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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

Copy Nazis

Missing
over 4 years ago

"The secret of excellent proofreading is caring intensely about getting things right and loathing error with an intensity that perhaps only fascism or an alimony-collecting ex-wife deserves," writes Joseph Epstein. "Such people appear to have departed the earth, and don’t figure soon to return ...

IdeaFeed

Group Think

Missing
over 4 years ago

Group theory "bridges the arts and sciences," writes Steven Strogatz. "It addresses something the two cultures share—an abiding fascination with symmetry." He explains how group theory "underlies everything from the choreography of contra dancing and the fundamental laws of particle physics, to ...

IdeaFeed

Nuclear Iran

Missing
over 4 years ago

Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton writes that "It is hard to conclude anything except that the Obama administration is resigned to Iran possessing nuclear weapons. While U.S. policy makers will not welcome that outcome, they certainly hope as a corollary that Iran can be contained and deterred ...

IdeaFeed

The Brain on Green

Missing
over 4 years ago

New studies indicate that combining exercise activities (like walking or biking) with nature boosts mental health and well-being. Researchers found that mood and self-esteem were greatly improved by doing activities in locations such as a park, garden, or nature trail, and the biggest effect was ...

IdeaFeed

World in "Balance"

Missing
over 4 years ago

New data "suggests a much-desired 'rebalancing' of the global economy," writes Robert Samuelson. "The world needs a new engine of growth to replace free-spending American consumers and their ravenous appetite for other countries' exports. ... Advanced countries can no longer borrow their way to ...

IdeaFeed

Europe's Comeuppance

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Europe used to be, within the living memory of many of us, the cockpit of world power, prosperity and prestige. Today it is raw material for an ouija board," writes Walter Lacquer. "What will Europe be like ten or twenty years from now? With a little luck it will gradually recover from its present ...

IdeaFeed

Hating the Pill

Missing
over 4 years ago

While acknowledging the progress over the past 50 years that was enabled by birth control pills, Geraldine Sealey thinks that we need new methods beyond hormonal contraception. "To achieve true reproductive choice and freedom for all women, we need to start having a more realistic discussion about ...

IdeaFeed

Does Morality Evolve?

Missing
over 4 years ago

Morality is an indirect consequence of evolution that balances the needs of individual survival and satisfaction with those of society, writes a contributor at Psychology Today. "If morality were a direct product of evolution, it would presumably enhance our fitness and thus we would have evolved to ...

IdeaFeed

Dogmas of Reason

Missing
over 4 years ago

Our age's outright attack on God may just be a reactionary response from an "ideology of reason" that imitates the dogmatic methods it is critical of, says The Spectator. "Take those scientists who promote not science but scientism—the belief that science can deal with every aspect of existence. The ...

IdeaFeed

The Cult of DNA

Missing
over 4 years ago

The supposed infallibility of DNA test results, due to individuals' unique gene sequences, creates a cult of unaccountability that can lead to false convictions. "Outside scientific circles, this perilous distortion of DNA evidence has gotten little attention. This is partly because the underlying ...

IdeaFeed

Courting Aristocracy

Missing
over 4 years ago

The preservation of "fundamental rights" by a nation's judiciary is an old habit of tempering democracy with aristocracy, writes James Grant of the U of Cambridge. "Rights, as political claims, must compete with other political claims, must fight the political fight—a conflict that is not resolved ...

IdeaFeed

Islam's Backstory

Missing
over 4 years ago

Fred Donner, a historian at the U of Chicago, has published a history of Islam that demonstrates the faith's original openness to outside members. "Devout Muslims—who model their lives directly on the mores of the Prophet and his companions—will be surprised to read that Mohammed welcomed Christians ...

IdeaFeed

Ain't What She Used to Be

Missing
over 4 years ago

While Europe is no longer the colonial power it once was, and though its politics are mired in seemingly small issues, its social values provide the continent its staying power. "New Asia might be more efficient than old Europe for the time being, but as for moral values, Alfred Lord Tennyson’s ...

IdeaFeed

Silence's Refuge

Missing
over 4 years ago

If you live in a city, it's probably loud; the effects of noise pollution fall disproportionately on the poor and damage our psychology as well as our physiology. "The scale of our noise problem isn’t in doubt. In recent years rigorous studies on the health consequences of noise have indicated that ...

IdeaFeed

Doubting Psychiatry

Missing
over 4 years ago

Another lengthy analysis has been done on the over prescription of psychotropic drugs in America: is the tide turning against our favorite little pills? "Anatomy of an Epidemic" is the first book to investigate the long-term outcomes of patients treated with psychiatric drugs, and Whitaker finds ...