Domino is a generic gaming device, similar to playing cards or dice, in that a variety of games can be played with it. A domino set consists of one or more rows of rectangular plastic or ceramic tiles with a pips (or dots) on the ends. Players compete to score points by laying tiles end to end such that their exposed pips match: for example, a one’s touch two’s or a four’s touch eight’s. The player then wins by completing the longest domino chain before his opponent.
Creating an intricate domino display requires skill, practice and patience. A master domino artist like Hevesh may spend hours or days arranging her pieces before the final showdown, but once she sets them in motion they follow the laws of physics to tumble together as desired. Watch this video to see a stunning demonstration of this process.
A more practical application of the domino concept is a personal strategy that can help people move their goals forward. For example, a business coach taught Charles Schwab the power of the “main domino,” a technique that involves ranking all his tasks each day and choosing the most important one to work on first. By concentrating on this task, Schwab could generate enough momentum to knock over the other tasks and eventually move his company forward.
The name domino likely derives from the French word for hood, a garment worn by carnival participants wearing masks during celebrations such as masquerade balls. It may also refer to the domino-shaped silhouette of a black bishop’s cape over a white surplice, a garment that was once common in Europe. The term came to the English-speaking world by 1750, when it was used both as a name for a game and as a playing piece.
In a more serious sense, the term domino has been used to describe how the effects of a hazardous materials incident can spread across an entire plant. This type of accident is often referred to as a “domino effect,” and the risk is typically calculated using an analytical model that evaluates the probability of different domino accidents occurring. However, such models do not account for many influencing factors, including human error or failures in design, operation and maintenance.
For this reason, a more rigorous approach to disaster risk assessment is needed. This newer approach, known as domino effect analysis, has been developed and a computer automated tool, DOMIFFECT, has been built to facilitate its use. The method combines deterministic modeling and probabilistic analysis to assess the physical impact of possible domino accident propagation-escalation vectors. It can help to identify the potential for significant damage from an incident and to prioritize the need for mitigation measures. It can also help to determine which assets are most critical and require immediate attention by emergency responders. Developing and implementing this approach will help to reduce the risk of major industrial incidents that can have devastating consequences. It is hoped that this new method will lead to the improved safety of chemicals plants around the world.