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Scan Through History With This Beautiful Interactive Timeline

Visualizing the vast expanses of history is pretty near impossible, but designer Matan Stauber has created an incredible tool to help you do just that: Histography.

The interactive site uses Wikipedia articles represented as dots to build a timeline that begins, well...at the beginning, some 14 billion years ago with the Big Bang. You can zoom in on historical events in music, invention, or politics (among others). You can look at a single decade, just the Stone Age, or the entirety of history as we know it.

As you scroll through the timeline, the dots jumble and then reassemble—an effect that makes the past feel like so many puzzle pieces fit together. The timeline is continually updated and you can click through to the Wiki page if you want to know more about a particular event, so you can learn a thing or two while you gaze at the universe’s many moments.

[h/t Kottke]

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© NEXT architects
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Design
This Footbridge in the Netherlands Transforms With Rising Waters
© NEXT architects
© NEXT architects

Twenty-six percent of the Netherlands lies below sea level, making the country vulnerable to floods. This is especially true of the 2000-year-old city of Nijmegen, which straddles the Waal river. The town is home to many examples of flood-resistant infrastructure, but one footbridge there works a bit differently. Instead of building it around the threat of rising waters, the designers of the Zalige bridge made a crossing that changes along with its environment, according to Co.Design.

Commissioned as part of the Netherland’s Room for the River infrastructure program, it connects the Waal’s northern bank to a small island that’s part of a public park. NEXT architects, in collaboration with H+N+S Landscape Architects, made a bold choice when designing it: The path curves up and down, and at one point is level with the park’s floodplains. When the river resides at normal levels, pedestrians can walk the bridge in its entirety. Only when water levels rise is the reasoning behind the unusual shape revealed. The flooded path leaves behind a series of raised concrete blocks sticking out of the water, and to keep moving, people must hop from one block to the next.

The bridge opened in 2016, but it made news again this January when Nijmegen saw its highest water levels in 15 years. As the river rose, the Zalige bridge could be reached only by using the stepping stones. Residents flocked to the site for a closer look at the water, ignoring instructions from authorities to avoid the park as flooding continued. Eventually the water became so high that even the blocks were completely submerged, but not before demonstrating the bridge’s innovative approach to an old problem.

NEXT writes on the project webpage, "As a crest above the river, the bridge emphasizes the dynamic character of water by letting people see and experience the changing river landscape."

People biking on path.

People walking on bridge.

People walking on path.

People walking on path.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images: © NEXT architects

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Universal Pictures
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entertainment
The Entire Plot of Back to the Future in One Handy Chart
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Never seen Back to the Future? Now you don't have to (though you really should). Laughing Squid spotted this graphic by statistician and data viz expert Nathan Yau that tells you everything you need to know about the plot of the 1985 movie in 16 chart-heavy panels.

There's the basic science of the DeLorean (a flux capacitor, a cool car with a nuclear reactor, 1.21 gigawatts of electricity, a speed of 88 mph), the introduction of dangerous terrorists, and some time travel. Awkward Oedipal subplot? Check. A visual representation of Christopher Lloyd's memorable "Where we're going, we don't need roads" line? You bet.

Now, we just have to wait around for Yau to digest Back to the Future Part II for us. If you like his visualization style, there's plenty more to tide you over while you wait; he has previously visualized how many years you probably have left to live, how jobs types correlate with divorce rates, and more. You can see his work on his site, Flowing Data.

A 16-panel comic shows the plot of 'Back to the Future' using line graphs.
Nathan Yau

[h/t Laughing Squid]

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