How Do Cultural and Intellectual Centers Re-locate Over Time?

Have you ever wondered why cities rise and fall, as do empires?

Charting Culture” is an animation that examines when and how “notable” people are born, stay or migrate, and where they die. Over 12,000 notable historical figures were tracked and the migrations display how people moved from city to city, empire to empire, between 600 B.C. to 2012 A.D.

Charting Culture

Published on Jul 31, 2014

This animation distils hundreds of years of culture into just five minutes. A team of historians and scientists wanted to map cultural mobility, so they tracked the births and deaths of notable individuals like David, King of Israel, and Leonardo da Vinci, from 600 BC to the present day. Using them as a proxy for skills and ideas, their map reveals intellectual hotspots and tracks how empires rise and crumble

The information comes from Freebase, a Google-owned database of well-known people and places, and other catalogues of notable individuals. The visualization was created by Maximilian Schich (University of Texas at Dallas) and Mauro Martino (IBM).

Read Nature’s news story: http://www.nature.com/news/1.15650

Find the research paper in Science: http://www.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/…

Did you find anything unusual or surprising about this video?

I was fascinated by the data and by the visualization of it. However, I found it very Euro-centric. The authors did show Japan, briefly, but ignore the US South, the Middle East (the birth place of numbers 0-9), China, and the entire African continent.

What do you think?

[Source: Smithsonian Smartnews via Thomas Strömberg.]

Jewel Ward
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Jewel Ward

Founder and Consultant at Impact Zone Consultancy
Nice to meet you! I am Jewel Ward, founder of Impact Zone (www.impactzone.co). Our specialties are search engine optimization and digital stewardship for creative industry websites.

We work hard to serve our clients’ needs so they can solve their technology problems. Our goal is to enable our creative clients to succeed digitally in whatever form success means to them.

Here are three fun facts about me. I consider coffee and chocolate food groups. I am an INFJ. I love longboard surfing.
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