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

One More Reason To Save The Pandas: Biofuel

September 12, 2013, 11:45 AM
Shutterstock_82003657

What's the Latest Development?

Mississippi State University scientists think they may have found a way to protect the dwindling panda population and increase green fuel production at the same time. By collecting feces samples from two pandas at the Memphis Zoo, they have identified over 40 different species of gut microbes to date. These microbes, or the enzymes they need to do their job inside the panda's digestive system, could be used to break down plant waste in an industrial setting, possibly leading to faster, cheaper biofuel production. The team presented their research at an American Chemical Society meeting earlier this week.

What's the Big Idea?

A biofuel created from an edible crop, such as corn, impacts the food supply much more dramatically than a biofuel created from waste material, such as corn cobs. However, the search is on to find more efficient and economical ways to process that material. Team member Candace Williams says that pandas are unique "in that they are physiologically like a carnivore, but they eat a herbivorous diet" -- to the tune of 20 to 40 pounds of bamboo every day per adult. In addition, they have relatively short digestive tracts, which means the bacteria inside has to be pretty powerful in order to break down the bamboo quickly.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at National Geographic

 

One More Reason To Save The...

Newsletter: Share: