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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

Simple Simon

Missing
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

Missing
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

Missing
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

Missing
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

Missing
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

Missing
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

Missing
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

Missing
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

Missing
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

Missing
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 ...

IdeaFeed

Survival of the Fuzziest

Missing
over 4 years ago

Social Darwinism, or destructive competition as a means of maintaining society, is an ethically bankrupt ideology and one the U.S. must abandon to remain competitive. "Too often in the United States, co-opetition is conflated with destructive, lowest-common-denominator competition, which has led to ...

IdeaFeed

Dangerous Gods

Missing
over 4 years ago

A feature in the Boston Globe argues that it is delusional and dangerous to think that all religions are paths to the same holy wisdom. "...this lumping of the world’s religions into one megareligion is not just false and condescending, it is also a threat. How can we make sense of the ongoing ...

IdeaFeed

Eliot Cum Walcott

Missing
over 4 years ago

More than any other living poet, Derek Walcott best fulfills T.S. Eliot's poetic ideal following his new publication, writes The New York Times. "This is a book of turning away from all that is modish in literature, from 'the deliberate delight in incoherence, the whiff of chaos / off the first page ...