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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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“Aliens Exist”

January 26, 2010, 5:16 AM
The world’s astronomical experts gathered at the Royal Society in London yesterday to discuss aliens, with notable scientists agreeing that on a balance of probabilities “they exist.” “Frank Drake, the veteran American astronomer who was one of the first to conceive of the idea of a coordinated search for extraterrestrial life (SETI), will today present an upbeat assessment of the chances of finding a signal from space that indicates the existence of intelligent aliens. Professor Drake famously devised an equation nearly 50 years ago for calculating the potential number of planets in the Milky Way galaxy suitable for life, but he now believes we may have seriously underestimated the potential places in space where life may exist. ‘The number of habitable planets in the Milky Way is very probably much larger than we have believed in the past. A realistic picture should include the contributions to habitability of deep atmospheres, thick ice layers, even the solid surface itself, all of which can lead to life-supporting near-surface temperatures,’ said Professor Drake. ‘Even the very numerous red dwarf star planets may be rendered habitable by a substantial atmosphere or by an eccentric orbit- almost all of the Milky Way becomes a suitable search target,’ he said.”

“Aliens Exist”

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