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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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Worm Eaters

February 10, 2010, 5:31 AM
Dieters in Hong Kong are being warned by government health officials about the dangers of swallowing parasitic worms, which can grow to up to 15 inches, in the hope of shedding fat. “The city's department of health said that Chinese-language websites have been offering products containing potentially fatal parasites as a means of losing weight quickly without eating less. The weight loss remedies use the eggs of Ascaris worms – giant intestinal roundworms which grow up to 15in in length in a host's intestine and lay up to 200,000 more eggs a day inside the body. A spokesman for Hong Kong's department of health said swallowing the parasites could cause abdominal pain and distension, vomiting, diarrhoea and malnutrition. ‘Parasite infestation may also be fatal if serious complications such as intestinal, biliary tract or pancreatic duct obstruction arise,’ the spokesman said. ‘The worms may even invade such organs as the lungs. The infestation can be treated with medication that kills the parasite. The worms may require surgical removal if there are obstructions.’ He urged people to consult doctors before dieting and said the only healthy and effective means of weight loss was to eat less and take regular exercise.”

Worm Eaters

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