Qatar Aims to be Tech Superpower

Qatar wants to build a knowledge-based economy. It's ploughing billions into education and research, especially technology, and its fiber optic info superhighway goes live in September.

What's the Latest Development?


It's fabulously rich thanks to huge gas reserves but Qatar wants to diversify with a knowledge-based economy, particularly in the field of technology. A key step is its information superhighway—the brand new fiber optic cable will go live in September, giving consumers speeds that may reach 10G per second. "It's like jumping from a horse and getting straight into a Ferrari," said Bassam Al-Ibrahim, co-founder of ILoveQatar.net. The aim is for 95% of the country to have broadband access by 2015.

What's the Big Idea?

Stephanie Hancock writes that the key will be "persuading Qataris to become producers of original web content, rather than just more efficient consumers. This requires innovation—which no amount of money can buy. But people here are confident the young generation will step up to the challenge."

​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

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

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

Mini-brains attach to spinal cord and twitch muscles

A new method of growing mini-brains produces some startling results.

(Lancaster, et al)
Surprising Science
  • Researchers find a new and inexpensive way to keep organoids growing for a year.
  • Axons from the study's organoids attached themselves to embryonic mouse spinal cord cells.
  • The mini-brains took control of muscles connected to the spinal cords.
Keep reading Show less