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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 keeps you up at night?

Calvin Trillin: Oh, small matters like whether the boiler guy is gonna come and when [I’m] supposed to get things. I usually go to sleep and wake up and I’m thinking of these things. I’m not sure they wake me up. I once gave a talk not long after 9/11 to some library people in Brooklyn; I mean friends of the library in Brooklyn or something like that, and someone said are you concerned about flying after 9/11; you fly a lot, and I said yeah what concerns me is that you have to show your I.D. so much. I’m afraid I’ll lose my driver’s license, and you might say I’m more afraid of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles than I am of Arab terrorists, and a week or two later I got a letter from somebody in the audience who said she knew of a very good psychiatrist who specialized in people who were worried about small matters such as that, and I said well that actually was a joke, but sometimes I think I could use that guy.

Recorded on:  October 8, 2009


What Keeps Calvin Trillin U...

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