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


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


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

541 - Ten Map Shorts

November 21, 2011, 8:47 PM

Finding maps that are sufficiently strange and beautiful is only half the joy of making this blog; the other is writing up the story to go along with them. But sometimes, fascinating maps are resistant to exegesis - maybe because all they need to explain is right there, in the image itself. Or maybe I've just stared myself blind on them. Over the years, many have accumulated. Here are ten of 'em.


Welcome to USB Country

These peculiar landscape elements have since disappeared from the satellite view.



The Longest Way 'Round

I'd watch out, Miss. He's got mischief in his eyes.



NYC = 5 States

The population of New York City equals that of five entire states.




The Navy Alphabet

From an illustrated book by L. Frank Baum, of Wizard of Oz fame.




A postage map of India. 



Zones of indulgence

So northern Europe drinks too much, and southern Europe eats too much?



Attendance at Elvis Concerts, per State

But why?



Apportioning America

States sized to correspond to their political weight in Congress (in 1911).

apportionment map 1911



Alaska's Revenge

Who's in standing in the corner now?

United States by Alaska


Your Brain on Maps

This is what your brain looks like after looking at too much cartography.

Map copy


Many thanks to all those who sent in these maps over the past few years.


541 - Ten Map Shorts

Newsletter: Share: