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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

Registering Risk

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Requiring derivatives and synthetic securities to be registered would be simple and effective; yet the legislation currently under consideration contains no such requirement," writes George Soros. "The Senate Agriculture Committee proposes blocking deposit-taking banks from making markets in swaps ...

IdeaFeed

Census Forms

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Most people who appear phenotypically 'black' enjoy neither the privilege nor the inclination to play around on a government form designed to track and remediate generations of prejudice," writes Patricia Williams. "To be visibly black in this culture is to feel race every day--one can't forget it ...

IdeaFeed

Waking Life

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Understanding waking consciousness, sleep and dreams depends on how the lines are drawn among them," writes author Siri Hustvedt. "Ernest Hartman at Tufts University School of Medicine proposes a waking-to-dreaming continuum, a range of states that move from highly self-conscious, logical, category ...

IdeaFeed

Memories Move Us

Missing
over 4 years ago

New research finds that the movements of our bodies "influence the recollection of emotional memories, as well as the speed with which they are recalled." Scientists investigating "embodied cognition"—the affect of the body on mental activity—have already found ways in which our thoughts are ...

IdeaFeed

A Role to Play

Missing
over 4 years ago

In a new book, anthropologist and neuroscientist Melvin Konner explores the biological evolution of human behavior and specifically the behavior of children, looking at how "play" affects our development. Konner found that the smartest mammals are also the most playful, indicating that the traits ...

IdeaFeed

Discriminating Women

Missing
over 4 years ago

Evolutionary psychologists have long thought that women are choosier than men when it comes to dating because in prehistoric times "dating" was much riskier for women—men could shrug off a one-night-stand, while women who chose an unfit mate could end up with years of motherhood without the help of ...

IdeaFeed

Heirloom Hybrids

Missing
over 4 years ago

A number of plant breeders are offering hybrid heirloom tomatoes this year that they claim "have the distinct flavors and funky looks of heirlooms but are more disease-resistant and abundantly productive." Tomato purists may cringe, but some of the new varieties "are bred to better withstand ...

IdeaFeed

Drunk Tank

Missing
over 4 years ago

A taxpayer-funded bar in the German city of Kiel caters to a very particular clientele: unemployed alcoholics. "The Sofa is Germany's first drinking room, a sort of crash smoking room for alcoholics. Most of the people who frequent the place are serious alcoholics and are allowed to bring their own ...

IdeaFeed

Martian Chronicles

Missing
over 4 years ago

"We do really have a lot of evidence pointing in the direction of life on Mars," says astrobiologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch. "I think it’s actually more scientifically outrageous to think that Mars is and always has been sterile." He argues that we need another ambitious mission to Mars to find the ...

IdeaFeed

All About the Benjamins

Missing
over 4 years ago

The United States Treasury has unveiled a redesigned $100 bill, which includes a 3-D security ribbon that contains images of bells and 100s that move and change from one to the other as handlers tilt the note. The changes "are aimed at thwarting counterfeiters armed with ever-more sophisticated ...

IdeaFeed

Obama's Certificate

Missing
over 4 years ago

"The 'birther' myth is the political equivalent of a horror-movie villain: Not only does it refuse to die, but every time someone tries to kill it, it only comes back stronger," writes Christopher Beam. "The latest incarnation: a bill approved 31-22 by the Arizona House of Representatives on Monday ...

IdeaFeed

Versus the Volcano

Missing
over 4 years ago

"What if [the Eyjafjallajokull ash cloud] is in fact not just a minor volcanic hiccup, but the beginning of an event that causes in time a mass extinction of some form of earthbound life?" asks Simon Winchester. "And further, since we know from the history books that the massive eruption of ...

IdeaFeed

Fat Hurts the Brain

Missing
over 4 years ago

Several studies have concluded that obesity accelerates the process of dementia. People who are overweight in their 40s are more likely to show a rapid, pronounced decline in brain function in their 70s. And even among young people, the overweight tend to have significantly lower gray-matter ...

IdeaFeed

Environmental Placebos?

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Individuals and businesses who are feeding a $700 million global market in [carbon] offsets are often buying vague promises instead of the reductions in greenhouse gases they expect," writes Doug Struck. "Carbon offsets are the environmental equivalent of financial derivatives: complex, unregulated ...

IdeaFeed

Globalizing Poor Nations

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Many if not most Third World countries see globalization as a device or pretext for imposing post- imperialist domination and exploitation by the West of the Rest," writes David Landes. "These reactions are reinforced by the sense that history has done the losers wrong. ... Part of the answer, if ...