Hidden Water

Most of the changes scientists see on our planet are either visible to the naked eye or directly measurable.  But changes to our water systems are among the most difficult to see.  In this episode, we travel from the Antarctic ice sheet capturing over 60 percent of all freshwater on Earth, to massive groundwater aquifers that remain particularly elusive, to a freshwater system that acts as the primary economic, cultural, and environmental driver of southern Asia.  In short, we go in search of hidden water.

This episode was produced by Leslie Chang, Mike Osborne, and Miles Traer.
Additional music by Kevin MacLeod (License available here)

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The Urban Equation

As cities continue to grow, scientists are trying to define the “Urban Equation” – a mathematical expression that defines not just a group of buildings, but a complex network of physical and social interactions.  Why?  Because our cities control previously elusive aspects of human evolution.  To understand our cities is to understand us.  In this episode, Luis Bettencourt and Tyler Nordgren discuss various elements of the urban equation.  We see how complex networks give rise to creativity; how to break an urban metropolis down into a series of mathematical symbols; and how our cities are dramatically affecting a cultural connection reaching back nearly 400 years.

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This episode was produced by Leslie Chang, Mike Osborne, and Miles Traer.
Additional music by Kevin Macleod (Tracks used: Finding Movement and Perspectives.  License available here)

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The geology of Game of Thrones

Image Map

This is Westeros as it exists in the days of tumult, in the days following the death of King Robert Baratheon, in the shortening days that warn that winter is coming.  But this is also the geologic history of Westeros, reaching far deeper through the annals of time than the reign of any of the Seven Kingdoms.  We pieced this geologic history together from character observations, town names, official Game of Thrones maps, and the principles of geology learned here on Earth.  Using only limited data we were able to reimagine 500 million years of planetary evolution, including volcanoes, continents rising from the oceans, and ice ages (with guest appearance by white walkers and dragons).  To explore the history, and to view our maps of the geologic reconstructions, click the numbered icons on the map, or on the links below.

Geologic events occurring XX million years ago (Mya) on Westeros:
(today) The size of the Game of Thrones planet
(25 Mya) The Earth split Westeros from Essos
(30-40 Mya) When Dorne boiled
(40 Mya) Land of ice
(60-80 Mya) The rise of the Black Mountains
(80-100 Mya) As the Moon rose, so did the Lannisters
(300 Mya) Diving the tropical reefs of Winterfell
(450 Mya) The sand ran red
(500 Mya) The first mountains
(2,000 Mya) Can you find it?

The geologic map of Westeros was created by Miles Traer.  The geologic history of Westeros was written by Miles Traer with the help of Mike Osborne.  Additional scientific details were provided by Hari Mix.  Game of Thrones is copyrighted by George R.R. Martin.

All of the maps created for this project are based on maps created by Jonathan Roberts, Tear, and theMountainGoat.  Certain artistic details (such as mountain ranges) have been copied and adapted to suit the needs of the geologic reconstructions.  Without these detailed and artfully drawn maps, little of this project would have been possible.  Many details regarding the history of Westeros and the various rock types found on the continent are provided by “A Wiki of Ice and Fire.”

Building the geologic history of Game of Thrones

Ever wonder what Westeros looked like long before the Starks, Baratheons, Lannisters, or Targaryens roamed its surface?  How far back can we really imagine the history of the Game of Thrones planet?  According to Generation Anthropocene producer Miles Traer, we can look back through 500 million years of history if we apply geologic principles learned here on Earth, and a little imagination.  He has even made a detailed geologic map to prove it.  In this episode, producer Mike Osborne talks with Miles and gives a brief tour of the map, details how it was pieced together, and explains why the project isn’t quite as ridiculous as it seems.  So brandish your swords, tame your dragons, and stay well clear of the white walkers as we explore the geology of Game of Thrones.

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