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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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IdeaFeed Posts

Big ideas in the news from around the web

IdeaFeed

Robot Apps

Missing
over 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
over 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
over 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
over 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
over 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
over 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
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 ...