What Does All This White House Transparency Mean?

Obama has made a decidedly lefty imprint on the first week of his presidency. The shuttering of Guantanamo is set in stone, albeit with an uncertain closing date; a New Deal-ish "American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan" (aka, the stimulus bill) is half-approved in Congress; the controversial Mexico City policy was overturned by executive order; Wall Street bonuses that continue amid the economic crisis were slammed; and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act became law.

As significant as the accomplishments themselves is the fact that they have all been televised, updated, and blogged about by the White House almost in real-time. What does this digitally adept presidency means to you? Is all this public transparency nudging toward Swiss-style direct democracy? Big Thinkers of all political persuasions are encouraged to visit their main access point to the adminstration's daily activities at whitehouse.gov, where they can read any and all non-emergency legislation, and debate their perspectives here at Big Think.

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

Think you’re bad at math? You may suffer from ‘math trauma’

Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.

Image credit: Getty Images
Mind & Brain

I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.

Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

How KGB founder Iron Felix justified terror and mass executions

The legacy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, who led Soviet secret police in the "Red Terror," still confounds Russia.

Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Felix Dzerzhinsky led the Cheka, Soviet Union's first secret police.
  • The Cheka was infamous for executing thousands during the Red Terror of 1918.
  • The Cheka later became the KGB, the spy organization where Russia's President Putin served for years.
Keep reading Show less