Domino is a type of game or structure made from small blocks of wood or other materials. These blocks have a number of dots or other marks on one side and are blank or identically patterned on the other. Each domino has potential energy, or stored energy, based on its position. When a domino falls, the energy changes to kinetic energy and causes a chain reaction, which results in other pieces falling.
Dominoes have many uses, from simple block-and-draw games to complex patterns that form shapes or pictures. Some of these structures take days to build and can be as elaborate as a room or as small as a single square inch. A domino set can contain as few as a few dozen or as many as thousands of pieces. The most basic Western dominoes are asymmetrical, with an arrangement of pips on one side and the numbers of each player written in Arabic numerals on the other.
In a domino effect, a small change can lead to a cascade of new behaviors or beliefs. For example, when Jennifer Dukes Lee began making her bed every day, she found that it was easier to keep the rest of her house clean as well.
The name domino may refer to the game or to a large hooded cloak worn with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade ball. Earlier, domino also denoted a black cape worn by a priest over his white surplice.
Physicist Stephen Morris explains that a domino is held upright by the force of gravity, which exerts a slight pull on each of its sides. When a domino is flipped over, much of this potential energy is converted to kinetic energy, and the domino tumbles over other pieces in the chain.
In the world of domino art, professional builders create intricate designs that require a meticulous sequence to complete. These designs can involve straight lines, curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, 3D structures, or towers and pyramids. Some builders even put on shows for their audience, competing to see whose creation can topple fastest or create the most imaginative domino reaction.
In the world of fiction, dominoes represent scenes in a story. Each scene has its own characters and events, but when all the dominoes are in place they come together to tell a larger story that builds toward a climax. A good writer can create domino scenes that fall smoothly, without any hiccups or stops in logic. These dominoes should lead from character to character and scene to scene, until a clear and satisfying conclusion is reached. To do so, the writer must make sure that each domino has a distinct purpose and is connected to the other dominoes in the scene. Otherwise, the reader will lose interest. This is why the old Clint Eastwood “Dirty Harry” movies work: The action moves along smoothly, and the viewer knows what to expect from each scene.