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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

My Brain Is Full

Missing
almost 4 years ago

"Although there must be a physical limit to how many memories we can store, it is extremely large. We don’t have to worry about running out of space in our lifetime," writes Paul Reber, professor of psychology at Northwestern University. He adds that while the brain's exact storage capacity for ...

IdeaFeed

Beyond Belief

Missing
almost 4 years ago

Aaron David Miller writes that the Mideast peace process is like a religion—one he's now giving up. "Right now, America has neither the opportunity nor frankly the balls to do truly big things on Arab-Israeli peacemaking," he writes. "Without a tectonic plate shifting somewhere, it's going to be ...

IdeaFeed

Seabed Rumblings

Missing
almost 4 years ago

Scientists have found a distinctive kind of breaking wave in the deep sea representing a subtle force that can stir the seabed. The so-called "internal waves" have the distinctive Kelvin-Helmholtz billows, which is present throughout nature. The researchers said "turbulence from the waves might play ...

IdeaFeed

Paying for Digits

Missing
almost 4 years ago

"No matter where consumers buy books, their belief that electronic media should cost less—that something you can’t hold simply isn’t worth as much money—will exert a powerful force," writes Ken Auletta. But it will be hard for publishers to raise prices on e-books. One literary agent is quoted as ...

IdeaFeed

Steroids for Crops?

Missing
almost 4 years ago

Synthetic biologists have discovered new chemical reactions that could "rewire" plants to more efficiently process carbon dioxide—allowing crops to grow to enormous size. For years researchers have tried to tweak the process of carbon fixation, also known as the Calvin-Benson cycle. But now ...

IdeaFeed

Hitler's Books

Missing
almost 4 years ago

In a new book, Timothy Ryback examines Adolf Hitler's private library. He asserts that books were important in shaping the Führer's life, and looks for insights in the books' margin notes. Michael McDonald writes that Rybeck's claims of books' importance to Hitler is plausible, but that he "was more ...

IdeaFeed

Take a Deep Breath

Missing
almost 4 years ago

A new study finds that people who report having had near-death experiences (NDEs) also have elevated levels of carbon dioxide in their blood—indicating that they might be suffering from oxygen deprivation. Researchers studied 52 heart attack patients, of which 11 reported having NDEs, "such as ...

IdeaFeed

Cash for Body Parts?

Missing
almost 4 years ago

A British bioethics council is questioning the public about whether it's ethical to use financial incentives—like the payment of funeral expenses—to encourage people to donate organs. The council also is weighing the idea of giving donors priority if they themselves need an organ transplant later in ...

IdeaFeed

Eruption Disruption

Missing
almost 4 years ago

While the ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption has already caused mass inconvenience in Europe, historically its eruptions have always been followed by those of Iceland's other, much larger, volcano, Katla. Known as one of the "Angry Sisters," Katla has erupted 16 times since 930 AD ...

IdeaFeed

Hummer Bummer

Missing
almost 4 years ago

"Hummers are stupid and wasteful and if they go away because no one wants to buy one, that'll be just a little sad," writes Penn Jillette. "It's always a little sad to lose some stupid. I love people doing stupid things that I'd never do—different stupid things than all the stupid things I do. It ...

IdeaFeed

Bullying and Empathy

Missing
almost 4 years ago

"Increasingly, neuroscientists, psychologists and educators believe that bullying and other kinds of violence can indeed be reduced by encouraging empathy at an early age," Maia Szalavitz. "Over the past decade, research in empathy—the ability to put ourselves in another person's shoes—has suggested ...

IdeaFeed

Inhospitable Climate

Missing
almost 4 years ago

Faced with the reality of climate change, most companies seem to be focusing solely on reducing carbon emissions and improving environmental sustainability. Felix Salmon writes that if these companies want to adapt and survive, they need to also take steps to plan ahead for when climate change ...

IdeaFeed

Lessons From McVeigh

Missing
almost 4 years ago

"Americans have more freedom and broader rights than citizens of almost any other nation in the world, including the capacity to criticize their government and their elected officials," notes former President Bill Clinton. "But we do not have the right to resort to violence—or the threat of violence ...

IdeaFeed

Living Too Long?

Missing
almost 4 years ago

As we push for better health care and longer lives, Gregory Rodriguez writes that we should think about the societal consequences of having so many old people hanging around. "No one wants to die young. No one wants to face the last years of life infirm and fragile. But if Japan, where ancestors are ...

IdeaFeed

The Non-Existent Hand

Missing
almost 4 years ago

"While most of the blame for the crisis should reside with those in the financial markets ... a considerable portion of it lies with the economics profession," writes Joseph Stiglitz. "The notion economists pushed—that markets are efficient and self-adjusting—gave comfort to regulators like Alan ...