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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

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 ...

IdeaFeed

Climate and Critters

Missing
over 4 years ago

A new study suggests that birds, bats, and lizards may play an important part in preserving the Earth's climate by eating insects that forage on plant life. “The presence, abundance and diversity of birds, bats and lizards, the top predators in the insect world, has impacts on the growth of plants ...

IdeaFeed

Herb Hating

Missing
over 4 years ago

Despite the fact that cilantro is happily consumed by millions of people around the world, it inspires "a primal revulsion among an outspoken minority of eaters" who say it tastes like soap. Studies have suggested that some people are genetically predisposed to dislike the herb, and flavor chemists ...

IdeaFeed

Stress Cases

Missing
over 4 years ago

The hormones associated with chronic stress may indirectly promote the spread of cancer in the body by hurting the immune system's anti-tumor mechanisms and encouraging new blood vessels to form. Researcher Anil Sood says he now hopes to find ways to interfere with these tumor-feeding stress ...

IdeaFeed

Adopting and Adapting

Missing
over 4 years ago

The recent case of a Tennessee woman who sent her 7-year-old adopted Russian child back to Moscow is becoming a test for the international adoption vetting process, writes Daniel Wood. It indicates that prospective parents need to be properly scrutinized and must have a better understanding of the ...

IdeaFeed

Without Prejudice

Missing
over 4 years ago

Could racism be a biological phenomenon? Scientists studying a neurodevelopmental disorder called Williams syndrome are reporting that children with the disease seem not to form racial stereotypes. Children with the disorder tend to be overly friendly because they don't fear strangers, and ...

IdeaFeed

Moving and Shaking

Missing
over 4 years ago

The number of large earthquakes in Southern California and Baja California has increased significantly in 2010. There have been 70 quakes greater than 4.0 magnitude since the beginning of the year. There were 30 in 2009 and 29 in 2008. Scientists are so far unable to explain the uptick, but some ...

IdeaFeed

Sticking Together

Missing
over 4 years ago

Scientists are studying marine creatures like mussels and sea worms in their quest to develop natural glues that can be used in wet conditions. In particular, they are trying to create non-toxic adhesives that can be used inside the human body to repair tears in amniotic sacs or repair bone. Current ...

IdeaFeed

Reading App-titude

Missing
over 4 years ago

"There is huge potential for iPad apps (or any other apps for that matter) to become the books of the 21st century." writes Marion Menaker. She thinks apps contain some of the essential elements of books while also being able to incorporate video and other features that enhance the reading ...

IdeaFeed

Writing Women

Missing
over 4 years ago

Novelist Christopher Rice writes that poorly rendered female characters proliferate in crime novels because their authors are lazy. He outlines four clichés that come up again and again. "When a writer wants to write a thriller from a woman's point of view, he needs to do more than slot [a ...

IdeaFeed

Digitized Doctoring

Missing
over 4 years ago

How can we make sure that the technology behind digital medical records actually does all the things that advocates believe is possible? "Perhaps the most important strategy has to do not with how digital records are implemented, but with how they're designed in the first place," writes Jacob ...

IdeaFeed

Affordable Solar

Missing
over 4 years ago

The commercial future of solar energy may have gotten a big boost. Researchers led by Professor Benoit Marsan at the University of Quebec at Montreal have solved two major problems that had been hampering the efficiency and affordability of creating solar cells. Marsan has patented an ...

IdeaFeed

Speaking Solemnly

Missing
over 4 years ago

In Eastern Europe, "the open discussion of a tragedy represents a revolutionary change," writes Anne Applebaum, referring to the Russian response to the tragic plane crash that killed many members of the Polish Government over the weekend. "Over the past 20 years, both Russian and Polish officials ...

IdeaFeed

Immigration and Benefits

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Americans need to have a rational debate about options for ensuring the solvency of Social Security and Medicare," writes Michael Lind, and they "also need to have a rational debate about the desirable levels and skill composition of immigration. But the two debates should be kept separate." He ...

IdeaFeed

Baby Stars

Missing
over 4 years ago

New protostars that will eventually be 10 times as large as the sun have been discovered in the massive Rosette molecular cloud, 5,000 light years away. Scientists are studying the formation of such stars because they feed light and energy into the space dust around them and can trigger the ...