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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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IdeaFeed Posts

Big ideas in the news from around the web

IdeaFeed

The Old Justice

Missing
over 4 years ago

Justice Stevens, who will retire at the end of the Supreme Court's current term, is a Chicago native where the political culture taught him to hold politicians accountable. "In the 1940s, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Wiley Blount Rutledge asked the professors at Northwestern University Law School if ...

IdeaFeed

The New Justice

Missing
over 4 years ago

CNN looks at a list of potential nominees to fill Justice Steven's seat on the Supreme Court including current Attorney General Eric Holder and Diane Wood. "President Obama on Friday received his second opportunity to shape the U.S. Supreme Court when Justice John Paul Stevens announced his ...

IdeaFeed

China's Heroin

Missing
over 4 years ago

China may rely too heavily on property development to keep its domestic economy running foreshadowing a real estate bubble burst similar to the one in the U.S. "China’s property market is a bubble that may burst by as early as this year, according to hedge fund manager James Chanos. The world’s ...

IdeaFeed

UN Climate Talks

Missing
over 4 years ago

In the first UN climate talks since Copenhagen, poor countries who will be most affected by climate change demanded a legally binding treaty. "Blocs representing the poorest nations called for intensive talks during the year, leading to agreement on a legally binding treaty in December. The EU ...

IdeaFeed

Public Disclosure

Missing
over 4 years ago

WikiLeaks claims to be working to keep governments and secret organizations in check by publishing classified information, but who is checking up on WikiLeaks? "It has proclaimed itself the 'intelligence service of the people', and plans to have more agents than the CIA. They will be you and me ...

IdeaFeed

Good Intentions?

Missing
over 4 years ago

The Congressional panel investigating the financial crisis wants to know if Freddie Mac and Fannie May were well intentioned or ridden with greed. "They were well-intentioned victims of a historic, unanticipated meltdown in the housing market -- or they were reckless, arrogant financial firms that ...

IdeaFeed

Iranian Uranium

Missing
over 4 years ago

Iran has announced its development of faster centrifuges for enriching uranium but the advance, while scientifically significant, may not alter the political landscape. "Iran has announced it has developed faster centrifuges for uranium enrichment, signalling a determination to press on with its ...

IdeaFeed

Missing Link

Missing
over 4 years ago

Scientists have found a couple of 1.9-million-year-old skeletons in a South African cave that fill in another clue from our primate past. Named australopithecus sediba, these skeletons have many features common to our genus, but also have extra-long forearms and flexible feet -- characteristics that ...

IdeaFeed

Made for Nori

Missing
over 4 years ago

The intestinal microbes of Japanese people have enzymes that seem to be particularly good at digesting seaweed. Researchers studying a common marine bacteria found an enzyme that breaks down the carbohydrates found in the cell walls of red algae -- which is also known best as the nori seaweed that ...

IdeaFeed

Brand Rehab

Missing
over 4 years ago

Tiger Woods is likely to join a long list of companies and individuals that have come back refreshed after a stint in rehab. Like Martha Stewart and Kobe Bryant -- as well as Johnson & Johnson and Coca-Cola -- the Woods brand is now set to relaunch, and has the possibility of emerging even stronger ...

IdeaFeed

Zebra's Stripes

Missing
over 4 years ago

Researchers have discovered a clue to how different creatures in the animal kingdom create the complex body ornamentation and patterns that mark their species. The study is the first to find evidence for what generates animal color patterns -- be they colorful stripes and spots to attract mates, or ...

IdeaFeed

Rethinking Materialism

Missing
over 4 years ago

Tony Judt writes that our culture has become profoundly selfish and materialistic in the past 30 years -- and that this quality is not inherent in the human condition. "How should we begin to make amends for raising a generation obsessed with the pursuit of material wealth and indifferent to so much ...

IdeaFeed

Bonding Rituals

Missing
over 4 years ago

Male friendships are qualitatively different from female friendships, according to researchers. Men may not be physically or emotionally expressive, but they provide a lot of support for each one another with their presence. A study found that men tend to resist high-maintenance relationships ...

IdeaFeed

Freedom and Slavery

Missing
over 4 years ago

More important than the size of government is the kind of power it wields over its people -- and whether it exercises arbitrary power over others, writes David Boaz. So people who wax eloquent about the golden age of liberty in early America (pointing to low taxes and fewer government agencies) are ...

IdeaFeed

The Afghan Puzzle

Missing
over 4 years ago

As the campaign in Afghanistan wears on, there is a consensus in the Islamic world that a discernible American retreat from the region is in the works, writes Fouad Ajami. "America's enemies are increasingly brazen, its friends unnerved," he writes. "The shadow of American power is receding; the ...