Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Butterfly Effects

I read a story this morning about the secondary benefits of exercise. Nothing too surprising, but I guess not entirely obvious either: less colds, less diabetes, less cancer... I told the kids about this and about second & third degree consequences. How most systems are very complex and unpredictable. We had a laugh imagining how a butterfly could create a tsunami (blow air that moves a small leave, that moves a bigger leave, that changes the flight pattern of a small bird...).

I gave them the scenario of the forest with sheep and wolves that lived in harmony until hunters killed all the wolves. Asked them what would happen and they immediately guessed "ecological disaster... the sheep starve". Gave them a few more examples: raise the minimum wage (had to explain what "minimum wage" was). A correctly guessed some employees might get laid off. I added that some businesses might shut down altogether...

How did we get from the health benefits of exercise to unemployment??? Oh, well...

2 comments:

Companiesthatsuck said...
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Adspoken said...

this past weekend as I was driving from VT back home to FL my kids were watching Horton Hears a Who. the film was presented in such a simple way but reminded me how profound Dr. Seuss actually was. The idea of interconnectedness is presented so simply but is ultimately a representation of the butterfly effect in animated form.
great stuff.