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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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Blog Posts

IdeaFeed

Courting Aristocracy

Missing
about 4 years ago

The preservation of "fundamental rights" by a nation's judiciary is an old habit of tempering democracy with aristocracy, writes James Grant of the U of Cambridge. "Rights, as political claims, must compete with other political claims, must fight the political fight—a conflict that is not resolved ...

IdeaFeed

Islam's Backstory

Missing
about 4 years ago

Fred Donner, a historian at the U of Chicago, has published a history of Islam that demonstrates the faith's original openness to outside members. "Devout Muslims—who model their lives directly on the mores of the Prophet and his companions—will be surprised to read that Mohammed welcomed Christians ...

IdeaFeed

Ain't What She Used to Be

Missing
about 4 years ago

While Europe is no longer the colonial power it once was, and though its politics are mired in seemingly small issues, its social values provide the continent its staying power. "New Asia might be more efficient than old Europe for the time being, but as for moral values, Alfred Lord Tennyson’s ...

IdeaFeed

Silence's Refuge

Missing
about 4 years ago

If you live in a city, it's probably loud; the effects of noise pollution fall disproportionately on the poor and damage our psychology as well as our physiology. "The scale of our noise problem isn’t in doubt. In recent years rigorous studies on the health consequences of noise have indicated that ...

IdeaFeed

Doubting Psychiatry

Missing
about 4 years ago

Another lengthy analysis has been done on the over prescription of psychotropic drugs in America: is the tide turning against our favorite little pills? "Anatomy of an Epidemic" is the first book to investigate the long-term outcomes of patients treated with psychiatric drugs, and Whitaker finds ...

IdeaFeed

YOU Are a Genius!

Missing
about 4 years ago

As genetic research advances, the risk of attributing too many qualities, such as genius, to our genes dangerously downplays individual potential for achievement. "Our problem is not that we possess inadequate genetic assets but that we are suffering from an inability, so far, to tap into what we ...

IdeaFeed

The Angry Gene

Missing
about 4 years ago

Richard Dawkins lets go some invective against Pope Benedict XVI when asked by the Washington Post if the pontiff should be held responsible for the Church's sex abuse scandals. "Yes, of course he should. This former head of the Inquisition should be arrested the moment he dares to set foot outside ...

Eruptions

Anniversaries times two

Missing
about 4 years ago

Chaiten in Chile erupting on May 5, 2008, four days after the volcano came back to life after ~9,000 years of dormancy. Quick post ... but until I was reminded by Eruptions reader Guillermo, I had forgotten two important anniversaries. First, today (May 1) marks the 2nd anniversary of the ...

Politeia

The Democrats' Senior Problem

750px-tea_party_protest__hartford__connecticut__15_april_2009_-_034
about 4 years ago

Maybe the Tea Party isn't the real threat to the Democrats after all. The greatest threat to the Democratic majorities in Congress just may be old people. Margaret Talev points out that older voters—a group that once largely voted Democrat—are increasingly voting Republican. That's because the ...

IdeaFeed

Value Added Tax?

Missing
about 4 years ago

Gary Becker and Richard Posner of the University of Chicago discuss the merits of a Value Added Tax as a replacement for income tax and a solution to American budget deficits. "The case for a VAT is that it is a relatively efficient tax that induces less distortion in behavior than say a progressive ...

IdeaFeed

Video Game Violence

Missing
about 4 years ago

The Los Angeles Times argues that video game violence is protected by the 1st Amendment and that parents should act as regulators, not governmet. "Last week the Supreme Court declined to create a similar exception to the 1st Amendment for depictions of cruelty to animals. It should show the same ...