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Andrew Tam

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What makes an idea spread? Duration? Quality? Loudness?

In my Bioelectricity class this week, we talked about the propagation of electrical signals in the body. In the body, cells transmit action potentials (or "spikes") which propogate along the cell membranes of electrically excitable cells like neurons and muscles. However, these action potentials are only produced if the stimulus is of long enough duration, or of high enough amplitude. If signals are too weak, they instead dissipate as they decay in time and space. I was wondering: is the same true of the real world? If news spreads rapidly, is this reason to believe that the news is of of good quality? Is the spread of news proportional to the quality of it?

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    Feb 23 2012: It seems as though the more distant communication gets, the more distorted it gets because you can't completely convey emotions except through face-to-face conversation.
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      Feb 24 2012: Yup, I agree Kieran, that's definitely one way for ideas to get distorted, but it seems more accidental. I feel like most of the distortion that occurs often occurs intentionally, as in the case of making a story more interesting in order to attract more viewers.

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