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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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Recent Themes

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Inventing the Future

3D Printed Guns And Future Law

about 1 year ago

What's the Latest Development? Now that the US State Department has temporarily banned the release of schematics for 3D printed guns -- after they were downloaded over 100,000 times since their publication last week by the firearms manufacturer Defense Distributed -- writer Cory Doctorow wonders ...

Extreme Biology

Antibiotics for Back Pain

about 1 year ago

It sounds preposterous: antibiotics for back pain? What on earth could antibiotics possibly do for back pain? Then again, it sounded preposterous when Barry J. Marshall and J. Robin Warren said, back in 1984, that peptic ulcers were the result of bacterial infection (and could therefore be ...

New World Order

How to Avoid a War with China

about 1 year ago

The only way China will become a threat, I believe, is if we believe it will be a threat.  China, when it is afraid, when it feels backed into a corner, it can lash out and it can get very emotional.  So anytime there is a perceived assault on the dignity, but even more critically the territorial ...

Going Mental

Three Ways to Catch a Liar

about 1 year ago

When we teach people how to catch liars, it takes us 32 hours.  And there are over 30 different things you look for.  I’ll tell you a couple of them in a minute, but if you’re going to remember them and use them and spot them you need a lot of practice. I could tell you exactly how to play ...

21st Century Living

Environmentalism is not a Luxury

about 1 year ago

It’s funny that people think about how celebrities deal with environment as a luxury.  Actually, the environment is the most simple thing that anybody could think of.  This is where we live. This is what we breathe.  But we have to push people around us to do the right thing.   So I don’t think ...

21st Century Living

Should We Give Up on Mother's Day?

about 1 year ago

I’ve always been fond of Mother’s Day. During my childhood the holiday was all about champagne cake, frisbee and family picnics among cherry blossoms. These days it’s about raucous family brunches centered around the silkiest varieties of smoked fish. Yes, we give our mothers and mothers-in-law and ...