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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

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 ...

IdeaFeed

Unexceptional Performance

Missing
over 4 years ago

Samuel Culbert writes that it's time for companies to do away with performance reviews. "Everybody does it, and almost everyone who's evaluated hates it. It's a pretentious, bogus practice that produces absolutely nothing that any thinking executive should call a corporate plus." It's not that ...

IdeaFeed

Supreme Decision

Missing
over 4 years ago

Liberals want President Obama to find a progressive nominee for the Supreme Court who is "an intellectual giant, and also passionate, persuasive, and politically savvy enough to build consensus and outfox the court's conservatives" -- someone not unlike Justice William J. Brennan Jr., who retired ...

IdeaFeed

The Cost of Greening

Missing
over 4 years ago

"Is it possible to make drastic cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions without destroying our economy?" asks Paul Krugman in a long magazine article looking at the economic costs and benefits associated with fighting climate change. Yes, he concludes. And while the U.S. isn't likely to take action soon ...

IdeaFeed

Spank Not

Missing
over 4 years ago

Parents have long disagreed over whether children benefit from being spanked when they do something wrong. The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't think the practice is an effective tactic, but many parents have found otherwise. New research, however, shows that children who are spanked are more ...

IdeaFeed

Church and State

Missing
over 4 years ago

The governing body of the Catholic Church, The Holy See, is often treated as a sovereign nation, giving it outsize political influence among the world's religions, write Kal Raustiala and Lara Stemple. This practice has long been bad for women's equality, gay rights, and reproductive freedom, they ...

IdeaFeed

Political Economy

Missing
over 4 years ago

Republicans have been giddy about their prospects in the midterm elections, but Democrats could be saved if the economy recovers over the summer, writes James Surowiecki. Voters have short memories. "But economies aren’t machines. The Democrats will have to spend the next seven months much the way ...

IdeaFeed

Silence of the Galaxy

Missing
over 4 years ago

After 50 years of searching for intelligent life in outer space, astronomers still haven't made contact with extraterrestrials. "Does that mean we are alone in the universe after all? Or might we be looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place at the wrong time?" asks Paul Davies. He notes that ...

IdeaFeed

Mental Notes

Missing
over 4 years ago

The infamous English Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge "was also a metacognitive theorist far ahead of his time," writes David Schneider. "Specifically, from around 1796 to about 1808, Coleridge was incessantly burying into four related questions: how does perception work; how does the mind ...

IdeaFeed

Brain Drain

Missing
over 4 years ago

Research has found that over time stress can be very harmful to the brain, draining it of a certain protein involved with helping neurons in the hippocampus -- affecting memory, mood, and cognition. "The findings suggest that BDNF is one of the proteins that play a role in mediating the brain's ...

IdeaFeed

Confederate Terror

Missing
over 4 years ago

Roland Martin makes the case that Confederate soldiers in the Civil War were domestic terrorists -- and shouldn't be honored any more than we honor Muslim extremists who try to kill Americans. "The fundamental problem with extremism is that when you're on the side that is fanatical, all of your ...

IdeaFeed

Chemical Afterlife

Missing
over 4 years ago

A beckoning light; a feeling of transcendence: these are two characteristics of a near-death experience that new research suggests may relate to amounts of certain chemicals in the blood. "The phenomenon known as 'near-death experience' is the stuff of hospital dramas, a dramatic conceit for movies ...

IdeaFeed

The Church of Atheism

Missing
over 4 years ago

Atheist social groups are sprouting up more than ever across college campuses emphasizing tolerance and proselytizing like their religious brethren. "Twenty years ago a public meeting of atheists and their allies at a large public university — attended by a friendly Methodist pastor, no less — would ...