What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
With rendition switcher


Question: What’s your prognosis for our current energy woes?

Transcript: Oil is gonna be a part of our future for a long time and it should be. And we should continue to explore new sources of oil, of natural gas, of coal, finding cleaner ways of harvesting that coal and then consuming that coal using it, turning into electricity. But we cannot repeat the mistakes of the 1970s. And what I mean by that is when the oil crisis was over in the early 1980s, we turned away from alternative sources. We’re right back where we were at the end of the 1970s. We are right as dependent on oil now as we were then and we turned our gaze away. There are tremendous things that we didn’t even fathom in the 1970s and now we’re talking about. I was in a little town of Lyons, Nebraska. I mean, it’s, there’s a guy out there originally from New Jersey picked up after the first Gulf War, took his family out to Lyons, Nebraska. He is completely transforming not just the energy consumption in Lyons but also the economy of Lyons ‘cause he has taken it completely off the grid. He’s doing things that we hadn’t thought of before and this is one small little entrepreneur on the middle of, you know, a town of about a thousand people in Central Nebraska. It’s remarkable. Sequestering methane from feedlots or from biosludge, I mean, all the industry and the waste that we’ve dumped in landfills or anything else, and we’re actually finding ways of using it and turning that into energy. Nebraska has the 6th greatest potential for wind power in the entire country. We have enough to generate 30,000 jobs and two and a half times our electrical needs in Nebraska so we could export that. That becomes a second source of revenue for us. We’ve got the 9th greatest potential for solar power. And where this comes in is not just in the solar disks and the solar panels but it also comes in, in just nature, right? I mean, algae, he is crushing algae which has a 300 times greater potential for biodiesel production than the soybeans. He’s growing, harvesting and crushing algae to produce fuel for the town of Lyons and neighboring towns, and businesses had begun to creep up around his reinvention of the economy in Lyons. So, it’s tremendous that we should not do what we did in the ‘70s and turn away from these potentials. So that we should again… so we don’t again face this point where we are depended on one source of energy in the next 30 years.

Recorded on: 8/13/08


After the Oil Crunch

Newsletter: Share: