Thom Filicia's Musings on Design Sustainability and Snooki

There is a big difference between manners and good taste, says interior designer Thom Filicia, one-fifth of the Fab Five from Bravo's popular "Queer Eye" series. Knowing what society requires is just half of the battle: "When you’re very proficient at anything you then are able to look at it holistically and then actually push it a little bit further.  I think when people are less connected to a concept or an idea they’re intimidated by it and therefore they kind of follow it as opposed to lead it.  So I think when you talk about taste or taste makers they’re generally people who have a great understanding of the social requirements but are able to sort of play with it and push it a little bit further."


In his Big Think interview, Filicia tells us about his design aesthetic and the fact that he views his clients' interiors as narratives that should tell a story about the clients themselves. "It's a direct extension of their life, their lifestyle," he says. Filicia has really embraced the trend towards sustainability, which is just as robust in the field interior design as in architecture. And just because an interior is eco-friendly, it doesn't have to look sparse and sterile. Filicia walks us through an interior that looks inviting and comfortable but was designed using sustainable materials and furniture. One trend he hasn't embraced is, though, is that of Snooki and the "Real Housewives."

Filicia also described to us his process of coming out as a gay man. Telling his parents he was gay was pretty uneventful, he says, but explaining that he would be on a TV show called "Queer Eye" was surprisingly more difficult.  "It was like coming out for three years everyday." This clip is part of Big Think's "Coming Out: Stories of Gay Identity" series, in which prominent members of the LGBT community, like comedian Stephen Fry and filmmaker John Cameron Mitchell, recount their experiences coming to terms with their sexuality.

​Is science synonymous with 'truth'? Game theory says, 'not always.'

Good science is sometimes trumped by the craving for a "big splash."

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  • Scientists strive to earn credit from their peers, for grants from federal agencies, and so a lot of the decisions that they make are strategic in nature. They're encouraged to publish exciting new findings that demonstrate some new phenomenon that we have never seen before.
  • This professional pressure can affect their decision-making — to get acclaim they may actually make science worse. That is, a scientist might commit fraud if he thinks he can get away with it or a scientist might rush a result out of the door even though it hasn't been completely verified in order to beat the competition.
  • On top of the acclaim of their peers, scientists — with the increasing popularity of science journalism — are starting to be rewarded for doing things that the public is interested in. The good side of this is that the research is more likely to have a public impact, rather than be esoteric. The bad side? To make a "big splash" a scientist may push a study or article that doesn't exemplify good science.

People who constantly complain are harmful to your health

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

Photo credit: Getty Images / Stringer
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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.

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NASA and ESA team up for historic planetary defense test

Two space agencies plan missions to deflect an asteroid.

ESA's Hera mission above asteroid 65803 Didymos. Credit: ESA/ScienceOffice.org
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  • NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are working together on missions to a binary asteroid system.
  • The DART and Hera missions will attempt to deflect and study the asteroid Didymoon.
  • A planetary defense system is important in preventing large-scale catastrophes.
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