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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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Question: What inspires your AIDS work?

Warren: About five years ago, I read a magazine article that talked about AIDS in Africa. And at that moment in time, I didn’t care anything about AIDS anywhere, let alone in Africa. I didn’t realize it was a problem in the United States. I was just ignorant and misinformed. But for some reason on that one day, I picked up this magazine article and it . . . it rocked my world. It’s as though I had a blindfold on and, you know, like cotton stuffed in my ears, and they were both just gone. The blindfold was gone, the cotton was out of my ears, and I saw for the first time that this . . . that the greatest humanitarian crisis of all times was occurring right under my nose and I hadn’t paid any attention. And I think what was so shocking to me that day when I read that article was that . . . That article talked about, you know, something like 35 million . . . there were 33 million people infected with HIV. And I sat there in my living room and I go, “Do I know anybody who’s HIV positive?” And the answer was no. And it said that there were 12 million children orphaned in Africa due to AIDS. And I thought, “Can I name one orphan?” And I thought, and I couldn’t. And I . . . It was so horrifying I just threw the magazine down. It was like, “How can there be something this big and I not know it – and I not know a single person?” That changed everything for me. It started me on this journey of . . . of trying to figure out how I could be a part of that.

Recorded on: 12/11/07


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