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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

Children Can Make You Happy

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Social science may suggest that kids drain their parents' happiness, but there's evidence that good parenting is less work and more fun than people think," says Bryan Caplan at The Wall Street Journal. "The main problem with parenting pessimists is that they assume there's no acceptable way to make ...

IdeaFeed

The Problem with For-Profit College

Missing
about 4 years ago

Should the government continue to give loans to students who attend for-profit colleges given their high dropout and loan default rates? Gary Becker and Richard Posner weigh in on the debate. "College graduates earn substantially higher salaries than less-educated workers, but it is doubtful whether ...

IdeaFeed

NASA Finds Many New Planets

Missing
about 4 years ago

"NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has discovered a whopping 706 candidate planets beyond the solar system," says Science News. The find nearly doubles the amount of known planets outside our solar system. "'This is a massively historic discovery,' says study coauthor Sara Seager, a theorist at MIT. 'This is ...

IdeaFeed

China's Gender Problem

Missing
about 4 years ago

Due to the country's one-child policy and a cultural preference for boys, "The Chinese Academy of Social Science estimates that by 2020, 24 million Chinese men will be unable to find a wife...Some believe that impact is already being felt as single Chinese men, referred to as 'bare branches' because ...

IdeaFeed

How Single Cells Evolved

Missing
about 4 years ago

The question of how single celled organisms evolved into more dynamic multicellular ones is difficult to answer, but scientists in Tennessee believe genetic on/off switches provide a clue. "How colonies of single cells evolved into multicellular organisms has long been a puzzle. The process requires ...

IdeaFeed

Being a "Sports Dad"

Missing
about 4 years ago

Two fathers at True/Slant reflect on the sports culture that pushes kids to succeed at sports against better parenting judgement. "Benign neglect" is perhaps a better method, they say. "As fathers (assuming we’re involved with our children), there is always a struggle to know how much to push our ...

IdeaFeed

Spend Now, Save Later

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Penny-pinching at a time like this isn’t just cruel; it endangers the nation’s future," says Paul Krugman, who laments the government's plans to reign in current spending to pay back the budget deficit. Kruman continues, "And it doesn’t even do much to reduce our future debt burden, because ...

IdeaFeed

Beinart on Foreign Policy

Missing
about 4 years ago

The New Yorker reviews Peter Beinart's new book on American foreign policy and finds a tale of American leaders coping with the effects of unprecedented mistakes following the rise of the U.S. "Since American life in the twentieth century was a nearly unbroken ascent to greater wealth and power ...

IdeaFeed

Ban the Filibuster

Missing
about 4 years ago

"The filibuster has been perverted to derail proposals that some members simply don't like. The Senate should ban it," says the L.A. Times. The legislative tool isn't what it used to be. "No longer does a filibuster involve a senator standing for hours on end, reading volumes of extraneous material ...

IdeaFeed

The Psychology of Happiness

Missing
about 4 years ago

Following the entry of "happiness studies" into psychology through the last two decades, some are now asking if being perpetually elated is truly good for your health. "By lending academic credence to the idea that we can be better, shinier and happier if we just try, it has turned happiness into ...

IdeaFeed

School Resegregation

Missing
about 4 years ago

It seems America cannot escape its racial past: "'Resegregation is a national trend [that has been building] for over a decade,' says John C. Brittain, a law professor at the University of the District of Columbia."Among the reasons: white families moving out of central cities or removing their ...

IdeaFeed

The Future of the Internet

Missing
about 4 years ago

"In spite of all the answers the internet has given us, its full potential to transform our lives remains the great unknown," says The Guardian. The English daily looks at where the Net is taking us. "The Internet has quietly infiltrated our lives, and yet we seem to be remarkably unreflective about ...

IdeaFeed

Pot: Legalize or Decriminalize?

Missing
about 4 years ago

Is decriminalizing marijuana while leaving anti-drug laws on the books a bad idea? Does it allow police to selectively enforce law and create contempt among the public? The Economist weighs in. "So the question arises of whether we should legalise pot. Two days ago Sarah Palin said we shouldn't, but ...

IdeaFeed

What Is Beauty?

Missing
about 4 years ago

The Financial Times appeals to an Oxford philosophy professor to find the essence of beauty. Darwin said it was sex. For Estée Lauder, it was glamor. But what does beauty mean today? "'Beauty,' wrote Umberto Eco in his study of European aesthetics On Beauty, 'has never been absolute and immutable ...

IdeaFeed

Fear Versus Democracy

Missing
about 4 years ago

"What happens to our civic life when we're all too scared to participate?" asks Slate. Expert witnesses have recently refused to testify in court, fearing reprisal for divulging their political views. "Expressing one's opinions requires political bravery, and our systems of governance will not ...