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

1

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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: Is America’s obesity problem affecting the military?

Wesley Clark: There's height and weight standards in the Armed forces for the last 25 years.  And we’re very strict about them and every year people are... some people are forced out because they don’t make it and some people can’t enlist because they don’t make it.  I think America has an obesity problem.  And it’s reflected many ways.  There’s too much indoor activity.  People are afraid to let the kids out on the street. Schools don’t have physical education every day.  We all had it as kids, every single day in junior high school.  And before that you had multiple recesses in elementary school where you were pushed out of the classroom and forced to go down and basically either get in fights, play on the jungle gym, or play football or basketball or softball in the appropriate season.  That’s the way Americans in my generation grew up.  Today, it’s not happening.  And so, it’s not the Armed Forces, it’s the society and the Armed Forces are just the beneficiary of what we, as Americans are.  

Question:
Is the military ready to accept gays into its ranks?

Wesley Clark:  Well, in my personal experience, yes.  The people I’ve talked to: "Yes."  But if you throw out a hot potato issue and you say, “Hey, can you take both sides of this issue?”  Some people line up on one side, some people line up on the other and then if you ask the military to volunteer to do this; no they’re not going to volunteer to do this.  

The military was racially integrated by President Harry Truman.  He did not have a one-year-long process to go through and then poll people and say, “Would you like to serve with people of another color in your unit?”  He didn’t do that.  He just did it.  And what’s happened here is we’ve sort of raised back concerns and fears and issues that I think in American society has been put to rest.  So I’m very disappointed in the Senate vote the other day and I hope that we’ll get that changed.

Recorded September 23, 2010
Interviewed by Andrew Dermont

 

Obesity, Homosexuality, and...

Newsletter: Share: