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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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Transcending Barriers Through Food

The Big Idea for Friday, July 04, 2014

Michael Pollan went on an odyssey in the south, searching for the world's purist barbecue. What he discovered surprised him.

Ed Mitchell, a renowned pitmaster in North Carolina, is not only a connoisseur but also a historian of barbecue. He described to Pollan how the love of barbecue in the south transcends racial divisions. To test Mitchell's claim, Pollan spoke with a barbecue historian (yes, those exist) who explained that even during the height of tensions during the Civil Rights Movement, blacks and whites came together (to eat, anyway) at barbecue joints.

Today's big idea explores the social nourishment of food.


  1. 1 How BBQ Transcends Race
    Big Think Editors Think Tank
  2. 2 The New Protein
    Orion Jones IdeaFeed
  3. 3 Ebola, Organic Food, and Fukushima
    David Ropeik Risk: Reason and Reality
  4. 4 The Nutrient Drought
    David Berreby Mind Matters

Transcending Barriers Throu...

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