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This is part 2 of our coverage of The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity.In this episode, we're still laying the foundations to answer the question of why it is that we're stuck in a single political paradigm. We discuss how cultures diverge, why the agricultural revolution wasn't much of a revolution, and how pre-agricultural societies actually lived (spoiler: in all sorts of ways).
In this episode, we kick off our discussion of The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow.We liked Bullshit Jobs so much that we decided to keep going with the Graeber titles. This book examines the ways in which humans have organized themselves since the beginning. In this first part, we talk about the fallacious but popular narratives that have saturated our thinking about the history of humanity and the origins of inequality.



In this mini-episode, we talk about the recent events in Hirad's home country of Iran. Hirad shares some recollections about life there, and we use the recent events as a perspective on western issues.This episode is a bit different from the usual Fresh Lens content. We feel it's incumbent upon us to keep the conversation about these events alive, since that is all we can do.
Today, Hirad is speaking with Joomi Kim, biologist, researcher, and writer of an excellent Substack.Topics include: how Joomi ended up researching COVID vaccine safety, the parallels between the Iraq war propaganda and today's information climate, and how we can navigate difficult topics.You can find her Substack publication here:
Bullshit Jobs - Part 2

Bullshit Jobs - Part 2


Continuing from the previous episode, we discuss the latter half of David Graeber's Bullshit Jobs. We discuss why such jobs exist and what we might do to remedy the situation.
Bullshit Jobs - Part 1

Bullshit Jobs - Part 1


In this episode, we discuss Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber. Graeber was an anthropologist. In 2013, he wrote an article talking about the phenomena of bullshit jobs - jobs that were unnecessary and pernicious. The article touched the nerve, and Graeber was flooded with hundreds of accounts from the holders of Bullshit Jobs.In this episode, we discuss what bullshit jobs are, Graeber's taxonomy of the types of bullshit jobs, and the effect of these jobs on the psyche of those who hold them. In the next episode, we will cover the second half of the book, discussing the roots of the problem and what can be done about it.
The World for Sale

The World for Sale


We're used to going to stores to buy anything we want at highly affordable prices. But where does our stuff really come from? To answer this, Trish & Hirad have been trying to learn about the world of commodities trading. To help them along the way, they picked up The World for Sale, which chronicles the rise of the commodity traders during the new world order that started after WWII. Tune in to find out in what ways, if any, this book changes the way we see the world.
Science Fictions

Science Fictions


In our modern world, science is pegged as our guide to understanding what is true. But while the scientific method is the best way we have found to make sense of the world, scientists and scientific institutions have enormous shortcomings that have come to the fore in recent years.In this episode, we discuss Stuart Ritchie's book, Science Fictions. The book enumerates the different ways in which science can go wrong, the replication crisis, and what we may be able to do to get it back on track. To top it off, Hirad draws some outlandish conclusions that Trish vehemently disagrees with. Get the book on Amazon here.
On this very special episode of Fresh Lens, we speak Dr. Shirin Kalyan of the University of British Columbia’s Department of Medicine. Dr. Kalyan is an expert in immunology and immunotherapy. In this episode, we discuss the COVID19 pandemic and the scientific foundations of Canada’s response to it. Dr. Kalyan is a fount of knowledge. Our wide-ranging conversation touches on:The different types of vaccinesHow mRNA vaccines differ from the past vaccinesHow the immune system recognizes different threatsWhether reaching COVID-zero is still possibleWhether the current policies being adopted in Canada make sense based on our best science You can find Dr. Kalyan on Twitter @tolling_bell.Watch segments of Dr. Kalyan’s testimony for the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health here and here.Some of the papers we have referenced in this episode are listed below.
This episode is a treat!In our last two book episodes, we covered Kindly Inquisitors and The Constitution of Knowledge, both by Jonathan Rauch. We are delighted to have Jonathan on the show today to talk about both books and some points of disagreement we had when we covered the books. We discuss the nature of moral progress, whether his most recent book was politically biased, and what we can make of the credibility of our knowledge-making institutions, particularly the mainstream media.You can find Jonathan on Twitter @jon_rauch, and on his website links to articles that Jonathan mentioned in the discussion:On Andrew Sullivan's characterization of the mainstream media:'s piece on the coverage of the lab leak hypothesis: yourself a copy of Jonathan's books:Kindly InquisitorsThe Constitution of Knowledge
Mini-sode 2: Facebook

Mini-sode 2: Facebook


The tech company everyone loves to hate has been in the news again. In this episode, we discuss the question of monopoly power as it applies to Facebook and whether its social harms outweigh its benefits.
In the previous full-length episode, we read Kindly Inquisitors by Jonathan Rauch. We liked that book so much that we decided to read his latest that covers much the same topics but updated to apply to today's issues. But could Rauch exceed the high bar set by Kindly Inquisitors? Listen and find out.Get the book on Amazon here.
Who are the  gatekeepers of information and truth, and do we even need them? In this short mini episode, we riff on the ideas in Jonathan Rauch's new book The Constitution of Knowledge and our current, collective lack of trust in institutions.You can get the book on Amazon.
Trish and Hirad discuss a 28-year-old book on liberalism and its detractors. After a brief history of what liberalism is and how it developed, we talk about why and how it was under attack in the 90s and how the attacks have changed over the years. Along the way, we argue about whether we can ever really make moral progress and how we need to deal with the reality of historical injustices in liberal societies.As always, the book we discuss in this episode is available here.
Why are some people liberal and others conservative? What makes us land on the political positions that we hold?In this episode, we discuss The Hidden Agenda of the Political Mind by Jason Weeden and Robert Kurzban, who are trying to get to the root of these questions. We present the arguments laid out by Kurzban and Weeden in the context of the abortion debate. We also debate its ramifications for political discourse in general.You can get the book on Amazon.
In this episode, we explore the nature versus nurture debate with the help of behavioural genetics. In human development, what matters more - the environment or our genome? Join us for a deep dive into the fascinating research of twins and adoption. From the uncanny similarities of twins reared apart to the effects of different parenting strategies, we untangle what the research says about our genes and environment... and what it doesn't. If you have any feedback on how we can make the show better, please reach out to us. Our email address is
In this episode, we discuss David Reich's book, Who We Are & How We Got Here. Starting with an overview of DNA sequencing technology and how it helps paint a picture of our past, we review what we know about ancient humans: Where did we evolve, and how did we spread around the globe? We discuss early modern humans' interactions with other human species, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans. Then, with a focus on Europe and India, we discuss how modern human populations ended up where they are today and what that tells us about the meaning of 'race' and differences among human populations.Buy David Reich's book on Amazon.If you have feedback on how we can make the show better, please reach out to us. Our email address is
Predator and prey, parent and offspring, mates and rivals in courtship – animal communication is ubiquitous. The Handicap Principle provides a fascinating explanation of how organisms with divergent evolutionary needs develop means of reliable communication with one another.Get the book on Amazon.If you have feedback on how we can make the show better, please reach out to us. Our email address is for listening,Trish & Hirad
Several years after the best-selling book, The Selfish Gene, which was the topic of our first episode, Richard Dawkins published The Extended Phenotype. In this book, Dawkins doubled down on the concept the gene as the central unit of selection and outlined how genes can have effects that reach far outside of the bodies in which they ride, sparking heated debate within the world of biology.Get the book on Amazon.If you have feedback on how we can make the show better, please reach out to us. Our email address is for listening,Trish & Hirad
In this inaugural episode of the Fresh Lens podcast, we talk about a book that has had a profound impact on how both of us see the world – The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. We give a quick overview of the key concepts and talk about what it has meant for each of us. Get the book on Amazon here.If you have feedback on how we can make the show better, please reach out to us. Our email address is for listening,Trish & Hirad
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