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Following the hyperzoom style of visualization artist Chris Jordan, the movie attempts to represent the US military budget of $549 billion dollars as a heap of 88,548 Abram M1 tanks. This all fully rendered as sharp 3D computer graphics imagery (CGI) including some simulated gravitational physics.

Watch the movie below.


Does anyone else think that the pile at the end looks like way fewer than 88k? It's neat to watch, but there's still no context. Maybe if there were a pile of yellow school buses next to the tanks representing how much we'll spend on education?

Thu 22 Jul 2010 at 7:23 AM

Yeah it can't be 88k in that video. If we took 88k / 126 seconds it would be 700 a second. But the tank rain didn't start until :34 seconds and ended by 1:43 seconds. So 69 seconds?

88,548 / 69 Seconds = 1,283 Tanks per second. There is clearly not that many tanks falling in one second

Thu 22 Jul 2010 at 9:27 AM

What you're not seeing there are all the Wives, Children, Medical Care, Retiree Benefits, Civilian Workers, Flights, Ships, Social Services, Bowling Alleys, Enlisted Men's Clubs, Churches, Chaplains and etc. that make up the modern US Military. Tanks? Pretty simple minded way of imagining a very complex organization.

Thu 22 Jul 2010 at 4:02 PM
Matt Kaufman

All very good comments. Maybe we indeed just watched a bunch of 3D animated objects falling out of the sky without any context or significance.

Would be disappointing...

Thu 22 Jul 2010 at 9:55 PM

I liked it. I'd like to see the same sort of thing but with streams of ghetto blacks running up to a pile of money representing all the social welfare spending and carrying it off. Maybe a second stream of middle class looking whites being dropped into a grinder at the top, creating the money pile the blacks are carrying away. I like my propaganda to be a little realistic.

Fri 23 Jul 2010 at 1:34 AM

Wow i didn't know that ignorant types who engage their mouths before their brains are allowed on cool websites like this one.

Anyhow, definitely agree on the count - no way there's 88K your maths is spot on.

More poignant would be to contrast spending on the US defence budget (admittedly a major force for world stability these days) with the amount spent on oil, sustainable energy sources, and third-world child mortality (all major challenges of our age).

Fri 23 Jul 2010 at 2:11 AM
tim parsons

Either way—contextual or not—I find it a refreshing departure from the standard static, flat and aesthetically trend-driven infographics found everywhere these days. They all end up running together in a blur. Hopefully this approach will inspire some more meaningful displays down the road, or other designers.

Fri 23 Jul 2010 at 6:38 AM

Everyone is correct about the lack of tanks falling from the sky. However, if you watch carefully, especially toward the end, the pile grows WAY faster than it should for the number of tanks falling on it - seems like its height is growing linearly over the course of the video, even though the rate of tank fall is constant - and it wouldn't do that, it would grow at a rate proportional to the cube root of the rate of the tanks falling (since it's also spreading wider and deeper).

So, either they're putting tanks in at the bottom, or (more likely) they're faking it so they don't have to simulate 88k tanks.

Mon 06 Sep 2010 at 11:37 PM
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