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Become a better you – personally and professionally

Want to be more creative? Or more rational? A better team player, or a more skillful leader? However you want to enrich your mind, we will boost the skills you need to become a more well-rounded thinker and doer.

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Subscribers to Big Think Edge learn from the very best. Grow from the wisdom and success of Malcolm Gladwell, John Cleese, Amy Cuddy, Sallie Krawcheck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Alda, Daniel Kahneman, Larry Summers, Simon Sinek, Gretchen Rubin, Nick Offerman, Charles Duhigg, Shane Battier, Stanley Tucci, Gretchen Carlson + more.

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Boost your creative intelligence

What radically differentiates humans from even the most cutting edge machine intelligence is creativity. We have an ability, apparently unique in nature, to imaginatively break apart and reassemble the world in novel ways. While some are born with more natural talent in one creative area or another, creative thinking is a teachable skill. A set of skills, in fact, from intuition-testing to improvisation to collaborative brainstorming. With Big Think Edge, you'll learn them from the best, including John Cleese, Sharon Salzburg, Daniel Dennett, Barbara Oakley + more.

Boost your emotional intelligence

In every area of life and work, emotional intelligence is the key to understanding ourselves and connecting with others. Through empathy, great leaders can nurture the best in each employee or use storytelling to bring a company together in pursuit of a grand vision. By recognizing the vast differences between individuals, team members can avoid misunderstandings and forge better working relationships. Whatever we're trying to achieve, we're stronger together than alone, and emotional intelligence is the social glue. In this Big Think Edge learning path, you'll work with powerful tools for developing it.

Boost your analytical intelligence

Analytical thinking fuels better decision making, problem solving, and organization, but our brains aren't always geared for rationality. To quote behavioral economist Dan Ariely, they can be "predictably irrational". That's good news—by combining insights from probability theory, cognitive science, and even the great Sherlock Holmes novels of Arthur Conan Doyle, this learning path will help you predict and overcome your own irrational tendencies and boost your analytical intelligence.

Boost your professional intelligence

Your professional life depends upon self-knowledge, habit building, strategic thinking, and the ability to collaborate with a wide range of personalities. It's the invisible double-major of adult learning. In this learning path, you'll learn from some of the world's most successful thinkers how to use data to track and boost your own performance, how to treat your career as an ongoing work-in-progress, and how to eradicate bad habits and master winning ones.

Become a better manager

The art of management is a delicate balance of psychological awareness, organization, and delegation. When these elements are synchronized (and if you'll bear with the reference), it's a bit like a Jedi using The Force—you're both in control and letting things happen naturally. But unlike The Force, there's nothing mystical about it; a great manager trains separately in skills like collaborative intelligence, self-management, and team building. With the help of master teachers from Harvard Business School, the Navy SEALs, NASA, and the upper echelons of business consulting, this learning path will teach you all these skills and more.

Become a better leader

Great leaders are masters of influence-at-scale. They communicate, inspire, and shape company culture without unnecessary turmoil or wasted energy. But the idea that leadership qualities are a birthright rather than the fruits of a career-long learning process couldn't be more misguided. Leaders aren't born, they're made—by standing on the shoulders of giants such as those you'll meet in this learning path.

Become a champion woman, or a champion of women

It's no secret: in spite of over a century's progress toward equality, women still face discrimination and unique challenges. From sexual harassment, to social conditioning toward perfectionism, to simply being taken seriously by men, women are still in the position of having to fight for what they deserve. This learning path is a roadmap to contingency planning, self-advocacy, and career success. Designed for and taught by powerful women, it offers the tools to build financial security, confidence, and the presence you need to realize your dreams—all of them.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

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Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

Videos
  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.

Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

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