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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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Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

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IdeaFeed Posts

Big ideas in the news from around the web

IdeaFeed

The Agreeable Kagan

Missing
over 4 years ago

Conservative lawyer Miguel Estrada, whose nomination to a Court of Appeals by George W. Bush was blocked by Democrats, has written a letter supporting the confirmation of Elena Kagan. Estrada writes, "Elena possesses a formidable intellect, an exemplary temperament and a rare ability to disagree ...

IdeaFeed

Unnatural Selection

Missing
over 4 years ago

Australian vet Gabor Vajta predicts that as has occurred with cattle, artificial human reproduction will become 100 times more efficient than sex. "Thirtysomethings could routinely conceive babies using IVF within a decade because it will have become better than sex as a means of reproduction ...

IdeaFeed

Egalitarian at Heart

Missing
over 4 years ago

Psychologists are finding humans have an innate tilt towards what they call "egalitarian motives" or "inequity aversion" — we're all Robin Hoods at heart. James Fowler says research on our willingness to redistribute wealth shows that "not only are people willing to punish the rich, they're willing ...

IdeaFeed

"Do No Harm"

Missing
over 4 years ago

Students and professors of business are considering a Hippocratic Oath for MBA students in response to the out and out amorality perpetuated recently in the name of business. "The oath that has gotten the most attention, though, is at Harvard. Last year, a group of Harvard business students ...

IdeaFeed

Light Speed

Missing
over 4 years ago

Though currently too expensive for mass production, new computing technology is replacing electrons and copper wiring with photons that can carry information at light speed. "Ever since the first optical transistors were developed in the late 1980s, researchers have dreamed of building a light ...

IdeaFeed

Bedfellows

Missing
over 4 years ago

A new debate is rising in education about the extent to which science and religion are compatible and how the limits of science, if there are any, should be taught in the classroom. "It is strange that the phrase "respect for religion" has come to mean that religious beliefs should be exempt from ...

IdeaFeed

Violent Progress

Missing
over 4 years ago

Psychologist Stephen Diamond writes that the recent string of violence across China could be related to personal stress brought on by the financial pressures of a more competitive economy. "China is experiencing an enormous economic boom during recent times. Along with this explosive growth and ...

IdeaFeed

Slow Recovery

Missing
over 4 years ago

Richard Posner and Gary Becker account for the sluggish economic recovery with reference to the housing market, mounting public debt, fear of regulation and the E.U. debt crisis. "Uncertainty is an enormous retardant to economic recovery, and the Administration could do more to allay it by, for ...

IdeaFeed

Betting on Moxie

Missing
over 4 years ago

Financial firms on Wall Street habitually recruit professional poker players to their ranks because of players' calculating abilities and tolerance for risk. "The rising popularity of online poker has created, in effect, a huge farm team for Wall Street trading desks...Wall Street's interest in ...

IdeaFeed

Vocational Studies

Missing
over 4 years ago

Facing rising tuition rates, a growing number of economists and educators think more vocational training could help American students to find gainful employment. "College degrees are simply not necessary for many jobs. Of the 30 jobs projected to grow at the fastest rate over the next decade in the ...

IdeaFeed

Gun Rights

Missing
over 4 years ago

Steve Chapman defends the right of suspected terrorists on the no-fly list to buy guns on Second Amendment grounds and because the list is notoriously fallible. "Barring gun sales on the basis of mere suspicion might be permissible except for that pesky Second Amendment. The Constitution doesn't ...

IdeaFeed

Feeling Inadequate

Missing
over 4 years ago

Inadequacy, rather than being shameful, can be a healthy emotion in romantic relationships when it motivates partners to care more for each other. "Like parenting, adult relationships require considerable on the job training. To make them work, we must tolerate feeling inadequate long enough for it ...

IdeaFeed

Growing Cities

Missing
over 4 years ago

"To support growth in the next decade, we need to nourish our walkable urban spaces and neighborhoods" with accessible public transport and quality infrastructure, writes the Atlantic. "Urban-style housing in walkable neighborhoods—including those in the inner suburbs—is what’s in demand today. And ...

IdeaFeed

Phony Cure

Missing
over 4 years ago

"It seems sensible to make every effort to enlist the body’s own ability to heal itself—which is what, at bottom, placebos seem to do," writes the Boston Globe. "As evidence of the effect’s power mounts, members of the medical community are increasingly asking an intriguing question: if the placebo ...

IdeaFeed

Luddite President

Missing
over 4 years ago

The Economist, while recognizing Obama's tech savvy, is critical of his pessimistic view that new communication technologies distract the public rather than empower it. "Mr Obama complained that technology was putting 'new pressures on our country and on our democracy'. But iPods, iPads and suchlike ...