Former Basketball Player John Amaechi and Filmmaker Mike Leigh Interviewed by Big Think

Many of the guests who we interview at Big Think can be described as "giants" in their fields, but this week we actually hosted our tallest guest ever.  John Amaechi, the 6'10" former basketball pro, made headlines in 2007 when he announced that he was gay—a first for the NBA. Amaechi is also one of a very small handful of  basketball players with a Ph.D; he completed a graduate degree in psychology after retiring. During his interview, he spoke candidly about being gay in the NBA, about reconciling black identity and gay identity, and about the troubling lack of emotional illiteracy among adolescent males.

Mitch Horowitz, a scholar of all things esoteric, also came by the Big Think offices this week to regale us with stories of America's occult past. Because of its religious freedom, the United States became a laboratory for all sorts of religious and spiritual experiments, he told us. And that influence has reached as far as the White House: Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd are reported to have had more than one séance in the presidential abode, hoping to conjure the spirit of their dead son Willie. Horowitz also gave us an academic history of the Ouija board. 

British filmmaker Mike Leigh also stopped by our studio while he was in town for the New York premiere of his new film Another Year. The 67-year-old auteur has spent his career making films about ordinary people, whom he says are far more interesting than the superheroes and bigshots in Hollywood films. But he is not, of course, the first realist director; he told us about the long tradition of realism in filmmaking, beginning with the first documentary films in the 19th century through the Italian neorealists and Japanese masters like Kurosawa and Ozu. 
If you want to be notified when our video interview with these luminaries are posted, please subscribe to the What's New at Big Think RSS feed.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

26 ultra-rich people own as much as the world's 3.8 billion poorest

The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."

Getty Images and Wikimedia Commons
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
  • In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
  • The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Keep reading Show less

People who constantly complain are harmful to your health

Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.

Photo credit: Getty Images / Stringer

Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.

Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.

Keep reading Show less
  • Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
  • Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
  • But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
Keep reading Show less