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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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The Hidden Wonders of the Natural World

April 14, 2014, 9:00 AM

You're never alone. All around you are hidden wonders of nature. Award-winning filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg brings them to life in his new 3D film Mysteries of the Unseen World. 

Watch his recent TED Talk below to understand why we are giants, oblivious to all the living beings among us. The mites on our eyelashes, crawling on our skin at night are just one example. The spider nestled in the corner of a room, comfortable living among dust balls, may have mites crawling on him that he's not aware of. It is from some of these tiny creatures that we can gain ideas for major innovations. 

The dragonflies touring our gardens can reveal new ideas for flight technology. What animal can fly better than the dragonfly? They can fly upside, backwards, their four wings moving in different directions; studying how these little creatures fly can lead to major advancements. Schwartzberg offers up one idea: dragonfly-like robots that can explore remote areas, taking pictures for scientists. Of course, espionage and Google Street View also come to mind! 

The world becomes a small, beautiful wonder in the incredible footage that Schwartzberg shares in his TED Talk. This powerful natural beauty inspires thoughts of the immense potential of nanotechnology, which Schwartzberg also pays tribute to. "Tiny chemical machines of the future can one day perhaps repair DNA," he says. "We are on the threshold of extraordinary advances born of our drive to reveal the mysteries of life." 

       Image credit: Bonnie Taylor Barry/Shutterstock





The Hidden Wonders of the N...

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