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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

Indian Americans in Politics

Missing
over 4 years ago

NYU professor Tunku Varadarajan asks: How can we account for the success of Indian American political candidates in the South given the region's history of institutionalized racism? "Why has no Indian-American liberal risen as high in the Democratic ranks as Jindal and Haley have done in the GOP ...

IdeaFeed

Devices Make Bad Parents

Missing
over 4 years ago

Among children whose parents consistently use mobile devices, "feelings of hurt, jealousy and competition are widespread," says Sherry Turkle, director of MIT's Initiative on Technology and Self. "Much of the concern about cellphones and instant messaging and Twitter has been focused on how children ...

IdeaFeed

How Technology Transforms Art

Missing
over 4 years ago

Garrison Keillor eavesdrops on some twenty-somethings at a local cafe and reasons that instant communication would have sapped modern literature of its best tropes, e.g. longing and reflection. "I live in F. Scott Fitzgerald's old neighborhood, and it seems to me that Dexter Green in 'Winter Dreams ...

IdeaFeed

The Good Colonialism

Missing
over 4 years ago

Stanford Economist Paul Romer wants "dysfunctional nations to kick-start their own development" by leasing territory to foreign governments, an idea criticized as "neo-colonial". The Atlantic Monthly writes that "By building urban oases of technocratic sanity, struggling nations could attract ...

IdeaFeed

Market Reform Ideologies

Missing
over 4 years ago

Ideological debates that lack context during a financial crisis are like a bikini, says Marc Lackritz of the Financial Times: "What they reveal is suggestive; but what they conceal is vital." "The conservatives are right that regulation sometimes creates flawed incentives. But their opponents — a ...

IdeaFeed

Will Sun Storms Interrupt?

Missing
over 4 years ago

NASA says our sun is preparing for a stormy period and, according to the National Academy of Sciences, "A major solar storm could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina." A staff article from The Christian Science Monitor warns that, "The sun is about to get a lot more active ...

IdeaFeed

Global Health and Human Waste

Missing
over 4 years ago

Forty percent of the world doesn't use toilets, says UNICEF, resulting in disease carried by dust and flies and contaminated food and water supplies — the toll is 2 million dead annually. The first solution, says Mitchell Koss of the L.A. Times, is to talk about this taboo subject because the ...

IdeaFeed

Pakistan Refugee Crisis

Missing
over 4 years ago

One in eight people fled their homes in Northwest Pakistan in 2009 because of the war in Afghanistan; the area is a "human-rights free zone" according to a new report from Amnesty International. "Many of Amnesty's findings have been widely reported; few will surprise longtime Pakistan watchers ...

IdeaFeed

Apple Fights Cartoon Nudity

Missing
over 4 years ago

Apple's strict policy against pornographic apps has resulted in an illustrated adaptation of James Joyce's landmark novel Ulysses being censored; the novel itself was once banned for its sexual content. "Somewhere, James Joyce must be laughing at Steve Jobs. As everyone who took a modern lit class ...

IdeaFeed

Your Brain Could Sell You Out

Missing
over 4 years ago

Researchers hoping to fuse neuroscience with marketing are studying brain patterns of consumers with the goal of tapping into their subconscious material desires. "The ability to predict from brain scans alone what a person intends to buy, while leaving the potential buyer none the wiser, could ...

IdeaFeed

Eco-Friendly Finales

Missing
over 4 years ago

Having your body freeze-dried instead of cremated may reduce carbon and mercury emissions, Helen Knight finds in her look at how to make funerals more eco-friendly. "Think of it as a last chance to reduce your carbon footprint," she urges. Each cremation produces around 150 kilograms of CO2 and also ...

IdeaFeed

Pathologizing Normal People?

Missing
over 4 years ago

The potential for psychiatry to pathologize normal human behavior is under the spotlight during the ongoing revision of an official list of mental disorders. Arnie Cooper says the review of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is “fueling the belief that psychiatry is far from ...

IdeaFeed

The Price of Peace

Missing
over 4 years ago

The latest Global Peace Index shows the world has become less peaceful in the last year. Liz Ford asks if the rankings should prompt donor governments to rethink aid strategies. The latest figures show homicide rates and violent crime have increased around the world. Ford says, “In a sense, the GPI ...

IdeaFeed

Helen, Israel & Glass Ceilings

Missing
over 4 years ago

"It is a sad finale for someone who helped break down barriers for women journalists at the center of American power," so says an L.A. Times editorial of Helen Thomas. Her "terrible answer" to a question about Israel might overshadow a long and distinguished career, in which she broke many glass ...

IdeaFeed

Nazi "Research": Unethical & Useless

Missing
over 4 years ago

Amid claims that doctors who helped the CIA torture Guantanamo Bay detainees violated medical ethics standards, Brian Palmer looks at whether any useful science came out of Nazi experiments such as by concentration camp doctors. The 1947 Nuremburg Medical Code was formulated in response to gruesome ...