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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

Bullfighting Laid Bare

Missing
over 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
over 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 ...

IdeaFeed

Spotlight on Passenger Screening

Missing
over 4 years ago

Is observation of non-verbal behaviours truly valuable in the detection of people with mal-intent? Sharon Weinberger says researchers are increasingly dubious of the science behind programs such as the Screening Passengers by Observation Technique (SPOT). But the lack of proven results has not ...

IdeaFeed

Greed and Grandstanding

Missing
over 4 years ago

What's the difference between an economist and a physicist? It's not a joke but a distinction addressed by Emanuel Derman, who says the difference is that most economists have never really seen a successful model. Not knowing a good from a bad one they end up overly denigrating or deifying models ...

IdeaFeed

Voters Ready for Cuts

Missing
over 4 years ago

“National debt will double within a decade unless the citizenry gets control of the budget. From my travels among the citizenry, I have come to the conclusion that Americans are ready to do so. This fall they will elect representatives who will cut their entitlements,” forecasts R. Emmett Tyrrell ...

IdeaFeed

Censored Sensor Data

Missing
over 4 years ago

The world is being denied data that could greatly enhance climate change research and tracking of “super” storms, says Daniel N. Baker. Satellite-born sensors watching the world for nuclear explosions also collect invaluable environmental data which is unnecessarily withheld as “classified ...

IdeaFeed

Grasping Science Visually

Missing
over 4 years ago

“All too often, instruction assumes that students build knowledge sequentially, from one prerequisite idea to the next, in a linear, hierarchical manner that mirrors the design of traditional textbooks and lectures. In real life, however, we tend to advance our understanding through a process that ...

IdeaFeed

If North Korea Collapses?

Missing
over 4 years ago

It's nuclear-armed and seems increasingly unstable yet neither America, China nor South Korea has a contingency plan to cope should North Korea's current regime suddenly collapse, warns The Economist. "Planning in advance should help to avoid potentially catastrophic misunderstandings. The outside ...

IdeaFeed

Are Plays Literature?

Missing
over 4 years ago

David Jays was surprised that last month no play was shortlisted for a major Australian literary award because the judges couldn't find a worthy nomination. He ponders what should be valued in literature and whether theater's “brazenly collaborative and transient nature” spooks the literary ...

IdeaFeed

A Free Federal Reserve

Missing
over 4 years ago

Nobel Laureate Gary Becker and Judge Richard Posner consider whether a central bank like the Federal Reserve should remain independent of the government. "I have little doubt that central banks should have considerable independence. Yet complete central bank independence from politicians does not ...

IdeaFeed

Men's Right to Choose

Missing
over 4 years ago

Do men have the right to choose? After being divorced and sued for child support, one man testifies that he and his ex-wife had agreed to get an abortion if she became pregnant. "Reproductive choice isn't a fundamental right if it's only limited to people who have internal reproductive systems ...

IdeaFeed

Homosexual Blood

Missing
over 4 years ago

A lifetime ban on donating blood for men who have slept with other men, created to protect recipients from HIV, is being challenged as outdated and unfair by two Canadian physicians. The physicians' arguments are presented in the May 25th edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal. "'Today ...

IdeaFeed

Saddam's Sex Tape

Missing
over 4 years ago

The C.I.A. planned to shoot separate mock, gay sex tapes implicating Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden in an attempt to delegitimize the men's authority, according to The Guardian. Not unlike the agency's infamous plan to assassinate Fidel Castro with an exploding cigar, these new revelations ...

IdeaFeed

The End of Biofuels?

Missing
over 4 years ago

Energy producers who met with skyrocketing food prices and international protests while using food crops to create large quantities of biofuels are now eyeing inedible waste. Given some technological advancement, the outlook is promising: "So the goal now is to efficiently convert so-called 'second ...

IdeaFeed

Surrealist Letters

Missing
over 4 years ago

A cache of René Magritte's personal letters are set to be auctioned soon at Sotheby's, reports the Economist; the French surrealist was "unremittingly cheery" in his correspondence. "The letters, most of which are undated and not included in the collection that was published in 1994, span more than ...