Ed Koch Explains How To Pass the Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Amidst a recession and against the rigid political order that dominated New York in the early 1980s, Ed Koch managed to pass a landmark bill for New York City prohibiting discrimination by the government based upon sexual orientation in the areas of employment, housing, and education. As the former Mayor explains in today’s Big Think interview, the process wasn’t exactly straightforward; it involved a good deal of clever political maneuvering on his part--something we’ll need to see done in Albany if the state is ever to legalize same-sex marriage.

Koch has some other advice for politicians today, particularly for President Obama: get out of Afghanistan. Fighting a war with waning international support and no real prospect of victory will not only severely damage the Democratic Party, it will make him a single-term president.

Koch also reflected on his time as Mayor of New York, explaining the most significant challenges that came with the position as well as his biggest mistake. The quintessential New Yorker also weighs in on what it takes to be a New Yorker—not ten years, as is traditionally prescribed, but 6 months and a faster stride.

​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

Why is 18 the age of adulthood if the brain can take 30 years to mature?

Neuroscience research suggests it might be time to rethink our ideas about when exactly a child becomes an adult.

Mind & Brain
  • Research suggests that most human brains take about 25 years to develop, though these rates can vary among men and women, and among individuals.
  • Although the human brain matures in size during adolescence, important developments within the prefrontal cortex and other regions still take pace well into one's 20s.
  • The findings raise complex ethical questions about the way our criminal justice systems punishes criminals in their late teens and early 20s.
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

Mini-brains attach to spinal cord and twitch muscles

A new method of growing mini-brains produces some startling results.

(Lancaster, et al)
Surprising Science
  • Researchers find a new and inexpensive way to keep organoids growing for a year.
  • Axons from the study's organoids attached themselves to embryonic mouse spinal cord cells.
  • The mini-brains took control of muscles connected to the spinal cords.
Keep reading Show less