Re: Social facts and snowball effect

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Tue 11 Apr 2006 - 05:48:02 GMT

  • Next message: Douglas Brooker: "Re: Social facts and snowball effect"

    At 04:51 AM 4/11/2006 +0200, you wrote:

    >A ball of snow rolling down hill and picking up more and more snow is not
    >different from a typical avalanche.

    Actually, I think it is. It takes rather special conditions where the snow is close to the melting point to result in this kind of "pick up more snow as it rolls" behavior. I can think of only a few times I have seen it.

    >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?

    Not really. It is a colloquial saying that doesn't really point to a math model like "epidemic" does.

    A related saying is "a feeding frenzy" relating to a bunch of hungry sharks tearing something apart because they are all trying to get a bite.

    The current preoccupation of the US media with Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Isaac Hayes, South Park and Scientology can be describes as a "media feeding frenzy."

    Keith Henson

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