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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 27 2012: May be every idea has a sensational intensity. It may be both good or bad but it should be able to create an intense sensation in the minds of the receiver . Since all of us are socially connected with people whom we know share our beliefs or just share it for the sake of passing something that we felt intensely about, it gets spread. The susceptibility of different persons also differ and hence stories that excite a sports fan may not work on someone more interested in something like consciousness biology and so on. So we also need to refine spreading amongst what category of interest groups.
    The sharing which has become so powerful with the advent of the web, things like the tamil Kolaveri song has seen such violent spread it took most by storm. There is so much peer pressure also in subscribing to a “cult”.

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