The Big Think Newsletter


THE BIG IDEA

Atheism is not as rare or as rational as you think

There is a popular notion that science and rationality will convert people to atheism. But there is little evidence to suggest that this is so. The seemingly bizarre religious rituals that many atheists deride as irrational may in fact be cultural evolutionary tricks that help create cooperative societies. So who’s the irrational one?

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THE WELL

There are 8 classes of intelligence. Which are you?

Just in case you aren’t aware, we have launched The Well, our new co-publication in partnership with the John Templeton Foundation that explores some of life’s biggest questions. Currently, we are featuring a great video on intelligence. There are eight different types: linguistic, logical mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist. Which are you? For stories like this and so much more, sign up for The Well newsletter here with just one click — it’s hosted by Big Think’s Jonny Thomson, and you will get our favorite stories every Tuesday in your inbox.

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THE BIG DISCOVERY

The accidental discovery that could change the world

When scientists are searching for one thing, sometimes they fortuitously stumble upon something else. Occasionally, these happy accidents change the world — penicillin and microwaves are two prominent examples. Now, another potential revolution is in the works thanks to a team of scientists who found that a particular chemical phase of sulfur stops battery degradation. This could allow for the development of lithium-sulfur batteries that might give electric vehicles a range of thousands of miles.

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13.8

Could aliens suck the energy from black holes with Dyson spheres?

Black holes get a bad rap. Sure, they are enormously powerful vortices that swallow up everything, including light itself, creating a seemingly infinite pit of darkness and despair. But there is a bright side. Much of the debris that almost finds its way into the black hole’s grasp gets shot out into space via high-powered jets. What if aliens could harness that energy?

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Alex Berezow is the executive editor of Big Think. He holds a PhD in microbiology and has over a decade of experience in science journalism.