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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

Quake Sense

Missing
over 4 years ago

Scientists have found that toads may be able to predict earthquakes. The behavior of a group of common toads showed a dramatic change five days before an earthquake struck L’Aquila, Italy last April, according to Rachel Grant of the Open University in Milton Keynes, U.K. Grant said the toads ...

IdeaFeed

Israel's Friendships

Missing
over 4 years ago

Princeton professor Gary Bass looks at how Israel lost its formerly robust alliance with France in 1967, and what that precedent might indicate for the current chilling of the country's relations with the Obama Administration. "In the same way that many French officials tried to balance France’s ...

IdeaFeed

The Missing Ice Age

Missing
over 4 years ago

Scientists have discovered the reason why the earth wasn't covered with a layer of ice four billion years ago, when the Sun's radiation was much less than it is today. The question of this "missing ice age" had haunted scientists for over 40 years. Professor Minik Rosing says: "What prevented an ice ...

IdeaFeed

Grease Insulation

Missing
over 4 years ago

A group of scientists is hoping to transform fast food waste oil into a high-tech polymer and create a "smart roof coating system" which will help to insulate homes. The coating reacts to the environment by undergoing a "phase change" at a certain temperature, switching from heat-absorbing to heat ...

IdeaFeed

Hunt for a Genetic Killer

Missing
over 4 years ago

Researchers had hoped to find so-called "copy-number variations" -- extra or missing genetic sequences -- in the human genome that might be linked to diseases like breast cancer and diabetes, but have come up empty. CNVs have been linked to some rare diseases, and scientists had hoped to find that ...

IdeaFeed

App Fancy

Missing
over 4 years ago

Some journalists believe that Apple's forthcoming iPad tablet computer could save their industry by providing a context for paid content. Derek Thompson admits that the device could prove revolutionary for popular computing and entertainment, but he thinks that publishers are being overly-optimistic ...

IdeaFeed

Organics and Ethics

Missing
over 4 years ago

University of Toronto researchers Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong have found that exposure to organic and environmentally friendly products leads people to act more altruistically. The study also showed, however, that "people act less altruistically and are more likely to cheat and steal after ...

IdeaFeed

Darwin a Historian?

Missing
over 4 years ago

"If ever there was a scientific theory that is fundamentally historical, that purports to explain change over time, it is evolution through natural selection and its corollary, humankind’s dual inheritance." writes Donald Worster. "Yet I have to admit that my fellow historians, teaching in history ...

IdeaFeed

Healthy Cafeterias

Missing
over 4 years ago

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver may not be starting a "food revolution" with his push to make school lunches healthier, but Marion Nestle gives him credit for trying to get "real food" back into cafeterias. The challenges to his include "USDA rules that make cooking too expensive for school budgets ...

IdeaFeed

Lone Star Survivor

Missing
over 4 years ago

Why did Texas, remarkably, escape the worst of the burst of the real estate bubble? The state has had a comparatively low mortgage default rate through the recession, and Alyssa Katz writes that the broader secret to the state's success may be that it limits "cash-out" refinancing and home-equity ...

IdeaFeed

Nouveau Gastronomy

Missing
over 4 years ago

There's a new anti-snobbery food movement in France that evidently wants to take over America as well. Journalist Alexandre Cammas, one of the two founders of Le Fooding says that French cuisine was "caught in a museum culture: the dictatorship of a fossilized idea of gastronomy" with dishes like ...

IdeaFeed

Worlds Collide

Missing
over 4 years ago

It cost $10 billion and took 16 years, but the Large Hadron Collider finally went into operation yesterday in Switzerland -- and the world didn't end after all. Scientists are hoping to figure out the nature of so-called "dark matter" as well as the Higgs boson -- a hypothetical elementary particle ...

IdeaFeed

Writings on the Wall

Missing
over 4 years ago

New research has found that the ancestors of modern Scottish people left rock engravings that contain a written language from the Iron Age. The stone carvings were thought to be rock art or related to heraldry, but the study found that the pictures represented the lost language of a group of Celtic ...

IdeaFeed

Bat Navigation

Missing
over 4 years ago

Recent evidence out of the Max Planck institute indicates that bats have sensitivity to the geomagnetic field, and use it to navigate. Bats used echolocation to move short distances, but when they are traveling miles from home at night they seem to guide their flight, at least in part, by using the ...

IdeaFeed

Jaw Dropper

Missing
over 4 years ago

Columbia University biomedical engineering professor Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic says that her team of researchers has grown a human jaw bone using stem cells taken from bone marrow. She says that the availability of personalized bone grafts created from a patient's stem cells could revolutionize the ...