One of Big Think's More Fashionable Interviews

Valerie Steele is a fashion historian and the chief curator of the Museum at FIT. She stopped by Big Think last week to talk about the "F" word-- fashion, that is. We recapped New York Fashion Week-- which designers stood out in her mind, why Tory Burch is getting such praise these days-- and she delved into the major issue of fashion week: its timing. In the age of internet and instant gratification, how can we showcase clothing lines in the fall when the styles won't hit stores for another six months?

Steele dissected staple items of the moment (hats, boots, jeans), explaining what's in and out-- the color black included. Steele, having authored a book titled, “In the Corset: A Cultural History," is an authority on the female body as it relates to fashion. She brought us up to speed on the relationship between women and fashion, and how Michelle Obama might be changing everything. Also, will ultra-skinny models always reign supreme? How do European and American women embrace fashion differently? In the end, Steele surmises that there's not one person or entity (not even Anna Wintour?!) who dictates the looks of the moment. It's a relationship more complex than one would ever think.

​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 the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
Keep reading Show less
Image source: Topical Press Agency / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Though we know today that his policies eventually ended the Great Depression, FDR's election was seen as disastrous by some.
  • A group of wealthy bankers decided to take things into their own hands; they plotted a coup against FDR, hoping to install a fascist dictator in its stead.
  • Ultimately, the coup was brought to light by General Smedley Butler and squashed before it could get off the ground.
Keep reading Show less

Health care: Information tech must catch up to medical marvels

Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.

Photo: Tom Werner / Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
  • Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
  • As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
Keep reading Show less