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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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White Roofs

February 4, 2010, 5:39 AM
While world leaders struggle to find a solution for climate change in a gas guzzling world, American researchers claim to have found a simple way to cool cities- painting them white. “’Our research demonstrates that white roofs can be an effective method for reducing urban heat. It has the potential to significantly cool cities and mitigate some impacts of global warming,’ said lead author Keith Oleson Atmospheric Research. The team found that if every roof across the world were entirely painted white, the urban heat island effect could be reduced by 33 per cent. This would cool the world's cities by an average of about 0.7 deg Fahrenheit, with the cooling influence particularly pronounced during the day, especially in summer, Oleson said. Asphalt roads, tar roofs and other artificial surfaces absorb heat from the sun, creating an urban heat island effect that can raise temperatures on average by 2 to 5 deg F (about 1 to 3 deg Celsius) or more compared to rural areas. In the study, the team used a newly developed computer model which provided scientists with an idealised view of different types of cities around the world, Science Daily reported.”

White Roofs

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