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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.

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Mind Memes for March 27: A Computational Heart, the Man Who Loved Only Numbers and More

March 27, 2013, 12:35 PM

1. The Bill Gates Condom

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will award a $100,000 grant to the person who invents a next-generation condom that "significantly preserves or enhances pleasure, in order to improve uptake and regular use."

Read more here

2. A Computational Heart

In the video simulation below, The Barcelona Supercomputing Center’s Alya Red project uses MRI data to stitch together a working simulation of the human heart. This video won the International Science Visualization challenge promoted by the National Science Foundation and the Science magazine.

Watch here:

More information here.

Hat tip to Singularity Hub

3. How to Honor the Man Who Loved Only Numbers

The eccentric mathematician Paul Erdős had a special thing for prime numbers. In fact, Erdős told his biographer (and Big Thinker) Paul Hoffman that prime numbers were his best friends. And that is why Calla Cofield  at Scientific American decided to skip the celebration of Erdős’s 100st birthday yesterday:

Next year will mark Erdős’s 101st birthday, which would be better than celebrating his 100th birthday, because 101 is a prime number. You can’t divide 101 by anything but 1 and itself and still get a whole number (where 100 is the product of 2 x 2 x 5 x 5).

As Cofield goes on to elaborate, "reducing proofs and theorems to their 'elementary' state'" was one of Erdős’ particular talents. After all, Erdős "believed that 'the Supreme Fascist' (God) kept a book of mathematical proofs in their most perfect, simplified states, and it was the task of mathematicians to transcribe the pages from this book."

Read more here

4. The Red Equal Sign Meme

The advocacy group Human Rights Campaign has been rallying support for gay marriage on the occasion of two cases being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this week. For those unable to attend rallies in Washington, D.C., the group proposed people share a red equal sign on social media. Facebook quickly turned red, and the original meme quickly morphed into a number of humorous derivations, such as this Passover-themed one: 

5. Desert Manufacturing Meets 3D Printing

This experiment, developed by at the Royal College of Art, "sunlight and sand are used as raw energy and material to produce glass objects using a 3D printing process, that combines natural energy and material with high-tech production technology."

Watch here:

Markus Kayser - Solar Sinter Project from Markus Kayser on Vimeo.

Hat tip to Upworthy


Mind Memes for March 27: A ...

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