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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.

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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Barometer of Life

April 11, 2010, 3:45 AM
Biologists want $60 million to map the effects of agriculture, development and global warming on earth's biodiversity; currently 140,000 species die out annually. "A barometer measures atmospheric pressure. Now a coalition of biologists is calling for a similar scientific tool to measure extinction pressure on Earth's biodiversity—a so-called 'barometer of life'. After all, scientists have conclusively identified only a fraction of the species that exist on Earth; the roughly 1.9 million species catalogued to date may represent only 20 percent of the total biodiversity on the planet. 'Species disappear before we know they existed,' wrote biologists Simon Stuart, chair of the Species Survival Commission at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Edward O. Wilson of Harvard University, and others in the April 9 issue of Science, calling for an international effort to fund the creation of such a bio-barometer. Adds Stuart: 'The point of conservation is to turn that negative trend into a positive trend.'"

Barometer of Life

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