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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

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 ...

IdeaFeed

Elementary Discovery

Missing
over 4 years ago

A team of Russian and American scientists reported yesterday that they had discovered a new -- and very heavy -- atomic element. Six atoms of the element were created in a lab by smashing together isotopes of calcium and the radioactive element berkelium in a particle accelerator. The discovery ...

IdeaFeed

The Pirate Way

Missing
over 4 years ago

Kevin Kelly went to China to find out how local film industries survive in places where everything seems to be pirated. But as he studied China (and India, and Nigeria), he discovered that piracy of local films was not as rampant as that of imported Hollywood fare. "Contrary to expectations and ...

IdeaFeed

Nuke-Free for Real?

Missing
over 4 years ago

Some of the most arch realists and high-ranking Cold warriors in the US foreign-policy establishment are supporting the idea of a nuclear-free world. Having realized the dangers that have grown in the world since the end of the U.S.'s nuclear-tipped standoff with Russia, many think that we would be ...

IdeaFeed

Anoxic Animals

Missing
over 4 years ago

Researchers have found three species that apparently spend their entire lives in the oxygen-starved waters at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. Previously, living oxygen-free was thought to only be possible for viruses and single-celled microorganisms, but these three as-yet-unnamed bottom ...

IdeaFeed

Palin-tology

Missing
over 4 years ago

Sarah Palin's speeches are given to "meandering phraseology of a kind suggesting someone more commenting on impressions as they enter and leave her head rather than constructing insights about them," writes John McWhorter. He doesn't think that Palin's way of speaking is attractive to her fans, per ...

IdeaFeed

Birds Stay Close

Missing
over 4 years ago

Faced with climate change, some birds are changing their migration schedules and staying closer to home -- and in the future they might stop migrating altogether. Researchers have found that some birds are shortening their migrations, putting more energy toward breeding and eating instead of flying ...

IdeaFeed

Cancer and Veggies

Missing
over 4 years ago

For decades, the World Health Organization has been saying that eating more fruits and vegetables will help reduce the incidence of cancer -- but it appears those dietary additions do little. Evidence from multiple studies indicates that the protective effects of these foods against cancer are ...

IdeaFeed

Tiny Beams

Missing
over 4 years ago

Physicists have developed the smallest electrically pumped laser ever, with a beam that is 30 micrometers long, eight micrometers high, and has a wavelength of 200 micrometers. It is the first time that a laser has been created that is smaller than the wavelength its light emits. Scientists think ...

IdeaFeed

Large Lizards

Missing
over 4 years ago

Scientists in the Philippines say they have discovered a new species of giant lizards with bright yellow, blue, and green skin, that lives in the forests and survives on a fruit-only diet. The lizard is actually well-known to rural tribes, which regularly hunt them for meat -- but until now ...