Forget the Pale Blue Dot; Check Out the Tiny Little Sliver

The team at Wait But Why put together this amazing snapshot of our lives right now… and then keeps pulling back to reveal where our lives are with respect to the past week, the past year, the past century, the past millennium, etc.

Check the site out to see how far back them zoom out.

To paraphrase the great Carl Sagan:

Consider again that sliver. That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. In it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a tiny little sliver suspended in a spectrum.

(Thanks to Lauren for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Greta Christina

    To quote Spinal Tap: “Too much fucking perspective!”

    • Kevin_Of_Bangor

      Haven’t seen you around lately. Hope all is well in Greta land.

    • UWIR

      If you think that people who object to lies should “Get the fuck out of my life, now”, then you should get out of ours. You want to claim that having your own “space” means that you don’t need to justify yourself? Well, you’re not in your own space now.

      • ZenDruid

        To quote Walter Sobchak: “Shut the fuck up, Donny.”

      • allein

        Was that really necessary?

        • UWIR

          Is standing up to people who incite racial hatred with flat-out lies necessary? Yes, I think it is.

          • allein

            It’s completely irrelevant to this post or what she wrote here. Half of us probably don’t even know what you’re talking about.

      • Beet LeRace

        Someone needs a Snickers!

  • A3Kr0n

    I’m so old when I was a kid you had to stick your finger in a wheel on the telephone and spin it for each number!

    • Kevin_Of_Bangor

      Back when you leased your phone from AT&T.

      • Sue Blue

        Shit, I remember party lines and switchboards. CB radios in cars. Andy Williams and Helen Reddy on 8-track cartridges. Banana seats and ape-hanger handlebars on bikes. The first hideous color TVs. Seeing now-classic movies at the cinema on their first run. Giant combs that you had to have sticking out of your back pocket, the better to sweep through your finely-feathered Farrah Fawcett locks. Pintos and Gremlins and Oldsmobile Delta 88s. I remember my great-grandma talking about the days before cars. She was born in 1886 and lived to see the moon landing ( she thought it was a hoax). Yet according to this timeline, I’m just a young thang, a tiny hair-thin slice of the latest little sliver! I suddenly don’t feel so old.

        • allein

          I was at Barnes & Noble the other day and they had a bin of “Classic Movies” for 50% off. It included things like Back to the Future III…(though they also included a less-than-10-years-old version of Pride and Prejudice so I’m thinking they were playing pretty fast and loose with the definition of “classic”).

          • Kevin_Of_Bangor

            Kind of like when a classic rock station plays a song from the 90′s.

        • Kevin_Of_Bangor

          I was born in 1970 so I remember all of the above. Had a t-shirt with Fawcett on it, had the poster on the wall. Ran up a huge phone bill calling a party line but I’m only 43 and I plan on being around at least another 40 years, if not longer.

          • Sue Blue

            You are just a babe in the woods, sweet Kevin. I had outgrown diapers when JFK got shot, watched the moon landing on TV as it happened, and was in high school when Farrah had her day. While in college, I had a job at a local insurance office taking dictation and typing it up – and I thought the height of technology was to have an IBM Selectric typewriter on my desk that had – gasp – interchangeable typeface balls! I have kids older than the 30-year timeline in this article! But, thanks to advances in medical technology and the good longevity genes my grandparents passed on, I can hope to live to be at least 102, like my grandmother who just died last year, and be in better health for the greater part of that life.

      • NG

        My mom was eventually given the phone that had guts she was leasing. She still has it (a Mickey Mouse phone) in her entry hall.

    • JET

      Ha! I got through college on a MANUAL typewriter and all research done at the library with books and pencils and notecards and stuff. When my kids complain of their slow internet connection or having to stop and change an ink cartridge, I just laugh.

      • Roy Gamsgrø

        Typewriters? Luxury!

        We had to whittle our own pencils from the branches of a dead tree and cook our own graphite using the heat from our bodies as fuel!

    • Blacksheep

      and if the seventh digit was wrong – start over!

    • Mira

      I…remember…tapes…yeah. Oh and, like, AOL and stuff. And MySpace. YEEEAHHHH

  • Mitch

    But that Miley Cyrus VMA thing that happened is SUCH A BIG DEAL (you can tell because I used all capital letters. For emphasis).

    For real, though, I really enjoy looking at that kind of stuff. Reminds me of this (currently my computer background) picture:

    http://botcrawl.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/You-are-enormously-insignificant.jpg

    • Kevin_Of_Bangor

      Can’t resist…

      • Mitch

        Touche, salesman.

    • Miss_Beara

      But I thought God Had a Plan for me.

      Cry.

      • joey_in_NC

        Lol. What does this have anything to do with theism/atheism?

        • allein

          God’s Plan™ doesn’t have anything to do with theism/atheism?

        • baal

          We’re talking about our place in the cosmos. Did god make the place or not? Kalaam only thinks it knows.

          • joey_in_NC

            What does the timeline have to do with the existence of God? Does the timeline somehow refute God’s existence? If you think so, I’m interested in your explanation.

            • baal

              joey_in_NC, your post history proves you are not interested in having a fair discussion and are little more than a cynical christian troll bot.

              The time line does an awesome job of showing how much science (and not super naturalism) has improved our lives and our understanding of the universe as well as how little time we get (and thus how precious our time is).

              • joey_in_NC

                Even a theist can agree that science has improved our lives and that our lives are short. So what?

                • baal

                  I know your type doesn’t really get irony but you’re inadvertently proving the point of the piece. Please see also Allein’s response.

                • joey_in_NC

                  You don’t think it’s possible for a theist to agree that science has improved our lives and that our lives are short?

      • Blacksheep

        Why would a timeline have any bearing on whether or not God has a plan for you?
        (I’m not even sure if that term is Biblical anyway…)

        • allein

          She was replying to the “you are insignificant” graphic that Mitch posted.

    • Hat Stealer

      The fleshy shaking of buttocks rivals even the majesty of the most distant cosmos.

      Ooh! My issue of ‘People’ magazine has come in!

      • Mitch

        Slightly off-topic query: how can magazines, every goddamn month, have new sex tips to “drive him/her wild!”? Is there really so much we haven’t already tried?

        • Beet LeRace

          At a certain point they just make shit up. I remember at least 8 years ago reading a tip about putting a doughnut around his junk and eating it off… Hahahahaha, Cosmo.

  • allein

    I’m loving this. I saw someone post this on Facebook a few days ago but I didn’t click on it. So thanks for making me take a second look. :)

  • Nancy Shrew

    There’s a poster like this in the library of my former school, except it encapsulates the history of the world up to… I think it was the dissolution of the USSR. Seeing World War II/the Holocaust as a mere blip on a timeline was very disquieting and amazing all at once.

  • http://www.honestuniverse.com/ Mark Hanna

    It’s a shame they missed out some of the really important stuff. They included the OJ Simpson trial but not the first Moon landing?

    One of the great things to have on a timeline like this is humankind becoming an interstellar species, which we’ve actually done now that Voyager 1 has reached interstellar space.

    • ZenDruid

      Well I hope the Vulcans visit us before the Borg.

      • baal

        Unless someone finds some shocking new physics, no one will visit us.

        The distances / energy requirements / atomic bonds decaying prevent all feasible travel on cosmic scales. Best possible space travel to new planets will likely be one way trips on converted large asteroids set as mulch-generational one way colony vessels.

    • Alix

      Er, I thought they did include the moon landing…

      • http://www.honestuniverse.com/ Mark Hanna

        Oh you’re right! I didn’t realise when I posted that comment that I could click through and see more, I was just basing it off the images that Hemant posted.

        • Alix

          It’s sort of crunched in there on the image in the click-through, too. I only noticed it ’cause I was looking for it. :)

  • Jennifer T

    Amazing what you can achieve with a small piece of fairy cake.

  • allein

    Some interesting history (and other) posters here:
    http://www.historyshots.com/store.cfm?s=asy

  • L.Long

    But if you live your life to the fullest then your influence will extend well into the future. That can be negative- Genghis Khan – or positive Newton/Einstein.
    Or as simple as being a good teacher that influenced a student that became a teacher to ……and on. You life has a purpose that really extends well beyond the insignificance of you time on earth.


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