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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 28 2012: Hey Andrew!!!!!!

    I waited until the last minute to post for two reasons: 1. It slipped my mind that I also have to respond to yours even though we discussed it thoroughly offline and 2. It would be best to observe how our similar questions would spread.

    Just from this week’s observation, I feel that an idea spreads through group effort and empathy. I stated in my conversation that “idea production requires a group effort in which we all stimulate production and discussion like with neurons firing. The only way you can measure a signal or response is if multiple neurons within the same area are firing not just one because of all the noise that can distort a single low amplitude signal.” This applies for how ideas spread not only in the production. It takes many people to empathize and start discussions to propagate ideas. I have always focused on how I relate to an idea and made it very personal but the group dynamic is so important.

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