research, and Other Science/Enviro Topics Down Media-Policy-Public Agenda

Missing
about 8 years ago

The media, policy, and public agenda can be said to have a "limited carrying capacity." Since neither news organizations,members of Congress, nor the public can devote equal amounts of resources and attention to all issues, the rise in attention to one issue on the news agenda, is likely to bump ...

Age of Engagement

BRODER ON SC RESEARCH AND THE WISC. GOVERNOR'S RACE: Research Proves to Be a Chink in GOP Armor; Especially When Framed Around Economic Development

Missing
about 8 years ago

In yesterday's Washington Post, David Broder focused on the Wisc. Governor race, and the ability of Democratic incumbent Jim Doyle to re-define stem cell research around economic development in the state. The framing strategy is putting pressure on GOP candidate and U.S. Rep. Mark Green, who ...

Age of Engagement

TEN YEARS AFTER DOLLY: Less Than a Third of Americans Believe Cloning Animals is Morally Acceptable; Only a Third of Americans Are Clear About the Differences Between Therapeutic and Reproductive Cloning; Less Than a Majority Support Therapeutic Cloning

Missing
about 8 years ago

Today marks the ten year anniversary of the birth of the cloned sheep Dolly, and the anniversary comes as Congress debates various bills impacting funding for embryonic stem cell research (NPR files two reports today, here and here.) Despite ten years of debate over therapeutic and reproductive ...

Age of Engagement

INCONVENIENT TRUTH'S PROFITS LEVEL OFF: Opens in 73 More Theaters, But Weekend Gross Falls Short of Previous Two Weekend's Earnings

Missing
about 8 years ago

It appears that while audiences continue to go see Inconvenient Truth, some of the excitement has worn off. According to BoxOffice Mojo, the film opened in 73 more theaters this weekend, bringing its total to 587, still a tiny number compared to the 3000 screens that blockbusters run on. Across ...

Age of Engagement

THE FUNCTIONAL VIEW OF THE MEDIA: NYTIMES Details Efforts of Local Owners to Buy Back Newspapers from Out-of-Town Ownership Groups; Newspapers Defined as Central to Community Integration; USC Annenberg Mentioned As Potential Buyer of LA TIMES

Missing
about 8 years ago

There are two dominant ways we view the role of the news media in the U.S., with both views reflected in the traditions of classical sociology. The first perspective emphasizes the "power and persuasion" nature of the news. When we think of the media as a campaign tool, as a vehicle for elites to ...

Age of Engagement

SOCIAL MODELING CLIMATE ACTIVISM: Director Says DVD Version of Inconvenient Truth May Include Vignettes of How Citizens Can Get Involved

Missing
about 8 years ago

There are two generalizable findings on influencing behavior change. First, citizens are more likely to get involved politically if they see members of their peer group or social group getting involved. In other words, the choice to participate may be as simple as doing something that everyone ...

Age of Engagement

SO WHY DOESN'T INCONVENIENT TRUTH PROVIDE MORE POLICY PROPOSALS?: Director Says Goal Was to Persuade and Mobilize; Policy Proposals Would Constitute a Second Film

Missing
about 8 years ago

One of the critiques of Inconvenient Truth that has emerged is that Gore spends a lot of time warning viewers about global warming, but strays from actually providing concrete suggestions for policy action. Some have argued that this reflects his eye on the Presidential race in 2008, and that ...

Age of Engagement

JOURNAL WATCH: New Study Finds That As of 2003, The Most Consistent Predictor of Citizen Activism in the Stem Cell Debate Was Church Mobilization

Missing
about 8 years ago

A pre-publication release of a study I did with Kirby Goidel of LSU is now available at the website of the journal POLITICAL BEHAVIOR. Analyzing national survey data collected in 2003, the study finds that the most consistent predictor of citizen activism in the stem cell debate (measured as ...