Tipping Point
Condemned to the 1st Circle of Hell


tippingpoint.jpgYou’ve probably heard of the tipping point. Push a heavy box up a hill, and you’ll spend a helluva lot of effort in pushing the thing up. But when you reach the peak, it only takes a light nudge to send the box hurtling down the hill at great speeds. That’s the tipping point.

The concept has been applied to any process in which beyond a certain point, the rate at which the process (chemical, sociological, environmental etc.) proceeds increases dramatically. Mathematically, the angle of repose may be seen as an inflection point. In control theory, the concept of positive feedback describes the same phenomenon, with the problem of balancing an inverted pendulum being the classic embodiment. -Wikipedia

The term can trace its roots to epidemiology.

It’s the name given to that moment in an epidemic when a virus reaches critical mass. It’s the boiling point. It’s the moment on the graph when the line starts to shoot straight upwards. AIDS tipped in 1982, when it went from a rare disease affecting a few gay men to a worldwide epidemic. Crime in New York City tipped in the mid 1990’s, when the murder rate suddenly plummeted. -Malcolm Gladwell

The tipping point has various applications in almost all fields, including science, media, mathematics, business, finance, and what-have-you. Almost all these fields have a concept of reaching that peak, or that tangent, or that level of influence. In all these, the tipping point has been oft overused to the point of being a cliche. But then again, it still keeps its importance in that the tipping point is usually an event that has a great effect on what happens after, even without much great effort.

It’s all downhill from here.

  1. 1
    Buzzerboy Says:

    We all have our limits and they are called boiling point. But tipping point sounds like you are on the verge of pushing someone to the limit. Depending on how you look at it, many would think it is like soliciting trouble or pushing your luck too far. But in reality it is really something people do today, push them to the limit.

    Not all people have a good degree of patience. That is why they are sometimes given tags, most of which are virtually unknowns. But at first glance you can more or less see what they stand for. Leave them alone without meaning and you will most probably find yourself wondering or at a loss for words on how to depict such a word as tipping point.