2011: In the early 21st century, attempts to visualize such complex ephemeral phenomena as ocean currents, wind direction, and speed grew increasingly sophisticated, as the volume of real-time data increased and supercomputers proved capable of processing it. This ocean surface current visualization was produced by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Greg Shirah, Horace Mitchell, Hong Zhang and Dimitris Menemenlis/Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio hide caption

itoggle caption Greg Shirah, Horace Mitchell, Hong Zhang and Dimitris Menemenlis/Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Geoffrey Nunberg says technology makes it seem as if we're always being watched, which is creepy. Ralf Hirschberger/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Ralf Hirschberger/AFP/Getty Images