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May 27, 2006 1:44 PM   Subscribe

Timeline of Trends and Events (1750 to 2100). Large image, lots of info. Via digg
posted by sourwookie (51 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I saw this yesterday and thought it was very nice but I couldn't help thinking: "Why isn't this a pdf file." It would be so much simpler to navigate around in.

Thanks for the reminder of the site, sourwookie. :)
posted by bim at 1:55 PM on May 27, 2006


Viewability is an issue. I would like to figure out how to get this onto paper (several sheets if need be).
posted by sourwookie at 2:03 PM on May 27, 2006


Worst. Interface. Evar.
posted by alby at 2:04 PM on May 27, 2006


Wait a second, nuclear fusion is ALWAYS predicted to be 50 years into the future, so let's bump that up to 2067. If this chart is printed in 2017 we'll have to bump it up to 2077.
posted by rolypolyman at 2:05 PM on May 27, 2006


2057 and 2067, not 2067 and 2077
posted by rolypolyman at 2:06 PM on May 27, 2006


interesting that the technology adoption curves (steamships, automobile, computer) all look the same.

i wonder if that speaks to some sort of truth about how long it takes society to adopt new technologies (it's about a generation?) or if whoever created this just fudged it that way. hmm.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 2:10 PM on May 27, 2006


Seems to be lots of cyclicality and sine waves.
posted by sourwookie at 2:14 PM on May 27, 2006


Very interesting. Isn't it possible to decompile the flash movie and get a printable set of images or whatnot?
posted by fondle at 2:20 PM on May 27, 2006


An SVG file would be extremely nice... Cool post, SW.
posted by hoborg at 2:22 PM on May 27, 2006


sergeant sandwich: Everett Rogers was one of the first to note that technology diffusion occurs according to a pretty standard pattern (early adopters, followed by early majority, the mass market, etc.) when you map this you get an s-shaped curve.


posted by blahblahblah at 2:24 PM on May 27, 2006


So much of this seems to be made up patterns. Society doesn't follow simple patterns like this seems to claim. I don't like it.
posted by freedryk at 2:25 PM on May 27, 2006


Total infogasm!

Reminds me of Jamie Shovlin's recent stuff.
posted by jack_mo at 2:30 PM on May 27, 2006


I would love to be able to have a huge printout of this for my clasroom. Anyone know how to do it?
posted by LarryC at 2:32 PM on May 27, 2006


Totally fudged, sergeant sandwich. The other day I was at a talk by Professor Nick Crafts about the productivity impact and rate of adoption of 'general purpose technologies' (e.g. steam, IT). He showed how slow steam was to have any real impact on society and the economy, as measured by labour productivity figures. The contribution of steam power in all its forms before 1830 was small. The real breakthrough in terms of economic impact was the advent of high-pressure steam power in 1850, eighty years after Watt's initial invention.

IT, by contrast, has had a much faster, much greater, impact on productivity. The costs of IT, measured for example by MIPS per $ have fallen far more dramatically than steam power ever did, the time taken for the economy to be affected by the technology is greatly reduced, and the impact is greater. The effect of IT on the economy is still not instantaneous, though: the growth economist Robert Solow coined the Solow Paradox in 1987 when he said: "You can see the computer age everywhere except in the productivity statistics".
posted by matthewr at 2:38 PM on May 27, 2006


Interesting and, in some respects, wholly depressing as well. Thanks for the link.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:38 PM on May 27, 2006


That's pretty cool, thanks for posting it. Kind of hard to navigate though.
posted by marxchivist at 2:40 PM on May 27, 2006


More from the site.

Doesn't seem to be much content other than the chart and this.
posted by IronLizard at 2:44 PM on May 27, 2006


I would love to see some citations, personally. "Internet growth reaches saturation"????
posted by neustile at 2:48 PM on May 27, 2006


I've just read, on preview, blahblahblah's comment. I'm sure Rogers is right that technology adoption as measured by %ownership follows an S-curve. But the way that the (FPP) timeline shows all GPTs taking the same amount of time to impact on society is wholly wrong.

Also, it's unclear what the curves on the timeline mean. Are they supposed to be measuring the %ownership or economic/societal impact (via some proxy like labour productivity)?
posted by matthewr at 2:49 PM on May 27, 2006


It'd be so much easier to look at if it were a wall poster instead. Neat, though.
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:51 PM on May 27, 2006


It looks like a "before" example in an Edward Tufte book, right before Tufte redoes the whole thing his way.
posted by shortfuse at 2:57 PM on May 27, 2006


Looks like a slick way to promote a cranky simple-minded view of human history ignorant of much sociology. It's not that I know much sociology or am a historian—it's what sourwookie says. The person has a cyclic theory of history...a very regular cycle that seemingly drives all of human culture. Sunspots? If we found some writings from this person, I'm sure we'd see the claim of some basic oscillating driver such as sunspots.

Pretty chart, though.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:58 PM on May 27, 2006


Hmm, I'm also not sure about the use of Kondratieff waves in the economics section. As far as I know, there's not a lot of empirical evidence for them, and certainly no convincing theoretical basis.
posted by matthewr at 3:00 PM on May 27, 2006


matthewr (quoting Solow): "You can see the computer age everywhere except in the productivity statistics."

Maybe that's because all the productivity gains are eaten up by having to deal with computer-related issues, such as developing and making the things, learning how to use them, maintenance, dealing with downtimes, spam, etc. etc.

Second angle: Take a journalist. Before computers, he/she might have headed to the archives or the library to finish a piece. Now, it's the internet and much more information goes into an article. But the net time to finish an article is still more or less the same.
posted by sour cream at 3:01 PM on May 27, 2006


I'd like a big prinout too for my office wall. If anyone comes up with a good solution, please should it out.
posted by bim at 3:02 PM on May 27, 2006


Fundamentalist political power peaks in 1996?
posted by EarBucket at 3:02 PM on May 27, 2006


What does the ED, LD, EA, LA thing mean?
posted by jimmy76 at 3:03 PM on May 27, 2006


I'd like a big prinout too for my office wall. If anyone comes up with a good solution, please should it out.

For the record, I can spell but I can't type. That should say "printout" and "shout it out." Aaaargh.
posted by bim at 3:05 PM on May 27, 2006


jimmy76, supposedly those are Early and Late Declines and Advances.
posted by matthewr at 3:09 PM on May 27, 2006


"2004 - 2027: Increased probability of American involvement in a war."

Just how many Bushes are there, anyhow??
posted by LordSludge at 3:10 PM on May 27, 2006


sour cream, I think you're right about that. I've often thought it amazing that our economy keeps chugging away when quite clearly, a vast number of people are farting around on the web all day instead of doing work. It seems like technology has simultaneously increased our productivity and provided a convenient activity to fill every spare second of time.
posted by jimmy76 at 3:11 PM on May 27, 2006


What we really need to do is establish a foundation made of the greatest minds of our time, in order to preserve the collective knowledge of the human race in an 'Encyclopedia Galactica' so that we will still have that knowledge when the next cycle of chaos finishes.
posted by bingo at 3:34 PM on May 27, 2006


Oddly, it is much more usable if you just load the SWF file directly.
posted by b1tr0t at 3:47 PM on May 27, 2006


"2004 - 2027: Increased probability of American involvement in a war."

This is an easy bet, considering the last time the US went 23 years without being in a war was 1918-1941. It would be more interesting if he predicted periods of peace.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:00 PM on May 27, 2006


Usefully the K-wave is not drawn to scale, added for purely aesthetic reasons. This looks like the soft sell for an extopian close. All it is needs is some exponential growth curves.
posted by econous at 4:11 PM on May 27, 2006


He doesn't show the comet arriving.

Yeah, I have to say this is excessively simplistic and really doesn't tell us as much as it pretends to. The perfect sine waves, the BS about "ED/LD" which purports, I suppose, to tell us something about technology rather than merely economics, and the lack of a global perspective e.g. the US in decline while Europe grows, then a period of vice versa -- then Brazil coming from behind and eating everyone's lunch. Who could predict the semiconductor, much less nuclear fusion? What about disruptive technologies, or resource disruptions? It's just too pat to take seriously.
posted by dhartung at 4:32 PM on May 27, 2006


Can someone explain to me how the number of 50-59 year olds in 2050 exceeds the number of under 10s in 2000? Are they including Martian immigrants?
posted by zaebiz at 5:52 PM on May 27, 2006


Ok forget that. US population only. Right.
posted by zaebiz at 5:53 PM on May 27, 2006


I would love to be able to have a huge printout of this for my clasroom. Anyone know how to do it?

Print screens and patching together in a graphics program will always work.
posted by Hubajube at 6:20 PM on May 27, 2006


I found a good program to do the conversion called Swf2Gif. I don't know much about it. Download at your own risk, etc.

Don't use the "Convert to GIF" button. It didn't work right for me. Instead, click the "O" button below the image. If you hover, iit says "Capture current frame to a BMP file". When you click it, it will open the extracted 1728x1296 BMP in your associated program.
posted by Hubajube at 6:31 PM on May 27, 2006


You could also just extract the assets from the SWF with a decompiler.

Just how many Bushes are there, anyhow??
Well, if Jeb wins in '08 and there are 8 years of that, followed by Neil in '16, and 8 years of HIM, well, that's 2 years that the presumably non-Bush president has to extract us from the mess in Iraq (course then it'll be known as FreedomLand).
posted by hoborg at 6:41 PM on May 27, 2006


Oh, good god, what a horrible thought. Incidentally, I reluctantly tend to agree with Josh Marshall's mild argument against a Hillary Clinton presidency on the grounds of not encouraging these family dynasty things. Bad for the country.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:27 PM on May 27, 2006


I did the decompiler thing and I didn't see anything useful.
posted by bim at 8:06 PM on May 27, 2006


Can I get a wall chart? Lots of interesting information, but the lack of usability on the presentation makes it a bit hard to digest.
posted by webfanatic at 11:03 PM on May 27, 2006


I find it interesting that he puts us currently in Early Advance, rather than Late Decline. I'd say we're still on the tail end, and not advancing yet.

Then again, that could just be my hopes of being the leader of the glorious revolution.

Continue, comrades.
posted by po at 12:00 AM on May 28, 2006


preserve the collective knowledge of the human race in an 'Encyclopedia Galactica' so that we will still have that knowledge when the next cycle of chaos finishes.

"Here's what the Encyclopedia Galactica has to say about alcohol. It says that alcohol is a colourless volatile liquid formed by the fermentation of sugars and also notes its intoxicating effect on certain carbon-based life forms. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy also mentions alcohol. It says that the best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. * It says that the effect of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick. * The Guide also tells you on which planets the best Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters are mixed, how much you can expect to pay for one and what voluntary organizations exist to help you rehabilitate afterwards. The Guide even tells you how you can mix one yourself. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy sells rather better than the Encyclopedia Galactica."
posted by IronLizard at 2:52 AM on May 28, 2006


As matthewr says, this chart is entirely based on Kondratieff Cycles or "Long waves" which is, frankly, hokum. If you're partial to econoporn hokum however (and who isn't?), here's all you can eat.
posted by grahamwell at 6:52 AM on May 28, 2006


Notice that "Euphoric" Periods always being at the same time as longer Periods of Crime. We're not due for another "Euphoric" Period until 2030.
posted by airguitar at 8:17 AM on May 28, 2006


From 1960 to 1993 he uses a plot line of US crime stats that matches nicely with his cyclical wave, but after '93 the crime line is cut off and his cycle wave continues on.
posted by airguitar at 8:25 AM on May 28, 2006


The music line there is just bizarre.

Remember, rock and roll ends in four years. Invest in Putomayo now!

(As best as I can tell, he's "predicted" the end of rock music because jazz was big for about 55 years. I find it interesting that "rock and roll" got replaced with "world beat" and not, say "hip-hop", though.)
posted by mendel at 8:42 AM on May 28, 2006


thanks matthewr and grahamwell for giving us a little background on this. Surely to God there's got be something out there online that's a bit less simplistic and vague than this - and that has an info. design that doesn't give you a headache...
posted by rmm at 8:46 PM on May 28, 2006


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