Nearly redefining the whole notion of, well, compression technology, a groups of scientists in the US and Europe have created and uploaded onto YouTube a 5 minute and 36 second video of the advance of western civilization. Really, it does. They have accomplished this by virtue of a fascinating animation that displays and connects the birthplaces (in blue) and the corresponding death sites (in red) of 100,000 leading figures in history. It begins with Leonardo DiVinci’s birth in 1452 and continues to modern times. The narrator describes the resulting migration patterns of these people across Europe, then to the US, and then onto the other continents. The video and a brief summary of it appeared on TheVerge.com on July 31, 2014 in a post entitled Watch 2,600 Years of Culture Spread Across the World in 5 Minutes.
Highly recommend if you have some time to view it and consider its implications. As well, the comments posted on this page pose a series of very interesting questions about the inclusion or exclusion of certain civilizations, the overall effects of what the video intended to show, and the visualization techniques that were used. As to the latter of these, imho, this represents a highly original way to depict human and cultural migration patterns. As well, I hope that it inspires other historians to create other new types of visualizations and animations to represent other developmental patterns across time.