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

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 ...

IdeaFeed

Unplanned Parenthood

Missing
over 4 years ago

Nearly fifty years after the invention of the birth control pill, people today have a wide variety of options when it comes to contraception. Yet, despite the availability of these options, nearly half of pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended—a rate that has remained constant. "Why are these ...

IdeaFeed

Poetic Messiah

Missing
over 4 years ago

"No poet has ever been so influential, so controversial, and so little read" as Ezra Pound, writes Jamie James. "Pound predicted this gathering gloom, a new Dark Age brought on by the rise of commercial mass production." After him, "anyone aspiring to be a poetic messiah would be shunned as a ...

IdeaFeed

The Invention of Clothes

Missing
over 4 years ago

Scientists have used DNA to trace the evolutionary split between head and body lice to 190,000 years ago. They say this may indicate how long humans have been wearing clothing—a poorly understood cultural development that allowed people to move North and settle in cold regions. Scientists had ...

IdeaFeed

Exposing Censorship

Missing
over 4 years ago

"More than 40 governments censor information today, up from about four in 2002," writes Google's chief legal officer David Drummond. "And some governments are blocking -- or proposing to block -- content even before it reaches their citizens." To promote greater transparency, Google is creating a ...

IdeaFeed

Bee Faster

Missing
over 4 years ago

Researchers have found that bees see the world nearly five times as quickly as humans do. Bumblebees have the fastest color vision of all animals, helping them to navigate through bushes to find food. Fast-flying insects commonly have an ability to see quickly, but it's now clear that bees' color ...

IdeaFeed

Anti-Laptop Classrooms

Missing
over 4 years ago

Educators have long clamored to put computing technology in the hands of young students, but now university authorities—seeing the distraction that the Internet and social media can cause—are trying to get them to turn off their computers in class. "The trend of laptop-banning seems strongest at law ...

IdeaFeed

Twain's Fame

Missing
over 4 years ago

"'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' may be the great American novel and Mark Twain the great American novelist, but in his own lifetime—which ended exactly a hundred years ago today—Twain was read more widely as a travel writer," writes Nathanial Rich, who looks at the roots of Twain's fame. But ...

IdeaFeed

Warming? Ask Business.

Missing
over 4 years ago

While political debates might suggest that the question of climate change is yet unresolved (or worse, a shady liberal scheme), the world of industry and commerce is convinced that global warming is real, and imminent. Companies' greed plants them inevitably in the "reality-based community" writes ...