The Obstetrical Dilemma

Origin Stories | 4 June 2021 | 0h 34m | Listen Later | iTunes
The obstetrical dilemma suggests that human babies are born early as an evolutionary trade-off between having a pelvis wide enough to permit the birth of large-brained infants and narrow enough for efficient bipedal locomotion. Holly Dunsworth and Anna Warrener describe their research exploring the (non) evidence for the obstetrical dilemma and discuss the importance of the stories we tell about our bodies.

Work: Should You Do Less of It?

The Next Big Idea | 13 May 2021 | 0h 47m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with James Suzman about his book Work: A History of How We Spend Our Time. Draws lessons from the way San hunter-gathers spend their time to argue for spending less time toiling away at labour we loathe and more time working at things we love.

The Story of Numerals

Many Minds | 14 April 2021 | 1h 16m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Stephen Chrisomalis about his book Reckonings: Numerals, Cognition, and History. Discusses the anthropology of numbers, mathematics, and literacy. Describes various systems for representing numbers, building on tally systems that emerge in the Upper Paleolithic, their association with writing, and debunks the notion that Roman numerals fell from favour due to being difficult to calculate with.

The Ardi Saga: The Epic Feud of a Human Ancestor

RNZ: Nine To Noon | 5 November 2020 | 0h 31m | Listen Later
Interview with Kermit Pattison about his book Fossil Men: The Quest for the Oldest Skeleton and the Origins of Humankind. Discusses the discovery of the 4.4 million-year-old bones of Ardi, thought to be the oldest known skeleton of a human ancestor; and the obsession and professional feuding which centred around whether humans were descended from an ancestor that resembled today’s chimpanzee.

Agriculture, Migration, and the Births of Language Families

Tides of History | 31 December 2020 | 0h 40m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Peter Bellwood exploring the relationship between agriculture, migration, and the distribution of today’s most prominent language families. Explains how farming led to population growth and movements of people that still shape our world today.

Bullshit Jobs

Hidden Brain | 3 September 2018 | 0h 45m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with David Graeber about the rise of meaningless, unfulfilling jobs, and how these positions affect the people who hold them. Discusses the ideas in Bullshit Jobs: A Theory.

Are Humans Fundamentally Good? (with Rutger Bregman)

The Ezra Klein Show | 1 June 2020 | 1h 39m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Rutger Bregman about his book Humankind: A Hopeful History. Argues that human nature is kinder, friendlier, and more decent than generally thought and that a new world could be built atop that understanding. Discusses the deeply social, egalitarian lives of hunter-gatherers; whether the advent of human civilization was a huge mistake; whether humans have a common nature; the implications of the Holocaust; whether we can build a society without CEOs, politicians, and bureaucrats; and more.

Easter Island – Where Giants Walked

Fall of Civilizations Podcast | 29 June 2019 | 1h 43m | Listen Later | iTunes
Works through the evidence that rats, slavers and disease were the downfall of Easter Island – not, as popularised by Jared Diamond, thoughtless deforestation to erect moai (stone monuments), with consequent civil war.