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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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Cultural Shift

February 3, 2010, 5:41 AM
“President Barack Obama may get his wish to allow gays to serve openly in the military - not because of his powers of persuasion but because arguments against it have lost traction over time. A cultural shift since Congress passed a legal ban nearly a generation ago has changed the debate. For many younger members of the military - those doing the bulk of the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq - it's hardly a debate at all. Polls show they care little about sexual orientation in their ranks. Views in the wider society have evolved; gay marriage is now legal in five states and the District of Columbia. Opinion surveys say a majority of Americans think it's OK for gays to serve in uniform. Jason Jonas, a 28-year-old former Army staff sergeant from Tempe, Ariz., said he knew of openly gay soldiers in his intelligence unit at Fort Bragg, N.C., but their lifestyle never affected unit morale. ‘I don't think it is anybody's right to say who can and who can't fight for their country,’ said Jonas, who served in Afghanistan before being injured. He is no longer in the Army. ‘Nobody cares. Don't ask, don't tell is kind of a joke.’”

Cultural Shift

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