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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

John Wayne in Farsi

Missing
about 4 years ago

Abou Farman writes about the art of the "Persian dub" in movies of the 1970's. Western movies would get creative embellishments in translation from the Farsi version of John Wayne's voice. "The glory of Persian dub, while it lasted, was that it didn’t hide the artifice of film or its theatrical ...

IdeaFeed

We're Part Caveman

Missing
about 4 years ago

Scientists have sequenced the Neanderthal genome, discovering it to be practically identical to that of humans. In fact, most humans can probably trace some of their DNA to Neanderthals. “The Neanderthals are not totally extinct. In some of us they live on a little bit,” said Max Planck Institute ...

IdeaFeed

Denying AIDS

Missing
about 4 years ago

Denialism about the nature of the AIDS virus is estimated to have killed many thousands of people. Jon Cartwright asks if scientists should be held accountable. Meanwhile Bruce Charlton defends his decision last year to publish the work of the AIDS skeptic Peter Duesberg, known as "perhaps the world ...

IdeaFeed

Green China

Missing
about 4 years ago

Bruce Usher writes that the United States "is missing a key ingredient in shaping an effective clean-tech policy: the political will to encourage the innovation, manufacturing and investment necessary to bring these new technologies to market." He thinks that the longer the U.S. drags its feet on ...

IdeaFeed

One the One Hand...

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Scientists report that when people wash their hands immediately after making a decision, they are less likely to rationalize its merits—possibly making them less content with the decision but more objective about the option they rejected." This is part of growing evidence that sensory experiences ...

IdeaFeed

Lasers of War

Missing
about 4 years ago

Northrop Grumman is testing a high-powered laser that can be used by U.S. soldiers in combat settings. The "nd:YAG" laser is powerful enough to inflict damage, but it is made out of the materials are compact and transportable. The military has long wanted to develop lasers for the battlefield; they ...

IdeaFeed

Time and Again

Missing
about 4 years ago

By creating the first theoretical model of a wormhole 75 years ago today, Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen allowed science-fiction writers to consider the idea of time travel. "In the three-quarters of a century since Einstein thought up wormholes, we haven't come close to observing one, though we ...

IdeaFeed

High-Density Living

Missing
about 4 years ago

"By 2050, almost 70 percent of the world's estimated 10 billion inhabitants—or more than the number of people living today—will be part of massive urban networks. ... These staggering statistical trends are driving the evolution of the 'megacity,' defined as an urban agglomeration of more than 10 ...

IdeaFeed

After the Spill

Missing
about 4 years ago

If a desperate, last-ditch attempt to cap the Deepwater Horizon wellhead fails, environmental damage to the Gulf of Mexico may profoundly and permanently alter the area. "Thousands of miles of marshlands, sea-grass meadows and coral reefs—and the human industries they support—could be damaged beyond ...

IdeaFeed

The Moon and Wine?

Missing
about 4 years ago

Some winemakers and enthusiasts believe that the moon affects the way wine tastes on a particular day. They think that wine tastes better on so-called "fruit" days—those days in the lunar calendar when water and saps rise—as opposed to a "root" day, when they fall. "The more we investigated, the ...

IdeaFeed

To Be or Not to Be?

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Hanging is the most popular method of self-slaughter in the world and the second most popular in the United States, after firearms," writes Brendan Kiley, in his look at the history, meaning, and practice of suicide. "The world's most popular jump site is said to be Mount Mihara, a volcano on an ...

IdeaFeed

Are Babies Moral?

Missing
about 4 years ago

"A growing body of evidence suggests that humans do have a rudimentary moral sense from the very start of life," writes Paul Bloom. "With the help of well-designed experiments, you can see glimmers of moral thought, moral judgment and moral feeling even in the first year of life. Some sense of good ...

IdeaFeed

Euro Zone Bankruptcy?

Missing
about 4 years ago

Greece has plunged the euro into its worst crisis ever, and if economists are unable to bring discipline to the country there will be much more at stake than the fate of the currency. "Indeed, Europe could begin to erode politically as a result. The historic project of a united continent, promoted ...

IdeaFeed

The Deeper Code

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Between DNA and proteins comes RNA, and an expanding realm of complexity," writes Heidi Ledford. "RNA is a shape-shifter, sometimes carrying genetic messages and sometimes regulating them, adopting a multitude of structures that can affect its function." Researchers are attempting to "define a ...

IdeaFeed

Miranda Worked!

Missing
about 4 years ago

Many on the right are getting up in arms about the fact that Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bombing suspect who is an American citizen, was read his Miranda rights. It's sparked a new proposal from the likes of Senator Joe Lieberman to strip people of citizenship automatically when they are ...