The Domino Effect
Dominos are small, rectangular blocks of hard material used as gaming pieces. They are often stacked on end in long lines, and when one is tipped it causes the next domino in line to tip over and so on. This gives rise to the term “domino effect,” which describes a series of events that start with one simple action and have much greater—and sometimes catastrophic—consequences.
The word domino derives from the Latin term for flat, and it was probably first recorded in England in the mid-18th century. It is also the name of a popular game that involves placing dominoes edge to edge in order to form chains with numbers on both ends (normally 1, 2, 3, etc.). The games are played in a variety of ways, but scoring is based on matching adjacent numbers or making certain types of combinations.
A number of different types of dominoes are available, but the most common in Western countries are a double-six and a double-nine set. These are typically played with two pairs of players sitting opposite each other and sharing a table. After each player has drawn all the tiles they wish to play, a number is called out and the first player begins the chain by playing a domino on the table. The other players then play their tiles by positioning them so that the ends of the dominoes touch each other (normally a pair of 1’s touching a pair of 2’s, or a pair of 4’s touching a pair of 5’s).
When all the dominoes are played and their exposed ends are totaled, the winning partner is the player with the least number of points. Some games require that a player make a combination of numbers on both ends of the dominoes, while others require that only the exposed sides be totaled.
Many people enjoy dominoes for their entertainment value, and they can be a fun way to spend time with family or friends. In addition to the traditional domino game, there are a number of other ways to use the pieces, including using them in art projects, creating mathematical patterns, and designing games that test the limits of human coordination and reaction speed.
There are also some serious applications of the domino concept, particularly in the field of disaster risk reduction and management. For example, a disaster risk assessment can be broken down into several good dominoes: developing a financial plan, creating a communications strategy, and building resilience in the face of an emergency. Each of these tasks requires a substantial amount of work and focus, but when they are completed the results can be significant.
As the world of dominoes continues to expand, new rules and technologies are being developed to further advance the field. One company is even experimenting with domino-sized vehicles that can carry pizzas to customers’ doorsteps. As a result of these innovations, the concept of domino is being taken to an entirely new level—and it is helping businesses and communities develop innovative solutions to today’s most complex challenges.