Take that Intelligent Design - It's flash so it must be true
April 18, 2006 6:21 AM   Subscribe

Evolution timeline (Embedded .swf). This animated story of life since about 13,700,000,000 shows everything from the big bang to the formation of the earth and the development of bacteria and other organisms to the ascent of man and humans effect on the earth. Other work discussed one year ago yesterday, what an evolution! (The animation is pretty large, you may have to scroll your screen, or just open the .swf directly)
posted by pithy comment (21 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I do wish there were a "play" button so you didn't have to drag the arrow across the timeline yourself. And I really like watching the tectonic plate movement.
posted by pithy comment at 6:22 AM on April 18, 2006

I've often thought that someone with great interface design skills should do the Ultimate Time Line. This isn't it.
posted by mania at 6:34 AM on April 18, 2006

mania: don't worry, gamespy says Spore is coming out in Q4.
posted by soma lkzx at 6:49 AM on April 18, 2006

I agree, play button needed. My mouse movements aren't smooth enough (plus I'm too lazy).
posted by Acey at 7:10 AM on April 18, 2006

I'm missing something- where's the part where God creates Adam and Eve?
posted by mkultra at 7:15 AM on April 18, 2006

I am currently freelancing at a large publishing company that is putting out a kid's book of strange/interesting historical facts. They have just decided to remove all references to Evolution for fear that larger chain stores will object and buyers will be offended. I'm furious. I've made a "small acts of courage" and "science vs. superstition" speech to my boss, etc. and gotten nowhere. So, I'm sitting here seething.

Just had to share. Carry on.
posted by papercake at 7:22 AM on April 18, 2006

Papercake: Keep fighting the good fight.

ObStory: Using the WTC as a representation of the modern era was... an odd choice.
posted by unixrat at 7:27 AM on April 18, 2006

Jeebus, what awful information design.

I feel kind of bad saying that, because it's obvious how much effort went into it, and it's a terribly important concept to get across. But I sure wish the guy had spent some time really absorbing "Powers of Ten," or the Tufte books, or...something.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:42 AM on April 18, 2006

The Paleolithic sub-epochal labels, and the transition to Holocene, are mistimed. When I worked the sliders, it suggested that 1600AD was the Lower Paleolithic, and that the Holocene began ten years ago.

Otherwise, it's a little too busy, and too wide. Nice idea, though.
posted by trigonometry at 9:19 AM on April 18, 2006

Quit whining about the lack of a play button you passive TV wimps! It's called "interaction". Here's a little list about educational media (like museum exhibits or flash):
  • It just sits there.
  • It has some text.
  • It plays some audio or video when you click.
  • It does several things when you interact with it.
  • It does variable things but you have to figure out how interact with it.
  • It demands that you learn and practice to use it.
  • It is a real person.
I hope you get the general idea. Of course there are different degrees of quality at each level (e.g. shallow versus deep text), but generally when it comes to educational material: doing, interacting, practicing is vital.

As far as Kyrk's evolution piece, obviously he wants you to take the time to read the stuff. Plus we're talking about time here and getting a sense of the passage of time on cosmic, geologic, and paleontologic scales.

By coincidence, I was poking around human taxonomy and evolution this weekend so this piece is much more interesting for me.
posted by GeorgeHernandez at 9:27 AM on April 18, 2006


1 - Totally incorrect. No FSM.

2 - I caught myself scratching the time line too much.
posted by Samizdata at 9:41 AM on April 18, 2006

I'd just like to add that lots of interesting things did happen between 13 bya and 5 bya. If you start that far back, you can't just skip over 50% of the history.
posted by pwb503 at 9:41 AM on April 18, 2006

I’m just glad to be here in the Holocene.
This is totally the best sub epoch.

Good luck Papercake. Just out of curiosity, does your boss refer to black men as ‘Negras’? (like Captain Bryant)

/Fiery the Angels rose, & as they rose deep thunder roll'd Around their shores: indignant burning with the fires of Orc
And Bostons Angel cried aloud as they flew thro' the dark night.
He cried: Why trembles honesty and like a murderer,
Why seeks he refuge from the frowns of his immortal station!
Must the generous tremble & leave his joy, to the idle: to the pestilence!
That mock him? who commanded this? what God? what Angel!
To keep the gen'rous from experience till the ungenerous
Are unrestraind performers of the energies of nature;
Till pity is become a trade, and generosity a science,
That men get rich by, & the sandy desart is giv'n to the strong
What God is he, writes laws of peace, & clothes him in a tempest
What pitying Angel lusts for tears, and fans himself with sighs
What crawling villain preaches abstinence & wraps himself
In fat of lambs? no more I follow, no more obedience pay.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:46 AM on April 18, 2006

I am currently freelancing at a large publishing company that is putting out a kid's book of strange/interesting historical facts. They have just decided to remove all references to Evolution for fear that larger chain stores will object and buyers will be offended.

I have a conspiracy theory: the corporations, religions, and politicians in the USA are deliberately setting about retarding the thinking skills of the US public, because they figure a nation of retards is more likely to buy shitty products. That's shitty materialist goods, shitty spirituality, and shitty politics.

It's good to not be American.

Yes, this is a deliberately provocative post. It needs to be, because I think the only hope for the USA is to goad its citizens into reconsidering the unbearably stupid path down which they are taking their nation.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:30 AM on April 18, 2006

Y’know what scares me five fresh fish?
That they aren’t doing it deliberately. That it’s a matter of rote. Deliberation means some thinking process and the potential for change.

....hmmm, zombie films have been popular again lately.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:35 AM on April 18, 2006


If it makes you feel any better, the same thing happened to Isaac Asimov. I recently read a book of his letters, and there's a science textbook he contributed to kept considering getting rid of references to evolution to appeal to a wider market (especially California). The first couple times he forestalled them, but eventually I guess the profits were too great to ignore. He had his contributions removed from the book rather than have them edited for content.
posted by Target Practice at 11:13 AM on April 18, 2006

1 - Totally incorrect. No FSM.
And where's Rincewind's egg-and-cress sandwich, is what I want to know?
posted by Creosote at 1:34 PM on April 18, 2006

For all the poor design issues, this still blew my mind. It's pretty humbling to see how insignificant humanity's time on this planet has been in terms of timescales - it made me feel about this big.
posted by greycap at 1:43 PM on April 18, 2006

Logarithmic timescales, SVP
posted by fuerloins at 3:00 PM on April 18, 2006

I see a black screen with a grey rectangle in the upper left hand corner, (in both Firefox and IE)
posted by BillsR100 at 6:30 PM on April 18, 2006

Bills, if you scroll down there's a fill screen feature that will shrink it down to the size of your window, though it makes the print pretty tiny on mine.

And George, I was hoping for the human evolution equivalent, but your link leads to a repeat of your post here, and a text list of taxonomy categories. I want pictures!
posted by girandole at 8:43 PM on April 18, 2006

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