The Domino Effect

A domino is a flat thumbsized rectangular block with one face divided visually by a line into two square parts, each either blank or bearing from one to six dots or pips; 28 such pieces form a complete set. It is the basis for many popular games. The term is also used to describe any of the various games played with such pieces, including positional games in which a player places a piece edge to edge against another in such a way that the ends of the two tiles match or form some given total value.

Domino is a word that also refers to a series of events, usually in the context of politics or the economy, which occur in a manner that can be likened to a sequence of falling dominoes. This type of cascade of events can be positive, such as a sudden economic boom, or negative, such as an unexpected oil spill that devastates the environment.

In some cases, a domino effect can be seen in our own behavior. When one person adopts a new habit, it can spark a series of additional small changes in his or her life, similar to the way that a single toppled domino can cause a chain reaction that leads to the destruction of an entire structure. This type of behavioral change can be difficult to implement and requires a substantial commitment from the individual.

A well-known example of the domino effect occurred in the late 1950s when President Eisenhower made a commitment to support the Ngo Dinh Diem regime in South Vietnam, a move that led to American involvement in the war in Southeast Asia that would escalate into the Indochina conflict. The resulting domino effect was the collapse of the non-communist forces in the region and eventually led to the rise of communism in that part of the world.

While dominoes are primarily an accessory to games, they can be used for decorative purposes. In this type of art, they are arranged in straight or curved lines, grids that form pictures when the dominoes fall, or 3D structures like towers and pyramids. While some of these works can be quite complex, most of them are simple.

The main physical force that makes dominoes work is gravity. It pulls a knocked-over domino down and into the next, starting a chain reaction. This is why a domino artist needs to be so careful when creating her intricate displays. A single domino can take several nail-biting minutes to fall, depending on how elaborate the setup is.

A good domino designer is a master at understanding the laws of physics and how to use them to create her masterpieces. She uses a combination of tools, such as a computer program to plot the layout of her design and a pencil and ruler for precision. She also understands how to utilize different physical phenomena, such as arc and torque, to her advantage. The most important aspect of her work is leveraging the power of the Domino Effect.