How Dominoes Work

Dominoes are cousins to playing cards and, like their larger ancestor, have been around for centuries. From professional domino game competitions to kids setting up a line and flicking it, they offer endless possibilities for fun and skill testing. They can also be used to create elaborate pieces of art, and a growing number of people are showcasing their skills on YouTube.

A domino is a flat, thumb-sized rectangular tile that bears from one to six squares, or pips, each bearing a different numerical value, ranging from zero to six. Twenty-eight of these tiles comprise a complete set of dominoes. They are normally twice as long as they are wide, making them easier to re-stack. The pips and the value on each end of a domino are called its rank or weight, with a higher ranking meaning a heavier piece.

When a domino is placed edge-to-edge with another domino, the pips on both ends of that domino match. When this happens, the other domino will “fall” with a single touch and continue to fall until all the dominoes are down. This process is also known as a chain reaction or domino effect.

Dominos can be made out of a variety of materials, including bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl or MOP), ivory, and ebony. Many sets have a top layer of MOP or ivory, and a darker lower layer of ebony or other wood. Some sets are also crafted of stone such as marble, granite or soapstone; metals such as brass or pewter; ceramic clay; or glass. In the past, MOP was a popular choice because it was relatively affordable. In more recent times, polymer and other modern materials have become more common for dominoes, resulting in a much wider range of shapes, colors and finishes.

As Hevesh explains, the forces that affect how a domino falls are the same as those that affect a building or any other structure: friction and gravity. The pips on the bottom of each domino slide against the pips on the top of the next domino, creating friction and producing heat. These forces act on the entire line of dominoes, pushing and pulling them until they finally reach their tipping point. “When the first domino starts to fall, that releases all this potential energy and all it takes is a little nudge from another domino to break that chain of inertia,” says Morris.

The same principle can be applied to writing a story. Whether you compose your manuscript off the cuff or take your time with an outline, every scene is its own domino in the story’s overall chain. Each scene must influence the next, just as a row of dominoes influences all the other dominoes in it. By considering each scene as its own domino, you can ensure that the plot of your story will progress naturally and logically from one event to the next.

By admin
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