What was once only available to kings and queens, but that you can do today? The answer: Shocking stuff you’ve never even thought of. If you ever worry that our world is in decline, this episode can help put that in perspective. We also look at some amazing predictions from 1921 about 2021, and see how we’re living in the world they only fantasized about.
You’ve heard the story: Young people got “participation trophies” as kids, and it taught them to be entitled, lazy workers. But here’s what you haven’t heard: Participation trophies are 100 years old, and for most of that time, they were considered a good thing. Here’s the real story of how these trophies became villainized… and what their actual impact is.
You can learn a lot from a simple margarita… because when you take one home from a restaurant in America, you’re participating in a change that was hundreds of years in the making. In this episode, we dig deep into how cocktails-to-go became suddenly legal (and why they were once illegal in the first place). It’s a surprisingly complex story that reveals our weird history with alcohol, and how the smallest shifts can lead to unexpectedly massive changes.
We like to say that things were better before. But… what year was that, exactly? Join me on a trip through history, as we return to every supposed “golden age” to find out just how golden it was. Then we answer the big question: Is nostalgia useful or harmful, and how do we make people more excited for tomorrow?
This is a full remake of our classic 2016 episode, now with lots more insights and history!
This podcast was called Pessimists Archive. Now it’s called Build For Tomorrow.
Why? Because this show is optimistic — and it needed a name that reflected that. It’s the same show you love, now with a name that loves you back.
We once knew how to do important things… until new technology made us weaker, lazier, and dumber. That’s a story we’ve told ourselves for centuries. But is it true?
These feel like historic times… so how can we share our wisdom and experiences with future generations? Turns out, it’s really hard! This episode explores why time capsules fail, why almost nothing lasts for thousands of years, why the future may not care about us after all—and why all of that is just fine.
If you’ve ever voted in an election, watched the Bachelor, or worried about the end of days, then you’ve probably fallen for a specific rhetorical trick. In this episode, we explore the history of the phrase “the most important election of our lifetime,” and why the human brain is so UNIQUELY, INSANELY, OUTRAGEOUSLY(!!!) susceptible to hyperbole.
We have a clear narrative about the 2016 and 2020 election hacking: It’s social media’s fault. But Russia has used the same strategy against America for 100 years (and that’s just the start). If we treat this like it’s only a Facebook problem, then we’ll never truly protect our elections. This is the history of election hacking in America, and the repercussions of calling something “unprecedented” when it’s not.
The fork isn’t just a tool for eating. It’s also one of the greatest symbols of individualism — a utensil that people opposed for thousands of years, and that only gained acceptance once we started thinking differently about ourselves. This is the story of how the fork shaped us.