Visual History

One of my new favorite uses of YouTube is to show historical concepts chronologically in video. That’s why when I saw the TED Talk given by David Christian on the History of our World in 18 Minutes as an option in the list of TED Talks to check out, I just had to watch it. Though the discussion was very interesting, I found it humorous that the entire video was not even 18 full minutes and that the introduction was a little over three. So, in reality, the title probably could have been The History of Our World in 14 minutes.

Ted Logo

After the introduction, the discussion of the history of our world actually went all the way back to the big boom and through the history of the universe as well. Because there was an accompanying timeline playing, following the discussion, I was so excited that the discussion would be broken up according to periods and would spend the appropriate amount of time for each period in history, thus showing exactly how much of a blip we are in history.

Alas, that was not how the presentation went in the end, and there was more time spent on mammals and humans than I had initially thought there would be. Aside from my disappointment in that, however, the talk was overall pretty great. Rather than just follow the timeline, the discussion and visuals cut to other diagrams and pictures, including a heat map that showed tiny changes in temperatures that had significant influences on how our universe formed. Further, I enjoyed the explanation about the increasing complexities of the universe throughout its history. This TED Talk was detailed enough for me to learn something, and short enough that I did not get distracted by things going on around me. I very much enjoyed this TED Talk.

Lastly, this discussion reminded me about the universe song from Animaniacs. Here’s the link. Enjoy!