The Chernobyl Disaster Timeline

The Chernobyl Disaster Timeline.png

Sometimes, it takes years or months for certain events to unfold and reveal their full-scale magnitude and long-term effects. However, others take just only a day to make a major impact on humankind and the course of history. So it goes for the accident that took place at the Chernobyl nuclear power station on the 26th of April 1986, permanently altering that region and making the area around the former plant uninhabitable for an estimated 20,000 years. Initially denied as having happened by the Soviet authorities, the disaster is now considered the worst of its kind in history.

To illustrate how the Chernobyl nuclear accident escalated to a historic calamity, we created The Chernobyl Disaster Timeline, which gives a blow-by-blow narrative of the missteps that triggered this tragic meltdown.

Background Facts

  • The nuclear accident occurred at the V.I Lenin Nuclear Power Station, near the city of Chernobyl (65 miles north of Kiev, Ukraine), in the former URSS.
  • The Chernobyl nuclear power plant was considered a model of Soviet engineering, using four RBMK nuclear reactors to produce electricity for about 30 million homes and businesses.
  • The power plant’s newest reactor (the fourth one) was the scene of the tragedy. It contained 1,600 radioactive uranium-235 fuel rods. Due to the unstable nature of U-235, its atoms are capable of releasing neutrons that hit other U-235 nuclei, which in turn release new neutrons. All this causes a chain reaction, the byproduct of which is the release of huge quantities of heat and energy which are used to turn water into steams. The steam then drives a turbine, thus generating electricity.
  • To contain the chain reaction within limits, control rods made of a neutron-absorbing substance need to be inserted between fuel rods. For Reactor No. 4’s control rods (a total of 211), the element boron was used. Raising the control rods leads to the acceleration of the chain reaction, while the lowering of the control rods causes the chain reaction to slow down.
  • Ironically, it was a safety test that brought about the destruction. Coinciding with a routine downtime for maintenance, the test was scheduled to determine whether the reactor could still be cooled in case of a power failure. In preparation for this process, Chernobyl’s operators initiated power reduction on the 25th of April (1:00 pm) and, after twelve hours, Reactor No. 4 reached 50% power. According to the standard procedures of the safety test, the required threshold was of 30%. However, due to an apparent need for electricity in the region, the Soviet authorities called for the reactor to remain at 50% for another 9 hours. Meanwhile, the emergency core cooling system was switched off...
  • With power plummeting far below the level at which the reactor would be stable, operators were asked to remove almost all control rods against safety guidelines. The violation of these protocols led to a sudden power surge inside the plant. Despite the attempt to shut down the reactor altogether, control rods jammed upon entering the core, causing a series of explosions inside and then the final one, that literally blew apart the reactor and the 1,000-ton roof above it, spewing radioactive material into the atmosphere.

Killing 31 people directly (28 workers and firefighters dying of acute radiation poisoning), the Chernobyl calamity is considered responsible for thousands of premature cancer deaths as well. Encased in a massive steel structure deployed in 2016, the remains of the reactor still require containment and monitoring efforts, with its cleanup expected to last until at least 2065.

The Chernobyl Disaster Timeline was built with Office Timeline, a user-friendly add-in that helps you easily produce clear and beautiful timelines and other types of visuals right inside PowerPoint. The slide is free to share and copy, and can be edited and updated using the Plus version of the tool.

Download the Chernobyl Disaster Timeline for PowerPoint here.



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A History of Software Updates for All iPhone Models to Date

IOS History Timeline

Apple is one of the top brands within the global smartphone industry, its high status being owed to a series of qualities such as sleek design, cutting-edge functionalities and vigorous marketing. However, another factor that has contributed to its popularity among smartphone users resides in the company’s constant software updates.

To illustrate how long Apple supports older iPhone models, we have created a simple visual summary of the software updates the technology giant has offered for all major iPhone models to date.

With the introduction of every new iPhone model, Apple guarantees upwards of four years of major iOS updates to the customers that buy the newly-launched device. According to data sourced by Statista, this interval has only gone up for the latest released iPhones.

Looking at Apple’s ‘genealogy’, one can confirm and trace this trend back to the iPhone 4s. Starting with its release, every major subsequent model has received at least five important iOS updates before being cut off. So it’s the case with the iPhone 6, the most recent Apple smartphone to be deprived of the yearly updates with iOS 13.

If we compare the number of updates iOS and Android devices get during their lifetime, the former have a clear upper hand over the latter, which have reached three updates at most. This ascendancy is noticeable even in the distribution numbers, with Android’s latest version being installed in only 10.4% of devices as opposed to a crushing 87% of iPhones with the last major iOS software upgrade.

Not only do these constant updates enable the older models to benefit from the latest features Apple offers to the newer devices, but they also add to the product’s value retention. This is why many owners hold on to iPhones for so long. Let’s take iPhone 6s users, for instance, who got to enjoy Apple’s 2019 extension for the iOS13 update all the way back to devices released in 2015. In other words, they were granted an “extra lease” and they don’t care much if they are cut off next year. After 5 years of upgrades, it is acceptable to move on to a new smartphone which is likely to see a similar lengthy lifespan of updates.

Of course software upgrade frequency is not the only criterion to be considered before buying a smartphone. However, for those prospects who care for this aspect, Apple has definitely got an ace up its sleeve.

The History of Software Updates for All iPhone Models to Date was built with the intuitive PowerPoint add-in called Office Timeline. It is designed to enable the creation of simple yet stylish timelines, Gantt charts and other types of chronology graphics in a hassle-free manner. The slide is free to copy and share, and can be updated and further styled using the Plus version of the tool.

Download the History of Software Updates for All iPhone Models to Date here.



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Microsoft’s Insert Data from Picture Tool for Excel Users

Microsoft insert data from picture tool

Professionals who rely on Excel to organize and process data for various purposes have one more reason to enjoy using this platform as its developer, Microsoft, has launched a new tool for Android phones that allows users to turn a photo of data into an Excel spreadsheet. The Android app’s Insert Data from Picture feature lets you capture an image of data displayed in rows and columns on a piece of paper and automatically converts it into editable table data. Apart from numbers, one can also turn lists and recipes into the well-known tabular form.

The main process involves taking a photo of the data in question and sending it to Excel’s online image-recognition engine to process and change it into a table. During the import, you’re given the possibility to alter any detail before its conversion. Microsoft said that the iOS version of Excel would be soon available as well.

Here are the main few steps you need to take to turn phone photos into Excel table data:

1. Open the Android Excel app and tap the New button at the top. This will create a new file and you can choose to either format it as a blank workbook or start from one of the templates available.

2. Go to the bottom of the app and tap the Data from Picture button. As a first-time user, you will also need to tap Allow to give Microsoft permission to convert the image to data in order to proceed.

3. Place the red rectangle around the data you need and tap the Capture button. You might be prompted to repeat the process if the image is not very clear and the app cannot identify the data.

4. Once the image is captured, tap the red check button to commence the conversion process. If want to start again, tap the X.

5. In the preview section which appears, tap the red-highlighted cells and then Edit to start entering missing information; to make corrections or changes to the existing data, you need to tap un-highlighted cell. Tap Done after each edit.

6. When you’ve finished editing, tap Insert at the top to position the data in your workbook.

Part of Microsoft’s suite of Office apps for mobile devices, the Android Excel app can help users save time importing their data to other relevant tools that integrate with Excel, such as PowerPoint. As developers of an intuitive add-in that turns Excel data (and not only) into beautiful slides right inside PowerPoint, the Office Timeline team can only welcome this great addition to the range of data processing tools on the market.

Guest Post: Using Office Timeline to Communicate Detailed Engineering Schedules

Hello, I'm Mannix and I've been working for years in project control roles on industrial engineering projects in the oil and gas, pharmaceutical and infrastructure industries. Over the years, I have experienced several poorly planned, chaotic and demoralizing projects. These experiences motivated me to find and document the tools, process and techniques that allowed for the thoughtful, efficient and well executed project delivery.

In this article, I will explain how I use Office Timeline to convert Primavera P6 schedules into easy to understand project plans. I have found this approach to work really well when planning, communicating and executing on engineering projects.

How to Plan for Engineering Projects

Planning an oil and gas engineering project means coordinating thousands of activities. The activities define how the engineering, procurement and construction phases of the project interrelate with each other, and therefore must be developed and organized in great detail.

Enterprise planning systems such as Primavera P6 are typically used to plan the activities and align the project schedule to the cost estimate. The finalized detailed schedule then forms the basis of the contractual relationships between the contractors and suppliers who will work on the project.

One of the dangers of a detailed project schedule is that the forest gets lost for the trees. A comprehensive project schedule for a large oil and gas engineering project quickly turns into a very large document, often up to forty pages long. While it describes the work that needs to be done, it does not communicate the overall plan for the project very clearly. All the pages of data hide the key project activities and deliverables that need to be understood in order for the project to be a success.

As a project planner, I get around this problem by creating two documents. The first is the project schedule, which breaks the project scope into executable chunks and identifies the logical steps needed to get the work done. The second is a project plan, which clearly communicates the key phases and milestones for a project. Read on, and I’ll try to explain the differences in more detail.

Project Plan versus Project Schedule

Simply put, a project plan tells us about where we are going and a project schedule tells us how we are going to get there. Let's discuss them one by one.

What a Project Schedule Does:

1. Defines what - Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

The WBS is the basis of project management. It breaks the project down into logical pieces and allows the time, cost and scope of a project to be managed.

2. Defines who - Organisational Breakdown Structure (OBS)

This allows each person working on the project to see the activities that they are working on and the key interfaces that they are responsible for.

3. Schedules the work

This means that the logical relationships between project activities and work packages are correctly applied. The resulting sequence means that activities are started and finished in the right order.

4. Defines the time phased budget

The project schedule can be matched with the cost estimate to produce a time phased budget. This gives the project team the likely manpower and cost over the project timeline. This is critical for accurate project staffing and cashflow.

What a Project Plan Does:

1. Identifies the products and milestones

The key project deliverables and milestone dates are identified. This allows the project outcomes to interact with the business objectives of the project.

2. Allows non-experts to understand the project

Project decision makers often do not have the knowledge of the experts who work on a project. The project plan should give everyone involved with the project a working knowledge of the execution strategy and the project outputs.

3. Allows a project manager to sell the value of the project

Being able to clearly tie the project objectives to a detailed project schedule makes everyone feel confident about the overall project management team. An easy to communicate project plan is a vital part of doing this.

How I use Office Timeline to create a project plan from Primavera P6 data

For a project management team, the plan must be sold to a client group and possibly a number of vendor and supplier organisations. In order to do this effectively, the project must be communicated succinctly, preferably on a single page.

When I develop a detailed schedule in Primavera P6, I export the activities and dates into an Excel workbook. I can then import this file into the Office Timeline plugin in Powerpoint. The benefit of this is that as the project details are tweaked, I can easily update the P6 schedule and the Excel export and have an accurate project schedule and project plan for the project team to use.

To do this in Office Timeline is easy. I take my schedule in Primavera P6 and copy the data by clicking select all in the edit field and pressing control+c to copy all the text.

compare to 100 dollar US bill

I then paste the data into an Excel file and save the file in a suitable folder. This file will be the link between my Primavera P6 schedule and the project plan in Office Timeline. Whenever I update my Primavera P6 schedule I update the Excel file and refresh the changes into Office Timeline.

compare to 100 dollar US bill

I then open PowerPoint and use the import function in the Office Timeline ribbon.

compare to 100 dollar US bill

From here I can select the activities and milestones that I want included on my project plan. I generally use a mix of WBS descriptions, activities and milestones from my Primavera P6 schedule to create a meaningful project plan.

compare to 100 dollar US bill

And here you have it, a concise and easily understood project plan.

compare to 100 dollar US bill

I hope you have found the distinction between a project plan and a project schedule useful as you develop engineering schedules with your project teams. And when it comes to communicating your plan, I have found the combination of Office Timeline and a detailed Primavera P6 schedule to work really well. It brings together two powerful professional tools to make a project planner's life easier.

Related content:

Top 10 Task Management Software Based on User Reviews

Your project communications must have impact

How to Add Meaning and Logic to Your Timelines


Taylor Croonquist
Mannix Carney is a project planner based in Calgary, Canada, with over 15 years of experience in planning in the oil, gas and pharmaceutical industries. He writes about Primavera P6 and project planning for large scale projects at www.ProjectPlanningHq.com.







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3 Rules for Creating Effective Data Visualizations

Have you ever read a report and gotten lost in an overwhelming number of statistics?

Or maybe you were presented with so many specific details about a topic that you lost sight of the big picture?

It happens all the time and it's no surprise why. As a species, we are now producing 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day. That's one million times one trillion pieces of data, and it's too much for the human mind to keep up with.

That's why when it comes to presenting data and getting your point across, I've got two words for you: data visualization.

Data visualization is the secret art of translating your information into effective graphics, charts and visuals that your audience can understand, to help you make more convincing arguments during your presentations.

When people start to see the big picture (literally) instead of all the small numbers, they're more likely to pay attention to what you're saying.

The benefits of using data visualization in your presentations

When done properly, data visualization has three core benefits:

1. Increases the clarity of your message.

2. Increases people’s confidence in your proposals and conclusions.

3. Creates interesting talking points out of otherwise overwhelming amounts of information.

That’s why if you plan on using data to inform or persuade during your next presentation, it’s worth taking the time to create clear data visualizations to back up your points.

But how do you do that? Here are three general data visualization techniques you can use to create clear graphics and visuals out of almost any type of data you have.


How to use data visualization:
1. Translate big numbers into tangible objects
2. Add a visual graph to your projects
3. Compare your number to historical, future or comparative figures


Rule #1: Translate big numbers into tangible objects

Large numbers can be hard for your audience to relate to. This is especially true if you are presenting numbers in the billions and trillions. While everyone knows that 1 billion or trillion is a large number, it’s too big for your audience to connect with on an emotional level.

The first rule of creating effective data visualizations is to break your large numbers down to some tangible unit that your audience can grasp like miles, pounds, length, height, etc. The reason this works so well is it translates your vague number into something that everyone can visualize.

For example, the U.S. National Deficit in 2018 was $21.6 trillion dollars. While $21.6 trillion is big, how big is it really?

If your point is that this is an extremely large number, here are two different ways you could try to break that number down into a more tangible number your audience can appreciate.

Method #1: Break it down by the length of U.S. $100 bills

compare to 100 dollar US bill

The U.S. $100 bill is just over 6 inches long. Translated into $21.6 trillion dollars, that equates to 20.9 million miles of U.S. $100 bills lined up end to end. That is enough to wrap around the planet approximately 842 times.

Method #2: Divide the number by the world population of 7.7 billion

divide by world population

$21.6 trillion divided by the world population of 7.7 billion is $2,805. That’s like the U.S. government owing every man, woman and child on the planet a check for $2,805.00 in 2018.

Rule #2: Add a visual graphic to your projects

If you are presenting dates, times or steps to a process, explain your project using a Gantt chart or timeline to visualize your data. The reason this data visualization technique works so well, is it makes your overall project easier to understand and digest in comparison to simply listing your dates out in a table or text box. Here's an example so you can see for yourself:

add a visual graphic

In the picture above, notice how much clearer the project is when presented in a visual graphic instead of a table. That gives your audience a spatial awareness of your project, allowing everyone to more fully understand how your project will progress.

Rule #3: Compare your number to historical, future or comparative figures

If you have a specific number or statistic you want to present, you can make your number more impactful by comparing it to something to give it context. The reason that this data visualization technique works so well is that a number by itself doesn’t mean much without context.

For example, having quarterly sales of $4.5 million doesn’t mean much unless you compare it something. Notice how in the chart on the left, $4.5 million is a year on year decrease in sales, while on the right it is a year on year increase. It all depends on your reference.

add a visual graphic

When you are looking to give your numbers context, the three easiest pieces of data you can use are:

●  A future forecast - comparing how you did against your projections.
●  Historical figures - comparing how you did against your historical, past performance.
●  Your competitors - comparing how you did against your competitors over the same time period.

To recap, here are the three most effective data visualization techniques you can use to deliver presentations that people understand and remember: compare to a real object, include a visual, and give context to your numbers. Try using one or more of these techniques in your next presentation. The clearer your data visualizations, the easier it will be to inform and educate your audience.

Related content:

How to Make Project Plan Presentations for Clients and Execs

Kick-off Project Planning with a High-Level Schedule

How to Make Gantt Charts and Timelines on a Mac


Taylor Croonquist
Taylor Croonquist is the co-founder of Nuts & Bolts Speed Training, a PowerPoint speed training website helping busy professionals crush their daily PowerPoint tasks and make it to Happy Hour. Prior to Nuts & Bolts, Taylor lived and worked in China for 10 years in finance and consulting. When he’s not busy crafting PowerPoint training, you can find him traveling the world and scuba diving.







Quickly turn project data into professional timelines

Build stunning, uncomplicated timelines and Gantt charts that are easy to make and simple to communicate. Get the advanced features of Office Timeline Plus free for 14 days.

GET FREE TRIAL