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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.

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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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Dan Phillips's Amazing Houses Made of Upcycled Materials

November 28, 2010, 5:13 PM
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Texas-based designer and builder Dan Phillips builds extraordinary low-cost homes out of reclaimed materials. In his witty and insightful talk from TEDxHouston, he showcases a dozen of his remarkable creations – a testament to the power of creative problem-solving over material restrictions.

Together with his wife Marsha, Phillips founded Phoenix Commotion – an innovative construction company whose mission is to salvage landfill waste and turn it into sustainable, affordable, energy-efficient, one-of-a-kind houses for single mothers, artists and low-income families – in short, a brilliant plan. And as if the concept wasn't ingenious enough already, Phoenix Commotion also has an educational compnonet – they run an apprenticeship program, teaching local youth and volunteers sustainable building skills and creative construction.

Houses are built in collaboration with their eventual owners, allowing them to contribute not only sweat equity but also to apply their own unique creative vision to the space they'll soon call home.

Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine, Design Observer and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.

 

Dan Phillips's Amazing Hous...

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