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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

Tata Nano

Missing
over 4 years ago

The world’s cheapest car which sells for $2,500 in India is slowly making its way to Europe and the U.S. “Tata Nano, an itty bitty car with a price tag to match, costs just $2,500 in India. And now, after surprising the world with its minimalism, Tata Motors is ready to let its young vehicle see the ...

Politeia

Being First Sucks

800px-transgender_pride_flag.svg
over 4 years ago

"Being first sucks." That's what Amanda Simpson, one of the country's first two openly transgender presidential appointees, told ABC News. "I'd rather not be the first, but someone has to be first." Amanda Simpson started two weeks ago at the Department of Commerce, where her job will be to keep ...

Brave Green World

Cup Of Joe, Aid To Haiti

Coffee_beans
over 4 years ago

The world’s focus right now is on immediate aid to Haiti, as it should be. But it never hurts to look down the road, too: when the repercussions of Haiti’s tragedy settle down – to whatever extent they do – it will be important for other nations, and consumers in other nations (that’s you), to find ...

Strange Maps

439 - Australia is BIG!

Missing
over 4 years ago

We could rattle off some statistics, about size and distance. But sometimes a picture is more eloquent than a thousand words. Here are two postcard maps. That’s two thousand words right there.   Many thanks to Anna Chlebinska, a collector of cartographic postcards, for sending in these ...

Strange Maps

438 - The Great Firewall of China

Missing
over 4 years ago

“China’s internet is open.” (PRC government spokesperson responding to a question on Google’s announcement to stop filtering its Chinese search engine, citing concerted hacker attacks on the e-mail accounts of political dissidents) Will Google leave China? Probably so. After the online giant ...

Strange Maps

436 - A Map of the Great Fear

Missing
over 4 years ago

The rapid spread of the Great Fear was one of the weirder episodes in the early, confusing days of the French Revolution. This combination of a riot, a brush fire and a game of Chinese whispers raged from July 20 to August 5 of the revolutionary year 1789 - a year now better remembered for July ...

Strange Maps

435 - A Piccadilly Fantasy: London in 2050

Missing
over 4 years ago

So it’s 2010, and we’re not living on Mars, nor even zipping through the sky in flying cars. But neither do we have to bow to our new insect overlords. The promises (and threats) of the future never quite materialise how we once imagined them. The current paradigm of futurism is of impending ...

Strange Maps

434 - Prester John, King of Wishful Thinking

Missing
over 4 years ago

In 1145, the Syrian bishop Hugo of Jabala brought Pope Eugene III the news of the Muslim reconquest of Edessa, an important Crusader stronghold in the Holy Land. The bishop softened the blow – and hoped to encourage the Pope to a new Crusade – with tales of a mighty Christian king attacking the ...

Strange Maps

433 - Plotting Vineland: the Skálholt Map

Missing
over 4 years ago

  The Vikings set foot in America just over a millennium ago, but credit for the discovery generally goes to Columbus, who only stumbled upon the New World almost 500 years later. One reason might be that the Norse involvement in North America was brief and inconsequential, whereas Columbus ...

Strange Maps

432 - Earth on a Tera Scale

Missing
over 4 years ago

  Take the length of the equator on this map, double that distance and you have the width of a human hair. For this is the world’s smallest world map, with the 40,000 kilometre-long equator reduced to a mere 40 micrometres.The smallest features on the map, corresponding to 100 kilometres, are ...

Strange Maps

431 - Austria Paying the Fiddler

Missing
over 4 years ago

This map was taken from the August 2, 1919 edition of the US news magazine Literary Digest, and originally appeared in the London Sphere. It details the projected break-up of the Austro-Hungarian empire, one of the First World War’s defeated Central Powers. That empire would eventually be ...

Strange Maps

430 - Calendria, A Map of the New Year

Missing
over 4 years ago

At the beginning of this new year, hardly any map could be as appropriate as this one of Calendria, a place made out of time. This wondrous world was conceived in the tradition of so-called ‘symbolic’ maps, which use cartographic conventions to represent the relationship between non-geographic ...