The Biggest Thinking of Summer 2011
As Summer 2011 draws to a close, we at Big Think are taking a look back at the most significant ideas presented on our site by Big Think experts. You, our viewers, voted with your clicks.
From 2011-2014, Daniel Honan was the Managing Editor at Big Think. Prior to Big Think, Daniel was Vice President of Production for Plum TV, a niche cable network he helped launch in 2002. The production team he oversaw won over two dozen Emmy awards. Daniel has created numerous shows and documentaries for television, and his film credits include Stealing the Fire, a documentary on the black market for nuclear weapons technology.
Follow Daniel on Twitter @DanielHonan
As Summer 2011 draws to a close, we at Big Think are taking a look back at the most significant ideas presented on our site by Big Think experts. You, our viewers, voted with your clicks. Here are the results:
5. Nathan Myrhvold: These Chemicals Are Good For You (And Yummy)
Along with fellow chefs Chris Young and Maxime Bilet, Myhrvold recently published Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, a hefty six-volume 2,438-page set that aims to reinvent cooking through "science-inspired techniques for preparing food."
To understand the science of cooking we must understand the basic building blocks we're working with. As Myhrvold tells Big Think, "Everything in life is made of elements and chemicals. Now, when people say chemicals" they think of some "artificial thing which is going to be bad for me."
Of course, some chemicals are bad for you. Likewise, many processed foods are unhealthy. As a result, some people might elect to put themselves on the so-called Caveman Diet, as Big Think has detailed here. On the other hand, Myhrvold argues that the common understanding of what is "natural" and what is "processed" is overly simplistic. For instance, muffins are made with baking soda, and there’s "no more processed foods in the world than bread, wine or cheese," Myhrvold says. In other words, these products are "completely unnatural." Watch the video here:
4. David Brooks: How to Think Your Way Out of a Bad Marriage
The New York Times columnist David Brooks told Big Think that there are numerous problems that can only be solved by emergent thinking. For instance, he writes, "We still try to address problems like poverty and Islamic extremism by trying to tease out individual causes. We might make more headway if we thought emergently." Another powerful example is marriage. How do you fix a troubled marriage? Brooks tells Big Think how emergent thinking is essential:
3. Tara Sophia Mohr: Fear is the Mind Killer
Your heart is pounding, your pupils are dilated, your palms are soaked with sweat. The adrenaline rush we all experience when our bodies go in to “fight or flight” mode is an asset if we’re up against a physical threat. In a recent interview, Big Think asked writer and consultant Tara Sophia Mohr, who counsels women in the social and business sectors, how to overcome fear. Watch here:
2. James Frey: The Truth Set Me Free
James Frey tells Big Think that "The Million Little Pieces" controversy with Oprah "really freed me to be as radical as I want, to break every rule I want, and to not have to care what other people thought." Watch the video here:
1. Dr. Michio Kaku: Living in a Post-Human World
Big Think reader Liam Stein asked Dr. Michio Kaku the question "How will the world look post-singularity? Can you walk us through a day in the life of a transhuman?" According to Dr. Kaku, the future will be a glorious place to live. "We will become the Gods that we once feared," he says. "We will, like Zeus, mentally control objects around us. Like Venus, we will have perfect bodies and ageless bodies." Watch here:
How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.
Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).
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