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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

Behind the Veil

Missing
over 4 years ago

With Belgium set to join France in banning women from wearing the burqa or niqab in public, Yassin Musharbash writes that getting rid of the garment won't solve the underlying problems of Muslim immigration and integration that plague Western societies. "Europe stands for the idea of a lively, open ...

IdeaFeed

Ice Age Tree Rings

Missing
over 4 years ago

A team of researchers are hoping to find 30,000 years of climate records in the rings of preserved kauri trees in the peat bogs of New Zealand. Led by Exeter University, the scientists have been awarded a grant to do carbon dating and analysis of the trees, which can provide a very precise picture ...

IdeaFeed

Oh, the Humanities

Missing
over 4 years ago

With tenure-track positions dwindling at universities, Peter Conn writes that humanities faculties need to "articulate our contribution if we hope to find increasing levels of support for the work we do." He says a generation of "dithering," "wishful thinking," and "institutional inertia" is behind ...

IdeaFeed

95-Million-Year-Old Bugs

Missing
over 4 years ago

An 95-million-year-old amber deposit found in Ethiopia includes the fossilized remains of ants, spiders, wasps, and bacteria, and is providing new information about how those species lived in the Cretaceous era -- the time following the age of dinosaurs, when mammals were first beginning to develop ...

IdeaFeed

The New Paternalism

Missing
over 4 years ago

New paternalism came from behavioral economics, which studies how humans deviate from their rational interest, and devises ways to intervene and help them make better choices -- such as a hefty cigarette tax to curb smoking. Glen Whitman writes that while people are certainly susceptible to ...

IdeaFeed

Concentration Nation

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Restlessness, impatience, impulsivity, procrastination, chronic lateness, and difficulty getting organized, focusing and finishing tasks." About 4.4% of American adults are believed to have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and more and more of them are being diagnosed and treated with ...

IdeaFeed

Wean Not

Missing
over 4 years ago

A new study in the journal Pediatrics says that the lives of 900 babies in the U.S. (as well as $13 billion) could be saved each year if their mothers simply continued to breastfeed them through their first six months of life. The study found that a variety of deaths and illnesses among children ...

IdeaFeed

Default Positions

Missing
over 4 years ago

Like the crises in Greece and Ireland, a state-government default would have all sorts of unpleasant consequences in the U.S., writes James Surowiecki. But unlike the struggling European countries, U.S. states can count on help from the federal government, which can generally be counted on to step ...

IdeaFeed

"The Superstar Effect"

Missing
over 4 years ago

Great competition doesn't always inspire greatness. When people compete against a superior peer at the top of his game (like Tiger Woods), they often don't rise to the challenge. Instead, they often just give up. This phenomenon is called the "superstar effect," and according to a paper by ...

IdeaFeed

Banking on Bailouts

Missing
over 4 years ago

John Plender looks at the concept of "moral hazard" -- the idea that providing a safety net for the banking system during times of financial crisis will only encourage more risk taking later on. The concept seems fairly sound, but the way it works on financial markets is more complex than people ...

IdeaFeed

Volume Control

Missing
over 4 years ago

Most Americans accept that the world around us -- with its traffic, electronics, and cell-phone conversations -- has made silence pretty rare these days. In his new book, "In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise," George Prochnik writes that this noise is more than annoying ...

IdeaFeed

Greeks and Romans

Missing
over 4 years ago

Jakub Grygiel looks at the study of classical history and comes up with eleven reasons why writers like Herodotus and Thucydides are still vital in a modern education. The writers are "refreshing because these works do not simplify human affairs to logical models. These books are full of contrasts ...

IdeaFeed

Channeling Teddy Roosevelt

Missing
over 4 years ago

President Obama's challenge in taking on Wall Street is not unlike a similar challenge that was faced by President Theodore Roosevelt just over a century ago, write Simon Johnson and James Kwak. They say that Obama must go "all in" for financial reform. "Will the administration stand up and fight ...

IdeaFeed

Particle Charge

Missing
over 4 years ago

Researchers have come up with a reason why sand grains can build up electrical charges as they collide with one another -- sometimes to the point of creating lightning during dust storms and volcanic eruptions. A paper in the upcoming issue of the journal Nature Physics says that particles may ...

IdeaFeed

Noise to Vision

Missing
over 4 years ago

Scientists have figured out a new technique for revealing images of hidden objects which could one day allow doctors to see more precisely through the human body without surgery. The method clarifies images using scattered rays of light. "Normally, noise is considered a bad thing," said Jason ...