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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

Reviving Cities

Missing
over 4 years ago

Tim Logan writes that the trouble with talent attraction as an economic development strategy is that talent seeks opportunity. "A gay-friendly vibe and a good indie rock scene may draw newcomers, but to keep them, you need jobs. ... Most of us want the opportunity to use our talent, our creativity ...

IdeaFeed

Obama's Census Check

Missing
over 4 years ago

Elizabeth Chang writes that Barack Obama shouldn't have checked "African American" on his census form because he is biracial. "Multiracial people need to be accepted and acknowledged -- even celebrated. The president's choice disappoints me, and it seems somewhat disingenuous," writes Chang. "If the ...

IdeaFeed

Scanning for a Cure

Missing
over 4 years ago

A recent study of multiple sclerosis has found no genetic dissimilarities between identical twins who have and don't have the disease. "We find no smoking gun on the genetic level," said National Center for Genome Resources geneticist Stephen Kingsmore. It’s still possible that a genetic factor in ...

IdeaFeed

Who's Paying?

Missing
over 4 years ago

In the current political climate, raising taxes is outside the realm of rational discussion, writes Dennis Jett. "Those who are the loudest constantly demand lower taxes and less government and their mantra is reported as though it were a universally held belief." But deferring infrastructure ...

IdeaFeed

Asteroid Ice

Missing
over 4 years ago

Two teams of researchers have confirmed that an asteroid circling the sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter has water ice and organic compounds—traits that had previously been associated with comets, but not asteroids. The findings suggest that early Earth may have gotten water for its oceans ...

IdeaFeed

Med Nation

Missing
over 4 years ago

Robert Whitaker’s new book "Anatomy of an Epidemic," is the first book to investigate the long-term outcomes of patients treated with psychiatric drugs. He finds that, overall, the drugs may be doing more harm than good. "Over time, patients with schizophrenia do better off medication than on it ...

IdeaFeed

Eating for Others

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Modern eco-foodies are full of good intentions," writes Robert Paarlberg. "We want to save the planet. Help local farmers. Fight climate change—and childhood obesity, too. But though it's certainly a good thing to be thinking about global welfare while chopping our certified organic onions, the ...

IdeaFeed

Coastal Collapse?

Missing
over 4 years ago

Jim Titus, the Environmental Protection Agency's resident expert on sea-level rise, calculates that a three-foot rise in sea level will push back East Coast shorelines an average of 300 to 600 feet in the next 90 years, threatening to submerge densely developed areas inhabited by some 3 million ...

IdeaFeed

Trash Power

Missing
over 4 years ago

"The fraction of New York’s garbage that requires disposal should be processed in waste-to-energy plants — which not only produce energy but are also cheaper and less polluting than landfills," write Norman Steel and Benjamin Miller. "If all of the city’s nonrecycled waste were sent to local energy ...

IdeaFeed

Squeezing the Pulp

Missing
over 4 years ago

Despite the claims of advertisers, most orange juice is neither fresh nor natural (not in the way most of us would define those terms). "It may be 'not from concentrate,' but raw juice is often heated, stripped of its volatile compounds and flavor-rich oils, and stored for as long as a year before ...

IdeaFeed

File-Share Society

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Maybe it’s time to admit that we may never find a way to reconcile consumers who want free entertainment with creators who want to get paid," writes Megan McArdle. "We have yet to figure out how to make IP work in the new era. Even if we don’t, people will still make pictures, sing songs, and write ...

IdeaFeed

Signs of Sudan's Recovery

Missing
over 4 years ago

Former President Jimmy Carter writes that Sudan's recent elections, despite the condemnation of many critics, "will permit this war-torn nation to move toward a permanent peace and strengthen its quest for true democracy." He writes that it is imperative that the United States and the international ...

IdeaFeed

Parents Are Cool?

Missing
over 4 years ago

"For decades, TV has depicted teens as angst-ridden and rebellious, and parents as out-of-touch and unhip. Then network executives realized that popular shows that tapped into the defiant-youth subculture were losing viewers. ... This less-defiant generation is influencing plots, changing what types ...

IdeaFeed

The Real Ant Farms

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Approximately 50 million years ago, some Amazonian ant species discovered that raising fungi could provide a more stable food source than just foraging on the rainforest floor. Thus, they became farmers. Now, more than 200 species of New World ants cultivate crops, fastidiously fertilizing ...

IdeaFeed

The Right to Work

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Of all classic capitalist problems—income inequality, imperialism, the class character of the state, and so on—mass unemployment has probably been the one to trouble living Americans least," writes Benjamin Kunkel. But "the American approximation to 'full employment' has now collapsed," and will ...