Big Think's Guide to Thinking and Doing Bigger in 2013
We are taking Big Think as you know it today and opening our doors to go deeper and wider. We will continue to focus on big ideas, and then, help you put the ideas into practice.
Five years ago today, Big Think first launched to the public. What a five years it's been! We've had some of the world's most influential, significant, radical thinkers through our doors. And these doors have changed several times over.
My business partner Victoria Brown and I began this project sitting in a cubicle at an architectural firm in Lower Manhattan. It was just the two of us there amidst the relics of old decaying buildings that the architects were studying and trying to figure out how to improve. That was actually a very fitting place to begin our endeavor, which is about how to improve some of the decaying relics of how people think and what people think about. Our mission, from the beginning, is to help people get smarter, faster.
Our founding idea is that in a world in which you do increasingly less with your hands and increasingly more with your head, the media needs to utterly recalibrate what it thinks is worth your time, and how it can deliver knowledge to you through new mediums.
So we spent several years organizing a team and developing Big Think into what it has become known for today. We help extraordinary minds impart their wisdom through short, compact, elegantly filmed video vignettes.
In addition to the videos, we've developed a robust, and growing blog roll with diverse writers, from Dr. Michio Kaku to Satoshi Kanazawa to David Berreby. We have Strange Maps by Frank Jacobs and countless others. All of these contributors help fulfill Big Think’s core mission of getting smarter, faster.
Now we have our own studio just off Union Square, and big plans for the future. And that is what I want to share with you now, because Big Think is about to embark on the next phase of our journey.
We will take Big Think as you know it today and open our doors to go deeper and wider. We will continue to focus on big ideas, and then, help you put the ideas into practice. Our aim is to answer the question, How can big ideas be turned into action?
To that end, we are developing two new platforms Edge and Mentor. Edge is a corporate and institutional focused initiative. It is intended to help organizations motivate and engage their employees. How? Through rethinking how they understand who their employees are, and what their employees need and want to learn in order to flourish and thrive in a 21st century knowledge economy. It has been modeled and inspired by what Google has done with Google University.
We think that companies far beyond Google can benefit from a sensibility that says employees are people who need to be cultivated personally and professionally. People want to learn more than just marginal skills, about how to understand some new accounting practice or regulation. People want ideas that they can take from their work to their home life and bring back to work the next day. We believe these ideas can be delivered in engaging and powerful ways. What we have in Edge now is the first prototype that we have developed with the help of many big thinkers. We are confident that Edge is going to resonate with employees and employers alike.
I invite you to sample some of this extraordinary offering for free. John Seely Brown is one of the experts whose insights on learning have been invaluable to us during the development of this platform. In a video lesson full of surprising and counterintuitive insights, Brown demonstrates what surfers can teach CEOs about collaborative learning.
Watch the video here.
Our second learning platform is Mentor, which is built on similar principles as Edge, yet aimed at the lifelong learning needs of individuals for personal and professional growth. Focusing on four core areas – Wisdom, Longevity, Prosperity, and Bliss, Mentor can teach you how to become an unstoppable artist-entrepreneur, how nanotechnology will soon transform your everyday life, and how to short-circuit your brain’s natural tendencies to self-deceive. Mentor will listen closely to its users’ feedback and evolve accordingly, adding new experts and lessons to teach the skills users want to learn.
We’re poised to launch a Kickstarter campaign to build the community support we need to create our own subscription platform, which we'll roll out in the spring. We see an enormous opportunity to turn Big Think into a classroom for life. This is an idea that has inspired us throughout the last five years and we are excited to now see it play out.
And we invite you, our global community of big thinkers, to join us on this journey, and tell us what you would like to see, and how we might best deliver these ideas to you.
President and co-founder, Big Think
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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