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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.

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Antonio Damasio, Bjarne Stroustrup, and Stanley Alpert Interviewed by Big Think

August 15, 2010, 7:18 PM

This past week, three top experts stopped by the Big Think offices for a video interview: behavioral neurologist Antonio Damasio, C++ creator Bjarne Stroustrup, and kidnapping victim Stanley Alpert.

USC neurology professor Antonio Damasio talked to us about what "consciousness" is; how our brains connect with our bodies and actions; and how we string together thoughts and memories to create personal autobiographies. He also described how the brain constructs a "feeling" and how our emotions affect the way we perceive the world around us.

C++ creator Bjarne Stroustrup gave us some words of advice on how to make the most of the programming language he began developing over 30 years ago. And for those of us who don't know a script from a kernel, he explained what C++ is and why it has become one of the most popular programming languages ever created. Stroustrup also told us the five programming languages he thinks everyone should know, and he shared his predictions for the future of programming.

And former federal prosecutor Stanley Alpert spoke to us about the night he was kidnapped on his birthday 12 years ago and held hostage at gunpoint for 25 hours. Somehow Alpert managed to keep his wits and ended up not only convincing his captors to let him go but also helping the FBI to track them down within 48 hours. Alpert told us about the strategies and tricks he used to negotiate with his kidnappers and to stay alive. He also told us about the little ways he managed to maintain some sense of control, despite being blindfolded and held at gunpoint, which helped him deal with the trauma of surviving such an event. 

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Antonio Damasio, Bjarne Str...

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