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

Don't Bring a Gun to a Bear Fight, and Other Unconventional Firearm Wisdom

March 21, 2013, 12:00 AM
Bear

Over the past few days, Tom Hartsfield and Alex Berezow have been mining data in an attempt to decipher what meaningful correlations exist between guns and violence, if indeed any do at all. Their analyses have been instructive and controversial, to say the least.

Though there's a paucity of research on gun violence in the United States on a large scale (a dearth that should be remedied), many smaller studies have examined other peculiar aspects of firearms, producing some quite unconventional wisdom:

Don't Bring a Gun to a Bear Fight

Bear_sniffing_the_air_in_wild.jpg

If -- when hiking in Bear Country -- you think you're safe from bear attacks because you're carrying your trusty Glock, think again. Last year, Brigham Young biologists analyzed 269 incidents of aggressive encounters between humans and bears in Alaska and found no statistical difference in injury or fatality rates between incidents where guns were used and incidents where they weren't.

According to the researchers, instead of carrying a gun people should be focused on behaving appropriately. That means hiking in groups, avoiding areas of poor visibility, and keeping away from bears if you see them. Don't try to snap a cell phone picture of the cute and cuddly cubs, because Momma grizzly doesn't want her kids on Facebook. (It's a privacy thing.)

If you still feel the need to arm yourself, buy bear spray.  When used, the canister emits an immense, debilitating cloud of burning red pepper juice. A 2008 study found such spray to halt bear attacks in 92% of the cases where it was used.

"If you act appropriately and you carry bear spray, you are much better off than just blundering into bear country with a large firearm," bear biologist Tom Smith said.

For Some Gun Owners, It's Love at First Shot

When it comes to certain possessions, such as cars, computers, and firearms, some owners demonstrate feelings that look a lot like love. They might, for example, affectionately name their shotgun (something like "Big Bertha") or use their pistol at the firing range when feeling down in the dumps as a result of other failed romantic endeavors.  

For smitten gun owners, the adoration extends to spending six times as much on accessories for their beloved weapons. Talk about an expensive date! The research appeared in the Journal of Consumer Research in December 2010. 

Holding a Gun Makes You Think Others Are Too

shutterstock_116184289.jpg

Opponents of concealed carry laws frequently characterize proponents of such laws as gun-toting nuts who want to turn our cities back into the Wild Wild West. As it turns out, those accusations may actually have a smidgeon of scientific merit.

Last year, Notre Dame professor James Brockmole conducted an experiment in which subjects were shown images of people on a computer screen and were asked to determine whether or not the person depicted was holding a gun or some other type of neutral object such as a soda can or a cell phone. Subjects carried out the task while holding either a toy gun or a neutral object.

Brockmole found that gun-toting participants were significantly more likely to deem the people in the images to be carrying guns. 

As a result, the researchers postulate that those with the opportunity to use a gun may be more likely to engage in threat-induced behavior, such as raising a firearm to shoot. 

Via Brigham Young UniversityScienceDaily, and Notre Dame

(Images: 1. Public Domain 2. Man Holding Gun via Shutterstock)

This article originally appeared in RealClearScience's Newton blog. You can read the original here

 

Don't Bring a Gun to a Bear...

Newsletter: Share: