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The Domino Effect

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A Domino effect is a chain reaction that begins with one small event and causes a series of subsequent events. The event that initiates the domino effect may be a simple act of kindness or an unfortunate accident, but the results of this initial act can ripple through society and even impact entire communities.

Domino is also a term used to describe a pattern of events that, when they occur, cause an unexpected shift in the balance of power or influence. This shift can be political, military, economic or social in nature, and it often leads to unintended consequences. For example, the collapse of a single credit union might have a domino effect by leading to bank mergers and eventual governmental takeovers.

The word domino, like its eponymous game, has had a number of uses over the centuries. Besides the modern-day use of dominoes, the word also once denoted a long hooded cloak worn together with a mask at carnival season or at a masquerade. It is possible that this sense influenced the appearance of the Domino pieces, which have a similar design to those of the hooded garment. The domino set, as we know it today, first appeared in England in 1750 and later spread to France, where the word and the game gained worldwide popularity.

A domino is a small rectangular block with a face marked by pips or dots similar to those on dice. These pips are usually colored black or white, but some sets of dominoes feature other colors as well. The dominoes can be placed on a surface in various positions to play positional games. Each player takes turns placing a domino on the table positioning it so that it touches either end of a previously played domino in a line. The first player to place a domino with its pips showing in order wins the turn.

Hevesh is a master of building these complex constructions, and she takes great care in planning each piece before she puts it into place. She makes test versions of each section and films the process in slow motion so she can see what goes wrong and make precise corrections. Then, she brings the whole thing together, starting with the largest 3-D sections and then adding flat arrangements. She also takes care to synchronize the timing of each step so that the whole installation works properly.

For Hevesh, the magic is not in tipping over each individual domino but rather in seeing what happens when a whole row of them all fall at once. As she puts it, “Plotting a story is like setting up a row of dominoes.” Each plot beat has its own moment of potential but ultimately what matters is the effect it will have on the overall story. Dominoes have inertia, so they will resist moving until some external force pushes them past their tipping point. But once that domino is tipped, it can spread its influence just as the firing of a nerve impulse can affect the rest of the body.

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