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

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The Crazy Cat Lady, Explained

February 11, 2012, 7:00 AM
Cat

Why do people hoard pets? Psychologists have explained the phenomenon as arising from early childhood experiences. Animals are often stable fixtures in an otherwise dysfunctional life. 

Yet what if your cat makes you even more dysfunctional? An evolutionary biologist named Jaroslav Flegr argues that many house cats carry organisms that invade our brains, leading to mental disorders like schizophrenia as well as causing suicides and car crashes. In fact, according to Flegr, cats may "kill as many people as malaria, or at least a million people a year.”

Flegr says the cause of all the harm is an intestinal parasite called Toxoplasma. There's a reason pregnant women are told to stay away from litter boxes. Toxoplasma is found in cat stools. 

Is Flegr on to something? Read this fascinating article at The Atlantic

 

More from the Big Idea for Monday, May 06 2013

Reprogramming the Brain

Neuroscience has found in recent decades just how elastic the human brain is. By flexing our brain muscles we can reprogram it in ways that are suited to higher levels of memory and productivity. ... Read More…

 

The Crazy Cat Lady, Explained

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