What is Big Think?  

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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Goodbye, Columbus – Hello Exploration Day

October 8, 2012, 12:00 AM
Moon%20langing

Last month marked the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s speech to Rice University in which he said, “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

Seven years later, Neil Armstrong took his one small step and for a brief moment brought Americans together. When Armstrong died, President Obama said, "Neil was among the greatest of American heroes -- not just of his time, but of all time. When he and his fellow crewmembers lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation. They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable -- that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible. And when Neil stepped foot on the surface of the moon for the first time, he delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten."

What both Kennedy and Obama recognized is the quintessential American spirit of exploration and discovery. The 21st century challenges that face humankind require the same curiosity and dedication exhibited by the Corps of Discovery, Robert Peary and Matthew Henson, Amelia Earhart, Jonas Salk, Sacajawea, Francis and Crick, Neil Armstrong, Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, or Robert Ballard. Today’s students must develop that spark of creativity, the inquisitiveness and drive to discover the unknown.

The true American character is about attaining the impossible through exploration, scientific research, innovation and creativity. America continues to inspire the dreamers, the courageous, the adventurers and the resolute to reach farther, to build greater and to strive to make America that more perfect union.

We do not view our federal holidays as trivial matters. They drive our nation. They give us pause. They serve as moments of reflection, as well as celebration. For many Americans, Columbus Day no longer fits the litmus test of credibility and relevance. Federal holidays should be a day celebrated by the vast majority of Americans regardless of background or political orientation. When Congress created a federal holiday to honor Christopher Columbus, most of what was widely known about him was a myth - a myth which Columbus himself helped perpetuate. 

Re-dedicating Columbus Day as Exploration Day will allow those who wish to commemorate his accomplishments to continue doing so. But for those who find Columbus's role in history disquieting, it will enable them to celebrate the day in a very different way. Exploration Day covers the depth and breath of America’s rich history of exploration, research and discovery. Thus, Exploration Day will be something that unites rather than divides.  Since Stage 2 of our efforts began on 10/2/12, we've had a groundswell of signatures and social media on a petition to change the holiday's name and focus.

 

by Karl Frank Jr. and Rod Wright

More from the Big Idea for Monday, October 14 2013

Columbus Revisited

There is a lot at stake in the way that we view Christopher Columbus today. After all, this is the story of our origin as a country. Do we prefer to view Columbus as a brave explorer or a murderer... Read More…

 

Goodbye, Columbus – Hello E...

Newsletter: Share: