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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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Arlen Specter's America: A Self-Correcting System of Checks and Balances

October 15, 2012, 11:46 AM

Big Think was saddened by the news that one of our experts, former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, passed away on Sunday from complications of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Big Think had the opportunity to interview Senator Specter (1930-2012) at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2007. 

Specter was a political moderate who was first elected to the Senate as a Republican during the Reagan wave election of 1980. Specter was known as a voice of reason in the Senate and his political endorsements reflected that. He was the rare politician who received high marks from both the AFL-CIO as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (100% in 2006), the National Association of Manufacturers (86% in 2006), and the Americans for Tax Reform (90% in 2006). Specter switched parties in 2009, becoming a Democrat. 

During our interview, we asked Specter about his worldview, and his deep belief in the American system to solve problems.

According to Specter, Americans are a decent people, who have also made mistakes. While there have been many "distasteful chapters in our history" such as slavery and internment camps for Japanese citizens during World War II, Specter told Big Think that the American system of government, with its checks and balances, can "correct the injustices of the past."

Watch the video here, from 2007:

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan


Arlen Specter's America: A ...

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