Day: September 22, 2023

The Domino Effect

When you think of domino, you probably think of the classic game where a line of dominoes is set up in a straight or curved line, then tipped ever-so-slightly to cause all of them to fall in a beautiful, rhythmic cascade. It’s an effect that can be seen in action at domino shows, where builders create elaborate setups for others to watch. But the domino effect is also a great way to explain how a small trigger can set off an entire sequence of events—anything from a car crash to an avalanche to political unrest. Dominoes are small, rectangular blocks of hard material such as wood or bone used in games by players who take turns putting them down on a table and then laying other dominoes on top of them. Each domino has a series of dots that correspond with a number; the first player to place their last domino wins the game. Dominoes are often played by two players although games with more than one player are also popular, particularly those adapted from card games. A large domino set contains many different sized dominoes, each of which has its own unique markings that identify it from others in the same set. The marks, called pips, are usually small circular spots, but some larger sets use Arabic numerals to make the dominoes easier to read. When a domino is flipped over, it changes its form from potential energy (the energy stored in the position of the domino) to kinetic energy (energy of motion). Some of that kinetic energy gets transferred to the next domino in line, giving it the push it needs to topple. This process continues all the way down a line of dominoes until the last one falls. In 1967, Domino’s founder Tom Monaghan opened the first Domino’s location in Ypsilanti, Michigan. His company’s success grew quickly thanks to his emphasis on placing Domino’s pizzerias near college campuses, where he knew that students would be willing to wait for fast delivery. He also emphasized his company’s values, which included listening to customers. Domino’s CEO, Dan Doyle, carries on that value today by emphasizing the importance of listening to Domino’s employees and customers. A domino artist is someone who plans and builds impressive domino art that can be set in a variety of arrangements, including straight or curved lines, grids that form pictures when the dominoes fall, or even 3D structures such as towers or pyramids. These impressive displays can take hours to complete and may involve thousands of dominoes. Hevesh, a domino artist who has worked on projects that have involved as many as 300,000 dominoes, describes the engineering-design process she uses to plan her mind-blowing designs in the video below. She starts by considering the theme or purpose of a project, and then brainstorms images that could be used in her design. She also calculates how many dominoes she will need to make her design come to life.

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