The Magic Of 10

Science does it again…!

A great many scientists seem unsatisfied to take seriously any old adages or proverbs until they can be statistically tested and verified. OK, no harm done. Only their testing often comes down to validating in their labs what the rest of us already knew in our world. The latest “breakthrough” comes from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where members of the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center used computational and analytical methods “to discover the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority opinion.”

The magic number is 10%. Director Boleslaw Szymanski concluded: “Once the number of convinced opinion holders grows above 10%, the idea spreads like a flame.” Anyone who has celebrated the candle-flames to a few score birthdays will quickly stir with a rush of personal memories that can easily prove the professor’s point. Even without his laboratory >>

* Without at least 10% of the fans being giddy, beer-soaked fanatics in the Wrigley Field bleachers, how could the city of Chicago keep enduring the 101-years of no-win Cubs baseball….?

* Without at least 10% of the national population consisting of hormone & horror crazed teens, how could Hollywood keep grinding our formulaic monster/car chase/buddy flicks year after year…?

* Without at least 10% of the TV viewers willing to keep turning on raunchy but predictable sitcoms, how could sponsors keep paying networks to impose this brain-draining plague season after season…?

* Without at least 10% of the driving public willing to buy those headlight-blinding vans, how could Detroit keep refusing to adjust the light beams for the benefit of the other 90%….?

* Without at least 10% of Congress absolutely and irrevocably dug into their opposing positions in 1861, how could a perfectly sane nation go perfectly insane for the next four years otherwise known as our bloody Civil War…?

* Today, without at least 10% of Congress consisting of true-believers in their own unshakable catechism of convictions, how could a perfectly insane nation teetering on the edge of its own history be perfectly willing to be insanely “right” even as it hurls itself off economic cliffs…? Still beckoning like the mad Ahab lashed to his great white whale…?

I have no answers. I’m hoping the gang at the Institute does. Because science just may be our last chance…

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