The Domino Effect

Domino is a small, rectangular block bearing from one to six pips or dots. It is used to play various games involving laying the pieces down in lines or angular patterns. Also, the term can refer to a set of rules for the game. The word comes from the Latin domina, which means “feet,” and its use in English dates to the mid-18th century.

A domino effect occurs when a small event triggers another event, often with a greater impact than expected. It can be seen in politics, economics, sports or any other field of activity. One example of a domino effect is when someone loses their job, which leads to more unemployment, and then they are forced to look for a new job, which leads to more unemployment.

Lily Hevesh, a high school math teacher in Brooklyn, New York, is well aware of the power of a domino effect. She uses fractions to help her plan her domino installations so that she can minimize the number of small accidental topples. For instance, she determines how many pieces of a certain color she needs by dividing the total amount needed into smaller units, such as a fourth. This allows her to keep track of her progress and prevents her from being thrown off course by a minor mishap.

Another way that she plans her domino installations is by incorporating the principle of amplification. She explains that the center of gravity of a domino is low, so it only takes a little push to tip the piece. And since each successive domino has a higher center of gravity, it requires even less force to tip it over. The process can be amplified if a player has a precise goal in mind for an installation, such as constructing a chain of 12 blocks.

In addition to planning how a domino installation will be built, a player must consider how it will be scored. Generally, a winning player is determined by counting the pips on the dominoes left in the losing players’ hands at the end of a hand or game. There are some exceptions, though. For example, some games have a rule that states that only one end of a double is to be counted (e.g., 4-4 counts as only four points).

Most dominoes are played by matching the pips on the ends of the two adjacent tiles and arranging them so that they touch each other, or “line up.” This arrangement is called the line of play. The basic instructions for this are listed in the section entitled Line of Play, and are specific to games that have more than one player. The lines of play may be lengthwise, cross-ways or a mixture of the two. A tile played to a double must always be placed perpendicular to the double, and doubles are never played across a single.