kottke.org posts about timelines
From Aron Strandberg,1 this is a timeline visualization of the age of the world’s population from 1960-2060. The world’s human population has increased rapidly in the last couple centuries, most recently doubling since 1970:
A tremendous change occurred with the industrial revolution: whereas it had taken all of human history until around 1800 for world population to reach one billion, the second billion was achieved in only 130 years (1930), the third billion in less than 30 years (1959), the fourth billion in 15 years (1974), and the fifth billion in only 13 years (1987).
But watching that video, you’ll realize that the world’s population will not reach 20 or 30 billion in 2050 — human civilization is getting old.
This interactive map shows where the 79 million people who have immigrated to the US from 1820 to 2013 came from. In the past, incoming residents from Canada, Italy, Germany, and Ireland were prevalent, but more recently Mexico, China, and the Philippines have led the way.
What I think is particularly interesting about immigration to the U.S. is that each “wave” coming in from a particular country has a story behind it — usually escaping persecution (e.g. Jews escaping Russia after the May Laws were enacted, the Cuban Revolution) or major economic troubles (e.g. the Irish Potato Famine, the collapse of southern Italy after the Italian Unification).
There are plenty of dark spots on United States’ history, but the role it has played as a sanctuary for troubled people across the world is a history I feel very proud to be a part of.
The graph of incoming immigrants as a percentage of the total US population is especially instructive. Though higher than it was in the 60s and 70s, relative immigration rates are still far below what the country saw in the 1920s and before.
This is cool and a little mesmerizing: animated US maps showing the most popular baby name in each state from 1910 to 2014 for boys and girls. There are three separate visualizations. The first just shows the most popular baby name in each state. Watch as one dominant name takes over for another in just a couple of years…the Mary to Lisa to Jennifer transition in the 60s and 70s is like watching an epidemic spread. Celebrity names pop up and disappear, like Betty (after Betty Boop and Betty Grable?) and Shirley (after Shirley Temple) in the 30s. The boy’s names change a lot less until you start getting into the Brandons, Austins, and Tylers of the 90s.
The next visualization shows the most particularly popular name for each state, e.g. Brandy was the most Louisianan name for female newborns in 1975. And the third visualization shows each name plotted in the averaged geographical location of births — so you can see, for example, the northward migration of Amanda during the 80s.
P.S. Guess what the most popular boy’s name in the state of my birth was the year I was born? And the most particularly popular boy’s name in the state I moved to just a year later? Jason. I am basic af.
Update: From Flowing Data, some graphs of the most unisex names in US history. (thx, paul)
From the American Museum of Natural History, an animated timeline map of human population growth from 100,000 BCE to the present.
It took 200,000 years for our population to reach 1 billion. And only 200 years to reach 7 billion.
Interesting to see that the only sustained decline in the world’s overall population over the past 2000 years was during the bubonic plague outbreak during the Middle Ages.
The product of a collaboration between Polygraph and Billboard, this interactive timeline lets you listen to the top rap song in the US from 1989 to 2015 as you see the single jockeying in the top 10.
Whoa, Histography is a super-cool interactive timeline of historical events pulled from Wikipedia, from the Big Bang to the present day. The site was built by Matan Stauber as his final project at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. This is really fun to play with and I love the style.
From the David Rumsey Map Collection, a remarkable timeline/history of the world from 4004 BC to 1881 called Adams’ Synchronological Chart. This is just a small bit of it:
According to Rumsey’s site, the full timeline is more than 22 feet long. (via @john_overholt)
Update: A replica of this chart is available on Amazon in a few different iterations…I’m going to give this one a try. Apparently the charts are popular in Sunday schools and such because the timeline uses the Ussher chronology where the Earth is only 6000 years old.
The timeline of the far future artice is far from the longest page on Wikipedia, but it might take you several hours to get through because it contains so many enticing detours. What’s Pangaea Ultima? Oooh, Roche limit! The Degenerate Era, Poincaré recurrence time, the Big Rip scenario, the cosmic light horizon, the list goes on and on. And the article itself is a trove of fascinating facts and eye-popping phrases. Here are a few of my favorites. (Keep in mind that the universe is only 13.75 billion years old. Unless we’re living in a computer simulation.)
50,000 years: “Niagara Falls erodes away the remaining 32 km to Lake Erie and ceases to exist.”
1 million years: “Highest estimated time until the red supergiant star Betelgeuse explodes in a supernova. The explosion is expected to be easily visible in daylight.”
1.4 million years: “The star Gliese 710 passes as close as 1.1 light years to the Sun before moving away. This may gravitationally perturb members of the Oort cloud; a halo of icy bodies orbiting at the edge of the Solar System. As a consequence, the likelihood of a cometary impact in the inner Solar System will increase.”
230 million years: “Beyond this time, the orbits of the planets become impossible to predict.”
800 million years: “Carbon dioxide levels fall to the point at which C4 photosynthesis is no longer possible. Multicellular life dies out.”
4 billion years: “Median point by which the Andromeda Galaxy will have collided with the Milky Way, which will thereafter merge to form a galaxy dubbed ‘Milkomeda’.”
7.9 billion years: “The Sun reaches the tip of the red giant branch, achieving its maximum radius of 256 times the present day value. In the process, Mercury, Venus and possibly Earth are destroyed. During these times, it is possible that Saturn’s moon Titan could achieve surface temperatures necessary to support life.”
100 billion years: “The Universe’s expansion causes all galaxies beyond the Milky Way’s Local Group to disappear beyond the cosmic light horizon, removing them from the observable universe.”
1 trillion years: “The universe’s expansion, assuming a constant dark energy density, multiplies the wavelength of the cosmic microwave background by 10^29, exceeding the scale of the cosmic light horizon and rendering its evidence of the Big Bang undetectable.”
1 quadrillion years: “Estimated time until stellar close encounters detach all planets in the Solar System from their orbits. By this point, the Sun will have cooled to five degrees above absolute zero.”
10^65 years: “Assuming that protons do not decay, estimated time for rigid objects like rocks to rearrange their atoms and molecules via quantum tunneling. On this timescale all matter is liquid.”
10^10^56 years: “Estimated time for random quantum fluctuations to generate a new Big Bang, according to Caroll and Chen.”
Read the whole thing, it’s worth the effort. (via @daveg)
Note: Illustration by Chris Piascik…prints & more are available.
This Tumblr filled with hand-drawn timelines is wonderful…the Troublemaker of the Moment timeline is a favorite.
The NY Times’ Paper Cuts blog calls Cartographies of Time “the most beautiful book of the year”. I cannot disagree. In attempting to answer the question “how do you draw time?”, the authors present page after page of beautiful and clever visual timelines.
Cartographies of Time is the first comprehensive history of graphic representations of time in Europe and the United States from 1450 to the present. Authors Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Grafton have crafted a lively history featuring fanciful characters and unexpected twists and turns. From medieval manuscripts to websites, Cartographies of Time features a wide variety of timelines that in their own unique ways-curving, crossing, branching-defy conventional thinking about the form. A fifty-four-foot-long timeline from 1753 is mounted on a scroll and encased in a protective box. Another timeline uses the different parts of the human body to show the genealogies of Jesus Christ and the rulers of Saxony. Ladders created by missionaries in eighteenth-century Oregon illustrate Bible stories in a vertical format to convert Native Americans. Also included is the April 1912 Marconi North Atlantic Communication chart, which tracked ships, including the Titanic, at points in time rather than by their geographic location, alongside little-known works by famous figures, including a historical chronology by the mapmaker Gerardus Mercator and a chronological board game patented by Mark Twain. Presented in a lavishly illustrated edition, Cartographies of Time is a revelation to anyone interested in the role visual forms have played in our evolving conception of history.
The book is also available at Amazon.
Ward Shelley paints these wonderfully intricate timelines of different things…his life, Frank Zappa’s career, and the history of the avant garde.
You know that image that’s been going around that shows several revisions to the Pepsi logo while the Coca-Cola logo is the same as it’s been since 1885? It tells a compelling story…Pepsi shifting its brand every few years in an attempt to catch up to steady market leader Coca-Cola. But of course it’s bullshit…Armin Vit constructs a more accurate brand timeline that shows many Coca-Cola logos over the years.
A brand timeline portrait shows all the different brands a person uses and interacts with during the course of a typical day.
Originated by Jane Sample, dozens of other people have also created portraits. (via rocketboom)
Update: Make your own at Brand My Day.
The NY Times has a timeline map showing what people from around the country said on Twitter during the Super Bowl broadcast. I like the emoticons tab but they also should have included a profanity tab.
The Food Timeline shows which foods were invented when. Ok, not invented, exactly, but first eaten. A tasting menu:
Pretzels, 5th century AD.
Pork and beans, 1475.
Foie gras, 1st century AD.
Chop suey, 1896.
Popcorn, 3600 BC.
Swedish meatballs, 1754.
When I was a kid, “oldies” music and movies seemed ancient. Even though I’m now in my 30s, the entertainment that I watched and listened to in my youth still feels pretty recent to me. Raiders of the Lost Ark wasn’t all that long ago, right? But comparing my distorted recall of childhood favorites to the oldies of the time jogs my memory in unpleasant ways. For example:
Listening to Michael Jackson’s Thriller today is equivalent to listening to Elvis Presley’s first album (1956) at the time of Thriller’s release in 1982. Elvis singles in 1956 included Blue Suede Shoes, Hound Dog, and Love Me Tender.
If you’re around my age, how old do you feel right now? Here are some other examples of timeline twins:
Watching Star Wars today is like watching It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) in 1977. It’s a Wonderful Life was nominated for an Oscar the following year along with Ethel Barrymore (b. 1879) and Lilian Gish (b. 1893).
Listening to Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit today is equivalent to playing Terry Jack’s Seasons In The Sun (1974) in 1991.
Watching The Godfather today is like watching Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936) in 1972. Modern Times was a silent film (Chaplin’s last).
Listening to the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks (1977) today…well, they didn’t really have rock or pop albums back in 1946. But popular songs on the radio were sung by Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Nat King Cole, and Dinah Shore, as well as many performers and their orchestras.
Back to the Future (1985) —> To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Die Hard (1988) —> Bullitt (1968)
Radiohead, OK Computer (1997) —> Bon Jovi, Slippery When Wet (1986)
A timeline of the greatest American breakfast cereals, from Grape Nuts in 1897 to Cheerios in 1941 to the present day. (via geek out new york)
A fantastically extensive timeline of recorded information “from cave paintings to the internet”. It’s an expanded version of the timeline that appears in the book, From Gutenberg to the Internet (more info), which seems really interesting.
From Gutenberg to the Internet presents 63 original readings from the history of computing, networking, and telecommunications arranged thematically by chapters. Most of the readings record basic discoveries from the 1830s through the 1960s that laid the foundation of the world of digital information in which we live. These readings, some of which are illustrated, trace historic steps from the early nineteenth century development of telegraph systems — the first data networks — through the development of the earliest general-purpose programmable computers and the earliest software, to the foundation in 1969 of ARPANET, the first national computer network that eventually became the Internet. The readings will allow you to review early developments and ideas in the history of information technology that eventually led to the convergence of computing, data networking, and telecommunications in the Internet.
(via design observer)
A timeline of human history (mostly sex and violence) by Milo Manara. NSFW.
A very interesting extinction timeline from 1950-2050. Blogging is predicted to die out around 2023, the same time as Web 2.0, The Maldives, and spelling. The last to go? Death. It’s based on the creator’s book, Future Files: A History of the Next 50 Years.
Courtesy of Wikipedia, a timeline of the world’s most important inventions, from 2.4 million years ago to the present.
Innovation timeline 1900-2050, from corn flakes to something called quiet paint.
Writer’s Dreamtools has a timeline of events, people, entertainment, fashion, money, etc. for every decade since 1650. This allows the writer to put herself in that time period and as a jumping off point for further historical research. Favorite categories: “who’s in” and “what’s in”. What a great resource for writers. (via youngna)
A gigantic movie timeline that incorporates events from tons of movies. “Who’d have thought that while Gangs of New York’s Amsterdam Vallon was killing Butcher Bill, down the road Abraham Lincoln was being kidnapped by Bill & Ted”.