From: Joel.M Dimech (email@example.com)
Date: Tue 11 Apr 2006 - 02:51:26 GMT
“Snowballing is a colloquial term for fast growth. Under some conditions, a ball of snow rolling down hill picks up more and more snow until it becomes huge. Growth in the number of those infected by a meme depends on the expansion, i.e., how many people are infected by one person. The math that describe this is exactly the same as that describing epidemics”.
It seems tricky to mix the growth of a ball of snow up with epidemics because the ball of snow effect belongs to a precise class of events, the avalanche type. The avalanche itself - this type of fast growth - is the clear step of a very long process. The growth that you see is made possible by a whole string of events that come on top of the last one. This is why ‘Under some conditions’ are the most important terms in the ball of snow effect. As you probably know the story of a snowflake begins with water vapour in the air, and how a cloud freezes is not a simple chain of events. Briefly and in simple terms, the conditions of the avalanche type:
(1) Factors cause constraints that apply uniformly on a vast quantity of water molecules.
- Relationships that are normal to water molecules can’t take place.
- Water molecules loose their state of disorder and turn to snowflakes, a frozen ordered state.
- Frozen state means the potential energy of water molecules has turned to inertial mass.
- Inertial mass means deterministic properties; one of them makes snowflakes able to sinter, (to become coherent with other snowflakes).
(2) Forces, the wind and packing down cause sintering.
- Sintering consists in doing ice bridges.
- Ice bridges link snowflakes with each other
- Water molecules are no more free individuals.
- Water molecules are stuck in the form of sheets of snow.
(3) Factors stand in the way of the melting point of ice.
- Water molecules can’t go back to a state of disorder.
- Water molecules get stuck in the form of sheets of snow.
(4) A force makes a sheet of snow loose balance and sets it in motion.
- A sheet of snow looses balance and moves out; it propagates unbalance towards the direction of its motion.
- Other sheets of snow loose balance and move out.
(5) More and more sheets of snow loose balance, move out and propagate unbalance towards the direction of their motion.
- The avalanche takes place.
A ball of snow rolling down hill and picking up more and more snow is not different from a typical avalanche. The ball of snow propagates unbalance towards the direction of its motion, it rolls down fast and causes packing down, and sintering obliges the ball of snow to grow up. Actually, it’s not the size of the ball of snow that grows up it’s the load of inertial factors; what really grows up is the quantity of snow that has lost balance.
Water molecules or human beings, all types of avalanche are about the propagation of unbalance, the question is then: where do you set up a virus in this type of fast growth? It's possible to explain some social issues with the help of the ball of snow effect, still, the explanation “ball of snow effect = epidemics” is really intriguing. Could you clear the point? Joel
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This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
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