Big Think Edge


PURPOSE: Set Goals, with John Amaechi

In this lesson from Big Think Edge, NBA basketball player John Amaechi shares with you the plan he created as a child to help him accomplish his dreams.

INNOVATION: Engage Your Team Through Gaming, with Jane McGonigal

In this lesson from Big Think Edge, game designer Jane McGonigal walks you through the ways in which gaming can lead to positive outcomes in the workplace.

LEADERSHIP: Overcome Obstacles, with Edward Norton

In this lesson from Big Think Edge, Oscar-nominated actor Edward Norton offers a mental strategy for pushing past anxiety and fear when taking on a new venture.

TALENT: Master Your Craft, with Malcolm Gladwell

If your goal is to become masterful at what you do, the formula is simple: stay focused and do your time. In this lesson from Big Think Edge, best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell teaches you how.

Understand and Address Unconscious Bias, with Jennifer Brown

In this lesson from Big Think Edge, management expert Jennifer Brown, a diversity training consultant who works with leading companies, explores pitfalls and strategies for dealing with unconscious bias.

RISK MITIGATION: Risk Management Fundamentals, with Timothy Geithner

In this lesson from Big Think Edge, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner teaches the fundamentals of risk management, based on lessons learned during the 2008 Financial Crisis.

MILLENNIALS: Embrace Millennials' Values, with Jon Iwata

In this lesson from Big Think Edge, Jon Iwata, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at IBM, explores key millennial values and what every company can do to embrace them.

MASTERCLASS: What Does A Leader Do?, with Robert Kaplan

In this lesson from Big Think Edge, Harvard professor and former Goldman Sachs executive Robert S. Kaplan explores three strategic key questions that leaders need to ask themselves.

Introducing Big Think Edge

Big Think's Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by thought leaders at the top of their game.

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  • The Impossible Burger will be available in 27 Gelson's Markets stores in Southern California starting Sept. 20.
  • Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods sell plant-based burgers in restaurants, but only Beyond Meat sells products in grocery stores.
  • Tyson could begin to edge out these smaller companies with its unique meat product that contains plant and animal components, appealing to health-conscious "flexitarians."


Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have been battling to dominate the alternative meat industry, and now that battle is moving from restaurants to grocery stores.

The Impossible Burger will be available tomorrow in grocery stores for the first time, marking a new chapter in the company's battle against Beyond Meat to dominate the alternative meat industry. Starting September 20, the plant-based burger will be sold at 27 Gelson's Markets stores across Southern California, going for $8.99 per 12-ounce package, fresh or frozen.

But don't plan on stocking up on Impossible Foods' flagship product if you live in California: there's a 10-package-per-shopper limit.

Impossible Foods isn't the first or biggest company to offer plant-based burgers in grocery stores. In June, the rival (and more valuable company) Beyond Meat made its own grocery-store debut when it began offering its popular plant-based burger in stores like Whole Foods, Kroger, Safeway, Publix, Wegmans, Target, and Sprouts. What's more, other brands — like Whole Foods' own 365 Everyday Value label — have also beaten Impossible Foods to the punch.

But the plan to roll out the Impossible Burger to grocery stores has long been in the works, according to Impossible Foods CFO David Lee.

"Even three years ago, before we launched at our first restaurant, we thought about what was the right sequence to eventually reach retail," Lee told Forbes, adding that the company wanted roughly 90 percent of meat-eaters to be aware of the brand before moving to retail.

After Southern California, it's unclear where Impossible Foods will next choose to offer its retail product. But considering the company struggled to meet demand after recently teaming up with Burger King, it's likely that Impossible Foods will choose a measured rollout.

"We are continuing to try to be as available as possible," Lee told Forbes, adding that he predicts "future rapid increase in demand and future short-term scarcity."

Can Tyson beat Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods?

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are currently the top players in the alternative meat industry, and it'll likely to stay that way in the near future, as the investment research firm CFRA noted:

"We forecast Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods will remain the fastest-growing players in the space over the next couple of years, thanks to demand from quick-service restaurants."

But Tyson, the world's second largest meat processor, could soon begin to dominate the game, not only with its size and deep pockets, but also by exploiting one potential problem with Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods: these two popular plant-based burgers, while good for the environment, probably aren't all that good for you.

Meanwhile, Tyson's new brand Raised & Rooted is making what seem to be relatively healthier meat products that use plant and animal products.

"Its blended beef and plant-based patties specifically target the 'flexitarian' demographic, who are defined as consumers who purchase both meat and meat alternatives," wrote CFRA's Arun Sundaram.

"This patty stands out from competition, not only because it's a blended meat and plant-based burger, but because it seems to be the healthiest option in the marketplace — it has a comparable amount of protein to traditional 80/20 beef burgers and other plant-based burgers, such as those offered by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, but far less total fat and saturated fat. We think more and more consumers are looking at labels and realizing that many plant-based products are not as healthy as they initially thought, and this is where we think Tyson can stand out."

  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced on Thursday plans to swiftly combat climate change.
  • Some parts of the plan include becoming carbon neutral by 2040, buying 100,000 electric delivery vans and reaching zero emissions by 2030.
  • Some Amazon employees say the pledge is good but doesn't go far enough.


Amazon pledged on Thursday to become carbon neutral by 2040 and to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement 10 years early. The move — announced by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos during a presentation with former United Nations climate change chief Christiana Figueres — comes one day ahead of the global climate strike, for which more than 1,500 Amazon employees are expected to walk off the job.

It marks the most sweeping climate promise to date from the world's largest retailer. To launch its new plan, Amazon created and became the first signatory of the Climate Pledge, which calls on businesses to measure and regularly report on greenhouse gas emissions, and also to implement decarbonization and carbon-offset strategies.

"We've been in the middle of the herd on this issue, and we want to move to the forefront," Bezos said.

This said, Amazon plans to:

  • Get 80 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2024, up from its current rate of 40 percent
  • Reach zero emissions by 2030
  • Become carbon neutral by 2040
  • Buy 100,000 electric delivery vans, some of which will begin making deliveries in 2021, with all projected to be in use by 2024, according to Bezos
  • Create a $100 million reforestation fund
  • Encourage other corporations to sign the Climate Pledge

"Meeting these goals is something that can only be done in collaboration with other large companies because we're all part of each other's supply chains," Bezos said. "We're signing up to help do that."

But Bezos disagreed with the idea that Amazon should no longer sign cloud computing contracts with oil and gas companies, which is one of the demands of Amazon employees planning to walk out on Friday.

"We should and we need to help them instead of vilify them," Bezos said, referring to aiding oil companies in the transition to renewable energies.

The Amazon Employees For Climate Justice Twitter account said the pledge is a "huge win," but added that it's not enough.

Josué Velázquez Martínez, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Transportation and Logistics and director of its Sustainable Logistics Initiative, told The Washington Post that Amazon's quick delivery services work against sustainability and climate-friendly goals.

"That part is not sustainable at all," Velázquez Martínez said, adding elsewhere that the company should show customers the environmental impacts of next-day shipping to incentivize slower delivery options. "They could do much more in terms of sustainability."

Of course, consumers share some of this responsibility, though many find the convenience hard to turn down.

"With Amazon, it's hard to be disciplined," said University of Washington's Don MacKenzie, who leads the Sustainable Transportation lab. "You've [got] an all-you-can-eat buffet as far as shipping goes. We don't see that price signal telling us, maybe you wait and combine shipments."

The global climate strikes are set to happen worldwide from Sept. 20 to 27, with hundreds of employees of other big tech companies, such as Microsoft and Google, planning to participate as well.

When Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, it didn't just flatten houses and flood hospitals – it plunged the island into a darkness that many islanders have yet to emerge from, both literally and metaphorically.


The catastrophe sent the island into the longest blackout in US history. Six months after the disaster, many residents are still without access to power. “Such prolonged darkness is insidious to community mental health," says Oxiris Barbot, First Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Barbot visited the island as a relief worker two months after the disaster and found nearly everyone she met knew someone in their immediate circle or one degree removed who had contemplated or died by suicide. Preliminary data from Puerto Rico's health department suggests that suicides were up nearly a third in September and October compared to the same period for 2016.

Physicians know that extreme events can have negative impacts on mental health, causing symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But in a recent paper, researchers admitted that much is still unknown about the consequences of disasters on long-term behavioural health.

In Puerto Rico, most of the islanders were unable to evacuate and so weathered the full trauma of the storm. Some were isolated and without assistance for days or weeks afterwards. In the following months, many faced hardships such as bereavements, loss of income and limited access to fresh water and food.

living in darkness after a power shortage can affect mental health

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Carmen Correa uses a candle for light in her dark apartment as she deals with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 30, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

It's an experience that could leave a lasting imprint. "Exposure to trauma not only affects you in the moment, it affects you for the rest of your life if you don't have access to support services that will help you develop effective coping skills," Barbot says.

But little is known about how survivors of extreme events respond relative to the help they receive, according to Sandro Galea, Dean at the Boston University School of Public Health. He says scientists need to investigate the most effective post-disaster responses to both physical and mental health challenges: "The stigma that you can just 'get over' mental illness remains. In truth, one can get over mental illness roughly the same way one can get over a broken bone by oneself – with difficulty, and likely in a way that will not result in proper healing."

Public health researchers need to invest in research that prepares health systems for the next extreme event, Galea says. The first step would be to identify at-risk populations from both a physical and mental health perspective. Then health workers could act to create resilience and mitigate the consequences in vulnerable communities.

Doing such research now, before the next hurricane hits, could reap significant financial savings in disaster response efforts. "The payoff is enormous," Galea says. "And if we ask the right questions, we can mitigate mental health consequences that cost people's lives."

This article first appeared on Mosaic and is republished here under a Creative Commons licence.

  • A school in Michigan is being remodeled in a way to minimize the effect of a shooter should the worst happen.
  • It features limited sight lines, bullet proof windows, and doors that can be locked at the push of a button.
  • Some research casts doubt on how effective the plans will actually be.

America has a mental health, video game, single-parent household, lack of school prayer, violent television, gun violence problem. Every day, 100 Americans are killed by gun violence, and hundreds more are injured. While most of these shootings are not in public schools, it is the images of school children being mowed down in their innocence that sticks with us.

Despite widespread support for various gun control measures, they are currently political non-starters. Desperate for a solution, many people have turned to bulletproof backpacks among other curious solutions in an attempt to protect their children.

However, an architectural firm has decided to up the ante in this odd game; they have designed a school that is designed to minimize the impact of mass shootings.

The world Americans live in now

TowerPinkster, an architecture firm based in Michigan, has designed a school for the hamlet of Fruitport. It features many design elements selected by the firm to limit the impact of a shooter. While the project won't be finished until 2021, some elements are already in place as part of the longterm $48 million remodeling effort.

The campus will feature a series of fire doors which can all be closed and locked with the pushing of a single button, to isolate an attacker in one area. Hallways will be slightly curved to cut off the shooter's line of sight; intermittent wing walls will dot the halls as well so that children might hide behind them. Similar barriers will exist behind classroom doors in hopes that teachers and students can hide in their rooms as well.

Lockers will no longer line walls, but instead, be located on islands in the middle of wide-open spaces. The stated benefit of this is to allow teachers to see the whole room without obstruction. The lockers will also be much shorter than most high school lockers. The building's windows will be covered in a bulletproof film.

Before you get too shocked by all this, Sandy Hook was recently rebuilt with an eye towards keeping people out, and the American Institute of Architects came up with several ideas to make schools less vulnerable to mass shootings last year.

Do people think this will actually work? What are experts saying?

The designs are mostly untested, and their effectiveness during an active shooter situation is still theoretical. The Center for American Progress, a non-partisan think tank, has data that suggests that making schools "hard targets" isn't very effective and has unwanted side effects on students. The center's experts, instead, suggest we do something about gun violence overall, in terms of policy — a common refrain from other researchers.

It should also be said that some are concerned that if the worst should happen, the same features that are supposed to protect students could make it harder for the police to apprehend the shooter. This isn't too farfetched, in 2003 SWAT team members blamed the design of a Frank Gehry building for delaying their capture of a shooter — it took seven hours.

The people who built the school in Fruitport are also quick to say that it isn't "impenetrable," but do suggest that the design could make a difference in an emergency.

Given the stance of the American Institute of Architects and the number of expert resources that TowerPinkster had to turn to, it is likely that we will see more schools like this before we see fewer. Additionally, some of the design choices were suggested by the National Institute of Crime Prevention's Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design program.

In a Kafkaesque vision of things that may be, Fruitport Superintendent Bob Szymoniak did say of the building's features: "These are going to be design elements that are just naturally part of buildings going into the future."

As the United States continues to grapple with gun violence, private actors are beginning to step in where policy has failed. While the actual effectiveness of a "massacre proof" school remains unknown, it is understandable why some people would turn to one for a feeling of security.

  • The way we communicate is dictated in part by the setting that that communication takes place in. You're supposed to tell your doctor everything; on the other hand, you wouldn't tell your business competitor much at all.
  • In academia, communication is supposed to be somewhat provocative. The reaction to a provocative idea can't be to silence the one expressing it, but to approach it from the other side of the argument. One way to think about this is that if you don't understand the other side of an issue, then you can't claim to understand the issue.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.