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

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 ...

IdeaFeed

Understanding the "Cloud"

Missing
about 4 years ago

Walt Mossberg provides a very basic explanation of what cloud computing is, and what it might mean for us in the near future. "At its most basic level, the "cloud" is simply the Internet, or the vast array of servers around the world that comprise it. When people say a digital document is stored, or ...

IdeaFeed

Tackling Disease

Missing
about 4 years ago

Paul Farmer and Partners in Health "have shown the world that it is possible to control diseases and to redress some of the underlying causes that have turned them into pandemics," writes Tracy Kidder. "But what they have done above all, I think, is to present both a rebuke and a challenge to the ...

IdeaFeed

The Lying Brain

Missing
about 4 years ago

A Brooklyn lawyer is hoping to break new legal ground by offering a brain scan as evidence that a key witness in a civil trial is telling the truth. If the court allows the fMRI to be admitted, it could have a big effect on the use of neuroscience in court proceedings. The lawyer, David Levin is ...

IdeaFeed

Bird Cleaning

Missing
about 4 years ago

For individual birds affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, having a person clean the oil from their feathers may be their best chance of survival. British Petroleum is working with the International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) and other groups to save as many birds as possible at ...

IdeaFeed

Evaluating Schools

Missing
about 4 years ago

Charles Murray says we should "finally acknowledge that standardized test scores are a terrible way to decide whether one school is better than another. ... This is true whether the reform in question is vouchers, charter schools, increased school accountability, smaller class sizes, better pay for ...

IdeaFeed

Magnet Therapy

Missing
about 4 years ago

A new study suggests that some patients who don't tolerate antidepressant medications could benefit from a non-invasive treatment that stimulates the brain with an electromagnet. The therapy accounted for the remissions in 14 percent of the antidepressant-resistant patients who were treated. "The ...

IdeaFeed

Online Humiliation

Missing
about 4 years ago

These days "the outlets for vindictiveness have multiplied almost to infinity—and your reputation is more fragile than ever," writes Jeffrey Zaslow. "All of us now live under the threat of easy and instant humiliation. It's no longer just celebrities and business executives who need to think about ...

IdeaFeed

Best and Brightest

Missing
about 4 years ago

Why do so many top Ivy League grads go to work for Wall Street firms? "The primary selling point of Goldman Sachs or McKinsey is that it leaves open the possibility of future greatness. ... The idea is that you will get some kind of generic business training that equips you to do anything ... and ...

IdeaFeed

Feminists to "Faminists"

Missing
about 4 years ago

"The feminist battleground, with its slogans, marches, and campaigns for reproductive rights, has given way to the playground and the fight for lactation rights, stroller rights, school-system rights, unpasteurized milk rights, charter schools, birthing techniques, nutritional value of bagged ...

IdeaFeed

Bad Ballet?

Missing
about 4 years ago

"How did we get to the point where just about every new classical dance is meaningless?" asks Laura Jacobs. "Today, premieres at the big ballet companies come dressed in the hippest costumes on the hottest bodies. They boast an haute frame of reference and wear the zeitgeist like a thong. ... Your ...

IdeaFeed

Evolving Threat

Missing
about 4 years ago

Analysts at the National Counterterrorism Center say the terrorist threat to America is becoming more decentralized and less deadly. But the terrorists are also harder to find and their plots are easier to replicate. "There's some real atomization underway," a U.S. counterterrorism official said ...

IdeaFeed

Why Men Don't Read

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Few men work in book publishing, so there are few supporters in the industry for books that men in particular might like, causing fewer such books to be published or promoted and finally leading men to think that books are not for them," writes Laura Miller. Book editing "increasingly resembles ...

IdeaFeed

Wormhole to the Future

Missing
about 4 years ago

Stephen Hawking says he's obsessed with the idea of time travel these days. "To see how this might be possible, we need to look at time as physicists do—at the fourth dimension," he writes. "Time flows like a river and it seems as if each of us is carried relentlessly along by time's current. But ...