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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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IdeaFeed Posts

Big ideas in the news from around the web

IdeaFeed

Iraqi Refugees in the U.S.

Missing
about 4 years ago

Of the 4.7 million Iraqis displaced by the war, 100,000 have been relocated, one-third of those to the U.S. The Guardian echoes calls to expedite refugee processing and to provide counselling services. "Misguided as the invasion was, I don't think this was quite what the Bush administration had in ...

IdeaFeed

To Mars or an Asteroid by 2025

Missing
about 4 years ago

"The new national space policy calls on NASA to target missions beyond low-Earth orbit — such as to an asteroid — by 2025, with the eventual goal of sending astronauts to Mars." The CSM reports. "International cooperation is key on all fronts included in the new space policy, White House officials ...

IdeaFeed

Supreme Court Affirms Gun Rights

Missing
about 4 years ago

"It's one thing to lose in court. Chicago has to win the daily struggle on its streets." The Chicago Tribune reacts to the Supreme Court's decision against they city's handgun regulation. "Like it or not, the court has elevated gun ownership to the same level of protection as freedom of speech ...

IdeaFeed

Why Day Dreaming Is Good For You

Missing
about 4 years ago

"A wandering mind can protect you from immediate perils and keep you on course toward long-term goals," says The New York Times. Researchers find benefits to being a bit airy. "There’s an evolutionary advantage to the brain’s system of mind wandering, says Eric Klinger, a psychologist at the ...

IdeaFeed

Call to Return to "Humane" Philosophy

Missing
about 4 years ago

William James was about the only philosopher who didn’t end up a pettifogging nit-picker or overbearing egomaniac with delusions of genius. So says New Humanist's Jonathan Rée. Wittgenstein said of James that what made him such a good philosopher was "he was a good human being.” James died a 100 ...

IdeaFeed

The G-20: Vague Promises & Mutual Blame

Missing
about 4 years ago

Spiegel damns the latest G-20 summit as one of "yet more vague promises", and says national interests have once again become more important than the big picture. "The rich nations pledged to slash their budget deficits, without making any real commitments. The result is a setback for President Obama ...

IdeaFeed

Liking to Outrank Linking?

Missing
about 4 years ago

Facebook's Open Graph protocol is a shot across Google’s bow, but will the power of the “like” exceed that of the link, asks Mathew Ingram. "Knowing what our friends or Facebook users in general have recommended is useful in some cases — when looking for a hotel or restaurant, for example — but ...

IdeaFeed

Online Porn Ghetto a Good Idea

Missing
about 4 years ago

A porn-only internet domain, where addresses have the suffix xxx not www, has the support of Guardian columnist Barbara Ellen. “Ultimately, asking that someone type xxx instead of www has got naff all to do with censorship. If anything, it's helpful. In the supermarket, people don't march around the ...

IdeaFeed

Becker Says Work Beyond 70

Missing
about 4 years ago

The main budgetary issue is expected growth in entitlements spending — one key reason the retirement age should be raised to near 70, says Gary Becker. There've been "steps in the right direction, but they do not go far enough and have been too slow. It is time to raise more rapidly the normal ...

IdeaFeed

Humans Have Mega-Bites

Missing
about 4 years ago

The design of the human jaw actually makes it 40-50 percent more efficient than for all great apes, Australian researchers have found. "Pound for pound we're actually biting harder than a gorilla or a chimpanzee," they say. They also found no big difference between the bite force of a human and that ...

IdeaFeed

Phones the New Blood Diamonds?

Missing
about 4 years ago

Are some of our elegant symbols of modernity — smartphones, laptops and digital cameras — fueling slaughter and rape in Congo? The New York Times on the campaign for “clean” minerals. Nicholas D. Kristof says he's never reported on a war more barbaric than in Congo, where warlords finance their ...

IdeaFeed

Are We Financial Fools?

Missing
about 4 years ago

Is financial illiteracy “rational ignorance”— that is justified because the costs of paying attention outweigh the benefits? The New Yorker warns that the depth of our financial ignorance is startling yet few decisions affect us more directly than the ones we make about our money. “The difference ...

IdeaFeed

I'm a Doctor & I Have Alzheimer's

Missing
about 4 years ago

Retired physician and emeritus professor Arthur Rivin shares his insights on the increasingly common disease which 5.3 million Americans also have. There's not much we know about Alzheimer's but Rivin has some practical tips for anyone with memory problems. These include carrying a small notebook ...

IdeaFeed

Slave Labor or Archaic Customs?

Missing
about 4 years ago

Is slave labor in the Brazilian Amazon due to cultural misinterpretations, as landowners claim? One told the BBC, "We are very humble people with archaic customs. If you...find someone sleeping rough, on the floor, or in a dirty shed, that can be something normal here.” But Vladimir Hernandez ...

IdeaFeed

Sexual Apathy in America

Missing
about 4 years ago

Is American sexual apathy a medical condition or the result of an "anxious, overachieving, white upper middle class?" The New York Times ruminates on the prospect of female Viagra. "The real culprit, originating in the 19th century, is bourgeois propriety," argues Camille Paglia. "As respectability ...