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

1

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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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
Close

Wednesday Whatzits: A Permian caldera find, the legends of Pele and a quieting Redoubt

September 23, 2009, 6:54 AM

Some brief tidbits for your Wednesday:


The view of Mt. Saint Helens from the Johnston Ridge Observatory.

  • There is a decent article about research being done at a dissected caldera system in the Italian Alps' Sesia Valley. The caldera in question is the Permian in age (248-298 million years old) so don't expect to find it in the GVP database, but the outcrops of this ancient caldera are especially well exposed, allowing for a cross section of volcano and plutonic rocks across 25 km of crustal depth (all of which is now at the surface thanks to hundreds of millions years of tectonics). It does sound like a great location that exposes some of the volcanic-plutonic plumbing system that we don't really understand, but I'm not 100% sure about calling it a "rosetta stone" - there are a few systems in the southwest U.S. (and Maine for that matter) that expose both the volcanic and plutonic parts of an ancient volcano (but the press loves any "supervolcano"). Take note, the image at the top is, in fact, the Bishop Tuff in Long Valley, not anything from this Italian study.
  • It seems that the visitors' center at Mt. Saint Helens will be getting some help over the next year to make it a little more user-friendly. I like that, but reopening the Coldwater Creek visitors' center might be nice, too.
  • In a little culture-meets-science talk, The Honolulu Advertiser has a piece about connecting native Hawaiian legends about the goddess Pele to the volcanic history of Kilauea. This isn't really a new concept - trying to match legend with history - but I'm always pleased to read more efforts to do so.
  • And for those of you still following Redoubt, the seismic activity is continuing to wane, but the volcano continues to steam away. The steam doesn't suggest much about any activity - just that water is coming into contact with the hot rocks in the new lava dome. In related news, Chevron says that oil production in the Cook Inlet has reached 75% of where it was before the Redoubt-related shutdown earlier this year.
 

Wednesday Whatzits: A Permi...

Newsletter: Share: