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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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Weekend Coffee: November 12

November 12, 2011, 8:30 AM
Coffee

Here's some miscellany to accompany your morning coffee:

70 major U.S. corporations and civic organizations call for DOMA to be struck down in a friend-of-the-court brief supporting a federal legal challenge.

• Help defend the First Amendment! The U.S. Forest Service is considering a request from FFRF to terminate a Catholic group's no-cost lease for a shrine to Jesus on federal parkland. The public comment period is open until December 8, and we need to make our voices heard. The Forest Service is wavering under pressure from a theocratic Republican House member. If public comments are overwhelmingly against the lease, that will give them the political cover they need to act. Here are instructions on how to contact the Forest Service.

• My friend Greta Christina is asking atheists who used to be believers what it was that changed their minds, the better to hone our methods of persuasion. If you fit that description, please take her survey and contribute a data point!

• Prolonged solitary confinement is torture without a doubt, as I think you'll agree after reading this first-hand account from one of the American hikers who was imprisoned in Iran.

• After a heavy piece like that, you may need a laugh, so here it is: The producers of the Atlas Shrugged movie (which I've previously covered) accidentally release a DVD edition whose copy trumpets "Ayn Rand's timeless novel of courage and self-sacrifice". For those who may be unfamiliar with Rand's oeuvre, this would be like a Bible being printed with the ad copy, "This timeless book teaches the virtues of rational thought and skepticism."

Tim Minchin comments on Elevatorgate.

• And lastly, who's going to Skepticon IV? It's only one week away now, and I'm getting excited. Are there any DA readers out there who plan to be in attendance?

Image credit: Or Hiltch

 

Weekend Coffee: November 12

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