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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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Nicholas Lemann: I think the war on terror construct won’t seem that important. And I . . . When 9/11 happened we all believed, including me, that it would be . . . first of all that it was an epical event like Pearl Harbor; which now, you know, doesn’t seem to be the case; and second of all that there would be many more 9/11s, or several more 9/11s. And there haven’t been, and I hope there aren’t obviously. It may be with hindsight, which is always unfair, that people will say even though it was by far the worst terrorist attack in American history, you’ll have to explain to your grandchildren why there was such an extreme reaction to one terrorist attack; and why that, you know, seemed to “change everything” about American life and America’s role in the world. I suspect that that’s what we’ll think a generation from now.And then the other thing I think is I suspect – although this may be more of a hope, but I think I’m right – that when we’re sitting around with our grandchildren, the level of mistrust of the public sector will seem nutty in how high it was during this era.


Recorded on: 11/30/07


Nicholas Lemann: How will t...

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