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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

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 ...

IdeaFeed

Redirecting Immunity

Missing
over 4 years ago

In treating autoimmune disease, doctors have long used therapies to suppress the immune system, but now researchers have found a way to prevent type 1 diabetes in mice by actually using a vaccine to boost the immune system and turn it on itself. The technique uses the immune system's regulatory T ...

IdeaFeed

The Humble CEO

Missing
over 4 years ago

David Brooks points to research indicating that charismatic, forceful leaders with excessive self-confidence tend to produce volatile company performances. "These leaders swing for the home run and sometimes end up striking out." Instead, Brooks imagines another model of corporate leadership based ...

IdeaFeed

Can Insomnia Cure Depression?

Missing
over 4 years ago

Extensive research over the past 40 years shows that sleep deprivation is a quick, inexpensive and effective treatment for depression. So why isn't this more well known? Because keeping someone awake to induce euphoria only has short-term benefits, and isn't as convenient as taking a pill, points ...

IdeaFeed

Who's Your Daddy?

Missing
over 4 years ago

The incidence of “non-paternity” (when a child turns out to have a different father than they thought they did) is estimated to be somewhere around 10%. And now that over-the-counter paternity tests are available, it is becoming easier to find out if your are your father's child. Their sale is an ...

IdeaFeed

Hacking Global Warming

Missing
over 4 years ago

If we're in the beginning stages of a major shift in global temperature -- as many suggest we are -- what can we do about it? Eli Kintisch suggests that scientists may have to attempt some radical fixes to address the problem. Whether it's putting more pollutants into the air to keep Earth's ...

IdeaFeed

Laying Down Weapons

Missing
over 4 years ago

Vice President Joe Biden writes that the administration's new nuclear stance "leaves Cold War thinking behind" and recognizes that nuclear terrorism and proliferation as the biggest dangers to global security. "From now on, decisions about the number of weapons we have and how they are deployed will ...

IdeaFeed

Typing on Skin

Missing
over 4 years ago

A new technology called "Skinput" uses bio-acoustic sensors to allow people to use the skin on their fingers or forearms -- or any part of their bodies -- as touchpads to control mobile devices. The technology could help people better use the computing power in the mobile devices they carry around ...

IdeaFeed

Vegan-Friendly Oysters?

Missing
over 4 years ago

"What if we could find an animal that thrived in a factory-farm cage, one that subsisted on nutrients plucked from the air and that was insensate to the slaughterhouse blade?" asks Christopher Cox. "Biologically, oysters are not in the plant kingdom, but when it comes to ethical eating, they are ...

IdeaFeed

Unconventional Data

Missing
over 4 years ago

Prognosticators and urban planners have been looking for economic indicators in unconventional urban data like the number of telephone calls to a helpline or the number of one-bedroom apartments advertised on Craig's List. Economists say that the newest offbeat indicators, aided by the advances in ...

IdeaFeed

Tech Luddites

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Progress may, for a time, intersect with one's own personal ideology, and during that period one will become a gung-ho technological progressivist. But that's just coincidence," writes Nicholas Carr. "In the end, progress doesn't care about ideology. Those who think of themselves as great fans of ...

IdeaFeed

The Female Terrorist

Missing
over 4 years ago

It can be shocking to hear stories about female terrorists like the Russian "black widows" and America's "Jihad Jane" -- particularly because women so rarely turn to violence. "We often turn our backs to the possibility that women could commit such hideous acts of violence," says Northeastern ...

IdeaFeed

Appreciating Dix

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Otto Dix is a difficult artist to like," writes Judith Dobrzynski. "But admiration is a different thing altogether, and -- hard as it is to view some of his images, especially those portraying sexual murders -- Dix ranks among the greatest of 20th-century German artists." Dobrzynski discusses Dix's ...

IdeaFeed

Tiger's Tale

Missing
over 4 years ago

Robert Wright believes Tiger Woods' sexual behavior represents a threat to the moral sanction that is vital to the institution of monogamous marriage. He writes that "the institution that seems to be, on average, the least bad means of rearing children is an institution that doesn’t naturally ...