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Logarithmic timeline

From Academic Kids

A logarithmic timeline, based on logarithmic scale, was developed by Heinz von Foerster, the philosopher and physicist. He was attempting to create a table of historical data, and realised that the closer to the present he got the more events he could put in the table. He therefore developed the logarithmic timeline in order to shrink the information in such a way that the same density of information was preserved, whilst at the same time allowing him to accurately show the whole span of history. An example of a table based on these principles is shown below. Von Foerster later used the table as one of the starting points of his argument that memory also declines in an exponential manner.

Example of a logarithmic timeline

In this table each row is defined in years ago, that is, years before the present date, with the most recent at the top of the chart. Each event is an occurrence of an observed or inferred process.

Years Ago Period Event, Invention or Historical development
1–
10
1995–present: 1990s, 2000s WWW, Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, Global warming, more..
10–
100
1900–1995: 20th century Car to spacecraft, Nuclear power, Antibiotics, Electronics, Totalitarianism, World wars, Nuclear war, more...
100–
1k
1000–1900, Middle Ages Renaissance, Printing press, Industrial Revolution, Firearms, more...
1k–
10k
Start of Holocene, 8000 BC–AD 1000, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age Cities, Empires, Writing, Wheel, Civilization, Religions, Philosophy, tzi the Iceman, more..
10k
100k
Pleistocene ends, Paleolithic ends, Mesolithic, beginning of Neolithic Ice age, Music, Art, Cave paintings, Dance, Tally stick, Medicine, Neandertal extinction, Ice age ends, Domestication - Agriculture and Animal husbandry
100k–
1M
Pleistocene, Paleolithic 150K Human, Fire, Language?, Ice age, Spirituality
1M–
10M
Pliocene, Paleolithic begins, Lower Paleolithic ~2M Evolution of Homo sapiens, Hunting - Gathering, Tools
10M–
100M
~Tertiary Grasses, Mammals, Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event
100M–
1B
Paleozoic, Mesozoic Cambrian explosion of life, Animals, Flowering plants, Permian-Triassic extinction event
1B–
14B
Precambrian, Cosmology Big Bang, Stars and galaxies, Life, Earth

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