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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

Oil Spill Experimentation

Missing
over 4 years ago

Since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank, vast quantities of dispersant chemicals have been sprayed onto the resulting slick. The chemicals are an attempt to reduce the environmental damage of the oil by helping large globs of oil "disperse" into smaller pieces which are easier for sea ...

IdeaFeed

Tea Party Feminists?

Missing
over 4 years ago

More women than men belong to the tea party movement—55 percent, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll. "While no movement that uses Michelle Malkin as a poster girl could fairly be described as feminist, the party has become an insta-network for ambitious women," writes Hanna Rosin. "Some are ...

IdeaFeed

Purple Prose

Missing
over 4 years ago

"One of the less trumpeted features of the Internet is the unprecedented access it provides to really, really bad writing," writes Laura Miller. "Of course, awful books have always been with us, but nowadays a specimen of unkempt, puffed-up prose or stumbling, lugubrious verse doesn't even need to ...

IdeaFeed

One Common Ancestor

Missing
over 4 years ago

New statistical analysis finds that all life on Earth shares a single common ancestor, confirming a "central pillar of evolutionary theory." Researchers did rigorous statistical tests on various evolutionary ancestry models, and determined that a universal common ancestor is at least 102,860 times ...

IdeaFeed

The Brain, Inspired

Missing
over 4 years ago

New research into the brain provides intriguing information about the neural activity associated with moments of sudden insight. A study at the University of British Columbia examined how groups of frontal cortex neurons in rat brains switch from encoding a familiar rule to a completely novel rule ...

IdeaFeed

Russia's Dark Past

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Communism led ... inexorably, everywhere on the globe where it was applied, to starvation, torture, and slave-labor camps," writes Claire Berlinski. "Nor is it widely acknowledged that Communism was responsible for the deaths of some 150 million human beings during the twentieth century. The world ...

IdeaFeed

Hiding Fannie and Freddie

Missing
over 4 years ago

"The government's current policy to leave a great deal of its liabilities off-balance sheet makes the U.S.'s current debt levels look a lot more favorable than they really are," writes Daniel Indiviglio. "Future entitlement costs, for example, are already accrued, but remain included as unfunded ...

IdeaFeed

Some Jobs Vanish

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Many of the jobs lost during the recession are not coming back," writes Catherine Rampell. "Millions of workers who have already been unemployed for months, if not years, will most likely remain that way even as the overall job market continues to improve, economists say. The occupations they ...

IdeaFeed

Cab Driving for Executives

Missing
over 4 years ago

All London taxi drivers spend two to four years studying the shortest route between all roads within a six mile radius of Charing Cross before taking a test and receiving their license. But in a unique way, drivers are also taught conflict management, in particular the benefit of humility. "Drivers ...

IdeaFeed

Arab Holocaust Denial

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Western-style Holocaust denial—that is, the endeavor to produce pseudo-scientific proofs that the Jewish genocide did not happen at all or was only a massacre of far lesser scope than that commonly acknowledged—is actually very marginal in the Arab world," writes Gilbert Achcar. Rather, many Arabs ...

IdeaFeed

Earth's Crystalline Center

Missing
over 4 years ago

Scientists now think they know why seismic waves traveling between the Earth's poles move faster than those traveling east-west. It has to do with the way that the iron alloys at the planet's core have crystallized. While in in the past we thought of the earth's core as fairly homogeneous, it's now ...

IdeaFeed

"Jihadi Intent"

Missing
over 4 years ago

"When you look at how much real-world evidence there is against the views of war-on-terror hawks, it’s not surprising that they would construct their own little universe, a place where 'jihadi intent' is an uncaused cause, and our only hope is to kill or intimidate the people who, through some ...

IdeaFeed

Google Saves the News?

Missing
over 4 years ago

Having helped break the news business, Google now wants to fix it—"for commercial as well as civic reasons: if news organizations stop producing great journalism, says one Google executive, the search engine will no longer have interesting content to link to." James Fallows looks at how some of the ...

IdeaFeed

European Mortality

Missing
over 4 years ago

"The European Union was to have become a kind of eternal utopia," writes Christoph Schwennicke. But over the past ten years, the idea of Europe has been going decidedly downhill. "Instead of creating a joint military, Europe must now be worried about keeping its common currency. Europe could end ...

IdeaFeed

Supreme Disclosure

Missing
over 4 years ago

William Saletan argues that we shouldn't ask Elena Kagan is she's gay, and she needn't volunteer an answer. "The political threat is that unconventional sexuality or religion can destroy the nominee," he writes. "But the moral threat is far greater. In the act of forced disclosure, 'one's ability to ...