Big Think
Big Think is the leading source of expert-driven, actionable, educational content -- with thousands of videos, featuring experts ranging from Bill Clinton to Bill Nye, we help you get smarter, faster. We aim to help you explore the big ideas and core skills that define knowledge in the 21st century, so you can apply them to the questions and challenges in your own life.

1473 videos
How the Moon’s ice craters will power a human colony | Michelle Thaller How the Moon’s ice craters will power a human colony | Michelle Thaller
1 day ago En
Astronauts will be able to harvest the Moon's natural resources to sustain human life. - NASA's Michelle Thaller walks us through what it will take to sustain human life on the surface of the moon. - One way would be to run a very strong electrical current through water, separating it into hydrogen and oxygen. It's a process that's not dissimilar to how the International Space Station currently gets its oxygen. - There's already ice on the moon thanks to millions of years of asteroid colisions. All we have to do is harvest it. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/moon-colony Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Ferran, your question is when we have a permanent base on the moon where will the astronauts get air to breathe? I'm sure it makes sense to you that air is something that we consume and it would be a lot of effort to actually bring air tanks from earth and actually launch them up onto the moon. One of the questions I can ask you is where do you think the astronauts are getting air right now to breathe on the international Space Station? We don't actually take up giant tanks of air to the space station. They get it from water. If you run a very strong electrical current through water you can separate it into hydrogen and oxygen. Oxygen, of course, is the most important gas that we need to breathe. So the way the space station gets air is it takes water and breaks it up into those two gases and actually uses the oxygen for people to breathe. Now we could do the exact same thing on the moon. And so your next question would be well doesn't it take a lot of energy to bring water up there as well? We would have to bring all these water tanks. This is one of the reasons we were most excited to find evidence of a lot of ice underneath parts of the moon. Up by the poles of the moon there are craters that are very well shaded from sunlight and they get very, very cold and we found evidence of more water in the lunar soil in those craters near the poles than we ever expected. That means if you had astronauts up there and you actually have the bases near the poles of the moon there would be stores of ice and therefore water that you could actually tap into. You could actually turn that water into air for the astronauts to breathe without ever bringing anything up from the earth. You could actually be independent on the moon itself. And there's another really important thing that you can make out of water by separating it into oxygen and hydrogen and that's rocket fuel. Rocket fuel today, liquid rocket fuel is the combination of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. So not only would you have air to breathe from the water, but you could make your own fuel. This is one of the things that we're investigating now, not only colonizing the moon but also thinking about sending people to Mars. You send people so far away they have to be independent and the even have to make their own fuel to get back. And we think we can do that if we can find water. One of the great questions is why would there be ice on the moon? The moon seems very dry, there's no atmosphere, how could there be water even frozen underneath the soil? Well, we think that what's happened over billions of years is that many different comets and asteroids have collided with the moon. You can see all the craters on the surface. And asteroids and comets both contain a decent amount of water. Now, most of that water probably just got vaporized and flew off the moon entirely, but some of it actually turned into ice. And the important thing about these craters that are actually shaded…And the important thing about these deep craters near the poles is that they are shaded from sunlight. Sunlight would actually just disperse that ice and actually turn it into vapor, but in the dark shadowy craters the ice accumulates over time and so you actually have a buildup of ice underneath the soil.
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Why you should tolerate intolerable ideas | Nadine Strossen Why you should tolerate intolerable ideas | Nadine Strossen
3 days ago En
The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect. Just because you disagree with something doesn't mean that it isn't true for someone else. - Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen argues that without freedom of expression we don't have freedom of speech. With some major college campuses disavowing "dangerous ideas" from certain speakers on campus, this can lead to a slippery slope wherein ideas—and even ways of life—can be marginalized entirely. - The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations. - The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/Charles-Koch-Foundation/tolerating-intolerable-ideas Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Many people have contended that there is a paradox of why should we tolerate intolerant ideas. And the answer is that we have to engage in exploration and analysis of all ideas if we are going to honestly and sincerely reach our own conclusion as to which ideas we believe to be correct and which ideas we believe other people should adopt. I go back to John Stewart Mills classic essay called On Liberty in which he says here are the reasons why we should listen to even ideas that we believe to be completely wrong. And as somebody who is advocating tolerance for freedom even for the ideas that we hate, I would say an idea that I would hate would be an intolerance idea. So here's the reason why I think I should listen to that idea, paraphrasing Jon Stewart Mills. Number one, I may revise reviews after I listen to that idea. And I can give you a concrete example where that actually happened thanks to the silver lining of all of the protests on campus about free speech. Many students and faculty members even have asserted that freedom of speech should not be such a special important value in our society; we should not tolerate freedom for ideas that they consider to be dangerous ideas. And quite frankly to me it had always seemed so indisputably correct that we had to protect freedom for all ideas that I never really had grappled thoroughly with that contention. I recently wrote a book on the subject and in the process I had to articulate to myself why I reached that conclusion and I did so in a way that I persuaded myself, I hope that means I was persuasive to my audience, and I wouldn't of had to do that, I wouldn't have enriched my own understanding of my long standing position had I not been forced to grapple with the exact opposite contention. So, one possibility is that we will realize that our original ideas were wrong or at least could be improved, refined. And another possibility is that we will be reaffirmed in our adherence to our pre-existing ideas, but we when do so, we will understand them and appreciate them and articulate them with much more depth and vibrancy when they are the result, not just of unthinking reflexive orthodoxy: "Oh that's what I've always believed and that's what everybody else believes" but when we are forced to really examine them. And that forced examination comes through contact and conflict with challenges and questions and opposite ideas.
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Why early retirement comes with one big clause | Vicki Robin Why early retirement comes with one big clause | Vicki Robin
5 days ago En
Here's why financial independence doesn't mean free time forever. - Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez coauthored Your Money or Your Life in 1992, a now-classic finance book about liberating yourself from debt, waking up to obsessive materialism, and learning to be financially self-sufficient. - Anyone interested in becoming financially independent and retiring early needs to ask one big question first: Who are you without your job? What would you do with your life if income were not the focus? - The biggest myth? Retiring is not the end of work; it's only the end of your job. It is not free time forever. Vicki Robin warns that people who don't know what to do with their time may be headed for an identity crisis. Robin is the author of Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence (https://goo.gl/9VrytL) Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/key-myth-about-fire-financial-independence-retire-early Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Well, 'Your Money or Your Life' has a long history. It's not just "a couple of people had a good idea and decided to be famous and write a book." Joe developed the program — Joe Dominguez, my co-author — developed the program in Your Money or Your Life in the 1960s, so that was a decade in development, and it was only for himself, only for his own early retirement. He just felt like financial service was like military service: you get through it because the real stuff of life is through the other door, the door out of wage slavery or paid employment. I met Joe after he had become financially independent. He had some savings, he explained what he had done, and it made a lot of sense to me for a very different reason from him. For me I was a recent college graduate and I'd started on a professional track. I graduated from Brown University, I had lots of good prospects, but it just didn't make any sense to me to sell all my intelligence, time, creativity, to narrow that focus down to somebody else's agenda. I wanted to be free honestly, and well I was in my 20s—and we understand that, don't we? And so I applied his tools, and it freed me up to have a minimum income but be able to have maximum adventure. So fast forward, in the early 1980s, people began to be interested in like, why was Joe financially independent? Why was I not having to work when they had to go "back" to work? They'd meet us on their vacation and they'd go back to work. "Why do we have to go back?" And so he started to develop a, "first I did this, then I did that, then I did that." So he developed what has become the holy writ of the nine-step program, but it was just really him describing his own process. Over the 1980s, we produced live seminars and then a tape course so that word could get out, this approach to money. Number one, if we define financial independence as the process of liberating your mind and liberating yourself from debt and developing savings, this – everybody needs to be on this path. It's a self-preservation path. So I'm not talking about freeing your time forever, "pulling the trigger," as they say in the FIRE movement, and getting financially independent. As a matter of fact, that becomes a problem for a lot of people because they don't know what to do with their time. It's an identity crisis. You know, suddenly your boss or your profession or your context is not defining how you spend the hours of your day. You're free! Oh dear! Now you have to do it. So I don't think that's the ultimate goal. As a matter of fact, I distinguish between work, job, income and identity. Those are four things that all go in the category of 'job'. So if you haven't thought about who am I, what is my work in life, apart from like, my job is what I do for money, but your work is more of a social role or a spiritual calling, you know? Your work is — everybody's work is to be a good person, boom. That's a basic assignment. We all got that one, you know, to be a moral human being. That takes work. Self-education takes work. So I would hope that people start to think about that, that somebody who's a family man and he has a sort of pay grade job gets out of debt, realizes that money doesn't buy happiness, invests a lot in being with his grand-kids. That's somebody who is becoming financially independent, in my book. So that's one part of it, is that we have to stop thinking about some la-la land thing where we're going to get out of everything, because we don't want to! We will be working until the day we die. Granny is going to be like, you know, helping out with the grand-kids...
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How hands-on learning fires up your brain | Leland Melvin How hands-on learning fires up your brain | Leland Melvin
6 days ago En
To strengthen your mind, work with your hands, says former astronaut Leland Melvin. - Recalling his childhood, Melvin explains how working with his dad to turn a $500 bread truck into a family RV camper ultimately made him a better astronaut, able to maneuver the $2-billion dollar Columbus Laboratory out of the payload bay of a shuttle and attach it to the International Space Station. - Experiential learning — like hands-on DIY, engineering kits, and Duplo games — wires your brain for problem solving from a young age. It's a leg-up we can all give to the children in our lives. - "[W]hen we let [kids] build and create and it's meaningful and it helps them solve a problem, that gets them thinking about how they can be change makers themselves and how they can be scientists and engineers," says Melvin. A former wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, Leland Melvin is an engineer and NASA astronaut. He served on the space shuttle Atlantis as a mission specialist and was named the NASA Associate Administrator for Education in October 2010. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/hands-on-learning-creates-young-scientists-engineers-astronauts Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink When I was a kid, my dad drove a $500 bread truck into our driveway and I thought we were going into the bread business. And he said, "No, this is our camper." I said, "I can read – it says Marita Bread and Rolls on the side of the truck." And over that summer we build bunk beds that flipped down, we made a sofa, we plumbed a propane tank into a Coleman stove, we rewired the entire truck. Over that summer I learned how to be an engineer and I was in middle school so it was experimental learning. And it wasn't until we painted the side of the truck that I realized we're going to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on vacation in this recreational vehicle. So experiential learning, whether it comes from home, school, wherever you get it, Boys and Girls Club, but we have to give kids meaningful things to do with their hands and give them problems that can help solve problems in their community or in the world and not just do make-work stuff. And I think when we let them build and create and it's meaningful and it helps them solve a problem, that gets them thinking about how they can be change makers themselves and how they can be scientists and engineers because that's what they're doing. They're thinking creatively and they're solving problems. And that's what we do as engineers and scientists. And so get them early building and creating things that are meaningful. Like I built a bread truck that saved the day for us. And we didn't have to spend it $24,000 on a Winnebago when we have a $500 bread truck that serves the same purpose – getting the family, in the cheapest way possible, to a destination so that the family can explore these new surroundings. The intellectual side of learning and the physical side of learning how are they connected and what is that interplay? And I think Lego has done a really great job of teaching kids to play with these bigger Duplo blocks or the bigger blocks where they're trying to move them from one side of the body to the other side, because if you split the brain, as you're going across the brain, you are now making this physical space connection with both sides of your brain. And their play is intentional to have kids do that at a very early age. And so understanding how my body works, how I turn and twist and jump when I'm catching a pass has the same effect as me working hand controllers on the International Space Station, moving the $2 billion Columbus Laboratory out of the payload bay of the shuttle and attaching it to the space station. I have to know how to position my body in zero gravity where I'm not floating off and I'm going to put in the wrong hand controller motion that's going to slap the thing into the side of the space station and kill the project and maybe kill us. So body, mind, spatial reasoning, body spatial reasoning are all connected to solving problems. You have these foot straps you put your feet in that keep you from translating around, but still you have to react off the hand controllers just like you do off the foot straps. And I think understanding your body in space as well as on the ground helps you do these technical things that are challenging with your body.
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There are two kinds of identity politics. One is good. The other, very bad. | Jonathan Haidt There are two kinds of identity politics. One is good. The other, very bad. | Jonathan Haidt
1 week ago En
Why free thought has died on university campuses. - Freedom is speech is being eradicated on college campuses in favor of identity politics and "snowflake" culture. - Rather than be open to new ideas, differing opinions that might make students "feel bad" are shut out. - This creates a cycle of negativity between not only the colleges and the students but also the very idea of college being a place of higher learning. Haidt is the author of The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure (https://goo.gl/tRMc2J) Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/identity-politics-america-college Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink In the United States right now, as many people have noticed, we are seeing a huge escalation of our long running culture war, unfortunately universities are all right in the heart of that. So, the right and especially right wing media love to show video clips of students saying outrageous things. They love to say that universities are bastions of political correctness – they've lost their minds. The left is motivated to say no there's not a problem, there's nothing going on it's just that the right hates ideas, they hate universities. What Greg and I do in the book is we say, "No we're going to cut through the culture war. Let's just look at what's going on, let's look at what a university should do." And so when we talk about identity politics, which is a controversial topic, we start by saying of course you need identity politics. Identity politics is not a bad thing automatically. Politics can be based on any distinction. It can be based on any group interest. So for gay students or black students or women to organize that's identity politics, that's perfectly legitimate. The question is how are they organizing? What's the over arching framework? And we've seen two versions of it in American history. You can do it the way most of the civil rights leaders did it, Martin Luther King in particular, where you draw a larger circle around the group, you emphasize what we have in common and then you say some of our brothers and sisters are being denied equal access, equal opportunity or equal dignity. That works. That has worked historically in much tougher times and zones and that works and will work on college campuses. The other way you do it, which is growing on college campuses, is common enemy identity politics. It's based on the Bedouin notion: "Me against my brother, me and my brother against our cousin, me my brother and cousin against the stranger." It's a very general principle of social psychology. If you try to unite people: "Let's all unite against them. They're the bad people. They're the cause of the problems. Let's all stick together." That's a really dangerous thing to do in a multiethnic society, especially in a university where we're actually all trying to work together to solve the problem. We have to work on our speech climate. In the business world it's called speak up culture. In the academic world it's called just basic openness to ideas. When you put people together and you want them to talk, of course people have a lot of different goals and fears. Nobody wants to say something stupid, nobody wants to say something that will get them into trouble. If you can create a really trusting environment in which we're all in this together, contribute your ideas. If someone says something you think it's wrong, say so. That's going to lead to more innovation. That's going to lead to more progress. But what if you have an environment in which if I say something that offends anyone they can report me anonymously to HR or some other entity. I'm going to think three times before I speak up. That's what we have on campus. In the bathrooms at my university there are signs telling students how to report me anonymously if I say anything that offends them so I don't feel free to speak up when I'm on campus. I can speak more openly off-campus, but on campus I have to watch myself. As one student said to a friend of mine, "My motto is silence is safer. Just shut up and you won't get in trouble." Now this is a terrible speech climate. A university cannot function if people are defensive in this way. So in universities, in organizations that value innovation we have to not just encourage people to speak, we have to assure them that they're not going to be shamed, humiliated or punished for sharing an opinion in good faith. We have a culture war raging all around us. It's very easy to take offense. People are understandably angry. Here within these walls we have to put that aside. We have to trust each other. We have to give each other the benefit of the doubt and it's going to be good for all of us to do that.
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Why social design is a north star for entrepreneurs | Cheryl Heller Why social design is a north star for entrepreneurs | Cheryl Heller
1 week ago En
Why this $600 million business isn't about money. - Problem solving doesn't have to involve numbers. Sometimes it just involves connecting dots between markets, and simple experiments based on data. - These tweaks can make huge differences in people's lives. And anyone can do it, as social design can life entire communities. - People who participate in social design learn how to apply it in the future, making social design a learnable and transferable skill. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/what-is-social-design Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Design thinking is a process for developing multiple ideas with a particular user in mind and new ways to solve problems based on the creative design process. There's nothing inherent in design thinking that has benefit or no benefit to society. Social design is looking at ways to affect entire communities or organizations And social design inevitably has a moonshot objective, a north star that defines a vision that's an ultimate condition that people want to create. Typically the way we solve problems and the kind of problem solving that humans are really good at are technical problems. We know how to make the next app, we know how to make a driverless car whatever it is. When it's very concretely defined and it's linear we excel at that. The thing that we have not succeeded at is solving the big complicated social problems we have. Social design is an approach that works at a systems level that brings cross-disciplinary teams together so that everyone who has a hand or who has responsibility for making something happen is a participant from the beginning. The sequential steps of research and engineering and iteration and designing are collapsed and in the social design process we talk about making to learn. And so as a part of research there are prototypes developed at every stage, there is a kind of testing that goes on at every stage with the people that are intended to use it and that feedback becomes information for the next step. So instead of following along strategic plan people are, in real time, observing the reaction to what's happening and adapting whatever they're developing as it happens. We find that the biggest changes happen in the people who participate in it and so in developing this capacity for reframing problems and for developing ideas and for prototyping and for navigating ambiguity that capacity resides in people and they take it on to other things and it changes cultures. Jeffrey Brown, who is a remarkable grocer, he's a fourth generation grocer and he's built something like a $600 million grocery store empire in Philadelphia, but he sells high-quality suburban quality food like super markets in food deserts, which means in the poorest neighborhoods of Philadelphia. And he's able to do that essentially because his vision is not to have a grocery store empire, his vision is to use his business to address issues of poverty and poor health in these vulnerable neighborhoods. And that's one of the hallmarks of anyone who is a brilliant social designer is that it begins with an ultimate vision not I want to have a successful business, not I want to launch a website, it's the real understanding of a purpose that creates energy and that aligns everyone around the same goal and that provides enough of a magnet towards this north star that people can pivot as necessary and experiment as necessary in how to get there. Jeffrey Brown is constantly experimenting with how to accomplish what he wants to accomplish. He experiments with whether, he calls it flame broiled chicken will be as popular as fried chicken because it's healthier for people; he experiments with well if I put this skim milk where the whole milk usually is will people automatically grab that for fewer calories? He experiments teaching people how to cook; he experiments giving classes or tors of the store helping people read food labels; he experimented with one of his customers because Jeffrey is always talking to the people in the neighborhoods, he comes to them and tells them what he's thinking about and get their advice. And one woman said, "You know, a lot of people in these neighborhoods don't have jobs because they've been in prison and as long as they don't have jobs they won't be able to shop in your store. Why don't you do something about that?" And so Jeffrey Brown founded a nonprofit called Uplift that trains people who have been in prison and guarantees them a job in his store. So a third of his workforce is now people who have been as they say touched by the justice system.
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Dear elites: Did you learn your lesson? | Anand Giridharadas Dear elites: Did you learn your lesson? | Anand Giridharadas
1 week ago En
Populism: The "overnight" problem 40 years in the making - A globalized, interconnected world doesn't necessarily work for everyone... especially on the rural (and hyper-local) levels. - While many got massively rich from technology and globalized trade it left many feeling locked out. - Anand focuses on the rise of Trump and the huge popularity of Bernie Sanders to highlight the fact that the majority aren't satisfied with the current state of capitalism. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/populism-in-america Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink One of the things that happened in recent years was that as globalization – which is kind of a catch-all term for what was happening in terms of increased economic interdependence, growing trade, technology, technological penetration of many industries and automation and all those things – and everything the internet did was that because all of those things integration of the world, countries coming closer together, technology, the internet. Because all those things have a nice ring to them, a kind of moral glow, the people who were ardent champions of globalization always spoke of globalization as though it were not just an ideology or a process but kind of truth and light. And that anybody who along the way whether in the steel towns of eastern Ohio or in large swathes of this country where this kind of revolution actually meant much choppier employment and precarious wages. Or in large swathes of the world where the increasing pace of life meant that yes, you might make a lot of money, but then industries would kind of vanish as fast as they came. Anybody complaining about what globalization was doing to them was richsplained by these defenders of globalization that you're being provincial. What, do you not like the coming together of nations? Are you against the peoples of the world connecting? Are you against technology and the empowerment? You don't want people to be empowered? And there was this way in which anybody who was raising alarm bells over the 30-40 year period that I'm talking about here was cast as being narrow-minded, provincial and small-hearted. And I think that is one of the reasons our antennae in the elite citadels of American life failed to detect so many incoming transmissions about the modern world actually not working for most people. And perhaps failed to detect some of the shift that led on the left to Bernie Sanders winning as much as he did despite all the obstacles for him as a candidate. And Donald Trump successfully winning because I think we didn't really understand how much people meant it when they were telling us all along that the New World wasn't working for them and it didn't matter how morally superior the high tech interdependent world, you know, it didn't appear how much, how people thought it was.
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How the marketplace of ideas went rogue | Eli Pariser How the marketplace of ideas went rogue | Eli Pariser
1 week ago En
Opinion ruined journalism and Facebook killed truth—but there's a way to make it right. - The marketplace of ideas is a better metaphor than it's intended to be, notes Eli Pariser. As any good economist will tell you, the best product doesn't always rise to the top. - The institutional gatekeepers and experts who once kept checks and balances on the marketplace of ideas have been replaced by social media algorithms that reward emotion and outrage over expertise and truth. - How can media institutions like Facebook make this right? By reevaluating the business model that serves advertisers instead of readers, and by clearly stating their values—even if that means losing some of those 2 billion users. - The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/Charles-Koch-Foundation/how-media-journalism-marketplace-of-ideas-went-rogue Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink I've been thinking a lot recently about this idea of the marketplace of ideas. And in civics class we learned that this is the way that the truth kind of comes to the top, that the best ideas displace the worst ideas. But I think it's a better metaphor than it intends to be, in the sense that marketplaces, as any economist will tell you, are not necessarily the place where the best product comes to the top. There are all sorts of dynamics that determine who wins and, in fact, if you follow disruption theory, which is in vogue in Silicon Valley, it's all about how actually a worse product can beat a better product in the marketplace. We have a marketplace of ideas in the bad sense of that term, not the good sense of that term, where what wins in the marketplace may not be fair, it may not be right and certainly it may not be true, but it's based on this very reductive set of rules of supply and demand. We're all trying to grapple right now with what that means when there are less kind of institutional gatekeepers who are holding in check which ideas are competing with which other ones. But it turns out there are ideas that are very appealing and very contagious that are either completely untrue or that are appealing to our worst instincts about each other. Nobody wants some random person off the internet to do their brain surgery, right? Experts have a place in our society and journalism is a form of expertise. And I think that's gotten obscured by a couple of things. One is that journalism is often presented right alongside opinion content and that's actually really confusing to people. And so I think audiences have come to see that some of this content actually isn't expertly developed content or it isn't developed according to this specific expert process, and some of it is. And they think: 'I can't tell the difference so I'm going to downgrade my assessment of the whole profession.' The trust that we've put in a lot of these institutions I think legitimately has been misplaced or it's been, you know, I think there are ways in which big media institutions have not truly had the interest of their readers or viewers at heart. You have to acknowledge that in order to get to winning back that trust — and I don't think there's any way to do that other than to actually root your concerns in the concerns of the people you're serving which is a challenging job to do, especially in a dwindling advertising market, but which I think is the only way back to making people feel like this person is actually serving me. And I think that's reinforced by the business model, you know, there's a reason that surgery isn't paid for by advertisements. There's an article that's famous in startup circles that describes what really matters in a startup's culture. And the premise is: You can have whatever set of values on the wall, but at the end of the day it's who gets fired and who gets hired and who gets promoted, that's about 90 percent of what people observe to decide how actually to behave here. And so if I have a big poster that says 'We're going to act with integrity' — but people who don't act with integrity aren't getting fired. Then it doesn't matter, right? So I think this is actually a really good analogy for why these social spaces are so confusing because essentially what we have on Facebook and on Twitter is a system where the same things that get you promoted also get you fired. In other words, being sensational, being conflict-oriented, rallying a tribe to your side — all of these are the things that elevate you as someone who's on Facebook or someone who's on Twitter...
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When America polices the world, everybody loses | Jeffrey Sachs When America polices the world, everybody loses | Jeffrey Sachs
1 week ago En
America treats the world like a board game. That's a problem. - Make no mistake, says Jeffrey Sachs, America is an empire. The end of World War I and the Treaty of Versailles put the United States on a trajectory to exercise political control over foreign governments and topple world leaders on a whim, which, Sachs reminds us, is quite crazy. - "Remember when President Obama said Assad must go in Syria?" says Sachs. "I scratched my head and said: How can an American president say that the Syrian president must go?" - When America gets topple-happy, the result is catastrophe — just look at Syria, Libya, Iraq, Iran. Overreach of power by the United States destabilizes global politics, threatens U.S. national security, and sets a ticking time bomb for violence and civil war. This kind of foreign policy is doomed to fail. Sachs is the author of A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism (https://goo.gl/R2V1pC) Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/how-american-exceptionalism-foreign-policy-is-dangerous Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Power doesn't stick. You can try to impose your will on other countries and peoples, but without legitimacy what you end up with is unrest, instability, turmoil and the "need" — quote unquote — for violence to repress that turmoil. We've had, for the last century, an incredible upheaval. Indeed, I think we're still living in the aftermath of World War I. The Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, was not a treaty of peace but a treaty of mess. It gave new imperial powers, for example, to the British Empire in the Middle East and to France. And it's in those very places the remnants of the Ottoman Empire in Iraq or in Syria or in Lebanon or in Palestine, now Israel, we have the continuing conflicts. The settlements that were made at the end of World War I were settlements for European imperial powers, not settlements for self-government, not the war to end all wars as Woodrow Wilson, the U.S. president at the time, promised the American people. In other words, power rather than justice was the message at the end of World War I. So the wars that we have in the Middle East today were played first in the post-Ottoman wars that Britain and France engaged in in their new imperial roles in the Middle East. The United States took over those empires, in essence, after World War II, when Britain and France retreated from empire, the United States expanded its military reach. Americans never like to think of America as having an empire, but empire means keeping political control over others. We generally have not done it in U.S. history by direct ownership of other places – though we've had our colonies and still have them – but rather through manipulating foreign governments, toppling governments we didn't like. Think of Iran, where in 1953 the United States, the CIA that is, and British intelligence conspired to overthrow the elected Iranian government of Prime Minister Mossadegh and to install a police state under the Shah, who lasted until 1979, until the revolution came and threw a hated despot over — a despot associated with the United States. The point is the attempt to impose rule on others in an era of literacy, communication, spreading capacity is not only immoral but it is doomed to fail. And the United States' efforts to impose the U.S. will in Iraq, for example, by overthrowing Saddam Hussein in 2003, or in Libya by overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, or the attempt — remember when President Obama said Assad must go in Syria? I scratched my head and said how can an American president say that the Syrian president must go? Well, we did. President Obama issued a secret CIA order, a presidential finding that the CIA should cooperate with Saudi Arabia to overthrow the Syrian government. That didn't turn out too well because the Syrian government had friends — Russia, Iran — which defended Assad's regime and even though the U.S. was there trying to destabilize it what happened, not surprisingly, was catastrophe! The flood of arms and jihadists into that little country, violence, and the flood of millions of refugees out of the country. My response is a big: "Duh." What did you expect when you try to overthrow a country in the Middle East in a region of such instability? But U.S. policymakers often don't get it because the instinct is: we're exceptional. We control. We get to say who is in power. And read our journalism – The Wall Street Journal has editorial after editorial: Change that regime! What kind of foreign policy is that, that the United States tells other countries what kind of governments to have? Well, it is a foreign policy doomed to fail.
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Why spiritualizing the cosmos is a disservice to science and religion | Michelle Thaller Why spiritualizing the cosmos is a disservice to science and religion | Michelle Thaller
1 week ago En
Where is God? Michelle Thaller lays out a cosmic view of religion, science, and the human condition. - Ancient humans believed lightning, seasons, and other unexplainable natural phenomenon were the acts of gods, but what happens when scientific discovery unravels those mysteries? - NASA astronomer and science communicator Michelle Thaller explains how scientific discovery has changed the search for God, and that religion may be something that happens between people, if they choose, rather than out there in the cosmos. - It's not a miracle that Earth is the perfect incubator for human life—we were created by the laws of the universe, and in those laws we can find great beauty and belonging. Read more at BigThink.com: Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Chris, you ask the question about how religion affects our view of the cosmos. And the first thing I think about is simply the history of being human. There were so many things about the universe that we didn't understand. Thousands of years ago, we watched the seasons change or we observed things like thunderstorms and we had no idea, we didn't have the scientific knowledge to explain these things. And so it seems like a very natural, understandable, human instinct to try to ascribe these things to Gods, to beings that are so much more powerful than us we can barely comprehend them. And that sort of way of interpreting nature as spirits and things that are much more powerful than us I find very beautiful. Then, of course, what happens is you learn, you learn what causes lightning. The ancient Scandinavians might have said it was the god Thor actually causing lightning. Well we know it's not Thor – it actually has to do with friction inside clouds and generating electric charges. We understand now why the Sun shines and why the seasons change. And there seems to be this instinct to always put God farther and farther away. So now that we understand thunderstorms maybe God lives in the sky; we just put the idea of God farther away from what we know. People say, okay, well now we understand how planets work and how galaxies work, but maybe God set off the Big Bang. Why are we always pushing God away? Why are we always making the concept of whatever God is farther and farther and farther and as soon as we have scientific knowledge about something we say, "Okay, well, that's not God. God must be farther out still." There's never been a time in human history where we realized that some things had scientific explanations and some things didn't. It's like, 'Okay we know why the Sun shines, we know why the seasons change, but lightning? That really is Thor.' That actually never happens. Everything that we explore we actually add to our body of knowledge. And while I am not personally religious, it seems to me to be a disservice to the idea of God that God constantly gets farther and farther away. You put him, or however you want to call it, just outside the grasp of human knowledge. Someday we will understand what set off the Big Bang and I don't think the answer is going to be God. Maybe God is something more personal to you. Maybe it's how you relate to other people, maybe it's how you define your morality, maybe it's something that's very, very important in our culture. But I also think that we do the universe a disservice because we're putting our own ego, our own vision of ourselves out there. There are many religions that seem to think of God as something like a person, some very, very powerful version of a human being. And there are other religions that don't that talk about natural forces or gods that are incomprehensible. But all of them seem to be too much about putting our own selves, our own fears, our own version of what morality should be, out onto the universe and the universe really doesn't care about any of that. I sort of wish we observed the universe the way it is and then turn it back on ourselves. We are a reflection of the physical laws around us. People often say, "Why is the universe so perfectly tuned that human life can exist at all? Why do we have the right temperature planet around the most perfect type of star you can have? Why are all the physical laws exactly what you need for matter to hold together?" And this, to me, always seemed like putting the cart before the horse. We are a product of the laws of the universe. The reason we have evolved to be this type of biology is because we evolved on this planet...
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How overparenting backfired on Americans | Jonathan Haidt How overparenting backfired on Americans | Jonathan Haidt
2 weeks ago En
Being raised indoors might the reason young Americans struggle in the adult world. - American childhood is going, going… gone, says Professor Jonathan Haidt. - In the mid-'90s there was a sharp shift to overprotective parenting. In previous generations, kids were allowed to out of the house unsupervised from age 5-8, which has now become age 12-16. As a result, their independence, resilience, and problem-solving skills suffer. - "Give childhood back to kids so that they do what they most need to do, which is develop the skills of being an independent adult. Remember that the job of a parent is to work him or herself out of a job." - As a resource for parents, Jonathan Haidt recommends letgrow.org. Haidt is the author of The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure (https://goo.gl/tRMc2J) Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/how-overparenting-backfired-on-americans Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink American parenting really changed in the 1990s. When I'm talking about the book I go around the country, I ask audiences: At what age were you let out? At what age could you go outside and play with your friends with no adults supervising? And I say, "Only people over 40 what's your answer? Call it out." And it's: "Five, seven, eight, six, five, seven!" It's always five to eight. That's what we always did — between five and eight kids could go outside without an adult. They would get in arguments, they would play games, they would make rules, they were independent; they got years and years of practicing independence. Then I say: "Just people under 25 what year were you let out?" "12, 14, 13, 16!" Nobody says ten or younger. In the 1990s, as the crime rate was plummeting, as American life was getting safer and safer, Americans freaked out and thought that if they take their eyes off their children the children will be abducted. Now this goes back — the fear was stoked by cable TV in the 1980s, there were a few high profile of abductions, but it's not until the 1990s that we really start locking kids up and saying you cannot be outside until you're 14 or 15. We took this essential period of childhood, from about eight to 12, when kids throughout history have practiced independence, have gotten into adventures, have made rafts and floated down the Mississippi River — we took that period and said you don't get to practice independence until it's too late, until that period is over. Now, a couple years before you go to college, now you can go outside. "Okay, go off to college." And a lot of them are not ready. They're just not used to being independent. When they get to college they need more help, they're asking adults for more help. "Protect me from this. Punish him for saying that. Protect me from that book." There's a very sharp change with kids who were born in 1995 and afterwards — surprisingly sharp. Jean Twenge in her book iGen analyzes surveys of behavior of time use and beginning with kids born in 1995, they spend a lot less time going out with friends, they don't get a drivers license as often, they don't drink as much, they don't go out on dates, they don't work for money as much. What are they doing? They're spending a lot more time sitting on their beds with their devices interacting that way. These are the first kids who got social media when they were 13, roughly. They were subjected to much more anti-bullying content in their schools, much more adult supervision, they were raised in the years after 9/11, they were given much less recess and free play with no child left behind, there was much more testing pushed down into earlier grades. We don't know if this is for sure the reason, but they seem to have more difficulty working out problems on their own. The most common thing I hear is that members of Gen Z, if they overhear a joke, if they overhear someone say something, they'll get offended and then they'll go straight to HR, they go straight to somebody to file a complaint, where previous generations would have either just shaken it off or just said "jerk" or "asshole" or whatever. I think there are a couple of things we can say. One is you have to take charge of device use and social media. We don't know for sure but it looks like a two-hour limit per day is probably a good idea; keeping kids off of social media as long as possible is a good idea. It's very hard to do this as one parent when your kid's friends are not limited. So you've got to talk to your kid's friends and all have a common front, all have a common policy then go to the schools. Schools can solve these problems collectively in ways that individual parents cannot.
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How super rich companies harm us all — and try to cover it up | Anand Giridharadas How super rich companies harm us all — and try to cover it up | Anand Giridharadas
2 weeks ago En
Just because a company does incredibly well financially doesn't mean that it does any good for the people. How can we change that? - Huge corporations are often built upon the backs of very cheap labor. So while the stock prices go up, the lives of the workers goes down. - Corporate taxes could offset the harm that these behemoth companies do. But there's a lot of opposition to raising taxes. - Another option would be to classify companies entirely differently than we do now. Anand Giridharadas is the author of The True American and India Calling. He was a foreign correspondent and columnist for The New York Times from 2005 to 2016, and has also written for The Atlantic, The New Republic, and The New Yorker. He is an Aspen Institute fellow and teaches journalism at New York University. He is the author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World [https://goo.gl/tHv3eQ] Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/how-super-rich-companies-harm-us-all-and-try-to-cover-it-up Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Wealthy corporations and people love to ask the question: "What can I do? What should we do? What can we start? What program could we launch?" I would say to the billionaire change agents and corporate social responsibility departments of our country ask not what you can do for your country, ask what you've already done to your country. Before you want to start something of your own, a little private unaccountable venture, do an audit. What do you pay people? Do you pay people enough? Do you use subcontractors to avoid responsibility for those workers? Do you pay benefits? When do your benefits kick in? What do you lobby for in Washington? Do you lobby for things that make everybody have a better life in America or do you lobby against social policies that would cost you something? What's your tax avoidance situation? Do you happen to be this earnest company that wants to change the world? I mean is this company paying its full measure of taxes? Does it use tax havens? Does it do the double Dutch with an Irish sandwich tax maneuver? Does it send money to the Cayman Islands and then back and do all this complex routing? If you're telling me that there are companies that do none of this stuff, that pay people well, that don't dump externalities into the economy, that don't cause social problems – if there are such companies that exist yes, then once you've taken care of all that great. Doing some projects to help people is great. But I haven't found very many such companies. And more often than not when companies do a lot of CSR it's because they understand that they're not on the right side of justice in their day operations so they want to do virtue as a side hustle. And the problem is a lot of these companies tend to create harm in billions and then do good in the millions. And you don't need to be a mathematician to know that we're the losers from that bargain...
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How 'creativity sprints' can get your creative brain going | Ryder Carroll How 'creativity sprints' can get your creative brain going | Ryder Carroll
2 weeks ago En
Need to kick-start your creativity? This technique can really help. - The best way to become more creative? Exercise your creativity like you would your body. - Set realistic expectations. Nobody is going to become the best immediately and write an amazing novel, or what have you, in a week. -Curiosity is the fuel that drives creativity. Pick a big goal and find out every small aspect about it to break it down. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/how-to-be-creative Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink So I think that curiosity is a highly undervalued phenomenon if you will because you can't really always explain it. Sure there are some base things that we're curious about. We're curious about eating. We're curious around other people. But sometimes we're curious about things that we just can't explain to ourselves. And that's something that we shouldn't underestimate because that is a force that draws us into the world unlike any other. You can't fake curiosity. If you're curious about something you're curious about it and that's it and it doesn't require any more explanation. But I do think that it requires significantly more investigation. So if you're curious about a subject matter or a project or a problem in the world or something like that I think it's our responsibility to figure out how we can cultivate that curiosity, right. In an all or nothing world I feel like a lot of times we immediately set this expectation that we have to become an expert in everything, right. And I think that that sets us up for failure. We have to have a lot of knowledge or no knowledge at all. But our curiosity is simply the needle in our inner compass pointing towards something. And compasses aren't, don't point true north, right. So essentially it's up to us to figure out what that curiosity actually is. So how do we cultivate our curiosity practically? The best way that I found is through sprints. And sprints are essentially self-contained micro goals. And they're structured to be less than 30 days long, so ideally a week or two. They have no barrier to entry so you don't have to wait for anybody or anything. You can get started today and they have to have a clearly defined set of tasks or actions so you can get started. These sprints will allow you to cultivate your curiosity because you'll focus on one small aspect of something that could be significantly larger. And then once you're done with that sprint you can take a step back and see what did that spring teach you. What exactly were you curious about. Are you still curious about this or did all of a sudden your curiosity shift. So essentially through sprints you're able to learn very specific goals. A, which is great if you are curious about cooking, for example. Maybe you learn knife skills and in that process you start learning more about cooking. But you still have the knife skills even if you walk away from that project all together. Sprints are really great because they allow us to try things on for size without wasting a lot of time and energy. And they allow us to build over time on these curiosities. You can take one sprint and then follow it with another sprint and another sprint and those sprints will change depending on what you learn along the way. So that way you can take something very big and seemingly overwhelming and break it down into very actionable steps.
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How I overcame disability to become a NASA astronaut | Leland Melvin How I overcame disability to become a NASA astronaut | Leland Melvin
2 weeks ago En
- Leland Melvin was told he'd never be an astronaut after he lost all his hearing. - He got a chance to fly to space and honor the legacy of his friends after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. - Leland worked on building the space station in an "amazing transformation" from the lowest point in his life. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/how-i-overcame-disability-to-become-a-nasa-astronaut Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink When you get into the astronaut corp there are two things that you have to demonstrate to fly on either a shuttle or a space station mission. And they are the ability to go into this 300-pound suit and do something called space walking. And the way that you train for that is you get in this white suit that's pressurized and you go down 25 feet in a 5 million gallon pool to simulate building and creating the space station underneath the pool deck. And there's a submerged space station and a submerged space shuttle, so that's how you demonstrate that. And when I had my chance to train in that environment I had an accident where I lost all of my hearing. And they operated on my ear, they went and looked around they couldn't find anything. They told me I would never fly in space. So for a while there after my hearing did slowly come back in my right ear, I'm deaf in this ear, they told me that we're going to have to figure out what to do with you. And that was a really tough time for me because I had never thought of myself becoming an astronaut, but once I got into the astronaut program then I was solitarily focused on trying to do this thing. And they sent me to Washington DC to work in education. We were choosing teachers to become astronauts. And one of those astronauts was Ricky Arnold who just came home about two months ago doing education in space, doing space walks, doing all these things. And while I was kicking this program off and helping him run this program I was driving from DC to my hometown Lynchburg Virginia and I get a phone call from my boss at the time, who is new to NASA, and she says, "Leland, what does it mean when the space shuttle countdown clock is now counting up?" And I said, "How much is it counting up?" She's says, "It's 10 seconds, it's 15 seconds." And this was Space Shuttle Columbia. And that moment I knew that all my friends were dead. And so I turned around and drove back to DC to headquarters and they sent to me to David Brown's parent's home in a Washington Virginia to console his family who just lost their son in this most tragic horrific way. And I'm going to the house and I get to the door and I hug his mother Dottie and I walk over to his father and his father says to me with tears in his eyes he says, "Leland, my son is gone. There is nothing you can do to bring him back, but the biggest tragedy would be if we don't continue to fly in space to honor their legacy." And I'm trying to figure out how I will honor their legacy if I'm not going to fly in space because I'm medically disqualified. Long story short, as we go to the memorial services the chief of all the flight surgeons watches me clear my ears as we take off and land in the NASA airplane and he signs me a waiver to fly in space. And I go back to Houston and I get assigned to a fly even though I don't have any hearing in my left ear. And so that was trying to stay focused on the task of helping others get ready for missions, still doing my job at NASA, whether it was in education or robotics or whatever I was doing. And I had friends telling me you should quit NASA, you should sue them, write the tell all book and get paid. And I wasn't raised like that. My parents always taught me to try to do the right thing. No matter what happens to you stay focused and try to do the right things. That was one of the hardest things that had happened just to stay focused on the mission when I'm internalizing all of my own, you know, am I going to fly? I'm never going to hear in this year. The chords and the overtones don't sound the same on the piano as they used to because I had perfect hearing. And then when I got that piece of paper that says you're now free to fly and getting that first mission, 3-2-1 lift off, thinking of honoring the legacy of my friends that had passed because that's what his father told me to do the night of the accident. And I did that and it was perfect. And we install things and we build the space station and it was just an amazing transformation from being at one of the lowest points in my life in the hospital bed not hearing, I couldn't hear a bomb drop, to now flying in space and building something incredible.
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I worked in the prison system for 5 years. Here’s what it does to a person. | Bishop Omar Jahwar I worked in the prison system for 5 years. Here’s what it does to a person. | Bishop Omar Jahwar
2 weeks ago En
Bishop Jahwar saw first-hand that prison often doesn't work as intended. - Most people who go to prison are not incorrigible criminals - just normal people who made mistakes. - The prison system can become breeding ground for antisocial behaviors. - Bishop Jahwar worked with prisoners to help them retain the core of who they were and "take masks off". Bishop Omar Jahwar is a Pastor and internationally renowned community leader dedicated to ending senseless violence, strengthening communities and promoting strong families. His efforts to revive Urban Culture began over 20 years ago on the streets of Dallas, TX. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/what-prison-does-to-a-person Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink 95 percent of the people who get arrested or go to jail they're coming out. They don't die in prison. So what are you going to do about that? There are no people in my experience, there are very few people rather, that are so incorrigible that they woke up genetically assigned to do harm to society. There's very few psychopaths. Most people are responding to environmental triggers. So if we could take those triggers out and give them other triggers they would be as whole and as normal as we are – mistake filled normal people. When you believe this, when you believe you're in a jungle you say I have to become more animal. But the truth is if you're in a jungle you have to become more human, more strategic, because you can't out-animal a lion, you've got to out-think it. See, the strong rule the weak but the wise rule them all, so you've got to figure out how to create thoughts that govern this jungle. But if no one taught you that you'll just go to your law of nature and say survival of the fittest and whenever I'm just going to push high and whatever it ends it ends. And that's a fatalistic view of life and so you've got to reprogram that. But here's the good news: it is always appropriate to give someone a second chance when they ask for it. Because the sincerity of the ask will give you more room for that personal growth. It doesn't matter that they are trying it again and again, I tell young people all the time, "If you keep trying and you're getting closer to the point where you actually do what you say you're going to do, that's the goal." Working in the penal system for five years what I realize is it's a breeding ground, it's housing, it's not interruptive of behavior when it comes down to pro-social behavior. It can get you pathologically on a path to go as far as you can take it here negatively. It does not give you real sound options because it is like being in an ultraviolet ultra ray tanning booth with no relief in sight. It burns. It's sears into your skin, your DNA. You become that. So if you're not careful the prison system becomes the breeding ground for behaviors that we say are not social. Well meaning people with a bad system that they're trying to manage – those who lead it. And then well intended people who are trying to get out but they're saying to get out I have to say this but to stay alive while I'm in I have to be this. You almost have multiple personalities. You become this different person. So in the chow hall you are saying "I'll shank you." But in front of your case manager you're saying "I'm repentant." And so you don't know which one you're faking. You could be faking with the PO or you could be faking with – but either one of them you're not being real. So my role when I worked in a prison was to take all those masks off. Like we would do this box, and it was a powerful box, when we worked in prison. I would say "What do you love? What do you hate? What do you fear and what do you need?" And I will put you and I will have them put their name in the box and say that's the real you. So I will keep you in this box so you know who you are because if you start getting out of this box man you will react differently when you're not you because they will say – I'd say, "Hey man what's your name?" "My name is OG, which my name." I'd say, "Okay tell me who you are, not your character, not the person you play in chow hall, not the one you're trying to convince to let you out, but let me get you." And then when they can do that in a place that's that intense and they can be vulnerable in that intense place and make it it gives them power over their environment so they can say maybe I can shape this environment to be a seeding ground not just a breeding ground. I can plant some good seeds and it can grow into a harvest.
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Does NASA have any climate change skeptics? | Michelle Thaller Does NASA have any climate change skeptics? | Michelle Thaller
2 weeks ago En
How widespread within NASA is the conviction that human activity is responsible for climate change? Michelle Thaller knows. She has worked with hundreds of Earth scientists at NASA who study the climate. It's important to note that NASA is an apolitical organization devoted to science, not policy solutions. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/does-nasa-have-any-climate-change-skeptics Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Hi Jay. So your question is how widespread is it within NASA that scientists are convinced that human activity is responsible for climate change? And this is something that is important to say very, very clearly. I have known and worked with hundreds of earth scientists at many different locations in NASA, all of them, all of them believe that human activity is responsible for the current climate change that we see going so fast it's almost unprecedented. I want you to think about that. One thing that I take really seriously and I'm very proud of is that NASA is not a political organization. We are scientists that work for the American people. We're funded by taxpayer's money. And what we do is we make measurements. We have many, many different satellites that are orbiting the earth right now they're looking at things like ice on the oceans and at the poles, they're looking for things like vegetation growth and the change of that, ocean level, is the ocean level rising? Yeah it turns out that it is. So we have many scientists all over the planet studying all of the different ramifications of climate change. We understand the causes. There actually is no scientific controversy about that. Humans are releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and this is warming our planet. Now what scientists are researching currently, and they don't all agree about, is what are the most important components of driving climate change. Is it carbon dioxide? Could it be something else like methane? When methane gets released that's an even more powerful greenhouse gas. We don't agree on how quickly things like the ocean level will rise. People have different estimates for how quickly that will happen. So there still is scientific controversy about what the most important aspects of climate change are and how quickly it will go in the future, but there is no scientific disagreement within NASA that humans are causing climate change. Now I started this off by saying that one of the things I'm very proud of is that NASA is not political. And what that means for me is that I cannot advocate for any specific solution to climate change. That's not my job. That's up to policymakers. People might suggest things like having more solar energy or cutting carbon emissions or things like that, but at NASA we really understand that's not us, that's up to the American people, our leaders and leaders around the world. What we do is provide the facts to everybody on the planet. All of our data is actually free to any government, any person, any scientist all over the world that wants to use it. So we all know what's causing climate change, we can't tell you what to do about it but we can say it's time to do something about it.
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Fairness is a universal value. So why all this inequity? | Dr. Monica Sharma Fairness is a universal value. So why all this inequity? | Dr. Monica Sharma
2 weeks ago En
Are we trying to solve too many problem with technological solutions? Trained as a physician and epidemiologist, Dr. Monica Sharma worked for the United Nations from 1988 to 2010. As director of Leadership and Capacity Development at the United Nations and in other large-scale programs UNDP and UNICEF, she designed programs for whole systems transformation and leadership development world-wide. - Technology has given humanity the amazing ability to fix almost any problem, conditioning us to search for technological remedies to what might be social problems. - Alleviating social inequity is a problem that technology must necessarily attempt to solve, but technology alone cannot shape how humans assemble their societies. - Only by emphasizing the primary place of individual identity, human dignity, and universal values like empathy and emotion, can we hope to solve global issues that, so far, technology has been unable to conquer. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/fairness-is-a-universal-value-so-why-all-this-inequity Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink We've generally worked on problems by looking at how can we solve the problem. But that's very much a fix it mindset. Here's a problem and what can we do to solve it? And technology, advances in technology, have enabled us to do that. And is that important? Of course it is. It's necessary but it's not sufficient. So how can we solve problems in an enduring way, in an equitable way, in a way where nobody really loses? Because too often we look at an issue from a scarcity mindset and frankly we have an abundant planet and we have people with so much creativity, can we engage that way differently? So that's what this journey is about, awakening the space within me and within everybody else. And it's about awakening and articulating what we see through our pattern mind. And third, it's about solving problems through that space. It's not about fixing it. And what's amazing is that people have innate attributes worldwide and neuroscience and recent research shows that. What we can see is that human beings have a sense of self, their own self-worth which we often talk about as dignity. So, they have a sense of self worldwide. It doesn't matter whether we are rich or we are poor, whether we follow any faith or whether we vote for a particular political party. This transcends all those divides the social isms that we've created. So basically the sense of self-worth exists and the sense of fairness exists worldwide. And so very often to people ask me what is it that there's so much inequity in the world and you say that we have an innate sense of fairness. In fact Oxfam did a study in the U.S. and they found that 92 percent of people actually believe that fairness is important. How great is that? So then people would say how come there's so much inequity? I think a lot of the inequities stems from our understanding of what we need. Much of that is promoted through creating demand for things we actually don't need through a consumerism that's extremely materialistic. And this work is about touching that space. And this work is also about the third attribute, and that is compassion. What we know now is that people are not only functioning from their emotional state, what neuroscientists or a physician will call our limbic system. And our emotional reactions, not that emotion is not important, it's important, but we have a higher consciousness and activating that consciousness that exists in everyone everywhere, and I can give you many, many stories from around the world about that, when we activate that space of our higher consciousness we bring to bear our innate sense of self, our sense of fairness, our compassion. So compassion there's a lovely Sanskrit descriptive word, Sanskrit is a base language of India and a Sanskrit word karuna. And karuna means my universal heart of love has broken open and I'm called to act. I cannot just pass by what's not working and say well it doesn't serve my personal interest. No. I'm called to act. So for me tapping into the spaces worldwide, which is our inner capacity, our sense of self, our sense of fairness, our knowing of compassion, this has been the way we've created change worldwide and it's worked. We have results in every sector. Technology has given humanity the amazing ability to fix almost any problem, conditioning us to search for technological remedies to what might be social problems. Alleviating social inequity is a problem that technology must necessarily attempt to solve, but technology alone cannot shape how humans assemble their societies. Only by emphasizing the primary place of individual identity, human dignity, and universal values like empathy and emotion, can we hope to solve global issues that, so far, technology has been unable to conquer.
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How to overcome social anxiety and bring more confidence to your conversations | Andrew Horn How to overcome social anxiety and bring more confidence to your conversations | Andrew Horn
3 weeks ago En
Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist. - To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it. - Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself. - There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/how-to-bring-more-confidence-to-your-conversations Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Andrew Horn: So we've all had that moment where you're at a bar you're maybe dancing a little bit moving around and you see someone looking at you out of the corner of your eye and then your movements become a little more constricted, you become a little more in your head, you're worried about what they might think about you. So that's that external motivation. In any moment you can ask yourself am I doing this because I want to or because I think people will like it? If we're basing it off of the reality that someone else will like it we'll never really know. We open ourselves up for that social anxiety, the fear of negative judgment, the unknown of external validation. So we can always ask ourselves what do I want to do right now? What is interesting to me? What will feel good to me? And act off of that to eliminate social anxiety to bring more confidence into our conversations. So that's how we find our authentic voice and use it. And your authentic voice is a deep down understanding of who you are, what you care about and what you believe. And it's only when we have that foundational understanding that we're able to bring confidence into social situations. Because if we're not basing our actions off of this internal understanding we're constantly looking for external validation, for other people to tell us what is cool, what is acceptable, what is appropriate. And if you look at the actual definition of social anxiety it's literally the fear of negative judgment, so again, it's based in that external validation. And I love Carl Sagan who says we can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers. And so to find our authentic voice we need to ask ourselves these courageous questions. Ask yourself what's the dream, if I could not fail what would I do with my time? Ask yourself what am I not doing that I would like to be? Ask yourself what is most challenging for me right now? And we can trust questions in conversation just ask yourself the last time someone asked you a question, looked you in the eyes and listened to you, how did it feel? Universally good, it always will. So whenever we're asking questions we can trust that we're learning and growing and that we're leaving a good impression. And there's one simple question we can ask ourselves to fundamentally transform our conversations. So 60 seconds, whether it's going on a date, whether it's going into a big conference, whatever it may be ask yourself what am I most excited to learn about the people that I will meet? What am I most excited to learn about the people that I will meet? So what you will do is you will establish something I call the curiosity compass. You'll establish a series of questions that are authentic to you that you genuinely want to ask these people. And basically what happens now is you're focusing more on being interested than on being interesting, which is one of the oldest techniques in the book to actually feel more confident in social situations. So when you've identified your curiosity compass it's much easier to exist with anyone and feel comfortable.
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James Patterson on writing: Plotting, research, and first drafts James Patterson on writing: Plotting, research, and first drafts
3 weeks ago En
- James Patterson has sold 300 million copies of his 130 books, making him one of the most successful authors alive today. - He talks about how some writers can overdo it by adding too much research, or worse, straying from their outline for too long. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/james-patterson-on-writing Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink I think outlines are hugely important for almost anything you do – probably not everything but almost everything. Certainly writing novels that are nonfiction; I think writing speeches, same thing writing essays, writing letters. And it always comes down to what's your big idea? What's the point of the thing? What's the focus of it? And then what are the points the many points that you want to make? And then what's an order that makes sense? And you start putting down points you might have a hundred points and you might decide here are the ten that I'm going to concentrate that really make this a powerful story. And I just think pretty much anything you do it's going to be better if you outline it first, most anything. And people don't do it as much now because that first draft stuff. I think first drafts are insulting for the most part. And you're always getting them and they're like semi incoherent, full of spelling – well, spellcheck fixes that – bad grammar. The whole, you know, you're reading this going like really? Did this person graduate from high school? People do that now. I think a second draft is a good idea, especially if you're doing it to a boss. You're talking to your boss, let your boss see how smart you are not how sloppy you are. When I'm writing a book I'll do three or four or five versions of the outline. That's it that's the book. I mean you read one of my outlines you've kind of read the book. Now it may change a lot and it will change because certain characters get more interesting than I thought they were going to be, as I'm writing certain chapters I'll go oh I wanted to go another way so I'll make a shift and suddenly things will go in a way that I wasn't originally planning it to be. I almost never the ending and the outline it's almost never the ending. For whatever reason by the time I get there I want to do something different. I try to get as close to the bone as I can get. What's the core idea? What drives this scene? And I want to do it in a paragraph really because if you start doing chapter 1 and you wrote two pages of outline it's already all over the lot. I mean seriously you can get all that shit in that first chapter? And you can do it in certain kinds of narratives, but not if it's a scene. And another thing, I think that people do a lot in fiction and nonfiction and so they'll go out and they'll research and then they just dump the research. You can almost feel it. It's supposed to be some scene where it's a romantic scene where someone is going to propose to the other person in Saint Patrick's Cathedral but they've done a lot of research so it's supposed to be a very romantic scene but they dump like three pages of it was built in such and such. Stop! That's not supposed to be in here because it's supposed to be a romantic scene.
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Why American history lives between the cracks | Elizabeth Alexander Why American history lives between the cracks | Elizabeth Alexander
3 weeks ago En
- History is written by lions. But it's also recorded by lambs. In order to understand American history, we need to look at the events of the past as more prismatic than the narrative given to us in high school textbooks. - Including different voices can paint a more full and vibrant portrait of America. Which is why more walks of American life can and should be storytellers. Alexander is the author of The Light of the World: A Memoir (https://goo.gl/WNM6Ty) Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/american-history-lives-cracks Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink America is a diasporic country. America is a country, you know, we start with native people in this land and then people were brought here sometimes involuntarily, sometimes voluntarily but in diaspora from other parts of the globe. So, of course, there's the African diaspora largely brought here involuntary. There are people who come in diasporas from Europe under different sets of circumstances, from Asia and different sets of circumstances in continuing waves throughout American history, uniquely American. So I think that what is amazing about this place is that it has always received people who are scattered from other places and then made a mix that is uniquely its own. I think that in thinking about the commonalities of let's call them immigrant or transplanted or the people who in various waves come from elsewhere to make America. What's really important is while we can sometimes see renewal and rebuilding I think that those stories have very, very distinct particularities and it's important for us not to flatten them. The slave experience, the experience of coming north in the great migration is very different from coming here from the Holocaust, coming here from the potato famine, coming here from other kinds of international either crises or seeing the United States as many have as a land of opportunity. These are very, very distinct stories. So I don't mean to say that I don't think they have any common denominator but I think that they are more richly understood in their particularity. Well I think that what is important about memory shaping our sense of a legacy is that how memories are transmitted, how stories are told has everything to do with what we remember. So that's why I think the work is really so important of which books are taught, which projects are funded, who gets the mic, how do we even have a chance to record and then evaluate what a wide range of American stories are so we can understand who we really are. I'm a part of a school of thought in African American studies and sort of revisionist histories that sort of say okay, well here's one timeline but actually look at all of these other stories that were not included on this timeline. You know the wonderful saying the lions are the victors in history because the lions write history. And when the lions no longer write history we'll have a different history. So if you think about how much history has been told by people with power and cultural resources, more male than not, more white than not, more monied than not, more elite institution affiliated than not. How can we understand that that's not all the human beings, right. That's not all the human beings. So I've always been a professor who goes back at one timeline and says but look at this and this and this and this. All of these conversations that were happening simultaneously. And by the way when you do that with culture very often these poets, for example, who were not placed on a narrow conical timeline together in their time were actually very much in interaction with each other. So I think that we actually need to do the restorative work to remember that human begins living in proximity to each other are not always unaware of each other in the way that history sometimes has written it...
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Understand your own mind and goals via bullet journaling | Ryder Carroll Understand your own mind and goals via bullet journaling | Ryder Carroll
3 weeks ago En
- Organizing your thoughts can help you plan and achieve goals that might otherwise seen unobtainable. - The Bullet Journal method, in particular, can reduce clutter in your life by helping you visualize your future. - One way to view your journal might be less of a narrative and more of a timeline of decisions. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/bullet-journal-method-goals Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink When people ask me what the Bullet Journal method is I like to describe it as a mindfulness practice that’s disguised as a productivity system. So what sets Bullet Journal apart from regular list keeping and journaling? It’s not linear. So essentially you create these things called collections which are essentially lists or graphs or whatever you need of related information. So that could be a shopping list, it could be a to do list, it could be a project, it could be a fertility tracker, whatever you need it to be. And Bullet Journal lays a framework for you to have all these different components work with each other. And the way it does that is through simple mechanisms you already know – page numbers, page titles. So, for example, there’s an index and the index allows you to simply store all the different collections that you have in your notebook so you can quickly find them again. There are four core collections in the Bullet Journal. One is the daily log. It’s a way for us to capture all the thoughts that bubble up throughout the day and categorize them into tasks, events and notes using different symbols. So we keep our entries very short and then we also tag them essentially with an icon. Then we have this thing known as a monthly log. And the monthly log on one page is a monthly calendar and then on the next page is a monthly task list essentially where you can create a monthly inventory each month. You take a step back, think about what you want to get done that month. Anything that’s bubbled up and getting it out of your head and on paper. The calendar on the monthly log can be used in one of two ways. In a traditional way but I prefer to use it as a way to actually write down things after they happen. So the calendar quickly becomes a timeline of the decisions you made and the events that have happened essentially. And having the context of when what actually happened can be very revealing in its own right. Like did you actually start working out three weeks ago or a week and a half ago. Did you send that email then or what not. So it’s a timeline of highlights in your life. So you have the monthly log. Then you have the future log for all the things that happen outside of the current month. The Bullet Journal unfolds in real time so we don’t hoard pages. Essentially every time you flip a page it can accept pretty much anything that you need it to be it drawings, poetry, lists, projects, whatever you want. And the way that works is with the index. So every time you flip the page and you use it for a different purpose, you number your pages and then you list that page and its title in the index. So you have these four core collections. But you can create collections for pretty much anything you like. Again, shopping lists, vacation planning. Lists can be infinite pretty much. You can keep writing things down and whether or not you do them well, you know, that just depends on the person. What I found really important is that I keep reengaging with the things that I write down and keep curating the substance of my experience if you will. So we have the monthly log essentially. Every month we set up a new monthly log and in between the monthly logs you have the daily logs. And the daily logs are there to capture your tasks, events and notes. So at the end of each month what you do is you reflect over the last – so at the end of every month you reflect through the past month and see the things that you’ve done and the things that you haven’t done.
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Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together. | Sarah Ruger Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together. | Sarah Ruger
3 weeks ago En
- How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first. - To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology. - The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/sponsored/ideology-drives-us-apart-neuroscience-can-bring-us-back-together Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink People aren't naturally equipped to deal productively with difference. In fact, neuroscientifically, psychologically, socially, we're very wired into fear and to retreat from the 'Other' or the different and it takes an intervention of some sort to promote openness mentally. If you throw highly different, highly diverse, highly divided people together without a framework or without some sort of bonding experience first it can have the opposite of the intended effect and actually cause more of a clash, more of a feeling of discomfort and ultimately more otherization between those divided peoples. So some of the things that can break down those barriers when you bring them together are things like awe. So there's a fantastic neuroscientist out there by the name of Dr. Beau Lotto, who I believe you all have spoken with before, he's done some interesting work on how things like awe or how things like play can cause people to let go of their fear, let go of their anxiety so that they enter a mental state where they're capable of being curious and entertaining a new experience. Or maybe it's having some sort of shared trial or tribulation that bonds you before you actually deal with the difficult issues. There is a really fantastic commercial from about a year ago that I think Heineken put on, where it showed two very different people, what the audience knew to be very different people, building a bar together and just talking with each other and struggling to build this bar. And then once the bar is constructed they realize that they held wildly differing beliefs, whether they were differing political beliefs or maybe some prejudices towards each other that they weren't even aware of, and the commercial revealed this to them and then asked if they wanted to sit down and have a drink together now that they knew about this divide. And since they just spent that previous hour toiling over the building of the bar and getting to know the other person as a human being before they got to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs they all sat down and shared a drink together and bonded. It's important to take the time to have an icebreaker moment before engaging in that conversation, before jumping right into the hot topics that are going to make an individual inclined to jump out of their seat and stop listening and start fighting. So begin with a dinner, began with a meal, begin with literal breaking bread and asking questions of each other in a personal context that help you get to know the other individual as a human being. Some of the other icebreakers that neuroscience and psychology are showing are productive and facilitating active listening and an open mind are things like humor. So take in some humorous content or some awe-inspiring artistic content or go do something active like go for a hike, go for a walk. Studies show that engaging in nature or going through some sort of tribulation, even if it's something as minimally challenging as physical exercise, actually helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. And then begin to ask questions around the difficult topics...
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How to make a black hole | NASA's Michelle Thaller How to make a black hole | NASA's Michelle Thaller
3 weeks ago En
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape. CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second. - Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn! - Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/what-are-black-holes-density Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink So Mark, you have a great question about black holes: Is there a minimum mass needed for a black hole to form and does a black hole form whenever a stellar object gets that dense? To begin with, let's talk about the definition of a black hole. Now, most commonly people talk about black holes as being a consequence of a giant star dying. And the idea is that a star has this huge mass and that's a lot of gravity crushing the star together. Now, when the star is alive and there are fusion reactions going on inside the core, that crush of gravity is actually held up. But once the star dies and the fusion reactions go away the gravity crushes inward and there's nothing to support it anymore. So basically gravity becomes so strong in that object that not even light can escape and therefore we call it a black hole. That's probably the most classic way to make a black hole, is you actually make it from the core of a dead star that's collapsing. But you might be surprised to learn that we actually think there are other ways to make a black hole. And the real answer to your question is that there is no minimum mass needed for a black hole, you just need to have the right density for an object's gravity to be so intense that light can't escape. The universe is very good at making black holes that are about the size of stars; it's an easy way to get them. But the universe makes black holes in other ways too. We actually think there are black holes being generated all around us on very, very small scales. There are things called high-energy cosmic rays — very, very energetic particles that slam into our atmosphere from space. These slam in with enough energy that we think they actually create tiny black holes, black holes that have the mass only a couple of atoms. There's enough energy to cram that matter together so much they form little black holes...
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Preserving truth: How to confront and correct fake news | Craigslist founder Craig Newmark Preserving truth: How to confront and correct fake news | Craigslist founder Craig Newmark
4 weeks ago En
- "[T]o have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all, you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information," says Craig Newmark. - The only constructive way to deal with fake news? Support trustworthy media. In 2018, Newmark was announced as a major donor of two new media organizations, The City, which will report on New York City-area stories which may have otherwise gone unreported, and The Markup, which will report on technology. - Greater transparency of fact-checking within media organizations could help confront and correct fake news. Organizations already exist to make media more trustworthy — are we using them? There's The Trust Project, International Fact-Checkers Network, and Tech & Check. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/how-to-stop-fake-news Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink In order to have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information. But, as it turns out, right now, we are suffering a lot of information warfare where a lot of bad actors, both foreign and domestic, are trying to screw things up, telling us things that aren't true, causing us to lose faith in the press, in democracy, in our institutions. So as far as I could tell, the only constructive way to deal with that is to support a trustworthy press and, as part of that, to support good research trying to figure out: Where is the bad stuff coming from? How do you disrupt that? How do you stop it from happening? And a lot of those things are happening now. What I'd like to see is a whole bunch of news outlets first commit to being trustworthy. And they do that by signing up for the Trust Project principles. Then I'd like to see them now and then have someone serve as a watchdog, maybe via the International Fact-Checkers Network, which is basically a network of networks. I would like to see fact checkers – in the network or out – submit results that they find to the emerging database done at Tech & Check where a claim, which is fact-checked, could be registered in that manner using a standard database layout. I'd like to see nutrition labels generated by the folks there. And as that's beginning to happen, I'd like to see more and more people work together to create an ecosystem where in all these signals of trustworthiness – the Trust Project stuff, actual fact-checking, seeing if people went ahead and corrected errors that were made – if all these signals could be consolidated and then made available to anyone who wants them, particularly the social media platforms. So there's a lot coming; people are beginning to put into practice the signals of trustworthy journalism, people are beginning to consolidate them and the hope is, in the near-term, that the social media platforms, or anyone else, use those signals of trustworthiness. I have also faith in advertisers to use them because advertisers are finding that they want their ads to be connected to reporting and other forms of entertainment, that is trustworthy and in the spirit of trustworthiness. So it is a matter of survival for the advertising business as well as the survival of a democracy, and the people pulling together these signals of trustworthiness are paying big attention to the questions of advertising and of journalistic quality. They need to do all this because if they don't to do a good job of it people will trust the advertisements less and less as they see they may be connected to untrustworthy reporting. So trustworthy reporting, when you can see that it really is trustworthy, is a big market differentiator for news outlets, but also for the advertisers who place ads in those trustworthy outlets. I'm very optimistic about journalism because the people in the business feel that they got a really big wake up call in 2016. They're now doing an increasingly good job. There's a lot of challenges that remain but people have realized that a lot needs to be fixed and there's a lot of momentum behind fixing things. And in the case of people like me who are helping, often with dollars, we've got to get out of the way and stay out of the way. That's what the ethics of funding nonprofit journalism require.
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The connection paradox: Why are workplaces more isolating than ever? | Dan Schawbel The connection paradox: Why are workplaces more isolating than ever? | Dan Schawbel
4 weeks ago En
- Technology's supposed interconnectivity doesn't breed human interaction, and has instead made many workers feel less happy and less productive. - Using email rather than walking over to someone's desk and having face-to-face time is a major culprit. Inter-office messaging apps can also make employees feel more distant from their co-workers. - Can the tech companies who created this issue turn workplace isolation around, or is this the new normal? Dan Shawbel is the author of Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation: https://goo.gl/HZgifd Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/the-connection-paradox-why-are-workplaces-more-isolating-than-ever Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink A third of the global workforce works remote, yet two-thirds of them are disengaged in their job. I worked remote for over eight years and while I get the freedom and flexibility to work when, where and how I want, there's a dark side to working remote that does not get talked about in our culture which is isolation which leads to loneliness and unhappiness because you're not getting the same human contact you would be if you're in a physical office space. And so if you work remote you're much less likely to want a long term career in your company is what we found. And that's because you're not having the human interactions that are required to build strong relationships which lead to not only better business results but more longevity within a company. Even if you work in a physical office you could feel like a remote worker too. So many of us eat lunch at our desks in isolation. And new research found that if you're in an open office space you're actually less social. The promise of technology was to connect us all in a meaningful way. Yet, what has really happened is it's become more isolating because we're using the technology instead of having face-to-face conversations. Instead of meeting with someone in the office face-to-face or picking up the phone we look down at our screens. We tap our phones 2,600 times a day. We look at our phones every 12 minutes and even in meetings we're sending five texts. Up to half of a worker's day is spent using technology over face-to-face. The biggest culprit is email. We're constantly sending and receiving emails and that's led to a lot of misunderstanding. And one face-to-face interaction is more successful than 34 emails exchanged back and forth. So instead of hoping that someone understands you all you have to do is walk a few steps or pick up the phone and explain what you mean and by creating a deeper understanding you build on that relationship and you become more effective in doing your projects. Up to half of a worker's day is spent using technology over face-to-face. The biggest culprit is email. We're constantly sending and receiving emails and that's led to a lot of misunderstanding. And one face-to-face interaction is more successful than 34 emails exchanged back and forth. So instead of hoping that someone understands you all you have to do is walk a few steps or pick up the phone and explain what you mean and by creating a deeper understanding you build on that relationship and you become more effective in doing your projects. So we need a delicate balance of alone time and time with other people in order to be fully productive and happy and fulfilled in our job.
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The global plan to fight AMR superbugs | Jill Inverso The global plan to fight AMR superbugs | Jill Inverso
1 month ago En
- Antimicrobial drugs are losing their effectiveness because pathogens change and find ways to resist the effects of antibiotics, leading to the development of superbugs. - Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) causes 700,000 deaths annually across the globe, a number that is projected to skyrocket to 10 million by the year 2050 if new interventions are not developed. - Antibiotics are crucial in treating minor infections and curing serious infectious diseases, enabling minor and complex surgeries, as well as managing illnesses such as cancer and HIV/AIDS. - Pfizer is committed to help lead the fight against AMR. It sponsors ATLAS, one of the largest AMR surveillance programs in the world, which sources global bacterial susceptibility data and makes it freely available to the public. - Vaccines play a beneficial role in the reduction of AMR, as they prevent infectious diseases and reduce antibiotic use. - Other tools in the fight are good stewardship and global policy leadership. Through advocacy and training around the globe, Pfizer helps ensure patients receive the correct antibiotic only if needed and for the right duration. - Individuals can also take action against AMR superbugs by practicing good stewardship and basic sanitation. Jill Inverso shares simple things the everyday person can do to fight antibiotic resistance. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/sponsored/how-to-fight-antibiotic-resistance-superbugs Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Antibiotics have revolutionized healthcare. They represent the hidden backbone of modern medicine by enabling medical advances such as surgical procedures, organ transplants, and chemotherapy. They have saved countless lives from death and disease caused by bacterial infections. Alarmingly, anti-infectives are losing their effectiveness because pathogens change and find ways to resist the effects of antibiotics, leading to the development of superbugs. Antimicrobial resistance, or AMR, is widely recognized as one of the biggest threats to global health today. It has the potential to affect anyone, at any age, in any country. AMR causes 700,000 deaths annually across the globe, a number projected to skyrocket to 10 million by the year 2050 if new interventions are not developed. At Pfizer, we take this growing threat very seriously. Driven by our desire to protect global public health and address the medical needs of patients suffering from infectious diseases, we are committed to being a leading provider of solutions to both help prevent and treat infections. We remain committed to developing diverse solutions to address AMR. This includes: expanding our diverse portfolio of anti-infective medicines and vaccines to treat and help prevent serious infections around the world; growing our innovative surveillance tool, ATLAS, to help physicians better understand evolving resistance patterns; advancing good stewardship to ensure patients receive the correct antibiotic only if it is needed and for the right duration; advancing global policy leadership to facilitate antibiotic development and proper use; applying responsible manufacturing practices that minimize impact on human health and the environment. It is imperative to preserve the effectiveness of existing antibiotics through good stewardship and treatment practices, and effectively monitoring antibiotic resistance globally through surveillance. Pfizer is proud to sponsor one of the largest AMR surveillance programs in the world, which was recently recognized by the Access to Medicines Benchmark Report on AMR as a standout "among all surveillance programs." Our global bacterial surveillance program, ATLAS, which stands for Antimicrobial Testing Leadership and Surveillance, was established in 2004 to monitor real-time changes in bacterial resistance and track trends in multi-drug resistance longitudinally over time. Today, ATLAS includes source information from more than 760 hospitals across 73 countries, including emerging market countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Overall, it has generated 14 years of continuous global bacterial susceptibility data. ATLAS data serve to inform health care practitioners and researchers on changing resistance trends in their regions and countries, and also supports global health authorities in developing antimicrobial stewardship programs. These data are available to all—free of charge—through a publicly available website and through a mobile application.
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A guide to DIY activism, from the creator of the pussyhat | Krista Suh A guide to DIY activism, from the creator of the pussyhat | Krista Suh
1 month ago En
Krista Suh founded the Pussyhat Project, a bold and powerful visual statement that saw handcrafted pink beanies on thousands of heads at women's marches across the world in January of 2017 through to today. Suh advises aspiring activists not to underestimate themselves and the unique talents that can help them launch a big movement. "What are your skills, what do you actually have fun doing?" she asks. Once you know that, it can empower the cause you care about. Two common hurdles in activism are feeling ineffective and feeling burnt-out, says Suh. If you feel ineffective, take on more leadership; instead of going along, ask: What cause can I lead? If you feel burnt out, consider stepping back and participating in other people's missions, rather than spread yourself thin. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/pussyhat-creative-activism-tips Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink I think the way to optimize your impact is to, one: get to know yourself really, really well. What are your skills, what do you actually have fun doing? Because if you don't know yourself and you throw yourself into something you might suddenly realize: 'Actually I don't enjoy this, I'm not good at this but I'm already committed. I mean it's a slog. It doesn't feel good.' And I think with the Pussyhat, I love that so many people have learned how to knit from it. My own dad included, actually, but I also hope that people get inspired to think that 'Wait, if knitting can make a difference, surely my amazing, important hobby can make a difference.' You could just open up the mind to what you can do, that it's not just step one, two, three or industry one, two, three. For me, patriarchy actually is the idea that there's only one right way of doing something and if that's the case then creativity is actually the antidote to that. There's so many ways of doing things. I think not only knowing yourself but valuing what you do; I think it's so easy to diminish what you can do compared to what people out there can do. And, finally, once you know yourself and you value what you can do and what you like to do, I think really focusing it and not being afraid to go big or wild or creative or off the beaten track is really important. I think the best analogy I have for this in particular is that if you're throwing a party, like you're the host, right, I think so many women, especially women, feel like it's selfish of them or egocentric to call themselves a leader. And I think 'host' is such an interesting word because inherent in that word is the work. You're opening yourself up or your home up to have people over and you're providing them with a gathering, a party. And then the guests come to that, and I think for most people I would recommend that you only choose one or two areas of activism to focus on, to be a host in. And then you can throw that party. And that party could be a literal fundraising party or it could be a documentary and the guests who arrive at that party are, they watch the documentary or they buy the documentary. So you're spreading awareness. And so when you're not hosting a party for your causes you can be a guest to other people's parties. And, for me, being a guest means you don't actually have to come up with invitation and secure the venue and do all those things but you could just show up. You could show up at a march. You could donate some money, you could watch a film and get informed and tell others about it. Those are also important and we obviously need both but I do think some people feel burnt out or ineffective, and the burnt-out people are just hosts to too many causes while the people who feel ineffective or lost or without purpose, they might be a guest to too many causes and they need to find some cause that they could be a host to.
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How trying to solve death makes life, here and now, worse | Michael Shermer How trying to solve death makes life, here and now, worse | Michael Shermer
1 month ago En
Read more at BigThink.com: Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink
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3 great untruths to stop telling kids—and ourselves | Jonathan Haidt 3 great untruths to stop telling kids—and ourselves | Jonathan Haidt
1 month ago En
Read more at BigThink.com: Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink
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