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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

Viagra for Women

Missing
about 4 years ago

A new pill which a German pharmaceutical company will soon present to the FDA for approval raises medical and safety concerns since it claims to boost women's libidos. Psychoanalyst Paul Joannides is sure that the drug, if approved, would be used commonly to spike women's drinks on college campus ...

IdeaFeed

Who Was Charles Dickens?

Missing
about 4 years ago

"He was almost certainly the best-known man in England in the middle of the nineteenth century, and certainly the most loved," but was Charles Dicken's internal life as celebratory? "Dickens never really recovered from the searing despair he felt at the plunge from respectable lower-middle-class ...

IdeaFeed

Exercise and Sleep Well?

Missing
about 4 years ago

If you're after a good night's sleep, the belief that exercise helps you rest well is more important than exercise itself, says a new Swiss study published in the U.S. "The most practical advice that science can offer at the moment about exercise and sleep is not to fret too much about whether you ...

IdeaFeed

College Rankings

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Today's college students scored 40 percent lower on a measure of empathy than their elders did," according to a new study that demonstrates the selfish, competitive nature of the times. Obsession with social media and a highly competitive atmosphere could be reasons why "current students are less ...

IdeaFeed

Economic Recovery?

Missing
about 4 years ago

"US fashion commentators are now suggesting that economic strength might also be reflected in the length of men's swimming trunks," reports The Guardian. But is it a truncated theory? "When the stock market rises men's beach shorts shrink proportionally as customers trade more conservative board ...

IdeaFeed

The Art of Theft

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Art is a conversation between and among artists, not a patent office. Reality can't be copyrighted," writes David Shields in his spirited defense of artistic appropriation. "In digital culture, it's especially important for us to be able to sample, remix, mash-up materials available to us at the ...

IdeaFeed

Benign Science

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Progress without pollution may sound utterly unrealistic, but businesses are putting green chemistry into practice," by using more ecologically benign chemicals, writes Scientific American. "Today nearly everything we touch—clothing, furniture, carpeting, cabinets, lightbulbs, paper, toothpaste ...

IdeaFeed

Robot Apps

Missing
about 4 years ago

Many technological hurdles on the road to building household robots have recently been cleared leaving one nagging question in the air—just what do we need them for? "'We have shifted from how to build a robot to how to use it,' said Eric Berger, a director at Willow Garage. 'It’s now all about how ...

IdeaFeed

Casualties of Class

Missing
about 4 years ago

"If Americans were to learn of wartime inequalities, the public would become more circumspect about future military action," writes Douglas Kriner after studying class inequalities in the army. "It is well to dream of glorious war in a snug armchair at home. But it is a very different thing to see ...

IdeaFeed

Celebrity Sales

Missing
about 4 years ago

A new study suggests that the effectiveness of celebrity product endorsements is explained by positive emotions associated with a celebrity then transfered to the product being sold. "'The perception of a celebrity face results in the retrieval of explicit memories,'— say, of a fun night out with ...

IdeaFeed

Intimate Priests

Missing
about 4 years ago

"The priest, like every human being, needs to love and be loved," say twelve Italian women who have written the Pope urging that priests be allowed to have intimate relationships. At a time when few practical solutions have been proposed to remedy the Catholic Church's sex scandals, a dozen Italian ...

IdeaFeed

Middle Class Conflict

Missing
about 4 years ago

Democracy, benefactor of the middle class, has become highly unstable in developing countries given the current economic climate which exaggerates society's class conflicts. "For decades, political theorists have considered the growth of a middle class to be the key to successful democratization ...

IdeaFeed

Japanese Germ Warfare

Missing
about 4 years ago

Chinese people are still suffering from the most gruesome biological warfare attacks in modern history. Judith Miller looks at Japan's "forgotten" biological crimes against China. The only documented mass use of germ weapons in modern times took place between 1932 and 1945 and "only recently has a ...

IdeaFeed

Bullfighting Laid Bare

Missing
about 4 years ago

Might the Internet serve as a deterrent thanks to its ability to lay bare truths? Vet Patty Khuly hopes that's the case with a YouTube video of one of the "most horrific scenes bullfighting has ever offered." "Sometimes it takes a prodigious display of gore to drive home the obvious," she says ...

IdeaFeed

The Foxconn Suicides

Missing
about 4 years ago

What is it about Foxconn, the factory in China which makes most of Apple's devices, that is driving so many of its workers to suicide? Malcolm Moore reports that the factory shed tens of thousands of workers during the financial crisis and is now overstretched by new orders. Moore says that at least ...