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History in (a) Flash
February 25, 2013 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Our Story in 2 Minutes An amazing visual history of our existence from the beginning to now...in 2 minutes.
posted by Dansaman (31 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
So judging by the number of photos per event, the three most important things that have happened in the history of the universe were World War II, video games, and 9/11.
posted by gwint at 11:49 AM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


I've always wanted to see a TV show whose first episode began with a voice intoning PREVIOUSLY, followed by a similar montage compressed into 14 seconds.
posted by Iridic at 11:55 AM on February 25, 2013 [14 favorites]


I would be quite excited to see variations that fill in everything from the Mona Lisa to the moments before the cataclysm differently.

This was very interesting even as one person's perspective, though.

I swear I've heard the music before.
posted by batmonkey at 11:58 AM on February 25, 2013


As a(n) historian, it makes me want to know more about the "us" that decided who the "our" is. Perspective matters, even in big history.
posted by J.W. at 12:01 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Replaced the url with direct link to the Youtube video, doesn't really make sense to link to a contextless embed on some random site.]
posted by cortex at 12:04 PM on February 25, 2013


I like parts of this (what is not to like about space pictures), but a part of me wishes that if it were broken into 2 minutes that the amount of time that things took up would be more realistic. Microbes, trilobites, etc...would take up much more time than the 1 second flash at the end with humans.
posted by Wolfster at 12:05 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


This would be a fantastic project to assign to high schoolers, since it could be done with basic image search and rudimentary video editing skills. The whole exercise would flag issues several have mentioned above, including relative lengths of epochs, how "importance" is determined, and how history (as story) is most effectively told. Hmmm, might suggest this to my teenage niece and nephew...
posted by twsf at 12:14 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Typical navel-gazing humans. Billions of years crammed into the first 30 seconds, and then almost a minute and a half on the last 2,500 years.
posted by chavenet at 12:15 PM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


The Hoff at 1:26? Wondered why he was included, and then I found this.
posted by hanoixan at 12:16 PM on February 25, 2013


The time scale is rather logarithmic.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:27 PM on February 25, 2013


I don't want to rag on this too hard since it was made by a high school kid but the first descendant of Adam and Eve was not, historically speaking, Tom Hanks.
posted by theodolite at 12:27 PM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've always wanted to see a TV show whose first episode began with a voice intoning PREVIOUSLY, followed by a similar montage compressed into 14 seconds.

The Simpsons did something like this.
posted by localroger at 12:36 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


How could he not include the Macarena?
posted by orme at 12:38 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I swear I've heard the music before.

Inception, if I'm not mistaken.
posted by DreamerFi at 12:39 PM on February 25, 2013


gwint: "So judging by the number of photos per event, the three most important things that have happened in the history of the universe were World War II, video games, and 9/11."

To be fair, the most important people in the universe are 90 year-old jewish investment banker gamers.
posted by wcfields at 12:39 PM on February 25, 2013


A nice video. I specially liked the 1st part before beginning of humans.
posted by Ahmed_Nabil at 12:51 PM on February 25, 2013


Hey, wait, they forgot to add Adam Jensen's voiceover! (spoilers for Deus Ex?)
posted by sendai sleep master at 1:01 PM on February 25, 2013


I like parts of this (what is not to like about space pictures), but a part of me wishes that if it were broken into 2 minutes that the amount of time that things took up would be more realistic. Microbes, trilobites, etc...would take up much more time than the 1 second flash at the end with humans.
Well, let's see now. Two minutes is 120 seconds, and the universe is about 14 billion years old. That means each second stands for roughly 117 million years. So, assuming we're vain enough to have a 1 second flash of a picture of "us", that basically means "any placental mammal", which seem to have arisen and diversified between 100 to 150 million years ago. Humans are so irrelevant that we might as well put up a picture of a cow or a hedgehog for "our" one second.

However, assuming we want an actual picture of something roughly human (let's say a member of the Homo genus), how long would that picture flash on screen for? Let's be openhanded and give ourselves 2.5 million years for how long Homo has been around. If 1 second is 117 million years, then 2.5 million years is about 21.4 milliseconds. Given that most films run at 24 frames per second, meaning that each frame lasts for 41.7 milliseconds, we're not even a single frame. By rights, this film should have no images of humans.
posted by Jehan at 1:18 PM on February 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


Not a single frame devoted to the invention of the cowbell?
posted by absentian at 1:33 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


By rights, this film should have no images of humans.

Wow. Those ISPs are really taking this seriously.
posted by hal9k at 1:40 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, I for one had no idea that all of natural history leads inextricably to becoming American. As soon as I drop this prehensile tail, I'm gonna waddle across that 49th parallel on all fours and stand up and find an outlet mall.

(I keed, I keed. Well, sort of. But the "our" in our existence is almost exclusively American from the appearance of the first revoluntionary soldier's musket.)
posted by gompa at 1:59 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


We're so lucky that this DeLorean had a dash cam. Of course it makes sense that if you're travelling through time, you'd want some protection against insurance fraud.
posted by oulipian at 2:07 PM on February 25, 2013


Here's a slightly more accurate time scale.
posted by sourwookie at 2:32 PM on February 25, 2013


Ah the casual-racism of displaying indigenous peoples as "less evolved". But then again, they did a better job than I could probably do, so there's that...
posted by blue_beetle at 3:13 PM on February 25, 2013


There is no picture of me. I call shenanigans.

And that photo of the world doesn't count; I was out that day.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:38 PM on February 25, 2013


So basically after the big bang, amoebas, monkeys, we grew some corn, we built the pyramids (science history unraveling the mystery...), we did some nice paintings, then came Napoleon, the Nazis, Hiroshima, man on the moon, 9/11, aaaand OBAMA!

Well, I for one had no idea that all of natural history leads inextricably to becoming American.
No, really!
posted by bitteschoen at 3:58 PM on February 25, 2013


This reminded me of those TOP 100 ALBUMS OF ALL TIME magazine surveys that invariably skew to music released in the past year.

And no screen time for the Hollywood musical? C'mon, that's at least as significant as the domestication of animals.
posted by the sobsister at 4:38 PM on February 25, 2013


tl;dw
posted by terrapin at 4:40 PM on February 25, 2013


One of the most amazing things to me about time is the length of time that homo sapiens have existed (200,000 years or so?) versus the length of time that we've had recorded history (what, six thousand years?). That's roughly 194,000 years where there were people--people who you could actually have sex with and make babies!--during which time we have no records of daily life. I think it's natural to make the mistake that this high schooler does that nothing of import happened during that time but, well, not really.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:40 PM on February 25, 2013


Guinness - Evolution
posted by gwint at 6:09 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


've always wanted to see a TV show whose first episode began with a voice intoning PREVIOUSLY, followed by a similar montage compressed into 14 seconds.

My old improv group tried a game like this. We'd take a suggestion, someone would yell "Previously on GROUP NAME," and we'd do a series of short, apparently unrelated scenes. After that, we would do a longform in which we would try to make sense of the nonsense we'd thrown at each other.

We weren't good improvisers, so it didn't work out well.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:10 PM on February 25, 2013


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