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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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Jennifer Rubell: Well when it comes to cooking, all the food that I make and that I recommend making is really for a pretty novice level cook.  And the way I accomplish that is I take classic combinations of flavors and execute them in the simplest possible way.  So if, for instance . . . You know there’s a recipe in my book for chicken legs with mustard, shallots, and thyme.  And that sort of . . .  You know chicken ins some kind of “creamyish”, mustard sauce is a classic French preparation.  But you could do it in a really complicated way.  Or I recommend putting all the ingredients – white wine, mustard, chicken legs, everything else in a pan, throwing the whole thing in the oven, and it cooks for about an hour.  And when it comes out, it’s this magical, creamy, mustard sauce with actually no cream in it which is also great.  And it feels like this wonderful, rustic, French dish.  But it was executed . . .  I mean anyone can throw everything in a pan and throw it in the oven – although sometimes people are so fearful that they do freakish things, and I can’t account for that.  But basically following those directions, you’ll get a really delicious, hearty meal with flavors that really marry and really sing.  So for me, the cooking has to be reduced to the simplest path.  And the flavors can be slightly more complex combinations where in the original dish they involve 15 steps.  And then in my version, which is a whole new invention of what the dish is anyway, it could be three or four steps.


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