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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.

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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 Big Idea for Saturday, June 08, 2013

Since President Nixon declared a War on Cancer in 1971, we've dumped $500 billion into the conflict—and the cancer death rate has hardly budged. 

Of course, cancer research needs to go on, Kas Thomas argues in today's lesson, regardless of whether cures are found. But if the goal is to help people live longer, "there are more cost-effective ways of getting there than throwing half a trillion dollars (in 40+ years) at cancer research."

Perspectives

  1. 1 The Never-Ending War on Cancer
    Kas Thomas Devil in the Data
  2. 2 The Beginning of the End of Cancer?
    Aubrey de Grey
  3. 3 Could Physics Cure Cancer?
    Paul Davies
  4. 4 CANCER PHOBIA! Fear of the disease can do as much harm, or more, than the disease itself
    David Ropeik Risk: Reason and Reality
 

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