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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

Not Their Cup of Tea

Missing
about 4 years ago

"The tea party movement’s issues are somewhat more complex than 30-second TV news clips suggest," writes Walter Rodgers, who suggests the vocalized concerns of tea partiers about big government mask a fear among aging, white Americans of their own diminishing political power. "Today’s tea party may ...

IdeaFeed

The Science of Morality

Missing
about 4 years ago

Sam Harris talks about the response to his argument at TED that "morality should be considered an undeveloped branch of science." He discovered in the responses that "many smart people believe that something in the last few centuries of intellectual progress prevents us from making cross-cultural ...

IdeaFeed

Ramps Defy Gravity

Missing
about 4 years ago

A Japanese mathematician has come up with what has been called the best illusion of the year by vision scientists. Kokichi Sugihara created a structure of complicated cardboard ramps that that seemed to make balls placed on the structure defy gravity. "From every viewpoint but one the contraption ...

IdeaFeed

The New Squatters

Missing
about 4 years ago

In the wake of the housing bubble's burst, squatters are making their move on abandoned properties. Some are not just squatting for financial expediency—they are anarchists who believe everyone has a right to housing and reject the idea that homes be treated as commodities to be speculated over for ...

IdeaFeed

Over-the-Counter Genetics

Missing
about 4 years ago

Beginning Friday, shoppers at more than 6,000 drugstores will be able to pick up a test to scan their genes for a propensity for Alzheimer's disease, breast cancer, diabetes and other ailments. The test also claims that it can give a sense of whether the user has a propensity for obesity or ...

IdeaFeed

Mouse Fatherhood

Missing
about 4 years ago

Researchers have discovered that paternal mice that physically interact with their babies grow new brain cells and form lasting memories of their babies. Scientists determined that when paternal mice interact with their newborn babies, new brain cells develop in the olfactory bulb—the part of the ...

IdeaFeed

Market Mystery

Missing
about 4 years ago

Last Thursday, May 6th, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1000 points in a matter of minutes. The House Financial Services Committee will be holding a hearing today to try to figure out what happened, but there are still many major unknowns, including, ominously, what caused it, who was to blame ...

IdeaFeed

The Science of Marriage

Missing
about 4 years ago

In Tara Parker-Pope's new book, she uses evidence and statistics to argue that bonds of marriage aren't nearly as mysterious as you might believe. "Researchers found that couples in lasting marriages have at least five small positive interactions (touching, smiling, paying a compliment) for every ...

IdeaFeed

Plan B in the Gulf

Missing
about 4 years ago

Over the weekend BP's latest effort at stanching the Deepwater Horizon oil spill—placing a huge metal dome over the leak—failed. The New York Times asked five experts to weigh in on what might now be done. They suggested, among other things, that oil and gas companies stop outsourcing critical, high ...

IdeaFeed

Singing the Same Tune

Missing
about 4 years ago

"A number of musicians, including some notable composers, claim that music is a universal form of human communication which transcends barriers of culture and language," writes Phillip Ball. "Now psychologists are putting this universality back on the agenda, and are investigating whether certain ...

IdeaFeed

The Godfather of Sci-Fi

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Ray Bradbury is one of the most prolific writers of our time—and our parents' time, and our grandparents' time. As he approaches his 90th birthday, he continues to publish, his pace slowed only slightly by a stroke that requires him to write by dictation." Nathaniel Rich writes that Bradbury's ...

IdeaFeed

HIV and Adolescence

Missing
about 4 years ago

Stephan Faris writes that "it seems unrealistic to base policies on the expectation that asymptomatic HIV-positive youth will permanently abstain from sex, and foolish to drive them underground and away from the medication they've relied on since childhood. Today, the spread of resistant forms of ...

IdeaFeed

When New Isn't Better

Missing
about 4 years ago

"While Silicon Valley’s innovations have brought enormous benefits to society, the value of Wall Street’s innovations seems a lot less clear," write James Surowiecki who looks at things like credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations and other recent financial inventions. "The cost of all ...

IdeaFeed

New Ways to Soothe

Missing
about 4 years ago

A number of new therapies have been developed for treating chronic pain. Most borrow from the field of anesthesiology and share a goal of preventing pain signals from reaching the brain. Implantable devices or on-skin electrodes can stimulate nerves to mask pain. "Another technique, known as facet ...

IdeaFeed

Untested and Ready

Missing
about 4 years ago

Emily Bazelon thinks that the youth and judicial inexperience of Elena Kagan, President Obama's selection to replace Justice Stevens on the Supreme Court, make her a good choice for the job. "What will Kagan be like as a Supreme Court justice? Much more than Sonia Sotomayor, Obama's choice for the ...