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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

What Is Creativity?

Missing
over 4 years ago

Testing for creativity, and its corresponding physical attributes in the brain, requires defining the term, but creativity is not so easily broken down. "'Creativity is kind of like pornography — you know it when you see it,' said Rex Jung, a research scientist at the Mind Research Network in ...

IdeaFeed

Hawking's Warning

Missing
over 4 years ago

The Journal of Cosmology has gathered responses from the scientific community to Stephen Hawking's warning about colonial aliens—one biologist even wrote a limerick. "Blair Csuti, a biologist at Oregon State University, defended Hawking's trepidation, arguing that the principles of evolution would ...

IdeaFeed

Fire v. Fire

Missing
over 4 years ago

"You can fight fire with fire," says Steve Chapman at the Chicago Tribune who is bothered by an overly reactive American culture, "As a rule, though, it's better to use water." "Lately, Americans seem to be taking advice from Oscar Wilde, who said, "Moderation is a fatal thing." Stupidity can be met ...

IdeaFeed

A Dose of Spring

Missing
over 4 years ago

A new study show that just five minutes in a natural, green environment—rather than an urban one—can improve our mood and self-esteem. "The study shows, for example, that being in a green environment is better than being in an urban one in terms of a measurable positive effect on blood pressure ...

IdeaFeed

Countdown...

Missing
over 4 years ago

A new U.N. report says that one in three plant and animal species face extinction given the rate of human production and consumption. "The report is one of the starkest issued by the UN and the decision to draw an explicit link between extinction rates and economic growth makes it politically ...

IdeaFeed

Legal Malpractice

Missing
over 4 years ago

Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, thinks the influence of pharmaceutical companies has grown too large in our academic institutions. "The boundaries between academic medicine—medical schools, teaching hospitals, and their faculty—and the pharmaceutical ...

IdeaFeed

Arctic Anarchy?

Missing
over 4 years ago

Melting ice caps in the Arctic are creating new trade routes and exposing untouched natural resources, but just who is filling the legal and political vacuum of the North? "A State Department official said that while Arctic policy seems to be spread thin throughout the federal government, there is a ...

IdeaFeed

Censorship

Missing
over 4 years ago

The Guardian reports that unaccountable Middle Eastern governments limit freedom of the press by creating threats real and imaginary to justify their habit of censorship. "So, why is press freedom so seriously compromised in the Arab world? There are different reasons in different countries, but one ...

IdeaFeed

Deglobalization

Missing
over 4 years ago

Ian Bremmer says the financial crisis is putting the brakes on the expansion of free-markets and accelerating the development of "state capitalism". "Globalization has been the dominant driver of international politics and global markets for a generation. But in several countries around the world ...

IdeaFeed

3-D Fever

Missing
over 4 years ago

Despite the TV industry's efforts to push 3-D televisions, the technology may be best suited to cinemas where people can devote their full attention to the screen, writes the Economist. "Three-dimensional television is coming whether you want it or not. But after the novelty has worn off, it is ...

IdeaFeed

Coitus Interruptus

Missing
over 4 years ago

Psychology Today comments on a survey finding that one in ten people think it appropriate to interrupt sex to send a text message. Is nothing sacred? "If you're so disconnected, so bored, so longing to be elsewhere that you are texting during sex or allowing your partner to text during sex, then ...

IdeaFeed

Scapegoating

Missing
over 4 years ago

Professors Gary Becker and Richard Posner at the University of Chicago discuss the benefits and risks of financial speculation in a shaky economy. Becker says, "Speculators have never been popular, and they have never been as unpopular as they are in the United States today. Increasingly they are ...

IdeaFeed

Tempered Praise

Missing
over 4 years ago

Sharon Lerner at The Nation appreciates Mother's Day but laments the illusion that women's generosity is infinite; generosity without support—real support—is unsustainable. "There are plenty of reasonable theories as to why women’s progress might be stalling, but my personal favorite is—ahem—my own ...

IdeaFeed

Atlantic Alliance

Missing
over 4 years ago

The "special relationship" between the U.S. and the U.K. is likely to change because Britain has less than ever to offer America as David Cameron seeks to be a domestic policy Prime Minister. "Among the many ingredients of the relationship, Mr Edelman observed, the one most valued by successive ...

IdeaFeed

Guestimate

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Rigor leads to rigor mortis," says MIT's Sanjoy Mahajan who teaches his students to use common sense and best guessing to arrive at practical solutions problems great and small. "The world is messy, so do the best you can. You know more than you think you do. Use whatever tools are available to do ...