A stick bomb is a grouping of sticks — in this case, tongue depressors or ice cream sticks — woven together in a pattern that creates tension, as seen in the video above, so that each stick holds another in place. Once the tension is released at one point, one can achieve surprising results. It’s a pretty good metaphor for financial crisis. When an intricate structure is designed such that all the individual components are constrained to stay in place and the tension holding the entire system together is broken, all hell can break loose. As to when and how such things happen and why they are unpredictable in a “natural” setting, I recommend Mark Buchanan‘s outstanding book, Ubiquity.
H/T to Political Calculations