Births and Deaths in Real Time: A Different Way of Making the Invisible Visible

Debbie says:

Laurie and I often talk about “making the invisible visible,” by which we usually mean taking something people look at every day (like fat women’s bodies, or male bodies) and providing a different way of seeing whatever it might be.

There are other ways to make the invisible visible. In these days of easy moviemaking, animation at your fingertips, and infographics everywhere, literally millions of people are experimenting with changing what, or how, people see. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better example than this one:

Watch it full-screen if you can.

We all know that more people are being born each day than are dying. We know that both births and deaths happen at different rates in different parts of the world. We know that the process is constant. But before this little movie was made, I doubt that anyone had ever really seen it. It was almost certainly made to mark the occasion of the seven billionth human to be born on the planet, a milestone that means different things to different people, especially depending on various assessments of the Earth’s carrying capacity. But it isn’t a rant or a diatribe or a celebration–it’s a demonstration.

The video is just the tip of the iceberg; it shows you how the app version for Google Chrome can change languages, and focus in on specific countries.

This visualization is changing how I understand something I thought I understood perfectly well; it made something previously abstract visible and real to me.

Thanks to Rob Bricken at io9 for finding it.