Civil War Re-enactment

Four-minute animation of the American Civil War. Interesting that in lieu of the traditional Blue and Grey, the Union is represented in Blue and the Confederacy in Red. Think there’s anything to say here about the state of politics today?

Watching the Union land a beach-head in New Orleans, drive south through Mississippi, and finally split the south at Vicksburg (all the while seeing the rest of the war unfold around it) told a story more dramatically and succinctly than ink on paper.  This  animation is way more interesting than I ever found the Civil War to be in history class, where discussion of the War Between the States (as best I can remember) dealt mostly with the lead-up to war, Lincoln and slavery, and constitutional and legal issues regarding secession. The actual conduct–the story–of the war was largely left out. Not that I’m advocating subjecting a room full of 8th graders to three weeks of troop movements and maneuvers. But story is important, and narrative is one of the premier ways that humans make sense of the world.

SEED Magazine recently published a video suggesting advances in computer visualization have enabled a revolution in scientific reasoning. Induction and deduction, the two standbys of the scientific method, have been joined by a new tool: visualization. Given a known starting point and a known ending point in a data set, visualization techniques made possible by interpolating data.

Click To Play

Computer simulations and visualizations are performing the thought experiments of the 21st century and pushing the limits of human vision and imagination.

The study–and especially the teaching–of history can be improved in much the same way. A few nice illustrations at Maps of War. The Imperial History of the Middle East map is one of my favorites:


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