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. Get actionable lessons from the world’s greatest thinkers & doers. Our experts are either disrupting or leading their respective fields. 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. Other Frequent contributors include Michio Kaku & Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Head to Bigthink.com for a multitude of articles just as informative and satisfying as our videos. New articles posted daily on a range of intellectual topics. ​Join Big Think Edge, to gain access to an immense library of content. It features insight from many of the most celebrated and intelligent individuals in the world today. - Subscribe for daily videos. - Business inquiries and fan suggestions welcome.

2036 videos
What is propaganda? | Jason Stanley | Explain It Like I’m Smart by Big Think What is propaganda? | Jason Stanley | Explain It Like I’m Smart by Big Think
2 months ago En
What is propaganda? with Jason Stanley Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►►https://www.youtube.com/c/bigthink Up next ►►How Russia's Election Meddling Revolutionized Propaganda | Jordan Greenhall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfyHqkb8YJY Propaganda is ubiquitous, and everyone uses propaganda. It's a kind of communication that makes a case for a goal, bypassing reason. Propaganda is a method to urge you to mobilize towards something while concealing from you things that you reasonably should think, should consider. The word propaganda by itself is neither good nor bad because we talk of abolitionist propaganda. We talk about the propaganda that people use in social movements. Martin Luther King Jr. talked about the need for propaganda because you need to get people to reconsider their racist assumptions. The goal of propaganda is to connect neutral words to other things. Propaganda will always be here. Our words always have these associations, any word I have. The goal is to have lots of different way
The 3 ‘demons’ that haunted legendary scientists | Jimena Canales | Big Think The 3 ‘demons’ that haunted legendary scientists | Jimena Canales | Big Think
2 months ago En
The 3 ‘demons’ that haunted legendary scientists, with Jimena Canales Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►► https://www.youtube.com/c/bigthink Up next ►► Why It's So Hard for Scientists to Believe in God? https://youtu.be/pINptKQYviQ If one opens any dictionary and you go to the entry of demon, one of the entries refers to the scientific demons. Descartes' demons, Laplace's demon, Maxwell's demon, they're not considered to be real when they're first mentioned, they're considered to be possibly real. They're trying to find a hole in theories. What they are, in the most literal sense, are little creatures that are concocted by scientists. When they're confronted with something that they don't really understand, these creatures that we have always thought of as little entities that can bend or break the laws of nature continue to be very useful and very common ways of thinking in advancing our knowledge and understanding of the natural world. These demons share similar characteristics to those other demons i
How do you help kids traumatized by violence? | Bessel van der Kolk | Great Question How do you help kids traumatized by violence? | Bessel van der Kolk | Great Question
2 months ago En
How do you help kids traumatized by violence? with Bessel van der Kolk Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►► https://www.youtube.com/c/bigthink Up next ►► 6 ways to heal trauma without medication, from the author of “The Body Keeps the Score” https://youtu.be/ZoZT8-HqI64 People usually think about the military when they talk about trauma. But for every soldier who gets PTSD in a war zone, there's at least 30 children who get traumatized at home. The big question continues to be how do you help kids who have been exposed to enormous amounts of violence? How do you help these kids get a sense of self, a sense of agency, so they can make a life for themselves where they can learn, acquire skills, acquire competencies, and become full-fledged human beings? Bessel van der Kolk’s greatest dream is that in grades K through 12, kids get taught weekly about self-regulation - what kinds can do to calm themselves down and orient themselves. To aid in healing childhood trauma, every school in America would ideally
The 10 tactics of fascism | Jason Stanley | Big Think The 10 tactics of fascism | Jason Stanley | Big Think
3 months ago En
The 10 tactics of fascism, with Jason Stanley Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►► https://www.youtube.com/c/bigthink Up next ►►"Never Again?" How fascism hijacks democracies over and over https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye4jKSNHhms Fascism is a cult of the leader, who promises national restoration in the face of supposed humiliation by immigrants, leftists, liberals, minorities, homosexuals, women, in the face of what the fascist leader says is a takeover of the country's media, cultural institutions, schools by these forces. Fascist movements typically, though not invariably, rest on an urban/rural divide. The cities are where there's decadence, where the elites congregate, where there's immigrants, and where there's criminality. Each of these individuals alone is not in and of itself fascist, but you have to worry when they're all grouped together, seeing the other as less than. Those moments are the times when societies need to worry about fascism. Read the video transcript: https://bigthink.com/vi
How to rewire your brain after trauma | Explain It Like I’m Smart | Big Think How to rewire your brain after trauma | Explain It Like I’m Smart | Big Think
3 months ago En
How to rewire your brain after trauma | Explain It Like I’m Smart, with Bessel van der Kolk Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►►https://www.youtube.com/c/bigthink Up next ►► 6 ways to heal trauma without medication, from the author of “The Body Keeps the Score” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoZT8-HqI64 Have you ever wondered what happens to the traumatized brain when a soldier comes back from war? Often what's seen is that with each deployment, the frontal lobe becomes slower. This means that veterans cannot pay attention to what is in front of them, making it hard to engage in day-to-day life. Yet when a soldier has exposure to frightening events, such as a loud and sudden sound, their frontal lobe comes online. At the end of the day, when someone is traumatized and not experiencing danger, the brain doesn't function. But when the same person senses danger, the brain has been wired to act as a specialist in dealing with danger. This is where modern technology, such as quantitative EEGs, comes into play
Feel first, think second: is our brain really cut out for the modern world? | Big Think Feel first, think second: is our brain really cut out for the modern world? | Big Think
3 months ago En
Feel first, think second: is our brain really cut out for the modern world? , with Paul Bloom, Dan Ariely, Daniel Dennett and more Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►► https://www.youtube.com/c/bigthink Up next ►► A Simple Mind Trick Will Help You Think More Rationally | Big Think https://youtu.be/UyOGZk7WbIk The brain's job is not to pass a math test, get a promotion at work, or win a Nobel Prize. Our brain's only job is to make sure we survive today, and that we live to see another. Our brain' system worked well for us when humanity's only job was to hunt for food and fight for survival. But enter into the modern-day, our brain is not working so well as we have to rationalize problems like genetically modified foods and climate change. This is something we have to accept about our minds and better understand how our brain works in order to better avoid pitfalls in the future. In the coming years, because of modern technology, we will be able to better identify weaknesses in our rationality and thought
Sal Khan's plan to educate the world | Big Think Sal Khan's plan to educate the world | Big Think
3 months ago En
Sal Khan's plan to educate the world Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►► https://www.youtube.com/c/bigthink/videos Up next ►► If America’s education system is outdated, how can we evolve? | Derrell Bradford https://youtu.be/3btnmg30eks Our current form of education is almost 200 years old. What should schools of the future look like? When COVID-19 emerged and school districts began to move to remote learning, the ability to access tutoring — be it peer tutoring, extra time with teachers, or small-group tutoring — became even more difficult. https://schoolhouse.world/ puts the focus on a different aspect of remote learning. Where traditional online education offerings focus on pre-recorded lessons, courses, and practice sessions, schoolhouse.world is designed to provide real time feedback via peer tutoring and small group sessions. The organization now boasts over 3,000 learners across more than 100 countries, with hundreds of online tutoring volunteers leading teaching classes and courses. Currently,
Can you tell the difference between AI and a human? | Michael Wooldridge | Big Think Can you tell the difference between AI and a human? | Michael Wooldridge | Big Think
3 months ago En
Can you tell the difference between AI and a human?, with Michael Wooldridge Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►► https://www.youtube.com/c/bigthink/videos Up next ►► Walter Isaacson on Alan Turing, Intelligent Machines and "The Imitation Game" https://youtu.be/rz_99PBycSo The limits to computing are the limits to your imagination. Yet when computers first made their debut, the general public was taken back by its capabilities when it came to mathematics and computing. People started to ask ‘Are machines really intelligent?” Fed up with this question and disbelief in computing, one of the first serious thinkers of AI, Alan Turing, decided to create a machine to get the public to stop asking if computers are intelligent or not. This was called the Turing test. While using this machine during a Turing test, a person would type out a question on a computer, and either a human or machine would answer back. If a machine could fool the user into thinking there was a human on the other side of the screen, Tur
Why so many people work “bullshit jobs”| James Suzman | Big Think Why so many people work “bullshit jobs”| James Suzman | Big Think
3 months ago En
Why so many people work “bullshit jobs,” with James Suzman Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►►https://www.youtube.com/c/bigthink Up next ►► How to find a meaningful job, or find purpose in the job you already have | Aaron Hurst https://youtu.be/H54vh7UI3_I Our society is fixated on working. Some of us work 80 hours per week at jobs that don’t fulfill us simply for work's sake. Expert anthropologists, such as James Suzman, even go as far as to say that many of the jobs we work could be considered "bullshit jobs" - a complex job that is not entirely needed in the workforce. These jobs are created and executed because our culture, and lifestyle, are organized around the 8-hour workday. So why do we work "bullshit jobs?" Many economists would say it is to fix the problem of scarcity. But what many do not know is that in our society, we passed the scarcity threshold in 1980, and most everyone has their basic needs met. So much so that more food goes into our landfills than goes into our stomachs. If scarcity
CRISPR: The future or undoing of humanity? | Walter Isaacson | Big Think CRISPR: The future or undoing of humanity? | Walter Isaacson | Big Think
3 months ago En
CRISPR: The future or undoing of humanity? with Walter Issaacson Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►► https://www.youtube.com/c/bigthink/featured Up next ►► The Ethics of Changing Human DNA Via Gene Editing, with Siddhartha Mukherjee https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSy8KVXRgKM The idea of gene editing was once a thing of the future - but today it’s saving the lives of people all over the world. CRISPR is a gene editing system that bacteria has been using for a billion years. When a virus attacks your body, this system takes a ‘mug shot,’ and wraps the virus into our code. If the same virus ever attacks again, your body now know’s to ‘cut off’ the virus before it can cause harm. But accompanied with 21st century tech, that’s no longer all gene editing technologies, like CRISPR, can do. Scientists have since learned how to repurpose this system so we’re not only killing off dangerous bacteria, but also cutting our own DNA, wherever we tell it to, to edit our genes. Is gene editing something we need to wo
The Big Bang explained in under 4 minutes| Michelle Thaller | Big Think The Big Bang explained in under 4 minutes| Michelle Thaller | Big Think
3 months ago En
The Big Bang explained in under 4 minutes with Michelle Thaller Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►► https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvQECJukTDE2i6aCoMnS-Vg Up next ►► Michio Kaku: What Put the Bang in the Big Bang? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCnvuKb0T7E One of the biggest misconceptions in science is that the Big Bang came out of nothing - according to astrophysicist Michelle Thaller, this is not correct. 13.8 billion years ago right before the Big Bang, our universe existed within one tiny, compressed atom. But what we know now is that this one atom was not our entire universe. According to Thaller, there were trillions of atoms, all with their own universe inside. Today, we can only know of our observable universe, but there is far more out there than what meets the eye. Read the video transcript: https://bigthink.com/videos/big-bang-theory ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- About Michelle Thaller: Dr. Michelle Thaller is an astronomer who st
Do compasses work in space? | Michelle Thaller | Big Think Do compasses work in space? | Michelle Thaller | Big Think
4 months ago En
Do compasses work in space? | Michelle Thaller | Big Think Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►► https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvQECJukTDE2i6aCoMnS-Vg Up next ►► Michio Kaku forecasts the future of space https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oT8JM7o4WtM If you’re out in space, you would be able to navigate the galaxy with one simple navigational tool we’ve been using for centuries - a compass. By definition, a compass is a device that responds to magnetic fields providing cardinal directions used for geographic orientation . Since the core of the earth is made of molten, and compasses are made of metal, we’re easily able to identify north, south, east, and west because of Earth’s natural magnetic field. But did you know Saturn, Jupiter, stars, and even our galaxy have their own magnetic fields? If you are traveling through space, a simple compass can point you to the closest magnetic field, helping a space traveler navigate the galaxy. Read the video transcript: https://bigthink.com/videos/space-navigati
Could a solar storm wipe out civilization as we know it? | Michelle Thaller | Big Think Could a solar storm wipe out civilization as we know it? | Michelle Thaller | Big Think
4 months ago En
Could a solar storm wipe out civilization as we know it? with Michelle Thaller Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►► https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvQECJukTDE2i6aCoMnS-Vg Up next ►► Michio Kaku: Are We Sitting Ducks for Solar Flares? | Big Think https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW8Rsil0lqk 2012 was supposed to be an apocalyptic year according to the Mayans. Although the world never came to an end, in 2012, something else happened that had astrophysicists worried - the earth barely avoided catastrophe as a massive sun storm erupted. Sun storms happen more often than we think, with protons and electrons traveling past the earth at a speed of one million miles per hour. If these particles and solar storms are responsible for the unliveable climate on Venus and Mars, why has Earth not been impacted yet? Earth is rarely impacted by the sun's solar storms because of the strong magnetic field that surrounds the planet, protecting us from solar wind. Although this magnetic field does a great job at protecting t
6 ways to heal trauma without medication, from the author of “The Body Keeps the Score” 6 ways to heal trauma without medication, from the author of “The Body Keeps the Score”
4 months ago En
6 ways to heal trauma without medication, from the author of “The Body Keeps the Score,” Bessel van der Kolk Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►► https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvQECJukTDE2i6aCoMnS-Vg Up next ►► How to heal trauma with meaning: A case study in emotional evolution | BJ Miller https://youtu.be/hQAqBkKJRbs Conventional psychiatric practices tell us that if we feel bad, take this drug and it will go away. But after years of research with some of the top psychiatric practitioners in the world, we’ve found that drugs simply don’t work that well for many, and our conventional ways of healing trauma need to change. In recent years, experts in the study of trauma have been experimenting with ‘new age’ healing mechanisms that are making massive waves for trauma patients. Some of these new healing methods include EDMR, yoga, theater and movement, neural feedback, and even psychedelics. Many of these methods have proven to be more effective than conventional pharmaceuticals. But just like any oth
What is trauma? The author of “The Body Keeps the Score” explains What is trauma? The author of “The Body Keeps the Score” explains
4 months ago En
What is trauma? The author of “The Body Keeps the Score” explains, with Bessel van der Kolk Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►► https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvQECJukTDE2i6aCoMnS-Vg Up next ►► How to heal trauma with meaning: A case study in emotional evolution | BJ Miller https://www.youtube.com/c/bigthink/search?query=trauma Contrary to popular belief, trauma is extremely common. We all have jobs, life events, and unpleasant situations causing us daily stress. But when your body continues to re-live that stress for days, weeks, months, or even years, that stress changes your brain, creating trauma inside your mind, and that trauma can eventually manifest in your physical body. As you can see, trauma isn’t what happens to you, but how you respond to the traumatic situation. Something that is traumatic to one person may be no big deal to the next. Whether something becomes traumatic or not has a great deal to do with who’s around you while you experience this event. Were you alone and scared, were you
Is reality real? These neuroscientists don’t think so Is reality real? These neuroscientists don’t think so
4 months ago En
Is reality real? These neuroscientists don’t think so, with Richard Dawkins, Heather Heying, Donald Hoffman, & more Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►► https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvQECJukTDE2i6aCoMnS-Vg Up next ►►Navigating reality: It’s all about perspective | Daniel Schmachtenberger https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNcyc_sEtpU Is there an external reality? Is reality objective? Is the information your senses are feeding you an accurate depiction of reality? Most neuroscientists, biologists, and scientific leaders believe that we only understand a sliver of what is real. Although we assume our senses are telling us the truth, they’re actually fabricated to us. Considering senses are unique from person to person, and through our unique senses we can only intemperate a fraction of what is real, there is no all-encompassing perspective one can have. Because of this, we need to take our perceptions seriously, but not literally. Multiple perspectives have to be taken, as each will have some sort of
Your reptilian brain, explained | Robert Sapolsky | Big Think Your reptilian brain, explained | Robert Sapolsky | Big Think
4 months ago En
Your reptilian brain, explained with Robert Sapolsky Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►► https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvQECJukTDE2i6aCoMnS-Vg Up next ►► The Science of Brain Health and Cognitive Decline https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMcoTWvf0Kk What's the best way to think about the brain? While most of us think of it as a dense gray matter that’s separate from the physical body, that actually couldn’t be further from the truth. Our brain is made up of 3 layers, and each layer not only directly impacts the other, but has control over the physical body and how you feel. The 3 functional layers of the brain are the reptilian brain, the limbic system, and the cerebral cortex. The reptilian brain controls the regulatory systems in your body like hormones, body temperature, blood pressure, and even hunger. The limbic system is the emotional function of your brain, making you feel fear, anger, joy, or gratitude. Finally, the cerebral cortex is the most evolved part of the brain that oversees impulse
3 brain hacks to control your Amazon addiction (from a neuroscientist) 3 brain hacks to control your Amazon addiction (from a neuroscientist)
5 months ago En
3 brain hacks to control your Amazon addiction Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- “From the evolutionary perspective, the human brain evolved to feel first and think later,” says neuroscientist and marketing consultant Terry Wu. The part of our brain that controls emotions (the limbic system) and the part that deals with rational thought (the frontal cortex) can send conflicting signals, which leads to bad decision-making. Stress, easy access to online shopping platforms, and other factors cause the limbic system to overtake the frontal cortex as we seek instant gratification. Retailers cater to our emotional brain so that we shop more, but there are ways to resist the manipulation. “The important thing is to create some barriers between our desire to shop and shopping,“ says Wu, who suggests establishing designat
Making diamonds from human ashes | Big Think Making diamonds from human ashes | Big Think
5 months ago En
Isolating carbon from ashes to create diamonds Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Eterneva is setting out to change the way we grieve loss — by turning ashes into diamonds. With its unique cremation diamonds, Eterneva is creating a new way to carry the memory of our loved ones with us long after their death. Transforming their customers’ loved ones from ashes to diamonds consists of an intricate seven stage process. Once the company has received the ashes, its team gets to work isolating carbon from other elements found in the ashes. Once the carbon is fully extracted, the resulting carbon graphite powder is placed into a machine that can replicate growing conditions found under the earth. Through intense heat and pressure, over time the carbon crystalizes and begins to turn into a raw diamond For people grievin
What charity does to your brain | Your Brain on Money | Big Think What charity does to your brain | Your Brain on Money | Big Think
5 months ago En
What charity does to your brain | Your Brain on Money Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What happens in your brain when you give time or money? Altruism is often framed as an act performed for the sake of someone else without the expectation of a reward. Author Jenni Santi and psychology professor Michael Norton explain that there is more happening on a biological level than we realize. In the 2000s, experiments by neuroscientists Jorge Moll and Jordan Grafman showed that two areas of the brain light up when we volunteer or help someone. These same “pleasure centers” are activated when we think of food or romantic partners. All forms of giving are good, Norton says, but time (i.e. volunteering) is the resource that is often seen as the hardest to spare. He offers tips for those looking to give more or more consi
How to trick your brain into saving money | Your Brain on Money | Big Think How to trick your brain into saving money | Your Brain on Money | Big Think
5 months ago En
How to trick your brain into saving money Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thanks to evolution, humans are not great at thinking and planning long term. "The human brain just has certain tendencies," says neuroscientist Alex Korb. "We're always going to pay more attention to things that are immediate right now." Luckily, there are ways to counteract our natural habits. Retirement can feel abstract—especially for young people who are just starting in their careers—which makes preparing for it less of a priority. By understanding how the brain impacts certain decisions, we can hack those biases to develop better saving practices and work toward more tangible goals. "Saving one dollar a day is infinitely better than saving zero dollars a day," says Korb. Building on small decisions over time gives you the ability t
Can lessons from video games change our money habits? | Your Brain on Money | Big Think Can lessons from video games change our money habits? | Your Brain on Money | Big Think
5 months ago En
Can lessons from video games change our money habits? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The word is out on gaming—it’s not just something that children do for fun anymore. Games are tools that can be used to teach new skills, reduce stress, and even change behaviors by triggering chemical reactions in the brain. These benefits and more have provided scientists and developers with a promising path forward. “Games reduce the stress of making decisions,” says neuroscientist and professor Paul Zak. “App designers have now used game structures to help people learn new information, make new decisions; and one of the most exciting applications is in financial decision making.” But simply turning something into a game isn’t enough to see meaningful changes in habits. Developers of gamified apps like Long Game have found
How Apple and Nike have branded your brain | Your Brain on Money | Big Think How Apple and Nike have branded your brain | Your Brain on Money | Big Think
6 months ago En
How Apple and Nike have branded your brain Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Powerful branding can not only change how you feel about a company, it can actually change how your brain is wired. "We love to think of ourselves as rational. That's not how it works," says UPenn professor Americus Reed II about our habits (both conscious and subconscious) of paying more for items based primarily on the brand name. Effective marketing causes the consumer to link brands like Apple and Nike with their own identity, and that strong attachment goes deeper than receipts. Using MRI, professor and neuroscientist Michael Platt and his team were able to see this at play. When reacting to good or bad news about the brand, Samsung users didn't have positive or negative brain responses, yet they did have "reverse empathy" for bad
How to reduce gun violence without taking people’s guns How to reduce gun violence without taking people’s guns
6 months ago En
How to reduce gun violence without taking people’s guns Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Approximately 41,000 people are killed each year due to gun violence. That’s more lives lost to guns than to car accidents. So why do we devote more attention (and money) to car safety than we do gun safety? As Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling points out, the deaths are not the whole story. The physical, emotional, and psychological trauma reverberates through communities and the public at-large. “This is just not about guns,” says Dowling,” this is a serious public health issue and we’ve got to look at it that way. Hospitals often deal with the aftermath of gun violence, but they can play a key role in preventing it. Medical staff are trained to assess health risk factors. Dowling argues that a similar approach is neede
The science of ‘herd mentality’ | Your Brain on Money | Big Think The science of ‘herd mentality’ | Your Brain on Money | Big Think
6 months ago En
The science of ‘herd mentality' Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What can monkeys teach us about stock market bubbles? It turns out that monkeys make decisions much like investors on the trading floor—they develop a herd mentality, mimicking the behavior of others until overinflation and the eventual pop. "This tendency to follow the herd emerges from our social brain networks," explains Michael Platt, professor of neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. This network allows us to learn and adapt based on information from those around us. But these learnings are not always positive. In the context of money and the stock market, following the herd could result in bad financial decisions. The key, Platt says, is learning to take a step back and resist impulses, which in some ways goes against our evolution
How concentrated solar power could fuel the future | Big Think How concentrated solar power could fuel the future | Big Think
6 months ago En
How concentrated solar power could fuel the future Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What if we could not only harness the power of the sun, but actually use it to run the entire planet? Concentrated solar power (CSP) has the potential to do just that — using arrays of revolving mirrors called heliostats, light is reflected into a massive receiver. Thanks to recent advancements in technology, the cost to replicate these Sunlight Refineries™ is dropping. Soon solar energy will be cleaner and cheaper than using fossil fuels, which could mean adoption on a global scale. Heliogen, a company founded by Bill Gross and backed by Bill Gates, wants to eliminate all uses of fossil fuels. Using cameras, AI, and machine learning, they are working to make these CSP systems smarter and much more efficient. This episode is
Why “survival of the fittest” is wrong | Frans de Waal | Big Think Why “survival of the fittest” is wrong | Frans de Waal | Big Think
6 months ago En
Why “survival of the fittest” is wrong | Frans de Waal | Big Think Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Frans de Waal has studied the behavior of primates for five decades. Some of his many important observations center around the evolution of morality and just how much we have in common with the animal kingdom. The idea that animals are always in conflict with one another and competing for resources is “totally wrong,” de Waal says. Other primates, specifically chimpanzees and bonobos, have demonstrated a range of traits and tendencies typically regarded as human, including empathy, friendship, reconciliation, altruism, and even adoption. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- FRANS DE WAAL: Frans de Waal is a Dutch/American biologist and primatologist. He teaches at E
Why do big creatures live longer? | Geoffrey West | Big Think Why do big creatures live longer? | Geoffrey West | Big Think
6 months ago En
Why do big creatures live longer? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Scientists have observed that in nature, all things scale with size in a way that is mathematically predictable. Similar scaling laws hold for things like growth and lifespan. As theoretical physicist Geoffrey West explains, larger mammals generally live longer because of the inverse relationship between body size and the rate at which cells are damaged. By having this theory of scaling laws, “you can determine what the parameters are, the knobs that you could conceivably turn to change that lifespan,” says West. Instead of living to be 100 years old, humans could someday hack our cells to last for two centuries. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- GEOFFREY WEST: Geoffrey West is a theoretical phys
Malcolm Gladwell on the origins of modern war Malcolm Gladwell on the origins of modern war
7 months ago En
The renegade WW2 pilots who tried to end war as we know it Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Much has been written about World War II in the seven and a half decades since it ended in 1945. But as writer Malcolm Gladwell shows with his new book "The Bomber Mafia," some incredible stories and perspectives have been largely forgotten. A group of pilots, led by Brigadier General Haywood Hansell, earned the derogatory nickname Bomber Mafia because of a not-widely-shared dream that they could use a few strategic bombings to lower the death toll and have a "clean" war. "But that's not what war ever is," says Gladwell. "It never has that kind of fairy tale ending." A few failed attempts led to a changing of the guard, the invention of napalm, and a summer of attacks on Japanese cities that Gladwell says was at "a scale
How Pfizer and BioNTech made history with their vaccine How Pfizer and BioNTech made history with their vaccine
7 months ago En
How Pfizer and BioNTech made history with their vaccine Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Wondering how Pfizer and partner BioNTech developed a COVID-19 vaccine in record time without compromising safety? Dr Bill Gruber, SVP of Pfizer Vaccine Clinical Research and Development, explains the process from start to finish. “I told my team, at first we were inspired by hope and now we’re inspired by reality,” Dr Gruber said. “If you bring critical science together, talented team members together, government, academia, industry, public health officials—you can achieve what was previously the unachievable.” The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has not been approved or licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to preven
Protecting space stations from deadly space debris Protecting space stations from deadly space debris
7 months ago En
Protecting space stations from deadly space debris Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is the first episode of Just Might Work, an original series by Freethink, focused on surprising solutions to our biggest problems. Catch more Just Might Work episodes on their channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UConJDkGk921yT9hISzFqpzw ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: ASTRONAUT: Mission abort. Repeat. Mission abort. HOST: In the opening scene of Gravity, a collision with space debris leads to chaos. ANNOUNCER: Debris from the missile strike has caused a chain reaction, hitting other satellites and creating new debris. HOST: Unfortunately this scenario isn't just made up movie drama. What if I told you this was one of the most dangerous things in space?
The science of sex, love, attraction, and obsession | Big Think The science of sex, love, attraction, and obsession | Big Think
7 months ago En
The science of sex, love, attraction, and obsession | Big Think Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- How love makes us feel can only be defined on an individual basis, but what it does to the body, specifically the brain, is now less abstract thanks to science. One of the problems with early-stage attraction, according to anthropologist Helen Fisher, is that it activates parts of the brain that are linked to drive, craving, obsession, and motivation, while other regions that deal with decision-making shut down. Dr. Fisher, professor Ted Fischer, and psychiatrist Gail Saltz explain the different types of love, explore the neuroscience of love and attraction, and share tips for sustaining relationships that are healthy and mutually beneficial. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Physics’ greatest mystery: Michio Kaku explains the God Equation | Big Think Physics’ greatest mystery: Michio Kaku explains the God Equation | Big Think
7 months ago En
Physics’ greatest mystery: Michio Kaku explains the God Equation Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "It's no exaggeration to say that the greatest minds of the entire human race have made proposals for this grand final theory of everything," says theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. This theory, also known as the God Equation, would unify all the basic concepts of physics into one. According to Kaku, the best, most "mathematically consistent" candidate so far is string theory, but there are objections. "The biggest objection is you can't test it," Kaku explains, "but we're getting closer and closer." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MICHIO KAKU: Dr. Michio Kaku is the co-founder of string field theory, and is one of the most widely recognized scientists in the wo
How to live an intellectual life | Big Think How to live an intellectual life | Big Think
7 months ago En
How to live an intellectual life Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When you picture an intellectual, who do you see? Professor Zena Hitz says that somewhere along the way, the idea of what an intellectual is and does became distorted. "The real thing is something more extraordinary but also more available to us," Hitz adds, differentiating between an intellectual life constantly in pursuit of something else, and one that enjoys ordinary activities like reading and thinking. An example is young Albert Einstein, who spoke highly of his time working in a patent office and hatching "beautiful ideas" long before becoming a famous physicist. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ZENA HITZ: Zena Hitz is a Tutor at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland and the author o
We need sustainable space tech. One solution - bees? | Danielle Wood | Big Think We need sustainable space tech. One solution - bees? | Danielle Wood | Big Think
8 months ago En
We need sustainable space tech. One solution - bees? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The objects humans send to space teach us a lot about the universe, but they are also cluttering it up. While some objects are close enough to be retrieved, others become dangerous, fast-moving bullets that can cause serious damage. In addition to cleaning up what's already there, MIT Assistant Professor Danielle Wood says that we need to think more sustainably about the technology used in future missions. "We have to ask the question, will we respect the rights of people and the environment as we go forward in space," Wood says. One possible solution is a wax-based fuel source (made of beeswax and candle wax) for satellites that would be less toxic and more affordable than currently used inorganic compounds, and that would he
Mixing human + animal DNA and the future of gene editing | Big Think Mixing human + animal DNA and the future of gene editing | Big Think
8 months ago En
Mixing human + animal DNA and the future of gene editing Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As the material that makes all living things what/who we are, DNA is the key to understanding and changing the world. British geneticist Bryan Sykes and Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, explain how, through gene editing, scientists can better treat illnesses, eradicate diseases, and revolutionize personalized medicine. But existing and developing gene editing technologies are not without controversies. A major point of debate deals with the idea that gene editing is overstepping natural and ethical boundaries. Just because they can, does that mean that scientists should edit DNA? Harvard professor Glenn Cohen introduces another subcategory of gene experiments: mixing human and animal DNA. "The questio
The science behind ‘us vs. them’ | Dan Shapiro, Robert Sapolsky & more | Big Think The science behind ‘us vs. them’ | Dan Shapiro, Robert Sapolsky & more | Big Think
8 months ago En
The science behind ‘us vs. them’ Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From politics to every day life, humans have a tendency to form social groups that are defined in part by how they differ from other groups. Neuroendocrinologist Robert Sapolsky, author Dan Shapiro, and others explore the ways that tribalism functions in society, and discuss how—as social creatures—humans have evolved for bias. But bias is not inherently bad. The key to seeing things differently, according to Beau Lotto, is to "embody the fact" that everything is grounded in assumptions, to identify those assumptions, and then to question them. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: 0:00 Intro 0:30 Robert Sapolsky on the hardwiring of social creatures and the “runaway trolley problem. 4:5
America’s prison catastrophe: Can we undo it? | Damien Echols & more | Big Think America’s prison catastrophe: Can we undo it? | Damien Echols & more | Big Think
8 months ago En
America’s prison catastrophe: Can we undo it? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The United States is the world’s largest prison warden. As of June 2020, America had the highest prisoner rate, with 655 prisoners per 100,000 of the national population. But according to experts, doing something the most doesn’t mean doing it the best. The system is a failure both economically and in terms of the way inmates are treated, with many equating it to legal slavery. American prisons en masse are expensive, brutal, and ineffective, so why aren’t we trying better alternatives? And what exactly are these overstuffed facilities accomplishing? Damien Echols and Shaka Senghor share first-hand accounts of life both in and after prison, while political science professor Marie Gottschalk, activist Liza Jessie Peterson, historian
Why the world is going crazy—and how to win back our minds | Jamie Wheal | Big Think Why the world is going crazy—and how to win back our minds | Jamie Wheal | Big Think
9 months ago En
Why the world is going crazy—and how to win back our minds Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The speed at which civilization is progressing has become overwhelming for modern humans and has caused what Jamie Wheal (author of Recapture the Rapture, founder of the Flow Genome Project, and host of the Collective Insights Podcast) calls a “collapse of meaning.” For many, Meaning 1.0 (organized religion) and Meaning 2.0 (modern liberalism) no longer provide the structure and guidance that they used to. "It does feel like the handrails, the things we used to look to for stability and security, have evaporated," says Wheal. "If we've experienced a collapse of meaning, how do we go about restoring it?" In order to reach Meaning 3.0—which Wheal says is a blend of traditional religion and modern liberalism without the pro
Textiles: Humanity’s early tech boom | Virginia Postrel | Big Think Textiles: Humanity’s early tech boom | Virginia Postrel | Big Think
9 months ago En
Textiles: Humanity’s early tech boom Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Virginia Postrel, author of The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World, describes how the pursuit of textiles has led to a vast variety of innovations throughout history. Notably, the launch of the Industrial Revolution started with the machines that mechanized the spinning of thread. The term luddite, which has now come to mean “people who have [an] ideological opposition to technology,” started with textiles. The original Luddites of the 19th century were weavers who rioted when they began losing their jobs to power looms. Postrel states that human beings throughout the world and across history independently discovered different processes for creating cloth. She goes on to say that “weaving is something that is deeply mathemati
CRISPR: Can we control it? | Jennifer Doudna, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, & more | Big Think CRISPR: Can we control it? | Jennifer Doudna, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, & more | Big Think
9 months ago En
CRISPR: Can we control it? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is a revolutionary technology that gives scientists the ability to alter DNA. On the one hand, this tool could mean the elimination of certain diseases. On the other, there are concerns (both ethical and practical) about its misuse and the yet-unknown consequences of such experimentation. "The technique could be misused in horrible ways," says counter-terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke. Clarke lists biological weapons as one of the potential threats, "Threats for which we don't have any known antidote." CRISPR co-inventor, biochemist Jennifer Doudna, echos the concern, recounting a nightmare involving the technology, eugenics, and a meeting with Adolf Hitler. Should humanity even have a
How gratitude makes you more attractive | Sara Algoe | Big Think How gratitude makes you more attractive | Sara Algoe | Big Think
9 months ago En
How gratitude makes you more attractive Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This video was produced in partnership with John Templeton Foundation. When someone says thank you, who is it for? According to Dr. Sara Algoe, expressions of gratitude have a positive effect on the person receiving the message, the person delivering it, and even those who witness the exchange. These types of social interactions are crucial for building lasting relationships with romantic partners, friends, and coworkers. "When we say 'thank you,' we're sending a message to the person who just did something nice for us, that they are valued, that they're seen, that the thing that they did for us was worth doing in the first place," Algoe says. Expressing gratitude is easy, and the research shows that the benefits far outweigh the effort.
Is empathy always good? | Bill Nye, Alan Alda, Paul Bloom & more | Big Think Is empathy always good? | Bill Nye, Alan Alda, Paul Bloom & more | Big Think
9 months ago En
Is empathy always good? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Empathy is a useful tool that allows humans (and other species) to connect and form mutually beneficial bonds, but knowing how and when to be empathic is just as important as having empathy. Filmmaker Danfung Dennis, Bill Nye, and actor Alan Alda discuss the science of empathy and the ways that the ability can be cultivated and practiced to affect meaningful change, both on a personal and community level. But empathy is not a cure all. Paul Bloom explains the psychological differences between empathy and compassion, and how the former can "get in the way" of some of life's crucial relationships. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: 0:00 Intro 0:30 Bill Nye on the evolution of empathy 1:15 Alan Al
Retrain your brain for long-term thinking | Roman Krznaric | Big Think Retrain your brain for long-term thinking | Roman Krznaric | Big Think
9 months ago En
Retrain your brain for long-term thinking Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Roman Krznaric, philosopher and author of the book "The Good Ancestor: A Radical Prescription for Long Term Thinking," says that there are two parts of the human brain that are driving our decisions and ultimately determining what kind of legacy we leave behind for future generations. Short-term thinking happens in the marshmallow brain (named after the famous Stanford marshmallow test), while long-term thinking and strategizing occurs in the acorn brain. By retraining ourselves to use the acorn brain more often, we can ensure that trillions of people—including our grandchildren and their grandchildren—aren't inheriting a depleted world and the worst traits that humankind has to offer. "At the moment we're using on average 1.6 planet ea
The great free will debate | Bill Nye, Michio Kaku, Robert Sapolsky, Steven Pinker & more The great free will debate | Bill Nye, Michio Kaku, Robert Sapolsky, Steven Pinker & more
10 months ago En
The great free will debate Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "What does it mean to have—or not have—free will? Were the actions of mass murderers pre-determined billions of years ago? Do brain processes trump personal responsibility? Can experiments prove that free will is an illusion? Bill Nye, Steven Pinker, Daniel Dennett, Michio Kaku, Robert Sapolsky, and others approach the topic from their unique fields and illustrate how complex and layered the free will debate is. From Newtonian determinism, to brain chemistry, to a Dennett thought experiment, explore the arguments that make up the free will landscape. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: - Well, you ask one of the deepest philosophical questions of physics. The question of free will. - For bill
Are geniuses real? The neuroscience and myths of visionaries | Big Think Are geniuses real? The neuroscience and myths of visionaries | Big Think
10 months ago En
Are geniuses real? The neuroscience and myths of visionaries Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Revolutionary ideas and culture-shifting inventions are often credited to specific individuals, but how often do these "geniuses" actually operate in creative silos? Tim Sanders, former chief strategy officer at Yahoo, argues that there are three myths getting in the way of innovative ideas and productive collaborations: the myths of the expert, the eureka moment, and the "lone inventor." More than an innate quality reserved for an elite group, neuroscientist Heather Berlin and neurobiologist Joy Hirsch explain how creativity looks in the brain, and how given opportunity, resources, and attitude, we can all be like Bach, Beethoven, and Steve Jobs. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
How to think smarter about failure | Tim Ferriss, Ethan Hawke & more | Big Think How to think smarter about failure | Tim Ferriss, Ethan Hawke & more | Big Think
10 months ago En
How to think smarter about failure Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What does it mean to be a failure? Failing is typically seen as moving in the opposite direction of a specific goal, when in reality, most achievements in history were made possible by a series of non-successes. "The very concepts of success and failure are words that never really meant anything," says astronomer Michelle Thaller. She and others argue that successes and failures are inextricably linked, and that how we define them for ourselves is what matters. As Ethan Hawke, multidisciplinary filmmaker Karen Palmer, entrepreneurs Steve Case and Tim Ferriss, executive coach Alisa Cohn, and others explain, finding personal success means taking risks, being willing to fail, and recognizing when—and why—things are not working. "Most things will f
Skepticism: Why critical thinking makes you smarter | Bill Nye, Derren Brown & more | Big Think Skepticism: Why critical thinking makes you smarter | Bill Nye, Derren Brown & more | Big Think
10 months ago En
Skepticism: Why critical thinking makes you smarter Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It's not always easy to tell the difference between objective truth and what we believe to be true. Separating facts from opinions, according to skeptic Michael Shermer, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, and others, requires research, self-reflection, and time. Recognizing your own biases and those of others, avoiding echo chambers, actively seeking out opposing voices, and asking smart, testable questions are a few of the ways that skepticism can be a useful tool for learning and growth. As Derren Brown points out, being "skeptical of skepticism" can also lead to interesting revelations and teach us new things about ourselves and our psychology. Read Michael Shermer's latest book "Skeptic: Viewing the World with a Rationa
How sci-fi helps humanity avoid species-level mistakes | Ken MacLeod | Big Think How sci-fi helps humanity avoid species-level mistakes | Ken MacLeod | Big Think
10 months ago En
How sci-fi helps humanity avoid species-level mistakes Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Robots (from the Czech word for laborer) began appearing in science fiction in the early 1900s as metaphors for real-world ideas and issues surrounding class struggles, labor, and intelligence. Author Ken MacLeod says that the idea that robots would one day rebel was baked into the narrative from the start. As technologies have advanced, so too have our fears. "Science fiction can help us to look at the social consequences, to understand the technologies that are beginning to change our lives," says MacLeod. He argues that while robots in science fiction are a reflection of humanity, they have little to do with our actual machines and are "very little help at all in understanding what the real problems and the real opportuniti
Has political correctness gone too far? | Jim Gaffigan, Slavoj Zizek & more | Big Think Has political correctness gone too far? | Jim Gaffigan, Slavoj Zizek & more | Big Think
11 months ago En
Has political correctness gone too far? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Political correctness is often seen as a debate between two extremes, but there are nuances in the middle of the spectrum. Is there such a thing as being too PC, and if so, where is that line? While philosopher Slavoj Žižek, comedian Lewis Black, and actor Jeff Garlin acknowledge that some topics can be hurtful or even oppressive and should thus be approached with "good taste and self-restraint," they also argue that PC culture has tipped the scales far beyond being balanced. "If we continue to move in that direction," says Black, "then we're going to be living between uptight and stupid and there'll be no in between." Simultaneously, others—including Paul F. Tompkins, Jim Gaffigan, and Martin Amis—argue that political correctness aims to
Loading...