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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

Businesses Fight HIV

Missing
about 4 years ago

The federal government is enlisting private companies like Pfizer to promote HIV/AIDS prevention programs in high-risk areas following a lull of such programs during Bush's 'abstinence-only' years. "'Anyone who, in this day and age, thinks that HIV will be solved by government alone is clearly not ...

IdeaFeed

Jewish Ancestry

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Jewish populations around the world share more than traditions and laws—they also have a common genetic background," says the New Scientist about a study performed at NYU. "In a study of over 200 Jews from cities in three different countries, researchers found that all of them descended from a ...

IdeaFeed

The Beats in Pictures

Missing
about 4 years ago

New photographs in which Allen Ginsberg captured his fellow Beats—Kerouac, Corso, and himself—have been unearthed by scholars, enriching the American Beat catalog. "Oddly, Ginsberg’s photographs sat for decades in closets and drawers, then in the tombs of a Columbia University archive. But when ...

IdeaFeed

Defining Enemy Combatant

Missing
about 4 years ago

The unconventional nature of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has left a legal vacuum in the area of prisoner detentions, one that needs filling, says Samuel Issacharoff, professor of constitutional law at NYU. "In Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. confronts unlawful combatants who do not identify ...

IdeaFeed

Postmodernism is Dead

Missing
about 4 years ago

Ben Lewis at Prospect Magazine says postmodernism will be remembered as the graveyard of the admirable modernist project for its formulas, narcissism, sentiment and cynicism. "There have been inspired and important artists at work during the last ten years, just as there were in the late 19th ...

IdeaFeed

Choose Logic Over Intuition

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Intuition can help us make good decisions without expending the time and effort needed to calculate the optimal decision, but shortcuts sometimes lead to dead ends," says The Chronicle of Higher Education. "Intuition does have its uses, but it should not be exalted above analysis. Intuition can't ...

IdeaFeed

Baseball Needs IT Backstop

Missing
about 4 years ago

In its editorial, the L.A. Times comes out swinging against a "halfhearted embrace of technology" in baseball. It says Detroit Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga was a victim "of a game — in this case, our national pastime — that relies on humans most of the time and technology some of the time." It ...

IdeaFeed

Saatchi on Saatchi

Missing
about 4 years ago

One of the world's foremost art collectors, Charles Saatchi famously refuses to be interviewed, but here he answers some questions put to him via email by The Daily Beast. "Do you believe in the 10 Commandments?" asks The Daily Beast. Saatchi responds: "An overrated lifestyle guide, unsustainable ...

IdeaFeed

Movie Misogyny

Missing
about 4 years ago

Why is there so much movie violence against women? “It has long been a staple of mainstream film-making but is becoming ever more forensically detailed”, observes a troubled Natasha Walter. Writing in the wake of Michael Winterbottom's new film, The Killer Inside Me, she says, “Many viewers are ...

IdeaFeed

Only Responsibility Overcomes Compulsion

Missing
about 4 years ago

Michael J. Formica says taking personal responsibility is essential in overcoming addiction but systems like AA allow its abdication. As soon as we say, "I am powerless." that's exactly what we are, he warns. “We cannot enter into any process of personal transformation without releasing our reliance ...

IdeaFeed

Bribery still Bribery...

Missing
about 4 years ago

Corruption can sound cute. Especially in foreign tongues. But be it the equivalent of "a little push" or "something for your cigarettes” learn the lingo and beware, warn James G. Tillen and Sonia M. Delmans. “When an expatriate manager does not recognize that a subordinate is seeking reimbursement ...

IdeaFeed

Exhibition Captures Cleopatra’s Cosmos

Missing
about 4 years ago

Cleopatra is the selling point but the resurrection of a long-lost world is the strength of a powerful new exhibition at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Edward Rothstein reviews “Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt” and finds, “the wonder we feel is not at Cleopatra’s beauty ...

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
over 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 ...