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Tag: BigThink

How America Got Divorced from Reality: Christian Utopias, Anti-Elitism, Media Circus | Kurt Andersen

How America Got Divorced from Reality: Christian Utopias, Anti-Elitism, Media Circus | Kurt Andersen

Americans have always been magical thinkers and passionate believers in the untrue. We were started by the Puritans in New England who wanted to create and did create a Christian utopia and theocracy as they waited for the eminent second coming of Christ and the end of days. And in the south by a bunch of people who were convinced, absolutely convinced that this place they’d never been was full of gold just to be plucked from the dirt in…

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Hive mind: The good, the bad, and the viral | Sarah Rose Cavanagh

Hive mind: The good, the bad, and the viral | Sarah Rose Cavanagh

The hivemind is a couple of different things. It is firstly the idea that we are a collective as much as we are individuals and that we can enter this frame of mind where we’re sharing attention and we’re sharing goals and we’re sharing emotions. You can feel this most often if you think about your own experiences in attending rock concerts or sporting events, singing together in a choir where we seem to meld together a bit and share…

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How to fix America’s broken higher education system | Lumina Prize winner Greater Commons

How to fix America’s broken higher education system | Lumina Prize winner Greater Commons

I have a plan for building a better education system, but I need your help. For 20 years, I’ve served as a tenured professor in California. I’ve watched generations of students come to campus with hope in their eyes. They want better jobs. They want a brighter future. Yet half of them will not graduate. That’s right. Half of those who begin higher education drop out. There is even more bad news, unfortunately, about the state of higher education. If…

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China Spends Billions of Dollars Copying Western Art and Architecture. Why? | Gish Jen

China Spends Billions of Dollars Copying Western Art and Architecture. Why? | Gish Jen

Well of course you know China and the U.S. have very different ideas about intellectual property rights. About copying and things like that—imitation—very foundationally things that in the U.S. are completely taboo. In China it might be wrong or maybe even not legal, but they’re not taboo, right? And we can ask ourselves, “Well why is that? Why is building a building that looks just like a chateau in France, you know, why do we not do that here in…

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Neil deGrasse Tyson: Science, Abraham Lincoln, Immigrants, and the Fading of America

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Science, Abraham Lincoln, Immigrants, and the Fading of America

I have to chuckle a little bit when I’m approached by anybody, but in particular journalists, and say, “Are scientist worried that the public is in denial of science or is cherry-picking it?” And I chuckle not because it’s funny but because they’re coming to me as a scientist when they should be going to everyone. Everyone should be concerned by this, not just scientists. In fact, scientists will just continue as they’re doing. You might withdraw funding, but then…

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Why conspiratorial thinking is peaking in America | Sarah Rose Cavanagh

Why conspiratorial thinking is peaking in America | Sarah Rose Cavanagh

Rather than look at reality and agree on one whole reality we’re becoming a society where we have these different groups that believe in different realities. And that is a big part of political polarization where people don’t just agree about their opinions, disagree about the opinions about a series of facts but they disagree about whether the facts are actually true. But we can also see it in conspiracy thinking where these fringe groups, or at least they used…

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The oil wars: How America’s energy obsession wrecked the Middle East | Eugene Gholz

The oil wars: How America’s energy obsession wrecked the Middle East | Eugene Gholz

So for a long time oil has played a special role in American foreign policy and military strategy. Oil is a uniquely important commodity in global affairs. It’s an input to everything in our modern way of life; it’s very important for protecting our prosperity; and at a certain level oil is essential for high-quality military power: to fight you need access to oil. And in the Cold War the United States was concerned that the Soviet Union could interrupt…

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Without academic freedom, we might never see the truth. Here’s why. | Nicholas Christakis

Without academic freedom, we might never see the truth. Here’s why. | Nicholas Christakis

So when we think about academic freedom, we might ask the question, “Well, what’s so special about academia?” Why might we have special rules of communication and openness within academia? I think in approaching this, one might think about other parts of our economy or other activities that we engage in in a society in which we outline special rules of communication. So think about, for example, healthcare. When you go to your doctor, you have a couple of expectations…

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If America’s education system is outdated, how can we evolve? | Derrell Bradford

If America’s education system is outdated, how can we evolve? | Derrell Bradford

There are lots of times when I go out and I talk to people, and I have a little game I play I’ll say, “Who in here has more than one kid?” And then somebody will raise their hand and I’ll say, “I bet sometimes you look at one of your kids and you’re like this one is mine and other times you look at the other one and you say I don’t know where you came from.” Those kids…

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The Social Brain: culture, change and evolution | Bret Weinstein (Full Video)

The Social Brain: culture, change and evolution | Bret Weinstein (Full Video)

We’re heading into a very dangerous phase of history; human beings being addicted to growth are constantly looking for sources, so when we feel austerity coming on we tend to become more tribal. Unfortunately a perfectly free market will not allow benevolent firms to survive in the long run. My argument is not an argument for centrism. I regard utopianism as probably the worst idea that human beings have ever had. We find ourselves unfortunately stuck in an archaic argument…

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