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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

The Invention of Clothes

Missing
over 4 years ago

Scientists have used DNA to trace the evolutionary split between head and body lice to 190,000 years ago. They say this may indicate how long humans have been wearing clothing—a poorly understood cultural development that allowed people to move North and settle in cold regions. Scientists had ...

IdeaFeed

Exposing Censorship

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over 4 years ago

"More than 40 governments censor information today, up from about four in 2002," writes Google's chief legal officer David Drummond. "And some governments are blocking -- or proposing to block -- content even before it reaches their citizens." To promote greater transparency, Google is creating a ...

IdeaFeed

Anti-Laptop Classrooms

Missing
over 4 years ago

Educators have long clamored to put computing technology in the hands of young students, but now university authorities—seeing the distraction that the Internet and social media can cause—are trying to get them to turn off their computers in class. "The trend of laptop-banning seems strongest at law ...

IdeaFeed

Bee Faster

Missing
over 4 years ago

Researchers have found that bees see the world nearly five times as quickly as humans do. Bumblebees have the fastest color vision of all animals, helping them to navigate through bushes to find food. Fast-flying insects commonly have an ability to see quickly, but it's now clear that bees' color ...

IdeaFeed

Twain's Fame

Missing
over 4 years ago

"'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' may be the great American novel and Mark Twain the great American novelist, but in his own lifetime—which ended exactly a hundred years ago today—Twain was read more widely as a travel writer," writes Nathanial Rich, who looks at the roots of Twain's fame. But ...

IdeaFeed

Warming? Ask Business.

Missing
over 4 years ago

While political debates might suggest that the question of climate change is yet unresolved (or worse, a shady liberal scheme), the world of industry and commerce is convinced that global warming is real, and imminent. Companies' greed plants them inevitably in the "reality-based community" writes ...

IdeaFeed

After Eyjafjallajökull

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over 4 years ago

Big Think blogger Michio Kaku writes that a "perfect storm" of wind and ice conditions turned the Icelandic volcano eruption into a crisis. He looks at three scenarios for what might come next, and suggests that in the wake of this crisis we need more active reconnaissance of volcanoes, stronger ...

IdeaFeed

My Brain Is Full

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Although there must be a physical limit to how many memories we can store, it is extremely large. We don’t have to worry about running out of space in our lifetime," writes Paul Reber, professor of psychology at Northwestern University. He adds that while the brain's exact storage capacity for ...

IdeaFeed

Beyond Belief

Missing
over 4 years ago

Aaron David Miller writes that the Mideast peace process is like a religion—one he's now giving up. "Right now, America has neither the opportunity nor frankly the balls to do truly big things on Arab-Israeli peacemaking," he writes. "Without a tectonic plate shifting somewhere, it's going to be ...

IdeaFeed

Seabed Rumblings

Missing
over 4 years ago

Scientists have found a distinctive kind of breaking wave in the deep sea representing a subtle force that can stir the seabed. The so-called "internal waves" have the distinctive Kelvin-Helmholtz billows, which is present throughout nature. The researchers said "turbulence from the waves might play ...

IdeaFeed

Paying for Digits

Missing
over 4 years ago

"No matter where consumers buy books, their belief that electronic media should cost less—that something you can’t hold simply isn’t worth as much money—will exert a powerful force," writes Ken Auletta. But it will be hard for publishers to raise prices on e-books. One literary agent is quoted as ...

IdeaFeed

Steroids for Crops?

Missing
over 4 years ago

Synthetic biologists have discovered new chemical reactions that could "rewire" plants to more efficiently process carbon dioxide—allowing crops to grow to enormous size. For years researchers have tried to tweak the process of carbon fixation, also known as the Calvin-Benson cycle. But now ...

IdeaFeed

Hitler's Books

Missing
over 4 years ago

In a new book, Timothy Ryback examines Adolf Hitler's private library. He asserts that books were important in shaping the Führer's life, and looks for insights in the books' margin notes. Michael McDonald writes that Rybeck's claims of books' importance to Hitler is plausible, but that he "was more ...

IdeaFeed

Take a Deep Breath

Missing
over 4 years ago

A new study finds that people who report having had near-death experiences (NDEs) also have elevated levels of carbon dioxide in their blood—indicating that they might be suffering from oxygen deprivation. Researchers studied 52 heart attack patients, of which 11 reported having NDEs, "such as ...

IdeaFeed

Cash for Body Parts?

Missing
over 4 years ago

A British bioethics council is questioning the public about whether it's ethical to use financial incentives—like the payment of funeral expenses—to encourage people to donate organs. The council also is weighing the idea of giving donors priority if they themselves need an organ transplant later in ...