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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

Believe It or Not

Missing
about 4 years ago

Like Darwin, David Lewis-Williams doesn't think direct arguments against religion will have much effect on men unless they are gradually illuminated by science. So his book, "Conceiving God: the Cognitive Origin and Evolution of Religion," takes an incremental approach through the history of ...

IdeaFeed

Mapping the Seas

Missing
about 4 years ago

Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have developed two new broadband acoustic systems that could represent a major improvement in how fish and other marine life are counted and classified. "If single frequency sensors provide an image of the ocean that is like looking at a black ...

IdeaFeed

Mommy Tracking

Missing
about 4 years ago

Twenty-one years ago, the term "mommy track" was born in a Harvard Business Review article by Felice N. Schwartz, who warned that inflexible working conditions at companies were causing them to lose many talented women. She suggested companies divide employees into two groups -- one which is focused ...

IdeaFeed

Hipsters in Winter

Missing
about 4 years ago

Despite the publication of a new book by Williamsburg comedian Joe Mande making fun of the culture of "white 20-somethings dressed in skinny jeans and lumberjack shirts, and wearing thick-rimmed glasses," the age of the hipster seems to be winding down. Thomas Rogers talks to Mande about his book ...

IdeaFeed

Tilting at Windmills

Missing
about 4 years ago

Edith Grossman found trying to translate Miguel de Cervantes' 400-year old masterpiece "Don Quixote" into modern English somewhat... Quixotic: "The doubts and paradoxical questions that pursue translators must also arise for authors: Is their text an inevitable betrayal of the imagination and the ...

IdeaFeed

Smart Don't Smoke

Missing
about 4 years ago

A Tel Aviv University researcher has found that young men who smoke are likely to have lower IQs than their non-smoking peers. His study, which was conducted on young men in the Israeli army, found that the average IQ for a non-smoker was about seven points higher than that of a smoker. Young men ...

IdeaFeed

Dorothy Parker's Poems

Missing
about 4 years ago

Dorothy Parker's popularity may have been part of the reason that academia was slow to take up her poetry, writes R. S. Gwynn. But now even feminists have taken her into the literary canon. Gwynn looks at two recent editions of Parker's verse that have been released, and at why Parker may have given ...

IdeaFeed

The Jesus Paradox

Missing
about 4 years ago

Two new books offer modern responses to the Christian paradox that Jesus is thought of as both mortal and divine. Paul Johnson, a Roman Catholic journalist, focuses his biography on the earthly life of Jesus, assuming most of the stories of the bible to be true. Atheist novelist Philip Pullman takes ...

IdeaFeed

Smoky Wine

Missing
about 4 years ago

The taste of many 2008 pinot noirs from California's Anderson Valley was tainted by the severe forest fires during the growing season that year. Because of the exposure of the grapes, the wines were affected with "smoke taint," and, in response, growers have had to resort to many additives like ...

IdeaFeed

Laws and Drones

Missing
about 4 years ago

The moral and legal debate over the use of military drone aircraft has sparked up again, raising questions about how adequately the current laws of war have been adapted to the age of terrorism. "To negate the tactical advantages abusive civilians have and to minimize our casualties, we must attack ...

IdeaFeed

Quake Sense

Missing
about 4 years ago

Scientists have found that toads may be able to predict earthquakes. The behavior of a group of common toads showed a dramatic change five days before an earthquake struck L’Aquila, Italy last April, according to Rachel Grant of the Open University in Milton Keynes, U.K. Grant said the toads ...

IdeaFeed

Israel's Friendships

Missing
about 4 years ago

Princeton professor Gary Bass looks at how Israel lost its formerly robust alliance with France in 1967, and what that precedent might indicate for the current chilling of the country's relations with the Obama Administration. "In the same way that many French officials tried to balance France’s ...

IdeaFeed

The Missing Ice Age

Missing
about 4 years ago

Scientists have discovered the reason why the earth wasn't covered with a layer of ice four billion years ago, when the Sun's radiation was much less than it is today. The question of this "missing ice age" had haunted scientists for over 40 years. Professor Minik Rosing says: "What prevented an ice ...

IdeaFeed

Grease Insulation

Missing
about 4 years ago

A group of scientists is hoping to transform fast food waste oil into a high-tech polymer and create a "smart roof coating system" which will help to insulate homes. The coating reacts to the environment by undergoing a "phase change" at a certain temperature, switching from heat-absorbing to heat ...

IdeaFeed

Hunt for a Genetic Killer

Missing
about 4 years ago

Researchers had hoped to find so-called "copy-number variations" -- extra or missing genetic sequences -- in the human genome that might be linked to diseases like breast cancer and diabetes, but have come up empty. CNVs have been linked to some rare diseases, and scientists had hoped to find that ...