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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

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 ...

IdeaFeed

Natural Gas Boom

Missing
about 4 years ago

MIT researchers are advising the government to use natural gas as a low-carbon bridge to a cleaner energy society, but they warn renewables must be developed lest gas become a bridge to nowhere. "The scenario goes like this, according to MIT: Nuclear power, renewable energy and carbon capture and ...

IdeaFeed

Why Not To Buy Fake Fashion

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Wearing fake goods makes you feel a fake yourself, and causes you to be more dishonest in other matters than you would otherwise be." The Economist looks at faux fashionistas. "Those who buy counterfeit designer goods project a fashionable image at a fraction of the price of the real thing. You ...

IdeaFeed

Martha Nussbaum on the Humanities

Missing
about 4 years ago

In her new book, the contemporary philosopher writes that a person who follows "argument rather than numbers is a good person for a democracy to have," opposing the primacy of short term economic gain. "Nussbaum is a philosopher who has sought to foreground questions of human value over the drier ...

IdeaFeed

Our Post-Humanist Future

Missing
about 4 years ago

The New Scientist reports on one biochemist and one visual artist who are teaming up to investigate the ever blurring line between nature and technology—a post-humanist perspective, they say. "The pair have collaborated since they discovered a shared interest in the blurred borderlands between ...

IdeaFeed

What If Taxes Were Voluntary?

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Voluntary taxes offer a politically palatable way to raise additional revenue and perhaps even to strengthen Americans’ sense of patriotism and citizenship." Pony up, says The Boston Globe. Amidst the economic slump, raising taxes is a political death knell, but this could be solved, in part, if ...

IdeaFeed

Does Climate Change Worsen Hurricanes?

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Could natural variability be responsible for the warmer water and bigger storms, instead of greenhouse gases?" Miller-McCune looks at the scientific debate as hurricane season approaches. "The issue has become overly political, the science at its limits. Perhaps this is just as well, since the ...

IdeaFeed

Multiculturalism Improves Creativity

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Living in another culture and learning the practices of that culture may enhance the psychological processes that make people more creative," says Psychology Today. The ease of modern travel has encouraged emigration across the globe but that does not mean leaving one's native culture for another ...

IdeaFeed

The Law Enforcement Crisis

Missing
about 4 years ago

Despite a bloated and ineffective American justice system, current state budget cuts affecting front line officers and public defenders deal a blow to due process, says Sasha Abramsky at The Guardian. "Confronted with catastrophic cash shortfalls, and having run out of the politically easy things to ...