Cool New History Tool

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While a student at UC Berkeley, Roland Saekow had the idea for a tool that would help people visualize history--all the way from the big bang to yesterday--and zoom in on whatever parts interest them. Called ChronoZoom, it's kind of like Google Maps for the fourth dimension, and it will get richer and richer as it's fleshed out wiki-style. Here Saekow demonstrates:

Microsoft Research has gotten involved in ChronoZoom. The good news is that this will presumably accelerate the project. The bad news is that if you watch Microsoft's version of the demo you have to listen to the kind of music that plays when you're installing a new version of Windows. I'll let you decide whether this is a price worth paying:

[Update, 3/25, 8:40 p.m.: Underpuppy--a commenter who is presumably the offspring of an underdog--points out that the ChronoZoom beta is available for your inspection. A quick perusal suggests that there are plenty of blank spaces to be filled in. Get to work, wiki-world!]

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Robert Wright is the author of, most recently, the New York Times bestseller The Evolution of God and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic. More

Wright is also a fellow at the New America Foundation and editor in chief of Bloggingheads.tv. His other books include Nonzero, which was named a New York Times Book Review Notable Book in 2000 and included on Fortune magazine's list of the top 75 business books of all-time. Wright's best-selling book The Moral Animal was selected as one of the ten best books of 1994 by The New York Times Book Review.Wright has contributed to The Atlantic for more than 20 years. He has also contributed to a number of the country's other leading magazines and newspapers, including: The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, Time, and Slate, and the op-ed pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Financial Times. He is the recipient of a National Magazine Award for Essay and Criticism and his books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

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