China tightens its grip on freedom in academics

Scholars often debate risking their livelihoods and personal safety in order to conduct research in certain areas.

Getty Images
  • Authoritarian governments that rely heavily on coercion must be more intrusive about how education shapes the personality and character of its members.
  • In China, there are topics that scholars know to avoid — especially, the Three Ts: Taiwan, Tibet, and Tiananmen Square.
  • While the majority of scholars are likely toeing the party line when it comes to their research, some are working toward encouraging academic freedom in the country, often at significant risk to themselves and their families.
Keep reading Show less

Open academic culture, more crucial than ever, is in peril

Why campuses are becoming polarized — and what we can do about it.

Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • The narrowing of academic freedom is a major problem for institutions of higher education.
  • Social media, external pressures, and increasingly diverse student bodies — while providing some positives — create more opportunity for misunderstanding and miscommunication.
  • Reaffirming the value of and commitment to open debate ensures a more vibrant academic culture.
Keep reading Show less

Companies are judged more harshly for their ethical failures if the CEO is a woman

Unequal gender dynamics still prevail even at the very top.

DeMorris Byrd / Unsplash

Gender inequality in the business world has been much discussed over the last few years, with a host of mentoring schemes, grants, business books and political activity all aimed at getting women into leadership positions.

Keep reading Show less
Gear
  • 12min summarizes hundreds of best-selling books down to essential 12-minute microbooks.
  • Microbooks are downloadable in both text and audio formats.
  • You can request a 12min summary of any non-fiction book not in their vast library.
Keep reading Show less

How Big Think can better support you and how you can support Big Think

Here's a letter from our co-founders on the ways to help the world get smarter, faster, through engaging actionable content.

Big Think experts Steven Pinker, Michelle Thaller and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Dear readers,

We're the co-founders of Big Think. First and foremost, we want to thank you for your viewership. Over the last 12 years, you have helped us take Big Think from a vision scrawled in notes on lined paper to a reality that has reached over 1 billion people with the mission of helping the world get "smarter faster".

Keep reading Show less

Fashion contributes to 10 percent of humanity's carbon emissions

Fast fashion has a devastating impact on the environment. Here's what you need to know before heading to Zara this holiday season.

Photo Credit: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The fashion industry is responsible for an alarming 10 percent of all of humanity's carbon emissions.
  • Eighty-five percent of all textiles are trashed each year, ending up in a landfill or incinerated.
  • By wearing one item of clothing for 9 months longer a person can actually reduce his or her carbon footprint by 30 percent.
Keep reading Show less

Great moments in marijuana history are being revealed

David Bienenstock has made it his mission to keep the history of cannabis alive.

Photo courtesy of the author
Culture & Religion
  • Cannabis journalists David Bienenstock and Abdullah Saeed launched Great Moments in Weed History to share the history of marijuana.
  • They cover hilarious and amazing weed tales about Willie Nelson. Louis Armstrong, Barack Obama, and Fela Kuti.
  • In this interview with Big Think, Bienenstock says it's essential to keep the history of marijuana alive in the corporatized age.
Keep reading Show less
Think Again Podcasts

Confucianism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism—the world's scriptural belief systems take many different forms but all tend toward 'kenosis'—self-transcendence for the benefit of others. And all have been used and abused for less spiritual ends. Former nun and renowned theologian Karen Armstrong on the lost art of scripture.


Keep reading Show less