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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

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on donating blood for men who have slept with other men, created to protect recipients from HIV, is being challenged as outdated and unfair by two Canadian physicians.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 ...

IdeaFeed

Identity Issues

Missing
over 4 years ago

After three men who each believed he was Jesus Christ were made to live together as a psychological experiment, psychologists better understand the nature and limits of identity. "You oughta worship me, I'll tell you that!" one of the Christs yelled. "Since there is only one Son of God, says the ...

IdeaFeed

Black Tea Party

Missing
over 4 years ago

Do the similarities between the Black Panthers of the '60s and today's TEA Party run deeper than guns, anger and demand for limited government? "In January, political philosopher Noam Chomsky said in an interview about the Tea Party, 'These are people with real grievances. For the past 30 years of ...

IdeaFeed

Who Owns English?

Missing
over 4 years ago

"English has been a language of occupiers and imperialists, but also one of insurgents and democrats," writes Isaac Chotiner. The New Yorker discusses the new lingua franca. Is there something characteristic to the English language that allowed it to spread so vastly? "Armies and navies are ...

IdeaFeed

U.N. Plays Politics

Missing
over 4 years ago

"China, Russia and the U.S., as permanent members of the security council, are holding themselves above the law," says Amnesty International in a new report. "It's so fundamentally unfair for victims that will be denied justice," when powerful nations agree to enforce international human rights laws ...

IdeaFeed

Goodbye, Glamor

Missing
over 4 years ago

With the popularity of the Internet and self-publishing, Garrison Keillor laments the end of the glamorous age of publishing from a rooftop in Tribeca. "Call me a pessimist, call me Ishmael, but I think that book publishing is about to slide into the sea. We live in a literate time, and our children ...

IdeaFeed

Centers of Mystery

Missing
over 4 years ago

The strange behavior of two suppermassive black holes may change the way scientists understand the evolution of galaxies, including our own Milky Way. "It is possible that these findings could also shed light on how active galaxies – including faraway, developing galaxies known as quasars, the most ...

IdeaFeed

"Competing Narratives"

Missing
over 4 years ago

Robert Fisk thinks that political speak has taken over journalism and that accuracy of fact has become dominated by competing historical narratives that favor power over truth. "Ladies and gentlemen, this isn't just about clichés - this is preposterous journalism. There is no battle between power ...

IdeaFeed

Art Snobs

Missing
over 4 years ago

The Australian anthropologist Sarah Thornton has completed a study of the art world and traced its hierarchies and status-seekers just as she did the London party scene. "Artists like to give the impression of being egalitarian, but Thornton says they are as obsessed with status as anybody."

IdeaFeed

Spooky Physics

Missing
over 4 years ago

The incomprehensibility of quantum physics is responsible for the rise of postmodern social theories which reject the notion of a stable, immutable truth. "Much of the debate between Einstein and Bohr revolved around Einstein's intuitive rejection of the implication of the Copenhagen interpretation ...