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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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Salad Days

February 2, 2010, 6:13 AM
“I never knew a rocket leaf could speak. Then Meredith Young came along and now I do – although what it has to say is rather sad. Rocket leaves; thinly sliced portobello mushrooms; artfully wilted spinach: these aren't the usual subjects of psychologist Young. But, with a team of researchers, she spent days in unobtrusive observation of almost 470 undergraduates eating at the canteens of McMaster University in Ontario. They found that when women sat with men they ate rabbit food or other meals "of significantly lower caloric value" than in all-women groups. The more men dining with a woman, the less she ate. Why? Young women use their food to send a signal to men, suggests the study. Just like clothing accessories, they pick meals to enhance their desirability to the opposite sex. ‘The salad leaves are meant to say, 'I'm pretty; I'm attractive; I take care of myself',’ says Young. And the pressure increases with the number of potential partners around. As for the men, they didn't watch what they scoffed at all.”

Salad Days

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