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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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Big Think Expert Cocktails: The Henry Rollins, The Raketini of Innocence, and More!

December 17, 2011, 9:16 AM

A forum where top mixologists explore the party drinks defining the 21st Century . . .

Whether it is goji berry juice, Schlitz Malt Liquor Bull, moonshine, or water, you will most likely drink something this holiday season. Why not impress your friends and family with one of the most cutting-edge, forward-thinking cocktails available to humankind?

At our Swiss Institut des Experiments aux Beverages, we have assembled the foremost mixological minds of the century and challenged them to embody in cocktail form the essence of one of the greatest thinkers or ideas ever to appear on Big Think. We believe you’ll be pleased with the results.

The Kaku-tail


Theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku has repeatedly blown our minds with visions of teleportation, intergalactic “gravity mail”, and something called “time pretzels.”

You will need: 
In the year 2512, you will not need ingredients. You will simply harness the molecular building blocks of the universe using disposable, three dimensional dark-matter modeling gloves available in any drugstore.

:  Close eyes. Imagine it is 500 years from now. Enjoy.

The Raketini of Innocence

2006 recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature, Turkish author Orhan Pamuk writes of love, longing, memory, and the melancholic grandeur of his native Istanbul.

You will need:

2 oz Raki (The national alcoholic beverage of Turkey. Tastes like Ouzo because the Greeks stole the recipe.)

The memory of the reflection of moonlight upon the Bosphorous.
1 oz water
1 oz Turkish sour cherry juice
1 oz Absinthe (essential ingredient in any literary cocktail – now legal!)


Mix all ingredients in a Collins glass, add ice, and stir. Contemplate forgotten historical objects buried at the bottom of the ocean.

Jonathon Keats’ Copernican Cocktail

Artist Jonathon Keats shared with Big Think his Copernican Revolution in the arts, which banishes “masterpieces” and the idea of genius as belonging to a Ptolemaic, Earth-centric worldview. Copernican artworks – an average of all sounds, or colors, or tastes in the universe – are utterly bland.

You will need:
12 oz water, at room temperature.

Dress in beige. Enter beige, unfurnished room. Put water in glass. Drink.

The Henry Rollins

The highly verbal and unbelievably productive Henry Rollins visited Big Think this year to share ideas including what pisses him off the most right now, and what he would do if elected president.

You will need
Two cans of Red Bull
A newspaper
a penny
An empty marble notebook
A black Sharpie

Drink both cans of Red Bull in quick succession. Drop penny on newspaper. Read article. Write (in response) until marble notebook is full. Warning: If you are the actual Henry Rollins, do not, under any circumstances, drink Red Bull.

. . . Hours before this article went to press, Henry himself sent us this alternate recipe:

The Henry Rollins is to be enjoyed alone or in mixed company. It is easy to prepare and is found in most places.

01. Fill kettle with fresh, cold water
02. Pre-heat mug as water comes to boil
03. Seconds before water is boiling, put two tea bags in preheated mug
04. Introduce the water as it is still boiling into the mug
03. Allow to cool
04. Drink tea / solve all world problems


The Badassery

Cosmologist Neil DeGrasse Tyson and novelist Salman Rushdie, both past Big Think Experts, made news this year when two unrelated memes involving each man and the word “badass” made the rounds on the internet and Twitter. Tyson has spoken with Big Think about the war on science and Sir Isaac Newton. Rushdie delved into video games and how a fatwa can affect your love life. In honor of these two bona fide badasses, we give you . . . The Badassery.

You will need: 
3 oz. Knob Creek single barrel bourbon
1 live scorpion
1 rusty nail

Place scorpion in glass. Stir with rusty nail, leaving in glass. Drink.

The Singularity

Inventor and Futurist Ray Kurzweil has spoken with Big Think about the end of human diseases and the coming Singularity, when artificial intelligence will become an independent ‘life form.’ 

You will need

200 anti-aging pills (available here)
1 maraschino cherry (because that red stuff – whatever it is – preserves them forever).
3 oz Svedka vodka (because their model is from the future).


Muddle pills with cherry at the bottom of a rocks glass. Add crushed ice. Pour in vodka and stir.


Follow Jason Gots (@jgots) on Twitter

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

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