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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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Question: What do celebrities bring to a cause?


Ingrid Newkirk: When you live in a society that is so bored with itself that it lives vicariously through celebrities, then I think you have no choice but to try to use celebrities’ voices for your cause if you have a social cause. So there’s no harm done. There’s only good done. Because you can say something. But if Pam Anderson says it, everybody turns and looks whether they like her or not; whether they admire her or thinks she’s just a sexpot, they turn and look. So it’s one of those ways in which they get the message, like it or not.

Celebrities are like anybody else. A percentage of them care about animals. A percentage of them don’t. Some are totally selfless; some are totally selfish; and everybody in between. So if you can get; Sir Roger Moore recently narrated a film for us about how cruel foie gras production is where they force feed the ducks and geese. And Pam appeared in a bikini made of lettuce leaves to say, “Try vegetarian. Get our free recipes.” People are going to pay attention, and that’s what must happen. I will tell you recently Alicia Silverstone stripped down and was swimming in a pool and advocated vegan eating. And we got, I think, 1.7 million views to our web site. Our web site crashed in next to no time because people wanted to see her nude. But they also got to learn something about an issue that they might not otherwise have cared to come to our web site to find out about.


Recorded on: November 12, 2007



What do celebrities bring t...

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