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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

Census Caste Debate

Missing
about 4 years ago

As India wrestles with the politically-sensitive question of including caste in its 2011 census, P. Sainath looks at the dwindling membership of a once strong anti-caste reform movement. The remaining followers of the Ajaat (“ones without caste”) movement have become something like a caste ...

IdeaFeed

What to do with the Stasi HQ

Missing
about 4 years ago

What should happen to the former Stasi HQ? How much of a glimpse into history, and whose interpretation of it, should it offer? Twenty years after citizens stormed the grounds in January 1990, there is a fight over the future of the buildings that were the heart of the East German surveillance state ...

IdeaFeed

From Islam to Pro-West

Missing
about 4 years ago

The New Yorker looks at how American intellectuals are reacting to Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Tariq Ramadan, two authors born into Islam who now support the liberal-democratic project. Ayaan Hirsi, who has abandoned her Islamic roots, says individuals must make a choice between Islam and the values of a ...

IdeaFeed

Self Replicating Robots

Missing
about 4 years ago

Labs in England are developing machines that can essentially replicate themselves by building their own spare parts as an insurance against future mishaps, reports the New Scientist. "It could be a revolutionary age. MakerBot is one of a range of desktop manufacturing plants being developed by ...

IdeaFeed

Oil Spill Makes Liberals

Missing
about 4 years ago

In the wake of the British Petroleum spill in the Gulf, who dares to defend conservative free-market principles decrying regulation? Nobody can afford to, writes The Wall Street Journal. "Only a short while ago, of course, the populist right was riding high, sweeping the primaries and insisting that ...

IdeaFeed

Silent Jewish Majority

Missing
about 4 years ago

"An increasing number of Jewish activists in Europe and the U.S. are expressing their displeasure—and even anger—over the way in which Israel has evolved in recent years," says Al Jazeera. Marwan Bishara, the network's senior political analyst, writes after Israel's violent enforcement of the ...

IdeaFeed

Mrs. Mailer On Norman

Missing
about 4 years ago

"I always said I wasn’t going to write about Norman because no one would believe it," Norris Church Mailer once said, but now she has written a memoir about her marriage to the novelist. The final of six Mrs. Mailers, Church dealt with Norman's insecurities turned machismo, his cruelty and violence ...

IdeaFeed

Can Honesty Survive the Net?

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Are we more or less likely to lie to someone if we are communicating via email or text message than if we are speaking face-to-face?" asks Professor Jeff Hancock of Cornell University. According to In Character, "The first part of Hancock's research revealed that the conventional wisdom is correct ...

IdeaFeed

Digital Divide Goes Cultural

Missing
about 4 years ago

The digital divide is about more than access to the Internet, say experts. The white Anglo-Europeans who program the Web may set culturally exclusive parameters on the experience. "There's a push among development specialists to provide more people with Internet connections and the assumption that ...

IdeaFeed

No News Is Good News

Missing
about 4 years ago

Garrison Keillor is feeling especially powerless these days: "As the Gulf turns dark and the polar ice cap melts, I intend to listen to Bach more and listen to the news less," he says. The Midwesterner has had it up to here with contradictory TEA Party platforms and a once-great nation being sold ...

IdeaFeed

Dark Matter Sighting?

Missing
about 4 years ago

"For the first time, physicists have confirmed that certain subatomic particles have mass," writes the L.A. Times. The mass could account for the mysterious existence of dark matter. According to the article, "Astrophysicists have inferred the existence of dark matter from their observations that ...

IdeaFeed

Death by Broken Heart

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Do people really die of broken hearts?" asks the Times' health blog. Elevated stress hormones following an emotionally trying event may cause cardiomyopathy, a.k.a. broken heart syndrome. "It may be that elevated stress hormones interfere with normal blood flow, causing the heart damage. Or it may ...

IdeaFeed

Artificial Intelligence

Missing
about 4 years ago

While artificial intelligence has yet to realize its often dramatic promises, the development of brain science has led thinkers to prioritize the mind over the body as the center of the self. "Is the 'society of mind' trying to colonize the societies of body and emotion?" asks 3 Quarks Daily. "Why ...

IdeaFeed

Renaming 'Breakdown'

Missing
about 4 years ago

As diagnosis of mental illness has changed with shifting cultural attitudes, now the term "nervous breakdown" is being reevaluated. Are you on the verge of "burnout syndrome"? "'Nervous breakdown' is one of those sturdy old terms, like 'melancholia' and 'nervous illness,' that haven’t really been ...

IdeaFeed

Smart Phone Transactions

Missing
about 4 years ago

New technologies are turning smart phones into credit cards and cash registers, but as usual, there are trust issues and people are nervous about abandoning their wallets all together. "'The future has arrived,' tweeted Mayer Hawthorne, a singer and songwriter who used Square to sell his CDs and ...