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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

A Legal "Crush"

Missing
over 4 years ago

Stanley Fish writes that the recent Supreme Court decision striking down a statute criminalizing the production and sale of videos depicting animal cruelty in a manner intended to satisfy a particular “sexual fetish” is no surprise. Previous cases found speech to be a value in and of itself, no ...

IdeaFeed

The Driven Mind

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over 4 years ago

People who are driven by rewards tend to be the ones who win at games—even when the reward has been removed. Neuroscientists at Washington University tested 31 randomly selected subjects with word games, some of which had monetary rewards of either 25 or 75 cents per correct answer, others of which ...

IdeaFeed

Unnatural Selection

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over 4 years ago

Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini argue that new genetic discoveries—namely that major differences between species may be less about the evolution of new genes than about the same genes being regulated and expressed in new ways—reveal the wrongness of Darwinism. But reviewer Kenan Malik ...

IdeaFeed

Simple Simon

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over 4 years ago

"No playwright in Broadway’s long and raucous history has so dominated the boulevard as the softly astringent [Neil] Simon," writes John Lahr. "For almost half a century, his comedies have offered light at the end of whatever dark tunnel America has found itself in. ... He does not think against ...

IdeaFeed

Warming the Vines

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over 4 years ago

Winemakers are beginning to worry about how climate change will affect the taste of their product—and the survival of their business—in the near future. Wine grapes are extraordinarily temperature-sensitive, so as global warming intensifies, areas that now produce great wines will likely yield lower ...

IdeaFeed

Military Nose

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over 4 years ago

The Pentagon has been looking for technologies to use people's scents to detect, track, and identify them from a distance. The most start-of-the-art technology so far has only been able to distinguish between two different people and needs armpit scent—but now the Army is seeking proposals for a ...

IdeaFeed

Stirring in the Deep

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over 4 years ago

Researchers have discovered that a deep-ocean current is carrying frigid water rapidly northward from Antarctica along the edge of a giant underwater plateau. The current is very fast, moving at speeds greater than 700 metres per hour, and "carrying volumes as high as 30 million cubic metres per ...

IdeaFeed

Accumulating Stuff

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over 4 years ago

A new book by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee looks at the psychological reasons why people hoard stuff in their homes, sometimes amassing so much stuff that they can barely move around. Hoarders have "a sense of intense responsibility for objects and an unwillingness to waste them," says Frost, as ...

IdeaFeed

Fat and Fighting

Missing
over 4 years ago

At a press conference last week, politicians and military brass warned that America's poor diets and lack of exercise have now become a danger to homeland security. Daniel Engber says he's all for healthy school lunches, but that this argument is "hogwash." There was record-level recruitment for ...

IdeaFeed

Palin's Take

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over 4 years ago

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has amassed a $12 million fortune in the past year. She is "a singular national industry," writes Gabriel Sherman. "No one else has rolled politics and entertainment into the same scintillating, infuriating, spectacularly lucrative package the way Palin has or ...

IdeaFeed

Feeling the Heat

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over 4 years ago

Scientists have gotten a better understanding of the molecular mechanism by which humans sense temperature. Researchers were able to identify a region of a protein called TRPV1 that enabled temperature sensitivity and decipher some of the molecular factors at work. "Because our ability to sense ...

IdeaFeed

Racking Up I.O.U.s

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over 4 years ago

"Too much debt is always dangerous," write Paul Krugman and Robin Wells. "It’s dangerous when a government borrows heavily from foreigners—but it’s equally dangerous when a government borrows heavily from its own citizens. It’s dangerous, too, when the private sector borrows heavily, whether from ...

IdeaFeed

Assessing Némirovsky

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over 4 years ago

A new biography of writer Irène Némirovsky, author of "Suite Française," rejects the idea that the Jewish author, eventually killed by the Nazis, was anti-Semitic. Instead they write, her extreme right-wing friends and ugly caricatured portraits of Jews were a result of her "deep and complex ...

IdeaFeed

Applying Honestly

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over 4 years ago

"With all the uncertainty and anxiety these days over landing a job with a steady paycheck, more job seekers are finding it harder to resist fudging on a résumé or job application in order to paint themselves in the best light," writes Anna Prior. But a lot of companies have zero-tolerance policies ...

IdeaFeed

Joining the Fray

Missing
over 4 years ago

"The need for Americans to enter the arena has never been greater," write Bob and Elizabeth Dole. They write in favor of Theodore Roosevelt's idea of "robust citizenship." "America has and will succeed because, not without error, men and women of great devotions and worthy causes are willing to step ...