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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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IdeaFeed Posts

Big ideas in the news from around the web

IdeaFeed

Tiny Beams

Missing
over 4 years ago

Physicists have developed the smallest electrically pumped laser ever, with a beam that is 30 micrometers long, eight micrometers high, and has a wavelength of 200 micrometers. It is the first time that a laser has been created that is smaller than the wavelength its light emits. Scientists think ...

IdeaFeed

Large Lizards

Missing
over 4 years ago

Scientists in the Philippines say they have discovered a new species of giant lizards with bright yellow, blue, and green skin, that lives in the forests and survives on a fruit-only diet. The lizard is actually well-known to rural tribes, which regularly hunt them for meat -- but until now ...

IdeaFeed

Hypo-Allergenic City

Missing
over 4 years ago

Cities could reduce their pollen count by planting street trees that produce very little of it, writes Thomas Leo Ogran, author of the book Allergy-Free Gardening. American cities weren't always hotbeds of springtime sneezing. Rather, he writes, they became much more allergenic in the 60s and 70s ...

IdeaFeed

Rethinking the Grid

Missing
over 4 years ago

New research published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences suggests that a gigantic network of offshore wind power stations along the Eastern seaboard could potentially provide energy to a large swath of the U.S. without much threat of outages. The concept, outlined by marine ...

IdeaFeed

Animal Magnetism

Missing
over 4 years ago

The burgeoning field of animal personality research seeks to figure out why individual members of a species can have so much in common, and yet be so much themselves. Natalie Angier reports that scientists have found evidence of repeated individual behaviors, preferences and personality quirks among ...

IdeaFeed

Behind the Veil

Missing
over 4 years ago

With Belgium set to join France in banning women from wearing the burqa or niqab in public, Yassin Musharbash writes that getting rid of the garment won't solve the underlying problems of Muslim immigration and integration that plague Western societies. "Europe stands for the idea of a lively, open ...

IdeaFeed

Ice Age Tree Rings

Missing
over 4 years ago

A team of researchers are hoping to find 30,000 years of climate records in the rings of preserved kauri trees in the peat bogs of New Zealand. Led by Exeter University, the scientists have been awarded a grant to do carbon dating and analysis of the trees, which can provide a very precise picture ...

IdeaFeed

Oh, the Humanities

Missing
over 4 years ago

With tenure-track positions dwindling at universities, Peter Conn writes that humanities faculties need to "articulate our contribution if we hope to find increasing levels of support for the work we do." He says a generation of "dithering," "wishful thinking," and "institutional inertia" is behind ...

IdeaFeed

95-Million-Year-Old Bugs

Missing
over 4 years ago

An 95-million-year-old amber deposit found in Ethiopia includes the fossilized remains of ants, spiders, wasps, and bacteria, and is providing new information about how those species lived in the Cretaceous era -- the time following the age of dinosaurs, when mammals were first beginning to develop ...

IdeaFeed

The New Paternalism

Missing
over 4 years ago

New paternalism came from behavioral economics, which studies how humans deviate from their rational interest, and devises ways to intervene and help them make better choices -- such as a hefty cigarette tax to curb smoking. Glen Whitman writes that while people are certainly susceptible to ...

IdeaFeed

Concentration Nation

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Restlessness, impatience, impulsivity, procrastination, chronic lateness, and difficulty getting organized, focusing and finishing tasks." About 4.4% of American adults are believed to have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and more and more of them are being diagnosed and treated with ...

IdeaFeed

Wean Not

Missing
over 4 years ago

A new study in the journal Pediatrics says that the lives of 900 babies in the U.S. (as well as $13 billion) could be saved each year if their mothers simply continued to breastfeed them through their first six months of life. The study found that a variety of deaths and illnesses among children ...

IdeaFeed

Default Positions

Missing
over 4 years ago

Like the crises in Greece and Ireland, a state-government default would have all sorts of unpleasant consequences in the U.S., writes James Surowiecki. But unlike the struggling European countries, U.S. states can count on help from the federal government, which can generally be counted on to step ...

IdeaFeed

"The Superstar Effect"

Missing
over 4 years ago

Great competition doesn't always inspire greatness. When people compete against a superior peer at the top of his game (like Tiger Woods), they often don't rise to the challenge. Instead, they often just give up. This phenomenon is called the "superstar effect," and according to a paper by ...

IdeaFeed

Banking on Bailouts

Missing
over 4 years ago

John Plender looks at the concept of "moral hazard" -- the idea that providing a safety net for the banking system during times of financial crisis will only encourage more risk taking later on. The concept seems fairly sound, but the way it works on financial markets is more complex than people ...