Big Think interviewed an array of luminaries in a variety of fields this week, including "The Office" star Rainn Wilson, famed novelist Salman Rushdie, and writer Walter Mosley.
Rushdie came into the Big Think offices today to discuss fantasy, video games, Islam, and how to attract women. His new book, " Luke and the Fire of Life," takes its structure from video game narratives, which he sees as vital to the future of storytelling. He also weighed in on the recent national debates about Islam and terrorism, saying that we must distinguish between Islam as a religion and Muslims as a people. But it is foolish to deny that we were attacked in the name of Islam on 9/11, he said.
Walter Mosley talked to us about his new book "The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey." The interview provided us a chance to talk with Mosley about his writing process, the challenges of finding a true passion and the trouble with A students. Mosley says young people today share similar anxieties to young people in the 60s, only they're more ambitious about becoming famous. "In the sixties, if you had enough money for food, you could pay your rent, and you were getting laid, then you were happy," says Mosley If there is one person that Mosley would like to interview at Big Think it would be Fidel Castro, who he says would provide an interesting counterpoint to some many things that America stands for today.
Actor Rainn Wilson told us that his new book, "Soul Pancake," is in part a response to having so many people associate him with his character, Dwight Schrute, on the popular NBC show "The Office." Wilson, who is much less overbearing and egotistical than his onscreen persona, talked about growing up in a Baha'i family, told us about his favorite artists, and described some of the creative difficulties that can plague people as they get older.
Climate Change Realist Bjorn Lomborg, a previous Big Think guest, returned to our studio to discuss global warming fear mongering and Chinese environmental policy. It terms of the environment, the Chinese are experiencing growing pains just like England during the Industrial Revolution, says Lomborg. "People go to China and think the air pollution is bad, and it is," says Lomborg. "But if they were to go to London at the time of the Industrial Revolution they would be hacking and coughing just like they are China." We'll find out whether Lomborg's claims hold true during an upcoming series on the current state of China.
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Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for 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.
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Neuroscience research suggests it might be time to rethink our ideas about when exactly a child becomes an adult.
- 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.
Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.
- 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!
A new method of growing mini-brains produces some startling results.
- 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.
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