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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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"When I First Saw Earth"

March 7, 2010, 1:39 PM
Earthview2

Anoushesh Ansari is the world's first female private space explorer, as well as the first astronaut of Iranian descent. Today, in a Big Think interview (conducted in partnership with the DLD conference in Munich), she shares a poetic recollection of her most exciting moment in orbit: looking out and seeing "life emanating against the deep background of space."

When asked about her most frightening moment, however, Ansari demurs, explaining that years of intense preparation made her cool as a cucumber. Sound like an experience you'd want to share? She has good news for you: as a member of the family that sponsors the Ansari X Prize for private spacecraft launches, she reports that we will likely see commercial space flights as soon as 2012, with costs dropping and "an industry being created" thereafter.

As a boundary-breaking explorer, Ansari also describes the message she hopes her space flight sends to women—and men—in the Middle East, and voices her support for the ongoing anti-establishment protests in Iran.

 

"When I First Saw Earth"

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