Build For Tomorrow

This is a show about the unexpected things that shape us, and how we can shape the future. We tell funny, surprising stories about why people once feared the things we love (like the teddy bears and coffee!), and the myths we keep telling ourselves (like how new tech is harming us!), and walk away with lessons that can help turn fear and uncertainty into a path of opportunity. Welcome to Build for Tomorrow, hosted by Jason Feifer. (This show was previously called Pessimists Archive.)

Eine durchschnittliche Folge dieses Podcasts dauert 45m. Bisher sind 46 Folge(n) erschienen. Alle 5 Wochen erscheint eine Folge dieses Podcasts.

Gesamtlänge aller Episoden: 1 day 8 hours 22 minutes


How Natural Is "Natural"?

People love natural foods and natural products... but what is "natural," really? In this episode, we explore that question by going back to one of the very first times anyone claimed a natural product was better than a man-made one: It's the great war between the "natural" ice industry and the brand-new refrigerator industry. And it can teach us a lot about the decisions we make today. Get in touch! Web: Email. jasonfeifer@gmail...


 2020-03-26  48m

Why We Really Celebrate Our Birthdays

Today, people complain about self-obsessed millennials. Yesterday, they complained about children celebrating their birthdays. When the birthday party became popular in the 19th century, people worried that it would corrupt community, spoil children, and contradict the bible. But the truth -- about why we celebrate our birthdays and ourselves -- is far more complicated. Get in touch! Web: Email. jasonfeifer@gmail...


 2020-02-27  45m

Can Tech Physically Change Your Face?

Do you suffer from automobile face? What about airplane face? Or moving-picture face? These are just some examples from a strange historical pattern: For more than a century, people have claimed that new technologies are physically deforming our faces -- and we still say it today. (No, you don't have "tech neck"!) On this episode, we explore where this fear comes from, what it means, and what happens when the fear really does come true...


 2020-01-23  53m

Teddy Bears Are History's Most Subversive Toy

The teddy bear: Is it cute and cuddly, or a “horrible monstrosity” that’ll destroy humanity? In 1907, many people feared the worst — that this new toy would ruin young girls’ developing maternal instincts, and lead us to a terrible fate. This is the story of how the teddy bear changed us all… and how we then changed the bear. Get in touch! Web: Email. Twitter / Instagram: @heyfeifer Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


 2019-12-05  49m

You're Vain and That's OK!

Vanity was born when the mirror was discovered. That’s what the Chicago Record wrote in 1895, around the time when mirrors became a household item. People (and especially women) were condemned for looking in the mirror, and accused of being sinful. But then the mirror altered the way we think about vanity altogether — and forever changed the way we look at ourselves...


 2019-10-24  53m

Should Roads Be For Cars?

Roads weren't always for cars. In fact, highways were originally built for bikes! And now, as modern cities freak out over e-scooters, it’s worth looking back at when the roads were full of all kinds of things on wheels. How did early scooters, roller skates, and other new devices shape what we think of as the road today? And is it time to rethink how we design our cities now? Get in touch! Web: Email. jasonfeifer@gmail...


 2019-09-12  50m

The Man Who Nearly Destroyed Comic Books

In the 1950s, America declared war on the comic book. People feared that they’d turn children into hardened criminals, and so opponents burned them in large piles, states banned them, and the U.S. Senate investigated their dangers. The man leading the charge was a psychologist named Fredric Wertham, whose research fueled people’s fears...


 2019-07-26  51m

How the Elevator Shaped Our World

The elevator has had a lot of ups and downs. (Sorry, sorry.) As the innovation gained popularity in the late 1800s, it had a profound effect on the way we organize our cities and ourselves. It was also blamed for a rise in crime, for causing something called brain fever, for destroying civil society, and more. On this episode of Pessimists Archive, we look at how the elevator shaped our world, why not everyone loved that, and what it has to teach us about the next big change...


 2019-06-20  44m

There's Nothing Wrong With Kids These Days

Kids! They’re lazy, narcissistic, and disrespectful -- or so says the older generation. But when you look back through history, you’ll discover that older generations have been saying a version of the same thing for thousands of years. Our question is: Why? And we found an answer. Get in touch! Web: Email. Twitter / Instagram: @heyfeifer Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


 2019-05-15  47m

Every New Dance Used To Be Scandalous

Why are new dances always so scandalous? Grinding, freak dancing, swing dancing, rock-n-roll -- each had their opponents. But at the beginning of it all was the waltz. We may think of the waltz as classy and performative today, but as it gained popularity in the early 1800s, the dance was called disgusting, dangerous, an “obscene display … confined to prostitutes and adulteresses”, and worse...


 2019-04-22  41m