Dominoes are small rectangular blocks that come in a set, usually 28 in number. You can play games with them that involve lining them up or knocking them over. You can also use them to create interesting shapes. They have a number of different nicknames, including bones, cards, tiles, spinners, and tickets. Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Juan who wondered, “What causes a domino to fall?”
When you push one domino over, it triggers a chain reaction that moves other items in its wake. This is known as the Domino Effect. It’s a powerful principle to keep in mind when you’re planning and doing tasks. The first step in a large project is often the most important. You may need to take your time with it, but once you’re finished you will have a good starting point for the rest of your work.
A Domino Effect can be applied to many aspects of your life. For example, if you want to start exercising regularly, you can begin by setting aside a little time each day for physical activity. You can then make that the main domino that you work on every day, focusing on it until it’s completed. By making that your main priority, it will naturally lead to other healthy habits like eating better.
The word “domino” is also used in the context of a political theory that predicted that the rise of communism in Indochina would cause neighboring countries to adopt anti-communist policies. This theory became popular during the 1960s and helped persuade President Kennedy to increase U.S. support for the Ngo Dinh Diem regime in South Vietnam and of non-communist forces fighting a civil war in Laos.
An accomplished domino artist, Hevesh, uses science to help her create some of her most intricate designs. Her biggest installations can take several nail-biting minutes to complete. As she sets up each piece, she tests it in slow motion to see how it will fall. She also creates test versions of each section before putting them all together. Her process is similar to the way a brain scientist might plot out a novel.
Hevesh explains that one of the key reasons her creations work is due to gravity. A domino has inertia, a tendency to resist moving when no force is pushing or pulling on it. But if you give the domino a tiny nudge, it can generate enough energy to move the next domino over. Once a domino reaches its tipping point, it falls and starts the chain reaction that Hevesh has designed.
Hevesh says that her dominoes also behave much like a nerve impulse in your body. Once a domino is triggered, it travels at the same speed no matter how big or small the triggering stimulus is. And like a nerve impulse, it travels only in one direction. Hevesh’s dominoes are a perfect visual representation of this principle.