What is it about certain Big Think videos that strike a chord? A glance through our 10 Most Popular Videos of the First 100 Days of 2010 shows a wide range of topics -- from alternate universes to the art of drawing cartoons to political prognostications -- that resonated with our viewers. Jason Fried's look at interruptions in the workplace came out on top, with Eliot Spitzer and Newt Gingrich close behind.
Here they are, in decreasing order of popularity:
• 1. Why You Can't Work at Work (Jason Fried)
• 2. Newt Gingrich: How Republicans Can Win Big in 2012 (Newt Gingrich)
• 3. Big Think Interview With Eliot Spitzer (Eliot Spitzer)
• 4. A Supernova Could Nuke Us (Edward Sion)
• 5. How to Draw Cartoons With a Pointed Stick (Jules Feiffer)
• 6. Music for Your Particular Mood (Tod Machover)
• 7. Escape to a Parallel Universe (Michio Kaku)
• 8. Divorcing Mexico From Latin America (Jorge Castaneda)
• 9. The Seas Could Turn to Sulfur (Peter Ward)
• 10. The Importance of Orbital Vacations (Burt Rutan)
Doomsday fears were popular on our list, from paleontologist Peter Ward’s frank discussion of the possibility of a volcanic Armageddon turning our seas to a sulfurous poison, to astronomer Edward Sion’s prediction of a supernova dosing Earth with a lethal dose of high-energy radiation. If these prove true we can only hope string theorist and Big Think blogger Michio Kaku is right when he suggests the future may promise an escape to a parallel universe.
We were enthralled as well with current affairs. Will former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and his "alternative party" really win a "sweeping, decisive election in 2012" as he predicts? Has Tiger Woods taken heed of former New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer’s advice "to look within" after his scandal? Will Mexico become part of a "North American community" -- perhaps with a unified currency -- as NYU politics professor Jorge Castaneda hopes?
Cartoonist Jules Feiffer’s serendipitous story of how he discovered his scratchy style is sure to lift your mood, as is MIT music composer Tod Machover, who guesses that 25 to 50 years from now he may have the perfect music to match the moment. Meanwhile, aerospace engineer Burt Rutan reminds us that an orbital vacation may be available sooner than we imagined, and Jason Fried, co-founder of 37signals, describes how workplace interruptions break our concentration and decrease our productivity.
A note on our methodology: Big Think's 10 Most Popular Videos of the First 100 Days of 2010 were compiled from clips posted this year. The reason perennial favorites like Stephen Fry and Tal Ben-Shahar didn't make the list is because their videos first appeared in 2009.
To create wiser adults, add empathy to the school curriculum.
- Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
- Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
- Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
This is what the world will look like, 250 million years from now
To us humans, the shape and location of oceans and continents seems fixed. But that's only because our lives are so short.
The future of education and work will rely on teaching students deeper problem-solving skills.
- Asking kids 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' is a question that used to make sense, says Jaime Casap. But it not longer does; the nature of automation and artificial intelligence means future jobs are likely to shift and reform many times over.
- Instead, educators should foster a culture of problem solving. Ask children: What problem do you want to solve? And what talents or passions do you have that can be the avenues by which you solve it?
- "[T]he future of education starts on Monday and then Tuesday and then Wednesday and it's constant and consistent and it's always growing, always improving, and if we create that culture I think that would bring us a long way," Casap says.
These Jurassic predators resorted to cannibalism when hit with hard times, according to a deliciously rare discovery.
- Rare fossil evidence of dinosaur cannibalism among the Allosaurus has been discovered.
- Scientists analyzed dinosaur bones found in the Mygatt-Moore Quarry in western Colorado, paying special attention to bite marks that were present on 2,368 of the bones.
- It's likely that the predatory carnivore only ate their already-dead peers during times when resources were scarce.
As a doctor, I am reminded every day of the fragility of the human body, how closely mortality lurks just around the corner.