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

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Big Balloon to Cool Earth

September 14, 2011, 11:30 AM
Pinatubo_ash_plume_910612

What's the Latest Development?

Mt. Pinatubo's eruption in the Philippines in 1991 led to the Earth cooling slightly for two years. Now British scientists are preparing to trial a potential solution to global warming that mimics the effect. This geo-engineering involves using an ordinary hosepipe and a football stadium-sized helium balloon, tethered to a ship, to shoot particles into the atmosphere—like an erupting volcano—and cool down Earth.

What's the Big Idea?

A prototype balloon has been built and will be hoisted into the air next month from a disused airfield in Norfolk. The idea is that millions of tiny chemical particles will act as a mirror and reflect the Sun’s rays to stop the planet heating up. Scientists at Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Edinburgh Universities say that just ten balloons could achieve a drop in global temperature in two years.

 

Big Balloon to Cool Earth

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