What is Big Think?  

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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Monday Musings: More Australian volcanoes, new seismometers for Mt. Baker and tephra is bad for your teeth

September 28, 2009, 4:58 AM

A bit of news for your last Monday in September:

Pumice deposits from the ~13,000 year old Laacher See eruption. Image by Erik Klemetti, taken in August 2007.

  • More press for Dr. Joyce and his campaign to make the people of Australia terrified that volcanoes will destroy them. He warns of "new volcanoes" springing up in the Ballarat region to the northwest of Melbourne (which, incidentally, is where I pointed out might be the most likely place for future volcanism). Yes, sure, we should expect that a new, unknown scoria cone may form in the Newer Volcanic Province - I mean, that is what happens in these fields, you get volcanoes like Paricutin that start erupting where there was no volcano. However, trying to mitigate against such a thing, well, it might be like trying to build defense against an asteroid by randomly placing it on the surface of the planet somewhere. OK, maybe the odds aren't that astronomical, but as the earthquakes in Saudi Arabia earlier this year show, trying to determine when/where a new scoria cone might spring is really, really tough.
  • Speaking of tough, there is a little piece about how all the ash and tephra from the Laacher See volcanic eruption in Germany ~13,000 years ago did a number on the teeth of humans and animals in Europe. For those of you unaware of this volcano, the Laacher See is a caldera smack-dab in the middle of the western Germany and it produced a significant eruption that not only covered the region in ash and pumice (see the deposits in the picture above), but spread ash up into Scandinavia. And who says that Europe lacks (potentially) devastating volcanoes (well, other than Italy and Greece)?
  • Mt. Baker in Washington (state) has gotten some new monitoring equipment installed on its slopes. A new broadband seismometer was installed near the highest ski patrol lodge and it is one of the new seismic stations located on the main edifice of a Cascade volcano (surprising, eh?)

Monday Musings: More Austra...

Newsletter: Share: