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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

Palin: The New Gore

Missing
over 4 years ago

John Dickerson writes that Sarah Palin is much more a celebrity than a politician–much like Al Gore–and should be viewed that way. Like Gore, she is "a personality–influential, polarizing, and not likely to be president–who talks about political affairs." For us to expect her to follow the rules ...

IdeaFeed

China's Fortune

Missing
over 4 years ago

"The dominant narrative about China today is that it will, within a few short decades, become the preeminent power in the international system," writes Gordon Chang. "How did this notion of Chinese supremacy gain hold? The answer is nothing more profound than statistical extrapolation." He writes ...

IdeaFeed

Lines of Genius

Missing
over 4 years ago

Elif Batuman looks at seven unproduced screenplays written by famous intellectuals, including Nabokov's "phenomenally depressing" story of a sexually frustrated London circus dwarf, and Sartre's failed Freud epic. Other would-be screenwriters include Winston Churchill, Aldous Huxley, Georges ...

IdeaFeed

Solar Power

Missing
over 4 years ago

Using instruments in space and on the ground, Scientists have developed the most complete picture yet of how large solar eruptions affect the Earth. These eruptions, known as Coronal mass ejections (CMEs), can lead to displays of the northern and southern lights on Earth, but also can cause power ...

IdeaFeed

A Lost Michelangelo?

Missing
over 4 years ago

Citing numerous clues, experts believe that a painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art that was long attributed to the circle of Francesco Granacci is really by Michelangelo. "I am confident that the only artist capable of making this splendid painting was Michelangelo," said Everett Fahy, one of ...

IdeaFeed

Arrest the Pope?

Missing
over 4 years ago

Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger, "should not be immune from arrest or charge, prosecution or punishment, just because he is the pope; but he also should not be arrested or charged, prosecuted or punished, just because he is the pope," writes Allen Green. "A proper secular and liberal approach ...

IdeaFeed

Education's Funk

Missing
over 4 years ago

"American higher education—much envied, once seemingly impregnable—has found itself settling into a deep funk," writes Edward J. K. Gitre. "Suffering from plummeting endowments and overextended commitments, institutions everywhere are having to make hard, pragmatic concessions to fiscal exigencies ...

IdeaFeed

Drinking With Dickens

Missing
over 4 years ago

Christopher Hitchens writes that if he were transported back to the 19th Century to spend "a long and arduous evening in the alehouses and outer purlieus of London," he'd want to be doing it in the company of Charles Dickens. "He may not have had Shakespeare’s or Eliot’s near omniscience about human ...

IdeaFeed

Almost Accepted

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Universities are increasingly using wait lists to cope with the growing number of applicants, and the resulting uncertainty about how many will accept their offers of admission." High school student Saffa Khan is on four college wait lists, and writes about how these lists "prolong the holding ...

IdeaFeed

A Good Kill?

Missing
over 4 years ago

Does assassinating terrorist kingpins with drone aircraft strikes really make us safer? Robert Wright looks at research suggesting that "decapitation doesn’t lower the life expectancy of the decapitated groups—and, if anything, may have the opposite effect." Obviously the killings have a short-term ...

IdeaFeed

Rubik's Cube at 30

Missing
over 4 years ago

The Rubik's Cube will turn 30 years old next month, notes Stefany Anne Golberg, who looks at the appeal of the 3x3x3 puzzle's initial impossibility, and the obsessive need to master it. "If the Rubik’s Cube is like life (a metaphor Rubik himself made) then a good life is like a good puzzle," she ...

IdeaFeed

The Future of Reading

Missing
over 4 years ago

What does the emergence of e-readers mean for writers, for storytelling, for the place of fiction in the cultural landscape? Author Paul Theroux says that e-books seem "magical" to him, but that something is lost when we give up the "physicality" of a book–and how one makes a book their own by ...

IdeaFeed

Age of Justice

Missing
over 4 years ago

President Obama's job in picking a new Supreme Court justice is made tougher by the thin bench left to him after eight years of Republican rule. In fact, too many of the Democrats' best-credentialed judges "would be too old to carve out a meaningful legacy if picked to succeed [Justice John Paul ...

IdeaFeed

Laugh Line

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Hyenas, particularly the African spotted hyena, with its massive jaws, hulking shoulders, and startling laugh, have been terribly misunderstood," writes Constance Casey. "The creatures may not be beautiful, but they don't deserve contempt." She admits that among furred creatures, the hyena is vying ...

IdeaFeed

Other Earths?

Missing
over 4 years ago

Scientists now believe that the trace metal contaminants around ancient sun-like stars are "remnants of rocky, potentially water-bearing bodies that crashed into their mother stars." This finding increases the likelihood that other Earth-like planets exist in other solar systems, and dismisses the ...