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Berkeley HTML5 Timeline Tool Can Show a Day, Or the Lifetime of the Universe

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the timelines-are-underrated dept.

Earth 86

An anonymous reader writes "UC Berkeley Professor Walter Alvarez, most widely known for his theory that dinosaurs were killed by an asteroid impact, is developing an open source HTML5 timeline tool for visualizing all 13.7 billion years of the past called ChronoZoom. Originally conceived by one of his former students, Roland Saekow, ChronoZoom can zoom from a single day out to all of the Cosmos, passing Earth, Life, and Human Prehistory along the way. The idea and initial database was put together by students at UC Berkeley while students at Moscow State University in Russia wrote the code with guidance and support from researchers at Microsoft Research. The beta is available as of today, and the source code is available. The hope is that it will revolutionize teaching, study and research of the past."

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"The Universe in a Day", by God (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364027)

12:00 midnight: Let there be light, motherfuckers! How you like this TIME AND SPACE, haters?

12:31 a.m.: Galaxies and stars forming. Yep, let's get this party STARTED!!

4:00 a.m.: All work and no play

8:00 a.m.: Makes God

1:00 p.m.: A dull boy

5:00 p.m.: Earth forms. Great, another rock. Boooooorrrring.

5:20 p.m.: Life on earth. Well, this has potential.

11:53:12 p.m.: Hah, suck on THAT, dinosaurs!

11:59:59 p.m.: Humans evolve! Hey, looks like this "life" thing is finally going somewhere.

11:59:59:59:46 p.m.: Reality television? *That's* where you took it? Really?

12:00 midnight: Hope you losers read those Mayan calendars I sent.

Re:"The Universe in a Day", by God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39369065)

God doesn't cuss. :P

Re:"The Universe in a Day", by God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39369409)

Which god are you referring to?

Re:"The Universe in a Day", by God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39440013)

Time of day defined not in decimally but in hours, minutes, seconds, thirds, and fourths! Now i am strangely aroused...

In other news... (5, Funny)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364081)

... Facebook sues the University of California for patent infringement.

Re:In other news... (1)

PerfectionLost (1004287) | more than 2 years ago | (#39365585)

Ah... the comment I came here to read.

Re:In other news... (3, Funny)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39366685)

Ya, ya... I'm just bitter because the universe wouldn't "friend" me.

Re:In other news... (1)

CPCPCP (2596903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39375929)

then Facebook must sue microsoft since encarta 95 becouse uses digital timelines to.

Other timelines (4, Informative)

omems (1869410) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364103)

Here's another decent open source timeline I've used. It's not immediately scalable, but with a little db knowledge, I think it could be modified. http://www.simile-widgets.org/timeline/ [simile-widgets.org]

Bug report (4, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364147)

There's a glitch in this timeline: it shows dates billions of years before God actually created the universe!

Re:Bug report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39364273)

it is not a real timeline obviously, it is fictional. They even mention that novelist guy Darwin.

Re:Bug report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39364327)

Hey, where are the dinosaurs at 5,000 years ago with cavemen riding them?

This timeline is obviously bogus...

Re:Bug report (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364431)

LOL. Yes, and I'm confused, too. I thought Jebuz and the dinosours were supposed to coexist in the same time period, around two thousand years after earth and the universe were all created.

Re:Bug report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39364785)

Ah Slashdot! Where a cool new tool developed by a group of smart people is not cause for celebration and congratulation, but cause for condescending sarcasm intended to make insecure geeks feel better by reminding them that even though they didn't do anything this cool, they're still smarter than SOMEBODY, by gum.

Shame on you, you intellectual frauds.

Re:Bug report (1)

Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39366375)

Oh come on. It might be a pretty visualization tool, but I don't see how this is going to "revolutionize research" even the slightest bit. Compared to the pathos of the LA sarkasm level is rather moderate - and the idea of a nice historians toy presented to a bunch of more-stupid-than-creationist ignorants has quite some comedian potential.

Re:Bug report (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39367797)

I don't see how this is going to "revolutionize research"

Of course you don't. The creators didn't say it was going to do that, either - they didn't say "it will revolutionize research" (full stop). They said they "hope" it will revolutionize "teaching, study and research of the past." Given that history is primarily taught by reading long (and fairly musty) tomes about "the stuff that happened," and leaves it up to the reader or researcher to correlate all those events themselves by paging back and forth from one book to another and constructing an intricate mental picture of the timelines, this tool allows them to potentially lay the timeline out in a visual fashion and compare two chains of events.

If you don't see how a visualization tool *could* change the current model we use to teach history - allowing people to examine various historical timelines side by side and increase their understanding of if and how events on one time line relate to events on another, then you're probably one of the intellectual frauds I mentioned previously.

Re:Bug report (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39367665)

Ah Slashdot! Where an off-the-cuff snarky remark making fun of idiots is greeted with amusement, but is also cause for a hypocritical rebuke from some anonymous coward trying to convince himself that he's better than SOMEBODY, by gum.

Get help, you loser. :P

Re:Bug report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39371367)

How many clicks and how much typing did it take you to construct, preview, and submit your "off the cuff" remark again? That's a lot of effort for something you're trying to pass off as a "spur of the moment" joke.

Yeah, I'm annoyed. I'm so fucking tired of reading this self-congratulatory "hurr durr" masturbation in response to every article posted here that it's not even remotely funny.

If you want to be "funny," you should probably go hang out on /b/ where other "alphas" who have convinced themselves that they're very very intelligent will congratulate you for making such *explosive* comments about religion! You're edgy, dude - how do you afford that rock and roll lifestyle?

Re:Bug report (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39375855)

Ah Slashdot! Where a cool new tool developed by a group of smart people is not cause for celebration and congratulation, but cause for condescending sarcasm intended to make insecure geeks feel better by reminding them that even though they didn't do anything this cool, they're still smarter than SOMEBODY, by gum.

Shame on you, you intellectual frauds.

Ecrasez l'infame, dude, ecrasez l'infame.

While there are still people in power who base their beliefs on a fucking sky pilot and the ancient myths of goat herders, the condescension and sarcasm need to flow unabated.

Re:Bug report (2)

redbeardcanada (1052028) | more than 2 years ago | (#39367735)

Yes, I hear that Texas has already requested the 6000 year lite version...

Usable, but not very much info (1)

hamalnamal (2499998) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364177)

I like that the interface is very usable (especially compared to some downright horrific timelines I've used), however there really doesn't seem to be that much information in it, that may be the point or because it's in beta, but I'd like to see a lot more data and "milestones".

Re:Usable, but not very much info (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364537)

Mostly useable - zooming out is not easy (is there any way of just zooming out? The only way I found in a quick browse was to scroll to something bigger and click on it). Aside from that, it's pretty nice. Once they add more data to it, I expect it will be really nice. Not totally revolutionary - I've seen interfaces vaguely like this before, in CD-based teaching tools and museums - but definitely nice.

Re:Usable, but not very much info (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364593)

Mostly useable - zooming out is not easy (is there any way of just zooming out?

Well, the scroll wheel on my mouse seems to work. But, it just scales everything so some of the informational elements just zoom out of view. But you can drag those around.

Re:Usable, but not very much info (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39366989)

Mostly useable - zooming out is not easy (is there any way of just zooming out?

Yeah; I've played with it a bit, and I can't make much sense of the zooming. My last attempt was with Safari on this Macbook Pro. When I use the 2-finger "expand" thing, it does what I expect at first, but after about a second, it rescales everything to undo the zooming. So things move around, but they won't stay at a different size.

Several attempts to zoom the timeline widget all had some effects, but not what I expected, and I don't understand why what I did had those results.

Maybe with a bit more experimenting, it'll start to make some sense. I wonder if they have a document on the UI's effects anywhere. I think they're inventing a new way of zooming and moving around in their stuff, and it's different from any of the UI effects that I've learned on other systems.

Re:Usable, but not very much info (2)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 2 years ago | (#39365335)

Perhaps they could scrape all dates from wikipedia and will the timeline with links to millions of articles.

Re:Usable, but not very much info (1)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 2 years ago | (#39365511)

That should be 'fill' the timeline. I seem to be quite skilled at making typos that my spell-checker can't catch lately.

Proof that the Universe is expanding (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364203)

When I post this message, it'll be exactly midnight. And when you read it, it'll be exactly midnight.

Yeah, but (5, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364229)

This is still cooler: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120312.html [nasa.gov]

Re:Yeah, but (3, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364739)

WARNING massive time destroyer!

Re:Yeah, but (2)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39365579)

my god - i failed to yield to your warning..

Re:Yeah, but (3, Funny)

SiChemist (575005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39368127)

It's full of stars!

Re:Yeah, but (1)

vaderhelmet (591186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39368673)

+1 Kubrick Reference

Re:Yeah, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39364789)

You're right! And the UI is also way more intuitive!!!

Re:Yeah, but (1)

suso (153703) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364849)

I agree, but still this is a good start. My daughter has started to ask me questions like "how old is the earth?", etc. and to show this I made a series of timelines. I thought about making something like this app. Glad to see someone else did. My daughter really enjoyed the "Scale of the Universe" app, so hopefully she'll like this too and it will be an effective teaching tool.

Re:Yeah, but (1)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39365947)

Whoever wrote the comments for the items has an entertaining sense of humor or had a really good buzz on. Oh, and doesn't seem to like the number 13.

Re:Yeah, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39373661)

Copied the .SWF from Temporary Internet Files to look at later (hope it works 'offline').

This is an OUTSTANDING piece of educational 'infotainment'!

BETTER than the classic Powers of Ten [imdb.com]

Re:Yeah, but (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39375979)

cool, but I wish someone had put a Kilroy Was Here drawing on the outside of the universe. That or some turtles and an elephant.

Looks pretty slick, but... (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364243)

Does anyone else hate the phrase "deep dive"?

Seems only 50+ year old salesmen use it to try and sound worthwhile.

Re:Looks pretty slick, but... (0)

gabereiser (1662967) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364621)

depends... do you hate the phrase deep throat?

OpenTimeline (2)

troon (724114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364265)

Now all we need is an open editable resource for chronicling all of history, in the same way that OpenStreetMap does for geography.

And don't forget. (2)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364799)

Copious amounts of magical scrolls containing the spells "Speak with Dead" and "Discern Lies".

Re:OpenTimeline (1)

a_hanso (1891616) | more than 2 years ago | (#39373845)

And four navigation controls: traverse space, zoom in/out space, traverse time, zoom in/out time!

"possibly revolutionary impact" (1)

fche (36607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364309)

Is there no sense of proportion in academic press release land?

Re:"possibly revolutionary impact" (3, Insightful)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364703)

This is exactly what I was thinking. It's just a timeline. You may be able to have lots of data, but that isn't going to revolutionize anything. Not even time lines. Doing X, but with HTML5!!!, doesn't make it revolutionary. It's just X with HTML5.

Re:"possibly revolutionary impact" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39365039)

"possibly revolutionary impact" =/= "The hope is that it will revolutionize teaching, study and research of the past," which is what they actually wrote.

This isn't going to change the world and bring democracy and peace in our time. But it may - they hope - change the "teaching, study, and research of the past." That's what they're hoping it will revolutionize, not "everything in the world!" And I can see where a tool that allows you to easily and quickly lay out contemporaneous timelines - say from some different societies - in a single view could help visualize the rise and fall of those civilizations in relation to one another. "While this was happening in Greece, this was happening in China at the same time..."

In that sense, it could "revolutionize the teaching, study, and research of the past." It's hard to fit 2 chapters of 2 different history books in your head at the same time and keep continually cross referencing important dates. A tool like this could obviate the need to do that by making the correlations apparent in a visual medium, in a fashion that's easy to produce - allowing you to jump back and forth from one to the other with ease.

That it's open source & freely available also allows people to tinker and learn - somebody below already suggested, "wouldn't it be cool if you could create your genealogy and share it?" - niche market, but if you can't see how that single idea - in HTML5 on the web! - could serve a profitable niche market... you're trying to hard to be "above it all."

Re:"possibly revolutionary impact" (1)

fche (36607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39366553)

"possibly revolutionary impact" =/= "The hope is that it will revolutionize teaching, study and research of the past," which is what they actually wrote.

Both phrases appear in TFA.

Re:"possibly revolutionary impact" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39368449)

Not the point. In both uses, the phrase quite clearly confines itself to history, specifically educational uses & the teaching of history. You conveniently forgot to mention those qualifiers, and as a result, your misquoting makes it sound like they're making far more grandiose claims than they actually are.

The full quote reads like so:

Roland Saekow disusses ChronoZoom’s possibly revolutionary impact on education and the teaching of history.

See how that's different from "This is a revolutionary new tool"? But then, misquoting and then talking shit about the grandiose claims implied by your selective misquote allows you to feel good about yourself, doesn't it?

Re:"possibly revolutionary impact" (1)

fche (36607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39373481)

"your misquoting makes it sound like they're making far more grandiose claims than they actually are."

Yes, because their own words cunningly implied that they were intent on completely turning over of the order of the soul. Or you think I think so.

Or maybe, a mere data visualization method (which by the way is rather precedented) is unlikely to revolutionalize anything, *including* "educational uses and the teaching of history". But I guess this is press-releasese, not plain language; we are supposed to dream.

Re:"possibly revolutionary impact" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39373753)

What's the current state of the art with teaching history? Right, reading long, linear, books detailing a series of events. These books frequently jump around from timeline to timeline to try and make sense of events, leaving it entirely up to the reader to manage correlating these things and remembering the interrelated sequences that connect the timelines.

Now here, we have a tool which could quickly, and easily, display multiple simultaneous timelines in an easy to grasp, easy to explore manner which makes it easy to understand and see all of the various connections between two separate series of events.

And you see no way that could "revolutionize" the teaching of history (and indeed, the research of history), by making the study of history far more accessible and visual an undertaking? Again, we are talking about revolutionizing a specific area; Revolutionizing means "changing radically or fundamentally," and this certainly represents a radical break with the tools and techniques used previously. You can sit there and snark about "yawn this isn't very interesting" all you want, but that says more about you than it does about the technology under discussion.

No Source code available (1)

gishzida (591028) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364453)

The anonymous astroturfer was incorrect... there is no source code on the page that was linked...

Re:No Source code available (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39364585)

Go to "View -> Source" in your browser. There.

Re:No Source code available (2)

Whalou (721698) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364603)

You need to click the Source Code tab on Codeplex, not the Downloads tab.

Nice Idea... (1)

gabereiser (1662967) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364547)

too bad the execution of it was stolen from globible.com.... which I built for them... back in 2008.... when the kid who wrote this html5 timeline was still in high school... and ours had jesus riding dinosuars... and accounted for the mysterious "pre-genesis" era of time when science was magic and adam and eve got it on in the bushes...

Re:Nice Idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39365781)

adam and eve got it on in the bushes...

Pics or it didn't happen.

In Other News... (1)

t4ng* (1092951) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364559)

Facebook files lawsuit against UC system for use a timelines!

timelines (3, Interesting)

Speare (84249) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364671)

I love exploring timelines. Nearly thirty years ago, I wanted to implement a general timeline visualization tool like this. I've dabbled now and then but not gotten serious about it. Finding Best Tag Sets for Timeline Browsing [perlmonks.org]

That said, I think a key feature will be to offer timelines on different continua. Fiction is one reason: A timeline of Frank Herbert's Dune universe or Tolkien's LotR Middle Earth should not be matched to our objective understanding of Earth's history. Another reason is an exemplar of a generic time sequence. There is a whole chapter in Tom Clancy's Sum of All Fears (I think) which describes, nanosecond by nanosecond, the stages of a thermonuclear explosion. Being able to relate such generic sequences is useful, even if they aren't pinned to a specific historical mark on the greater timeline of years.

LAME (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39364697)

This is lame lame lame lame lame

What about textbooks? (-1, Flamebait)

xyourfacekillerx (939258) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364755)

MS Techfest research projects received vitriolic criticism and near universal scorn from Slashdot users the instant it was posted despite some pretty cool demonstrations of upcoming tools but this "Timeline Tool" so far has received some shrugs and some praise. WTF?? To me this tool is worthless and a waste of time and a waste of Slashdot headline space. My take is at best, this supplementary feature to normal education (FTFA: "ChronoZoom will not only be useful for students learning history"), at worst it is a mere novelty data mash-up that will NOT replace my normal history references, and anyways it's not a quality demonstration of HTML5 as a platform nor the web as a medium. Since it's got nothing to do with tech or utility, why are we reading about this?

Add Genealogy (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364779)

It would be nice if we could add our own personal Genealogy, or even have the ability to share our Genealogy with everyone.

Re:Add Genealogy (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#39365737)

Trace it back far enough and everyone's forebear was some big gasbag star

Interesting, but needs some work. (1)

biohazard35 (2499308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364841)

Its an interesting idea, but right now there isn't a lot of information. I'm sure it will be better once its complete and out of beta, but it isn't extremely useful right now. Also, the interface still needs some work. Zooming isn't working extremely well. The best way I could find was to scroll to another, larger, object and click it.

Re:Interesting, but needs some work. (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39365593)

You can zoom using your mouse wheel (both in and out).

Re:Interesting, but needs some work. (1)

biohazard35 (2499308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39365835)

Oh. Didn't notice that since my laptop doesn't have a scroll thing on its touchpad.

Re:Interesting, but needs some work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39367551)

Let me know when I can wave my hand and bring it up and change the whole classroom to turn into 'that time'.

Seriously!? (1)

IgnitusBoyone (840214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39364859)

I guess I don't see the brilliance of a interactive timeline with LoD changes as you zoom.

I've seen a few of these projects in the past and to be honest it runs fairly slow and the fonts were fuzy on this machine at least. My guess would be that the reason this is news is because that Redmond's marketing team is behind it. I really can't understand for a moment why this took 25 people to make.

"That’s when Microsoft Research committed resources to support 25 researchers – including eight current and former UC Berkeley students – in an intense, six-month project to create an entirely new piece of software, also called ChronoZoom, that makes it easy to update the cosmic timeline with more specialized timelines, videos, images and even research papers. ChronoZoom 2.0 is based on Microsoft Azure, a platform that lets developers create applications that manipulate data across a “cloud” of datacenters, and HTML5, the newest — though still evolving — language for displaying content on the Web."

Re:Seriously!? (1)

xyourfacekillerx (939258) | more than 2 years ago | (#39365149)

Have you seen the retarded education apps demo'd in iPad and iPhone advertisements? Shit that I would sure never use, shit that makes me embarassed for THEM. Maybe since WIn8 apps are HTML5 + JS, MS just wants to get some thing to demo as well in upcoming adverts?

Re:Seriously!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39365391)

> grown adult
> assumes he's in the target market for educational apps designed for elementary & high school students.
> fucking moran.

Re:Seriously!? (1)

xyourfacekillerx (939258) | more than 2 years ago | (#39365615)

none of the above, asshole.

Re:Seriously!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39365911)

> implying that you're not just tearing down someone else's accomplishments to make yourself feel better for your lack of notable accomplishment.

y u so mad?

Re:Seriously!? (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39365195)

MS being involved also I suppose explains why Microsoft Corporation features so prominently in the timeline of Recent US History (and no other company features at all)

Cool (1)

eternaldoctorwho (2563923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39365089)

The beta is really fun, but only includes basic chronological divisions.. I'll be very excited to see a newer, more complete version when it comes out. Maybe it would help to have some sort of tooltip popup or text with a brief summary within each selectable time period?

Awesome!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39365439)

Now I can go back in time to that brief blip in the Universe's history and find where I left my glasses!

Been there, done that... (1)

jpop32 (596022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39365771)

I was involved in a similar project, but we couldn't get the funding to do it properly. This is where we got to some two years ago (hence use of Flash), before management drove us to the ground:

http://www.geanium.com/demo_content/Rome/ [geanium.com]

Content is in croatian, but you'll get the idea.

Russian coders? (1)

greywire (78262) | more than 2 years ago | (#39365775)

My first thought was: UC Berkeley outsourced the development to Russians? Really?

It sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39366307)

That it's mainly developed by Microsoft may be a reason, or maybe not.

niggA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39367353)

*BSD is dying Yet are having trouble

HTML page with the lifetime of the universe? (2)

Imbrondir (2367812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39370195)

Great. Another page taking forever to load :)

CANVASes inside DIVs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39371377)

How is that better than JPG slices inside TABLEs?

great place for this!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39371461)

more stuff that doesn't work in my browser of choice. keep it. in fact kindly put it where the sun don't shine. and then a bit further up for me now. that's just right.

Correction: Berkely XHTML 1.0 Transitional Time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39372755)

Why is every single page with some javascript and animation based on mouse events now all the sudden HTML5?

The doctype on the beta appears to be XHTML 1.0 Transitional, unless I'm missing something.

How I would run this project (1)

nthwaver (1019400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39373007)

This project shows off a front-end, but what we need to think about is the back-end.

Step 1) We need a standardized format and data structure for referring to events on this scale - IMO the best way is to extend unix timestamps to 64 bits, which would encompass many times the full age of the universe. Most of human history would be negative numbers, but oh well.

Step 2) Write software that can accurately translate between this and conventional time expressions - anything from calendrical expressions to radiometric dating ranges should be usable. A lot of serious thought needs to go into this stage, as you run up against fundamental questions of what time and time spans even mean, given a spherical earth, relativity and the uneven historical progression of precise measurement. It would probably also mean forking the tz/zoneinfo database and extending its scope backwards before 1970, which is a formidable research job in itself. But worth it to get to:

Step 3) Write a Wikimedia extension where articles can be "chronotagged". From there you'll essentially see the full timeline of the universe be crowdsourced, and the data pool becomes a more important asset than the front-end. Then anybody could write cool ways of interacting with the data, whether you prefer HTML5 megapixel images, or something else.

Re:How I would run this project (1)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#39374867)

Your ideas about front-end and back-end are interesting. Nevertheless, you are making stuff way too complicated. Especially 2) is over-design. I would preconise a Lakatos-style approach, i.e. bottom-up, letting things grow slowly as needs are expressed. Trial and error tend to work rather well.

Putting it all in perspective (1)

fragMasterFlash (989911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39373741)

Interactive illustrations of the scale of objects in the known universe have always been amongst my favorite Internet distractions (sadly this [newgrounds.com] is the only one I can locate at the moment). I hope I find this timeline interactive to be as interesting.

Re:Putting it all in perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39378549)

what's really sad is that html5 is failing to take off.

flash has recently added hardware accelerated 3d and is viewable everywhere

as it moves ahead you have to wonder how much longer it will be before the reality sinks in that as a technology, html5 is still-born.

Microsoft ?? (1)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#39374845)

Funny team-up: UC Berkeley and a Microsoft incubator ( or "accelerator" ). Nevertheless - if I could be sure to have the full source code of this project on an on-going basis, I could be tempted to re-use this in customer projects. Timelines are interesting GUI elements.
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