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

The Top 10 Posts on Neurobonkers in 2013

January 2, 2014, 8:14 AM
2013

In this end of year roundup I present the top ten of my posts from the last year, selected by your mouse clicks, along with a "too long, didn't read" summary for each.

10. bp;dr - behind paywall, didn't read, the internet's next new acronym

Taking irony to new levels, a paper was published in the journal Science titled “A human right to science”, too bad you can’t read it.

Tl;dr: Fellow neuroblogger "Neuropolarbear" coined “bp;dr” = behind paywall didn’t read (a bastardisation of tl;dr) to allow internet users to highlight articles they can’t access.

9. Welcome to the land of the digital refugees

 

A look at the growing trend for regional blocks on internet content due to copyright beaurocracy and ways people are getting around them.

Tl;dr: Some of the best BBC blog content is blocked within the UK due to bureaucracy, in Germany as much as 61.5% of Youtube content was blocked due to legal quarrels over copyright. People are using proxies, TOR and VPN’s to get around regional restrictions.

8. The forbidden fruit: How grapefruit could kill you

 

If you take one of a very ride range of medicines, consuming grapefruit at the same time could cause you to have an adverse reaction.

Tl;dr: A growing list of drugs are metabolised by an enzyme called cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) that is inhibited by grapefruit.

7. New research sheds light on 13 ways to gain followers on Twitter

A longitudinal study of over half a million tweets assessing 22 variables.

Tl;dr: Be interesting, be eloquent, interact.

6. Three terrible academic habits

A look at some bad writing habits pinched from Stanford University’s free online science writing course.

Tl;dr: Avoid the passive voice where possible, personal pronouns are good (I, we, etc), verbs should be used instead of nouns.

5. A borderline definite marginally mild notably numerically increasing suggestively verging on significant result

 

A tongue in cheek look at the ways researchers have cloaked the fact that a paper has not quite reached statistical significance.

Tl;dr: Tongue in cheek because the boundary between significant and not significance is somewhat of a fiction.

4. Why the number 2.9013 will go down in the history of bad science

Alan Sokal (of the Sokal affair) returns with another spectacular attack on pseudoscience.

Tl;dr: A paper suggested a relationship between an individual's positive and negative emotions reaches a tipping point when it reaches a specific number which was tied to an equation that just happened to make a very pretty pattern... Sokal exposed the link to said equation to be a steaming pile of nonsense.

3. Is this the most bizarre paper ever published in a peer reviewed journal?

A look inside a paper published in the journal Qualitative Inquiry that is obscure to the extent that it is completely and utterly impenetrable.

Tl;dr: A demonstration that unwarranted complexity in communication can obscure science.

2. How being called smart can actually make you stupid

An in-depth look at a body of research that suggests calling someone intelligent can have counterintuitive results.

Tl;dr: Praising intelligence rather than effort reinforces the idea that intelligence is fixed and that those who are intelligent don’t get to where they are through hard work.

 

1. The lesson you never got taught in school: How to learn!

 

The hands-down, server-breaking, runaway train winner of this year was a post explaining the best and worst learning techniques based on the research evidence. I can now proudly say that the number one Google search query bringing new readers to my blog is "how to learn".

Tl;dr: Practice tests work, especially when you space that practice out. Techniques such as highlighting, summarising and rereading seem to be far less effective than many assume.

 

 

...So that's it for 2013, I hope you've learned something from this blog, I've certainly learned a lot from writing it, see you next year!

 

 

To keep up to date with this blog you can follow Neurobonkers on TwitterFacebookRSS or join the mailing list.

 

 

Image Credit: Shutterstock/MrGarry

 

The Top 10 Posts on Neurobo...

Newsletter: Share: