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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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Today's Big Idea: Mental Health

The Big Idea for Sunday, December 09, 2012

How severe does an incident of head trauma have to be to result in degenerative brain disease? We don't know for sure, but a recent study found disturbing evidence in the tissue of deceased football players, wrestlers, hockey players, boxers and military veterans. This evidence suggests less serious head trauma can cause degenerative injury.

This is a major wakeup call to the sport of football. 

The NFL, for its part, is considering rules changes such as eliminating kickoffs -- one of the most dangerous plays in the game. But is that enough? Can physics step in and design a new helmet that will better absorb the shock of a hit?

The new helmets certainly won't be pretty. But that will be a tradeoff players and fans will have to accept if they want a safer game, or if parents choose to allow their children to participate in the sport. 


  1. 1 Can Physics Save Football?
    Ainissa Ramirez Experts' Corner
  2. 2 Football's Concussion Crisis
    Big Think Editors Think Tank
  3. 3 The Curious Case of Phineas Gage
    Adam Kepecs
  4. 4 Can Head Trauma Cause Alzheimer's?
    Ottavio Arancio

Today's Big Idea: Mental He...

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