Today's Birthrights: Life, Liberty and Broadband

Though Internet freedom is often a nebulous concept, one thing is sure: We want it. Venture capitalist Fred Wilson warns that taking it away will cause a revolt among younger generations. 

What's the Latest Development?


New York venture capitalist Fred Wilson tells of just how integrated broadband Internet and our culture have become, and how it will prove essential to our future. Today, says Wilson, even farmers depend on speedy Internet access for a variety of reasons, making them as conversant in Web matters as the San Francisco or New York tech crowd. In other words, conversations about Internet regulation now permeate society, making it a popular topic around which our values increasingly revolve. Before the SOPA battle in Congress, Internet freedom had never appeared on such high a stage. 

What's the Big Idea?

Speaking with his daughter and their friends, Wilson came to realize just how one-directional Internet freedom is. He estimates it will be nearly impossible to scale back since today's younger generations grew up with a laptop and now have a computer in their pocket. "They prefer to watch a movie on their laptop lying on their bed than in the movie theater. And as a young woman said at Princeton last week, they want 'life, liberty, and blazing broadband'." To the current generation, Internet freedom is a birthright. Woe to those who try to take it away. 

Photo credit: shutterstock.com


​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

This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
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

Remembering when bankers tried to overthrow FDR and install a fascist dictator

When FDR took office, the U.S. was in the grips of the Great Depression. People had grown desperate, and FDR's election seemed disastrous. Some wealthy bankers believed that it was time to take the country by force.

Image source: Topical Press Agency / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Though we know today that his policies eventually ended the Great Depression, FDR's election was seen as disastrous by some.
  • A group of wealthy bankers decided to take things into their own hands; they plotted a coup against FDR, hoping to install a fascist dictator in its stead.
  • Ultimately, the coup was brought to light by General Smedley Butler and squashed before it could get off the ground.
Keep reading Show less