Is Twitter Stealing Our Souls?

Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, on Twitter: "The things we may be unlearning, tweet by tweet—complexity, acuity, patience, wisdom, intimacy—are things that matter."

What's the Latest Development?

Executive editor of the New York Times, Biller Keller felt like he had handed his daughter a pipe of crystal meth after allowing her to create a Facebook profile. While Keller claims his professional ambitions preclude him from being a Luddite, he comes out against social media because of its influence on how we think. Just as humanity lost is ability to memorize long texts after the printing press was invented, Keller says the media of our day are likewise robbing us of worthwhile skill. With technology playing an increasingly dominant role in our lives, Keller reminds us that: "...the cognitive advance of our species is not inexorable."

What's the Big Idea?

The relationship between humans and our technology is changing. Currently, digital devices and powerful software extend the capability of our brains, allowing us to complete complex calculations in an instant and putting the world's cumulative knowledge at our fingertips. When will the singularity occur? When will man and machine physically merge? In the next fifty years, says Joshua Foer, whose book Moonwalking with Einstein recalls how sometimes humanity trades in valuable abilities for the sake of progress. 

​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.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Saying no is hard. These communication tips make it easy.

You can say 'no' to things, and you should. Do it like this.

  • Give yourself permission to say "no" to things. Saying yes to everything is a fast way to burn out.
  • Learn to say no in a way that keeps the door of opportunity open: No should never be a one-word answer. Say "No, but I could do this instead," or, "No, but let me connect you to someone who can help."
  • If you really want to say yes but can't manage another commitment, try qualifiers like "yes, if," or "yes, after."
Keep reading Show less

Apparently even NASA is wrong about which planet is closest to Earth

Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.

Strange Maps
  • Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
  • Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
  • Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
Keep reading Show less

Why is 18 the age of adulthood if the brain can take 30 years to mature?

Neuroscience research suggests it might be time to rethink our ideas about when exactly a child becomes an adult.

Mind & Brain
  • Research suggests that most human brains take about 25 years to develop, though these rates can vary among men and women, and among individuals.
  • Although the human brain matures in size during adolescence, important developments within the prefrontal cortex and other regions still take pace well into one's 20s.
  • The findings raise complex ethical questions about the way our criminal justice systems punishes criminals in their late teens and early 20s.
Keep reading Show less