What is Big Think?  

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

Re-educating Rita

Missing
about 4 years ago

With declining social mobility and nearly one million under-24s neither in college nor work in the UK, Janice Turner laments the lack of inspiring onscreen and literary role models. "Instead of tales of bold boys and clever girls, the only vehicle of escape visible to working-class kids is the ...

IdeaFeed

App-ing Out

Missing
about 4 years ago

Virginia Heffernan says that what’s happening on the Internet since the introduction of the App Store is akin to urban decentralization and white flight. Tired of the unsafe and unsanitary conditions of life in the “open” Web, people are buying iPhones or iPads and “pricey and secluded apps” as a ...

IdeaFeed

Smart Series

Missing
about 4 years ago

TV critics and viewers alike no longer consider artistically ambitious dramas as miraculous aberrations. Richard Beck says it's thanks to serialization that the small screen has gone from a mere medium of popular entertainment to one of popular art. “It is no longer a smart social move to brag about ...

IdeaFeed

Synthetic Life

Missing
about 4 years ago

Bioethicist Arthur Caplan writes that the creation of the first synthetic bacteria demonstrates a new understanding we have of life, but that doesn't mean life is worth any less. "There are those who are enthralled by the idea that life is a riddle beyond solution. However, the value of life is not ...

IdeaFeed

The Metaphorical Mississippi

Missing
about 4 years ago

100 years after Mark Twain's death, the Mississippi River that inspired his mature writing has changed, and yet, Twain's ideas remain discernible through it. "To know Twain fully, you first have to know the river. He was raised on its banks, but their acquaintance goes much further."

IdeaFeed

Green Skies

Missing
about 4 years ago

MIT is designing commercial aircrafts that use 70 percent less fuel than current airplanes after winning a contract from NASA in 2008; air traffic is expected to double by 2035. "Although automobiles have undergone extensive design changes over the last half-century, aircraft silhouettes have ...

IdeaFeed

The Richness of Life

Missing
about 4 years ago

"The economic case for global action to stop the destruction of the natural world is even more powerful than the argument for tackling climate change," the U.N. will report this summer. "Setting up and running a comprehensive network of protected areas would cost $45bn a year globally, according to ...

IdeaFeed

Forever Guantanamo

Missing
about 4 years ago

Obama's deadline for closing Guantanamo having passed, "it's unclear, as we sit today, whether it's gonna close at all," says Matt D'Aloisio, the founder of Witness Against Torture. "Insiders expect the Obama administration to reverse course and decide to try the 9/11 defendants by military ...

IdeaFeed

Climate Busters

Missing
about 4 years ago

Climate change skeptics recently gathered in Chicago to exchange ideas and invectives over the largely accepted claims about the dangers of global warming. "Wine flowed and blood coursed during a rousing address from Heartland's libertarian president Joseph Bast. Climate change is being used by ...

IdeaFeed

Artificial Life

Missing
over 4 years ago

An American biologist, Craig Venter, is making waves after creating the first self-replicating cell whose DNA is synthetic; immediate uses could include synthetic vaccines and biofuels. "Venter himself maintains that he has not created life . 'We've created the first synthetic cell,' he says. 'We ...

IdeaFeed

Drawing Mohammad

Missing
over 4 years ago

Husna Haq at The CSM explains why she is and other Muslims are so offended by depictions of Mohammad and why it's no surprise Pakistan has banned Facebook for the rest of May. "In Islam, as in Judaism, iconography is prohibited out of fear that creating images of sacred figures could lead to ...

IdeaFeed

Social Voyeurs

Missing
over 4 years ago

While Facebook and Google have come under recent attack for alleged violations of privacy, enforcement of existing laws should be prioritized over new regulation, writes the Economist. "Danah Boyd, a social-networking expert, has even argued that Facebook, with its hordes of members around the world ...

IdeaFeed

Criminal Accomplices?

Missing
over 4 years ago

Ayaan Hirsi Ali thinks the American Academy of Pediatrics' proposal to aid in female genital mutilation gives tacit support to a practice which should be condemned outright. "The pediatricians say that 'it might be more effective if federal and state laws enabled pediatricians to reach out to ...

IdeaFeed

Racism Lite

Missing
over 4 years ago

English-only policies run contrary to America's concept of liberty and fears of a multilingual society ignore many of the world's nations which officially recognize multiple languages. "English-only is racism lite. It pits mostly whites against many who have darker skins. If America prides itself on ...

IdeaFeed

Self Respect

Missing
over 4 years ago

Research completed by The Journal for Advertising suggests Americans have become increasingly self-confident and individualistic in the last three decades. "A sense of belonging (social connectedness) appears to have steadily eroded for all age groups, both genders, all education groups and most ...