A living organism contains every component of its entire evolutionary history. We comprise 99.9% ancient – archaic – primordial stuff. Animals, plants, bacteria, viruses and archaea are living histories of all they / we have ever been since life’s origin and long before as molecules in the primeval stew.
It is not simply that every human cell once had the potential to be any organ or tissue but it has the potential to be any creature that ever was since the beginning of life on Earth. Send our little “human’ blastomere an instruction to become a Devonian fish and voila! Mom gives birth to a coelacanth.
The spectacle of stem cells receiving instructions to develop into neurons, epithelium, nephrons, cardiac tissue, lungs, bones, blood, hormones –
You – do this
You – do that
Not now! – wait 10 seconds until x,y,z is complete then it is your turn
A cellular headquarters at blastomere like a busy general writing orders to 1,000 colonels
Gentlemen – Start your kidneys !
The kidney begins in deep time 400 million years ago give or take 100 million years. The kidney begins to grow in each new life of mammals, birds and reptiles. The human kidney recapitulates this early form in our fetal growth sequence. For the first three weeks a human has the kidney of a 400 million year old hagfish. It disappears after a few weeks replaced by a second version that became extinct 100 million years ago. This second kidney actually functions in the human fetus as a filter for a few weeks. At week fifteen our final form kidney emerges to serve its filtering, blood pressure regulation, secretion, excretion services throughout a life.
There are many who disparage Darwinian evolution-natural selection using examples of specific animal features such as eye parts, kidney-heart system to make their case against. Their question is some form of “How could these systems function at 10% eyeball or 20% kidney? They fail to acknowledge 99% of evolution occurs at the quantum-atomic-cell nucleus level i.e. not apparent to cursory examination of obvious animal features or the fossil record. the vast ocean of process that drives any phenotypic expression ( i.e. a part or process you can see) is not readily apparent. The stuff we can see: feathers, fins, limbs, organ systems, metabolic processes are the residue of much finer process not the heart of the matter, not the essence, the guts of evolution-mutation-selection. Evolution is not only not at the level of the individual life as Darwin asserted it isn’t at the gene level as Dawkins proposed 39 years ago in his iconic book “The Selfish Gene”.
Organisms evolve within themselves throughout a single life via intra-signaling: limb to nucleic material, organ to nucleic material. Intra-lifespan epigenetic activity across 50 cell generations or 500 or 5,000 cell generations prior to registration as a change in DNA base pair number or sequence i.e. traditional sense of a mutation and subsequent transfer to a new generation of germ cells. Thousands, tens of thousands of mutations accrue within tissue cells before a gene is modified. Nature is more carefully conservative than we have assumed. there is a dialogue that occurs throughout the life of an individual – messages for improvement of a process or the coordination of an organ component with other organ systems. These post-translational signals are registered in histones-junk DNA and when a threshold is reached, a message is formally encoded into DNA for conservation. The histone acts as capacitor storing a charge for change and then relaying a signal to DNA molecule at germ cells. What is the pathway from organ cell to germ cell? Perhaps “junk” DNA is stored information that has yet to reach the point where it signals a change in protein production – regulation.
The old model of a nucleotide getting zapped by a UV ray, mutating and causing a new expression to be tested in the following generation(s) for fitness-survival is grossly over-simplified. During the span of a single lifetime there are 10 million or a billion mutations, tryouts, experiments in every organ in every metabolic process, in every cell in the body. It is the sum of these multitudes of mutations that we see as an improved blood pump. Organ and metabolic systems within a single body during a single lifespan communicate myriad small changes that become encoded in DNA. The following is a partial list of cell types and their lifespan in a human body:
- Heart muscle cells 40 million replaced each year of 4 billion total
- Epithelium-small intestine 2-4 days average lifespan of cell
- Stomach 2-9 days
- White blood cells 2-5 days
- Platelets 10 days
- Sperm 60 days
- neurons lifetime
- bone cells 10% per year
- eye-lens lifetime
- female gametes ( eggs) lifetime
- Red blood cells 100 million new ones per minute of 9 trillion
Look at Darwinian evolutionary process re: fecundity-mutation-natural selection within a single body not where a base pair mutates, expresses a longer claw-dominant bear-wins mating battle, makes more offspring with longer claws and over a million years all bears have longer claws. the viability of the longer claw gets resolved 10,000 times at the cell level. It must make sense here as an advantage for 1,000 generations before this mutation gets transferred into the DNA as either an expressed or a conserved trait.
TOE (Theory Of Evolution) skeptics ask how an entire system like the kidney could evolve as a result of the accepted model of mutation-natural selection. How does an animal use 10% of a kidney even if a simple archaic pronephric model as seen today in the hagfish (and surprisingly, in early fetus of humans, though non-functioning and dissolved after three weeks). How or why does one have only one half of a filter even if it is a primitive one? There are structures other than kidneys or proto-kidneys that perform a filtering function – every cell membrane is a filter. It is a kidney in a sense if it keeps some things in and others out. It is easy to visualize an ancient kidney – a ten percent kidney working in concert with fifteen percent blood and a twenty percent heart. Every cell with a membrane is at least a ten percent kidney by definition. There was a point in time where where a few cells combined to accelerate this filtering process i.e. the cell membrane handles X and Y and the incipient kidney handles Z.
Many TOE critics whether knowledgeable Creationists, educated, rational science-trained sceptics lack imagination. There ought to be a branch of bio-science “Incipient Organ Systems” that explores archaic organ interaction, patterns scalable into greater complexity like a landscape painting transitioning from foggy late Turner into precisely rendered Frederic Edwin Church.
The time is two billion years BCE. there are twenty multicell organisms at the starting gate. The primordial ooze has become toxic. Who will survive? Gentlemen start your kidneys !*
August 29, 2015 2:36 pm
August 18, 2015
A single thread of our grand rhizomatic myth-mat-braintangle, our consensus trance is often seen as madness but when these madnesses, after some culling, are bundled together into a single rope of shared consciousness comprising our shared wisdom, our history, laws and favorite music, books and films – culture ensues.
Imagine two balls the diameter of a golf ball at the top of a big hill. They have 1,000 features coded as base pairs in DNA at the top of the hill start point,. The orange ball rolls left and the green ball rolls right. These two balls have the capacity to replicate. The hill is covered with myriad pieces of string, the left side of each string fragment is different in small and large ways. The right side of the hill is covered with rubber bands of many qualities. New rubber bands and string are features that may or may not promote survival. If the red ball rolls over a piece of string it adheres. If a green ball rolls over a rubber band it conveniently wraps around. The red ball is an animal. The green ball is a plant. It will take three billion years for the DNA in the two balls to get to the bottom of the hill. As string or rubber bands are added, new DNA is created or existing DNA is struck by a UV ray creating a mutation forcing a ball to pick up a new type of string or rubber band.
Life has so much momentum, so much back-pressure ( historical momentum-heritage) as well as adaptive-reproductive pressure in real-time and real space. Life possesses such urgency and fecundity over vast scales of time-space, like water being forced through a cracked rock formation – where are the hairline fissures in the rock? The openings will be discovered by these organisms as they struggle for existence. The new niche will be discovered.
Are individual organisms programmed with intention? Once the cat idea is in place, is it cats all the way down. Once the reptile happens, is it reptiles forever. It appears to be thus. If there is a point in this “Ball-O- String” analogy where one could begin to wrap string around a rubber band trending ball or rubber bands around a ball that begins as stringy. At what point in evolutionary history does the idea of cat become expressed? Is it gradual? Is it punctuated, i.e. does it occur in less than 20 million years? Is there such a thing as “punctuation” within a pre-phenotypically expressed collection of what have been gradually accrued variations? Which of the following features would be considered the core of the balls i.e. pre-string or pre- rubber bands? 1. live young parturition 2. quadrupedal 3. chordate 4. radially symmetrical 5. bilaterally symmetrical.
How does a ball know to pick up string and not rubber bands when it possesses neither at the early stages of development? Perhaps it does not “pick up” string or rubber bands, it picks up an undifferentiated substance and its food and transforms nutrients into string or rubber bands as a precursor cat or bear or crocodile that one day will become a fully expressed family.
How are traits conserved to such widely varying degrees in DNA? Are there kryptonite locks on certain histones – no access, little access, regular access, promiscuous depending on methylation type?
Lamarxism: Inherited acquired wage slavery.
Vastly different organisms could develop from identical amounts of both string and rubber bands depending on which of the pieces of string or rubber bands are expressed during fetal development. Maybe a ball at the bottom of the hill has 50% string and 50% rubber bands but only the string is expressed. The rubber bands are silent. Vastly different organisms could grow from identical genomes with expression controlled by post-transcriptional activity only.
What is the next step up the evolutionary ladder after bacteria or if not a ladder, which app is being selected among hundreds, as the most useful improvement for the organism? Was there ever a two-cell organism? or four, eight, twelve? or did we advance from one to hundreds of cells in a single step? Imagine a billion years of evolution happening in 24 hours – a museum exhibit.
One can create blinding bright light in a pitch dark room by pressing on one’s eyeballs. This is obviously a cold chemical light not involving photons. Must be phosphor atoms or calcium ions releasing energy at afferent neural pathways from eyeball to optic nerve through optic chiasm then into occipital lobe? who knows? maybe this light is experienced before the afferent signal gets to the occipital lobe say in the midbrain or the pons. This chemical light never needs to arrive at any more remote brain area for added meaning – no need for 3-D space to be imagined to complete a scene – just light alone. Is this light in the darkness similar to the cold light of lightning bugs or deep sea glowing fish appendages?
Do cell membrane lipids share the same chemistry as mitochondria lipid or vesicle membrane lipids? One size fits all? Is the hydrophilic-phobic connection reversed at either?
What propels and or guides a protein molecule from the golgi exit to the interior surface of the cell membrane? How is it guided to the proper zone of this 360 degree quasi-sphere? How is shipping information conveyed re: destination: bloodstream, adjacent cell, intracell goo?
Liebig’s law: Barrel capacity determined by the lowest stave. Organism success determined by the most scarce resource.
August 7, 2015
A capacitor stores increasing electrical charge over time until an instant when it releases all stored charge. A speciation event following this pattern would suggest a contradiction of Darwin’s notion of gradual change in small increments. Countless small changes have been occurring intra-organism but these reach a “debut” point where it appears on life’s big stage for interspecies action.
Note the amount of work of all sorts from design through construction that goes into a new building before opening day. It is not that nothing was happening or that things were in “equilibrium” or “stasis” during this block of time simply that the changes were not public.
Nature is a great showman saving up eons of hard work for dramatic debuts on life’s stage. She likes to bring her fighters up through anonymous ranks and myriad hours in the gym before sending them into the ring for well attended battles.
Stephen Jay Gould and NIles Eldredge mistake these vast periods of species “stasis” as equilibrium when activity is continuous and intense at all times. They overstate the importance of opening night. Note: “Opening night” in evolutionary timescales may be 10 million years long over the course of a billion years of existence as a discreet organism.
If a dam breaks due to forces of water in reservoir does it matter if it rained for one day or one year? The resulting flood has the same disastrous effect on the village below in either case. Each raindrop creates femto change at its own micro- level perhaps knocking a frog on the head reminding it to have sex. Tadpoles then clog the spillway screens, water and thus horizontal force builds up against the dam, the stress in the concrete builds up beyond its capacity, the dam bursts – every level of the taxonomy is in play.
There is no big change without accrued small change somewhere in the chain of causality, even singular, catastrophic events. A comet works its way across the solar system toward Earth. Hitting the Earth is just another moment in its millennial travels from the Oort cloud and back. It is when one system in which change has slowly accrued, impacts another system that an event might appear to be punctuated, abrupt, saltational.
Ten million base pair mutations occur in one organism then in a single “moment” ( perhaps in geo-time) this series of genes affects shell color, shell shape. The change in the shape of the shell is just the manifestation of countless smaller changes, just another in a long line of changes not essentially larger, though far more noticeable than those that unfolded at the base pair level.
This interior-exterior expression dynamic occurs throughout nature, throughout the universe on every scale and throughout human society and through individual lives. It is what anger management is all about – channeling abrupt expression into socially constructive, personally advantageous action.
“….When a system reaches its own limits and becomes saturated, a reversal is produced – something else takes place…..” Jean Baudrillard
Every cell membrane is a capacitor.
Many small changes accrue reaching a critical mass, a breaking point at which new phenotypic expression occurs.
Things build up and then they burst, emptying to fill again; spores, emotions, cells, the universe itself is a capacitor, a regulator of change enabling a regular, dependable filling and emptying of charge, of change.
An election is a social capacitor, a built-in device for regulating and balancing social pressure. An election creates a sensation of change when much that is vital remains the same. There are highly conserved genes across kingdoms of organisms that are not available for mutation at every generation. These base pair sequences are guarded more than others lest we have our stomachs filled with brains. Each new generation is a biological election, a newer slate of variables to test itself against the forces of natural selection: capacitor-election-birth – storage-release-refilling. The female reproductive system in mammals is a capacitor when it fills up with a growing fetus and is emptied to fill again.
The animal and plant cell membrane is a capacitor with a low charge on one side and a higher charge on the other. positive charge outside – negative charge inside creating a differential that is used to convey sensory and motor information in neurons and other functions in other cell types.
On the ethnographic scale, adolescent male natives are restless, the village is overcrowding, the chief demands fealty, a revolt ensues. The village-capacitor discharges a few ocean-going sailing outrigger canoes filled with young sailors out into the South Pacific to find their own territory
Release via pressure excess
Release via catalyst
population growth from cell division – birth
population growth via immigration
A movie theater is a capacitor filling and emptying. Your stomach fills and empties – is it a capacitor as it churns away at the various products of sunlight doing its part to restore entropic balance from imbalance caused by the great temperature difference between the sun and the coldness of space in a cascade of causality first the plant then the stomach evolved as capacitors to accelerate entropic gradient reduction.
When there are transformations within the “capacitor”, if the medium doing the filling is transformed does the capacitor become something else? a transformer?
RE: Reference to Walter Benjamin’s essay “The Age of Mechanical Reproduction” @ page 99 of “Simulacra and Simulation” by Jean Baudrillard – . The reproduction reminds the brain of the glorious sensuality of the original oil painting though it is missing the aura itself it trips the memory of the original aura as we look at this simulacrum so all is not lost, perhaps little is lost with this glossy poster of Turner’s “Fighting Temeraire” thus the original is not lost.
The Panama Canal locks are capacitors – they fill, they disgorge carrying information ( ships-products, raw materials) to a new level.
JB Hypothesis: Gradual change is stored internally using “junk”DNA until all organ systems and all metabolic systems have been coordinated. After a million years or 15 million years of invisible but regular internal evolution via adjustment-coordination there is an expression event – a coming out party, a period of a few thousand years, a debut, a punctuation. Punctuation being the outward expression of a continuous gradual evolution.
Imagine a crew team spending 99 percent of its time, thousands of hours, in grueling workouts for several months to prepare for five six minute races. One would not assert that the rowing team was in stasis during its vital months of preparation with its intensity reaching race levels of intensity but with no spectators only the watchful eye of the coach.
Stasis is a mirage. If Gould wants to transfer the bookkeeper as agent of speciation heuristic to the next higher taxonomic level from Darwin’s level of the individual to Gould’s level of the species then he must accept the baggage – no cherry picking of features allowed. The route to speciation is: gestation to speciation not as Gould-Eldredge assert: punctuation to speciation.
My corollary to “punctuated” equilibrium fleshes out Gould’s argument for raising the taxonomic level of natural selection and adds quotation marks for what can be seen as only a superficial but highly visible “punctuation” – punctuation for the spectators only but not for those with inside knowledge of the entire process, the grueling, highly selective regimen of the oarsmen, stage actors, artists including nature itself. Why would nature showcase an unfinished, untrained, uncoordinated product i.e. to allow it to play a role before its time – too dangerous. Nature has pride and conservative character in not wanting to place entire development process in the arena as animals and especially humans revile and attack the unfinished, seen as weak as it often is. why would a species, in its gradual evolution oppose this fact of life. Keep changes under wraps until ready for action and under wraps does not imply stasis. Think of the vast scope of activity in a growing fetus. Birth is the celebrated punctuation event but it is part of a continuum.
Biologists should search for genetic-proteinic mechanisms for of genotypic storage-warehousing and the mechanics of release. These ‘releases” occur over spans of millions of years in some cases.
To do: Create experiments that seek to reveal mechanisms for warehousing useful base pair mutations to be triggered as phenotypic expression only when levels of internal balance is achieved re: component size, metabolism, process, timing etc. Internal “practice” prior to expression on nature’s battlefield.
July 31, 2015
Nothing is ever abrupt. Everything has its history, a backstory, a build up, an evolution. You may not see the development but it happened nonetheless. Nothing is abrupt. Things are small for 1,000 years then you can feel them, see them, then they kill you. Take cholera for instance.
Sometimes things appear abrupt because the intermediate stages have been lost, removed, stolen, ignored, simply not seen. How many times have we heard the following from an artist “My overnight success took thirty years.” or twenty years or ten years i.e. this person’s success only appeared to be abrupt. Ask anything that seems to happen all at once. Nothing happens all at once. Nothing is abrupt.
Some things seem abrupt due to a change of background. You didn’t see the green apple on the green grass but when it is seen against a red picnic cloth it is in your face. Shift the background and things “abruptly” appear. Relocate the object to a new background and it looks different all of a sudden. If you want to see the unseen, change the background noise. Killing big game for sport was a sign of masculinity in the 1920s. In the 2015 it is pathological cruelty, senseless, egomaniacal destruction.
While you were busy looking elsewhere this phenomenon became present. Some things gestate, hibernate remain out of sight and in stasis; other things are always growing, getting bigger, gaining definition, clarity, power and then you see them and then they explode.
- Bacteria invented the animal ( human) gut just as humans invented agriculture and writing.
- Ethanol ( whiskey, vodka, gin etc.) dissolves gut biofilm making one more susceptible to viral, bacterial infection, cancer, ulcers, etc.
- Ethanol dissolves myelin sheaths at axons-neurons making one more quick tempered, depressed, angry, violent i.e. less sociable.
Things only appear to be created when they are merely stuff being re-arranged or noticed for the first time. People who are identified as “creative” re-arrange more stuff than others. They break more rules and dig deeper into processes. Mozart’s melodies were always sitting there among the seven tones. He was the one to notice them. Picasso and Braque looked closer at the late work of Cezanne to discover the reason for all the fuss.
There is no creation and there is no abruption. there is unfolding at various rates or uncovering or finally seeing. A snail evolves from one species to another over the course of ten million years and Stephen Jay Gould calls this “punctuation” a singular event across geologic scale time i.e. hundreds of millions of years claiming this abrupt speciation an argument against Darwin’s gradualism.
Being born is an abruption. Sure it’s just another chemical event on a 4.5 billion year continuum but to another human it is an abruption. If it is your child, it is a big abruption. Humans have their unique realm of what is abrupt and what is continuous. Avocado dip turns brown after an hour sitting on a picnic table but if one makes a sport out of watching it. It seems to take forever. The mayfly lives for a day as a flying insect.
Abruption-abrupt punctuation as dramatic climax in dramatic text paving way for third act. Shift characters into a new context, a new background to reveal something hidden
January 21, 2015
Art-making is like evolution. The artist experiments, searches consciousness, habit, skill, experience, history. Hold on to the good stuff, throw out the bad. An artist tries 1,000 different ideas during years of work, shares 100 of these ideas with other people, two of the works are selected for exhibit and critical scrutiny, one of these ideas dominates, giving rise to:
- ”BLAM !”-Roy Lichtenstein
- ”Crazy” – Willie Nelson
- “Woman One” – deKooning
- “Hey Baby” – Bruce Channel
- ”Folsom Prison Blues” – Johnny Cash
- “American Flag Painting” – Jasper Johns
- “Watch Your Step” – Bobby Parker
- “Love Potion #9” – Leiber & Stoller
- “String Quartet in F” – Hayden
- “School of Athens” – Raphael
All deliver bold, simple, rhythmic, colorful, spicy, and as of 1963-70: camp.
Emotion-laden expressions rarely endure critical stress. They may be “true” and ‘heartfelt” They may be “honest” and many are technically obsessive but they do not generate impact, traction or staying power. Save the sap for the memoir where people might be interested in ephemera, juvenalia, sincerity.
Most picture makers are locked into mediocrity from a strong dose of early approval. Aunt Mildred says ‘Oh ! – It is just wonderful dear” upon viewing “Waikiki Sunset with palms” painted when you were fifteen. Art fairs across the land are stuffed to the gills with Thomas Kinkade wannabees. The following are the rules for traction in capital “A” art world – 2015.
- Duchamp-Benjamin-Warhol genuflection
- Machine-slick displaces touch
- Scale – make it too big for the living room
- Content – too sexy, too violent for living room
- Theme: gender and race still rule the roost – use wit and irony
Bend it like nature -read the working genetic code – insect or mammal; Duchamp or Picasso. Make a move any move but respect the genetic history – the genome, as you share your mutations, subject your creation to your own harsh gauntlet of natural selection, make additional moves by addressing your success as your new work progresses – what does the genome suggest? What does your latest layer or splash of paint suggest? If loss ensues, make another bold move bolder than the first – shift, swerve, juke as required. If this fails, let extinction run its course and begin again and again and again. there is no blueprint suggesting the final result. Nature had no idea that humans would evolve when it relocated the skeleton to the interior of its animal du jour. there was no human-vector intention 100 million years ago – just the intention of the second law of thermodynamics – restore entropy and use animals to do it. One thing led to another under the bold, playful and demanding eye of a broader natural selection. The dog hunts or it don’t. If it hunts, keep it, store its information on a DNA molecule – don’t mess with the good things.
Artists who imagine an end result and direct effort to a preconceived notion work against the grain of evolution and their own nature, their inborn gift for exploration, adventure, something new, effective and powerful. In nature the good stuff is built upon not ignored or discarded. As much as nature loves to experiment, it does not like to start from scratch. Nature keeps the good stuff and builds upon it. Nature has been adventurous in overall process but conservative in protecting moves that bear fruit. Nature locks success into chromosomes.
“I asked the brick what it wanted to be. It said: I want to be an arch.” Louis Kahn
July 17, 2015
“Rhythms apparent to the eye are at the root of artistic creation. They resound in man by an organic inevitability which causes the tracing out of the Golden Section by children, old men, savages and the learned.”
- Le Corbusier
“Desirable middle between two extremes” – Aristotle
“Doctrine of the mean” – Confucius
“The Middle Way” – Buddhism
“Nothing in Excess” – Delphic temple carving- Ancient Greece
“Proportion is related to beauty and goodness” – Plato
“The pure crystals that harness, guide, enable and valorize cosmic forces: salt” – JHB
There is part of the human brain that just sits back and laughs / cries at the hodge-podge “self” you have constructed ( ended up with). It sends you dreams to mock you. It wakes you up to piss.
In my dream I toss a rock against a steel door and the noise wakes me up to micturate.
I dream of a colossal wave and the fear wakes me up to piss
I dream of wading in a flooding river and wake up to urinate
I have a jolting mini-nightmare to wake me up to take a leak
RE: A Thousand Plateaus-capitalism and schizophrenia by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari
The purulent oscillation between brilliance and logorrheic garbage is dizzying. Two thirds garbage and one third brilliant insight. It is worth the crappy, sophomoronic, quasi-scientific, marxist, homophilic outsider clap-trap to get the rhizomatic refrain such as it is – refried Straussian structuralist dualism, Saussurian synchronic-diachronic reframing, Chomsky-nods, the usual suspects of Western philosophy Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, et al.
I have an inborn sense of the golden proportion. I can create a golden rectangle at will time after time without using a ruler, by “eyeballing” only – .618:1.00 every time. I can sense when a graphic design, a painting or a work of architecture is “IN” proportion. This is a blessing and somewhat of a curse as so much of the built environment is out of proportion thus always a little jarring. This visual acuity may be related to perfect pitch in the audio realm – who knows? This sense allows me to create building designs and artworks that please most viewers – those with an esthetic sense. I know “where to put the lines” when designing buildings. I also have a sense of color harmony. I can tell when colors are harmonious or not. I know how to mix colors in 10,000 hues to achieve color balance in a painting, if balance is desired – sometimes it is not. Knowing color allows a painter to orchestrate harmony and dissonance for emotional effect. I am developing the ability to do this in music. I am a beginner in music but can make some small delights by manipulating keynotes, fourths, fifths, thirds – minor and major simple progressions.
My question is this. How are the senses linked in the brain to make esthetic judgements? It seems as if the visual and audio senses share the same fundamental proportional rules i.e. a piece is either in harmony or not independent of good or bad criticism which is always a matter of fads, movements, fashion, style. During the Mannerist era artwork was elongated i.e. out of proportion. Out of proportion was in style. Nowadays art is independent of much visual criteria – it meets a political-racial-gender program or it doesn’t.
If the brain has an “esthetic control center” when and why did it evolve? Does the ability to sense proportion help one to choose a healthy mate thus enhancing the quality of the species genome? Did it help during the hunt? A fat or skinny animal was more vulnerable to being tracked down and killed than an animal that is in proportion. An animal that is in proportion, signaling good health, will be stronger and better able to hunt the hunter. The brain developed the capacity to make fine proportional distinctions that send life or death information. Is the control center in the neocortex or in the brainstem-basal ganglia?
Do other mammals have esthetic sensibility? Do birds, fishes and insects and arachnids have it? A spider web is one of the world’s most sublimely beautiful structures. Could a spider web be woven without an esthetic sense? If so, what genes are involved? Is there a set of broadly and deeply conserved genes such as the HOX group that enable animal brains to make esthetic-survival judgements? Have humans taken a survival skill and exapted it into our neocortical artistic realm with accompanying social agenda? Hey! this esthetic sensitivity works for hunting but look at this -I can paint a beautifully proportioned herd of bison on the wall of our cave for the amusement of all and to enhance my status in the clan as an artist, a shaman who can re-create important real things in paint for use in animal abundance rituals. Prehistoric bird-like animals evolved feathers for insulation and discovered that they could be used for flight. did humans discover a new use for their esthetic survival package?
What does the golden mean mean? It is a baseline for all sensory judgement? Is there a golden mean for smell and taste? How about touch? or vomeronasal sense? The ideally proportioned pheromone that signals great interpersonal chemistry and true love-lust. Is there a universal donor pheromone as in blood type? A person who is magnetic to all? Is this what charisma is all about? Are Bill Clinton and Barack Obama chemically charismatic? What percentage of their personal power comes from their esthetics, their “lookin’ good” factor. What makes people of both sexes want to give charismatics whatever they want? Is there a lock on to one’s golden mean sensitivity?
Is there a deep knot of neurons that govern all senses that serves as a thalamic-type clearinghouse for afferent neuronal connection-distribution from sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, vomeronasal sense? Is there a rhizomatic network that interconnects all senses so that they work together to make judgments for further action. A pre- neocortical assembler that gives a “go-no go” opinion to the higher neocortical reason at prefrontal lobe? The brain gives the person or the matter at hand the “smell” test. My foamcore architectural model has helped me make judgements about the proportions of my building. I can sniff around the relationships of the various formal elements. What looks better four arches or five? Should this tower be an additional fifteen feet tall?
Late 19th Century American architect H.H.Richadrson stood in front of his masterpiece Boston’s Trinity Church as the tower was being constructed and quite independent of his office construction drawings, instructed the contractor to remove built stonework and make the church tower fifteen feet taller because it “felt’ different in real life at full scale than it “felt” as building elevations on the working drawings.
A good architect makes 1,000 esthetic judgements most of which are beyond the threshold of normal sensitivity that all contribute to a house feeling just right to clients.
Have you seen a photograph of someone that made them look attractive only to be disappointed in your real life encounter? They looked as good as in the photo but something wasn’t clicking.
Charles Darwin colleague T.H. Huxley on human consciousness:
“As the steam whistle which accompanies the work of a locomotive engine is without influence upon its machinery.” JB corollary: …..unless three toots on the whistle signal anarchists to blow up the whole train.
JB Theory: The human mind ( the animal mind – perhaps the plant mind) makes aesthetic-type judgements using every sense at many levels of review for countless judgements guiding action, belief, opinion and executive function in humans. There is a golden mean at work, our structuralist waffle iron, in the fastnesses of the thalamus, the batter of the exterior world is cooked cross-checking, filtering and coordinating this sensory input and in so doing, enacting consciousness. The Golden Mean is the key to human consciousness, the fountainhead of perception.
- 1:38 pm – 7/17/15
July 6, 2015
American culture is designed from top to bottom to make 50% of American men believe they are living TOTALLY independent lives. These men all have the following traits:
- They are employed
- They own property
- They are college educated
- They pay all of their bills every month
- They own stocks and bonds
- Their children are raised and doing well
- They paid for their children’s college education
- They have paid for daughter’s weddings
- They host regular family get-togethers in a generous loving manner
- They don’t “lean” on the Federal Government for anything
- They own two or three cars and a few other devices with motors
- They go on road trips to Branson and Las Vegas, often driving Winnebagoes towing $60,000 tricycle Harleys
- They are all still married to their first wives who they try hard to please
- Eighty percent of these men are overweight with cholesterol and heart problems
- They are amused by bolder men but envy no one.
American culture allows this myth of independence to thrive. These men are independent of little. They are piglets on the teat of our myth. calves on an ideological udder, well-behaved puppies rollicking in a litter. They are mama’s boys and more than a few are motherfuckers. In the words of Sir Paul McCartney “…..and his mother said: “Ted be good’…..he would” If you follow all of the rules all of the time and behave yourself 100% of the time – remaining under the juridical radar with your nose to your corporate grindstone ( or is it a hamster wheel?) within which you have risen into the executive ranks, you can tell yourself you are an independent “self-made” man. If you stumble once you are dead. You cease to exist. You float in limbo, an untethered astronaut. You are a non-person. You are pitied and ignored. If you dare to respond to a single urge emanating from your mid-brain, your basal ganglia, your nature center – you’re a fuck-up. 100% of your marching orders must derive from your female cultivated, mama-groomed prefrontal lobe, your culture center, Our myth center. The center of the big lie, the consensus trance. The lie that if you behave yourself rigorously, control yourself religiously, deny any and all animal urges howling at you from 4.5 billion years of evolution – you will be saved. You will win the game. You will have achieved the right to claim that you are an “independent” man. You fucking loser. You coward. You drip-squirt-smear. I’ll take Henry Miller and Picasso while you risk your life diving for metaphorical vaginas – the coy abalone hidden beneath the turbulent surf of mother-ocean.
How does experience become form? How does the life experience of a sea snail cause the development of its lethal, retractable proboscis-syringe? or the dancing fleshette-fishing lure built into the snapping turtle tongue? or the mega neocortex of the human? What is the interstitial process? Is it mutation-natural selection over 20 million years? This theory does not cut deep enough either for those features listed ot any of ten million others in plants and animals
JB THEORY OF TERMINAL EVOLUTION:
Most animals and plants have reached the end point of their evolution. they dominate their respective niches with their sophisticated array of terminally evolved tricks of their respective trades. They now have little competition for sexual access and have no problem projecting their genome into the future i.e. they are done, finished, no place else to go in terms of any further adaptation. They are now perfectly adapted and they most likely have been for the past 10 to 20 million years. Is there a single shred of evidence that anything has evolved in the past one million years other than the human neocortex?
It is obvious that many species haven’t evolved for 50 or 100 million years: sharks, dragonflies, hagfish, clams. So what now? We are surrounded by perfection, by immaculate biochemical metabolic process. It works ! DNA gets scrubbed each generation, ATP gets metabolized, HOX and FOX genes unfold. Why would any of these organisms or their marvelously packaged processes change? They could change. New mutations could find favor but with what? A destroyed global environment, an inferior environment? Now that would be de-volution
I was bombarded by country music hits from 1954: Webb Pierce, Jim reeves and Hank three nights before my psychotherapist of twenty years Anne Hemming declared me cured of bipolar disorder. My high school therapist diagnosed schizophrenia and there it stood through graduate school. When I began therapy with Anne she called it manic-depressive disorder and ten years ago it became schizoaffective disorder and a few years ago, bipolar. Same brain spectacle. Mental health professionals waffle. This “disorder” gives me creative energy and a slant on reality I have leveraged to my benefit. My ‘cure’, in the eyes of Anne, coincided with my announced retirement from a quasi-lucrative career as a high-end residential architect. Life had become frenetic. I don’t do frenetic. I have newer, fresher fish to fry. The waiting list at BlountSpace has grown to outsize proportions in the past five years, must be thinning gray hair and snappy Calvin Klein blazer Anne suggested. Anne screwed up her face in disdain upon hearing my retirement news. She sighed slumping in her Morris-chintz Edwardian armchair crossing her size 4 Jacques Levine black suede slippers on the matching footstool.
“Am I going to have to choke a bitch?” She said
I described my dual vocation with fervor: songwriting-neuroscience. I would henceforth be living on Social security payments until……whenever, studying and writing my songs and bioscience essays.
“Chase two tigers and they both get away Frank. You know this.”
“It’s a passion reborn from high school, I scored the top grade on the biology final senior year and my dad enjoyed country music when I was growing up. He always had a radio on, stuff’s in my blood.”
“Passion closes out of town Frank. You’ve got to make a living for God’s sake!. We’ve got connections now. You don’t even know how to play guitar. Survival as an adult requires mature social relationships not a mind on fire, grow up!. We worked hard to get your business out of the Bush Dump and you casually discard it. We didn’t go to 150 dinner parties in this city for goddamned nothing!
You’ve got a case of the dick-arounds Frank and you must get over them. For Christ’s sake Frank GET REAL ! You were so….so…. coming into focus.
“Don’t forget the Chateau Montelena tomorrow night” she softly intoned as she closed her office door.
We had been flirting mildly at our sessions for the past several years. I had aired the darkest of my memories during our first seven years during which we de-fanged many demons. There were six or seven more years of OK Stupid Dot-Bomb romance frustrations and workplace trivialities that I could afford to discuss. We attended social events together. Her husband begged off. Her friends thought I was gay.
I dug up many bones in Anne’s office, from shallow graves, more like scraping out encysted worms writhing under my skin, hidden between my toes and curled up in their fastnesses inside my caudate nucleus, stories from my life up to and including 365 weird days of my sixteenth year after which things calmed around the house, our eighth address in seven years. Daisuke, my mother’s ghost, called it quits, leaving us to our own dysfunctional devices. This ghost, Daisuke, we never got a last name, entered mom’s sub-subconscious in 1961, a gift from my father during their last violent shouting match before the divorce. I was there. I saw the scuzm-plasm exit dad and enter mom as she held the butcher knife to dad’s right eyeball – scared the hell out of me – the plasm transfer, not the knife. I had seen the butcher knife wielded in anger many times. Mom liked to wave it around in her jealous rages. Daisuke had followed dad around for seventeen years after a fiery and immensely loud kamikaze crash onto dad’s destroyer, 225 miles per hour to full stop – a shock to a young Japanese soul and to the sailors standing nearby on The USS Gwin, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
Daisuke infected dad’s moods like a Melanesian fungus. His buddies thought it battle fatigue. Dad was highly respected by his shipmates as fleet champion heavyweight boxer and chief mineman making heroic, eardrum crushing, free dives to set mines forty feet below the surface of the South Pacific. Daisuke’s head was shattered like a coconut, as leader of the fire crew, dad was the first sailor to pull parts of the broken, charred body from the wreckage. Most of it had merged into the aluminum airframe. Daisuke “walked in” to dad immediately after the fiery, immensely loud crash. My grandmother, dad’s mother, said he was never the same after the war. Who is? Dad was first of the Gwinn crew on the scene. I unloaded a lot of Daisuke induced family baggage in Anne’s office on Amsterdam Avenue, enough to fill the cargo hold of an airliner.
I was on my thrice weekly Long Island midnight swim ensuring my manic and depressive remain under control. Do what it takes, burn calories, stay calm when serving, the ultra-rich, our leaders. They desire elegant homes. Homes for these rich people are a competition and BlountSpace delivers victory. I was one hundred yards from turnaround time, slowly powering through a medium chop, blowing stinging water out of my nose at every other deep breath. I swam hard for one nautical mile straight out into the moonlit ocean from Jones Beach. I was a mile out when I sensed another consciousness. I thought for a moment it might be a squid brushing across my back. Things had slithered across my skin before. This was different, this was similar to being fish-slimed but this contact was across my entire upper back and neck, driving a fear-flight electrochemical jolt from amygdala to every muscle, reversing course with no conscious input. The intense neurochemical charge fuelled a churning Aussie crawl back to shore. I staggered through the soft sand up the moonless beach, breathing hard and fast, lungs hot, sitting on the edge of the concrete walk under the steel rail, I lean forward and retch saltwater, heart thumping. The fright will not subside. I had not been this fearful since my solo encounter with Daisuke at age twelve 1964, sleeping in the basement of our third “new” house in a year. Some entity, some unfriendly consciousness down there in the dark hovering near. I kneeled, silently howling into my pillow. I gathered my wits to force it away, back into the darkness and hurried upstairs dragging my bedding to spend the rest of the night on the sofa. I refused to sleep in the basement. My two older sisters thought I was a chicken, my younger sister knew what I was talking about. She was awakened in the middle of the night the previous year by an acrid sulfuric waft through her summer bedroom window and she ran to a neighbor’s house in unexplained terror at three in the morning in her flannel nightgown – two blocks away.
My breathing returned to normal. Another oppressive force was hitching a ride on my mind. I could now hear Kitty Wells singing “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” Very quiet at first then the music in my head got louder then it was Jim Reeves singing “Bimbo” over and over. This old-time country music is different and deeper, more strange than a Daisuke prank. It swirls around my brain stem. It is not ordinary ghostly pineal-hippocampal ping-pong, like a normal spirit dicking around in the fourth layer neurons of my temporal lobe. Ghosts enter by merging the ghostly spirit-essence ( a cloud of pi-mesons – stuff a million times smaller than atoms) of their undispersed soul, with their subject’s quantum architecture in the “junk” base pairs in claustrum neurons, quark charges rearranged by the billions, enough to maintain the spirit identity while altering the behavior of the violated as a misguided effort is made to serve their misaligned spiritual purpose. It’s all very sloppy and ineffective quantum chemistry for the ghosts. Not many are friendly, most are pernicious pests. The lost souls of evermore forever lost forever.
The boundary between doctor and patient with Anne blurred seven years ago, soon after her husband Peter’s law firm became involved in a colossal product liability case against a Fortune 5 corporation. “The People of Argentina vs Texxxan Oil” Smart money was on “The People” and a $200 million payout. Anne’s cut would be $12 million. Peter, a principal in the firm, was the lead attorney. She was already spending like a sailor. Her marriage had been disintegrating for years. We violated her professional oath when turning up the heat on our growing friendship. She joined me on Freud-Sofa three sessions prior to my final visit as her psychiatric patient, her displeasure at my career pivot still a week away.
I thought I was doing her a favor when our higher society explorations began, escorting her to events her husband had no interest in. The benefits to my architecture practice began to accrue. I was moving up in the world. Anne’s visions of her share of her husband’s share of the Texxxan payout imbued her with an adventurous free-spending confidence. Her financial worries were about over. She could smell the money and it made her happy. One U.S. Supreme Court ruling and years of legal drama and her upper, upper middle class financial straits would be over.
In 1964 Daisuke was in a playful mood. He materialized in a black trenchcoat pretending to steal mom’s taxi on a foggy night in seattle. She was returning from a weekend stay at King County Hospital mental ward after a four day drinking binge at the end of a haywire affair with her married boss. The romance ended when her boss’s daughter, a highschool classmate of Maureen my elder sister, accosted Mo in the hallway at school angrily demanding that sis put a stop to mom’s home-wrecking behavior. The same taxi mom thought had a fare, stopped to pick her up. It was empty. Another Daisuke stunt was to materialize on mom’s chest in the middle of the night. There were blood curdling howling screams waking me from my sleep upstairs. When I arrived in her bedroom ( this happened four times in a single year) Mom, shaking and sweating and breathing hard, complained of her chest being crushed by an incubus. Daisuke played this game when mom was drunk. It drove her deeper into alcohol. She went from a sixpack a night to eight beers and a half pint of scotch. Daisuke often jumped ship into Maureen and caused her to drive mom’s old Chevy into Green lake or crash into parked cars and smartmouth cops, so unlike her. Daisuke loved car mayhem. Maybe it allowed him to relive his plane crash while messing with outcome. He walked into me in the spring of 1966 and things got rough.
Daisuke grew up in the pottery making village of Onta in a narrow gorge high in the evergreen forested hills of Eastern Kyushu. In early 1942 Daisuke kissed his lover Sukio goodbye and travelled by rattletrap bus down the treacherous mountain road and out across many vegetable farms to the prefecture Army induction center. After his basic training he volunteered for the Kamikaze corps. After three months of training he reported to Japanese carrier group gathered near the South Pacific island of Kwajalein.They sailed to the Leyte gulf into the most intense naval action in the War in the South Pacific. Daisuke was lounging on deck thinking about winter days back home in the mountains, of a secret place miles from the village where Sukio and he would hike deep through the dark forest with wind whistling through the high branches up to a steam pool in the snow. They were sitting in the warm water stroking one another’s arms in the moonlight when something cool and soft and wet brushed against the back of Sukio’s neck. She screamed springing high out of the water when they saw It was a deer trying to nudge its way to the warm water they laughed and hugged. Daisuke and Sukio were deeply in love when he left the happy, industrious village for the Navy. He volunteered for the kamikaze corps out of a deep sense of honor for his country and for his true love. He knew they would meet again in the afterworld. He was so wrong.
At the instant of impact Daisuke knew he wasn’t going to heaven and that his only chance to reunite with Sukio was to hitch a ride on the living. Frank Blount Sr. was nearby looking and acting capable. He mogrified into Frank and tried to make himself inconspicuous. He failed. The weight of his loneliness for Sukio infused Blount’s soul doubling the mineman’s tendency toward the blues. Frank Blount Sr. served with honor and distinction as the final months of the war played out. HIs work as an underwater guy was put to a task of Homeric proportions for which he won a bronze star. He was to perform a sequence of forty free dives, hard, black rubber swim fins only-no air other than holding breath into cold, silty Tokyo Bay where the U.S. fleet was convening to sign the peace agreement two weeks hence. Frank volunteered to inspect a network of Jap[anese mine cables radiating from two power stations at opposite ends of the shore, one in Kawasaki and one at Kisarazu extending out many thousands of yards out into the bay. His cardiovascular prowess from boxing training was taxed to the max.
The Japanese had mined the Bay for the immanent arrival during wartime of the U.S. forces. Frank Sr’s job was to dive into the cold murky water and lift every foot of these two inch diameter heavy black cables up out of the mud at every inch from shore to one thousand yards out ensuring that the mine detonating signal cables had been severed properly. Some of these cables were more than fifty feet under the surface in the benthic slime. Blount had to spend up to four minutes thirty seconds per dive, feeling around in the cold dark water with his ears bursting in order to do his duty. If he failed, the battleship carrying Douglas MacArthur could be lifted from the water by expanding column of explosive-driven water, fractured from port to starboard, keel to gunwale and sunk by a Japanese mine, a possible fate for any one of twenty U.S. Navy ships due in Tokyo Bay to observe the signing of the Japanese surrender document on the aft deck of the U.S.S. Missouri. Daisuke was down in that cold dark water with Blount every inch of the way and Blount was ecstatic down there. Daisuke was waterproof and trying to help.
The day following the treaty signing ceremony, Blount and a small cadre of U.S.sailors went ashore to meet three friendly , now defeated Japanese soldiers who showed them to the mine control structures in order for the U.S. team to dismantle the mine control stations. This would be Daisuke’s chance to jump “ship” from Frank and enter a Japanese person and hopefully piggyback his way closer to his home in the distant mountains on a different island and to Sukio. He needed a weakened spirit to make this transfer and the few times he tried with the Japanese soldiers escorting Blount and Company he was rebuked, repelled and resisted, cast back into the soul of Blount where he dwelled in loneliness for the next eighteen years until he switched over to Lorraine, my mother, Frank’s now soulshot wife. Frank had gained enough spiritual strength from a rejection / individuation scene with his clutching, clawing, possessive mother, my grandmother, after her 18 years of meddling in her son’s marriage. One she never approved. He now had the spiritual independence and strength to cast off his ghost. I was there. I saw it. Dad was free, mom was not. Daisuke was patient, mischievous and nimble. Who knows why he thought his chances of reuniting with Sukio were better with mom. She wore silk kimonos every night for five years that she won at auction along with the classic Wurlitzer bubbling arch juke box in which she was buried, face-out, lips and fingertips pressed tight against the glass between columns of bubbling colored alcohol. It was unplugged following the first silver-plated shovelful of dirt.
June 4, 2015
For simplicity focusing on big six: Lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, stomach and intestines ( large and small). Given that the brain sends and receives chemical and electrical signals from all organs, sensory and others.
Do the lungs communicate with the kidneys in any way? Does the heart communicate with the liver? The stomach with the lungs?
Rather than hierarchical communication centered on the brain, a rhizomatic system between all organs in constant, precise communication.
How does stomach tissue signal the heart-lungs that it is dying from lack of oxygen?
Does lung disease cause oxygen deprivation problems in all organ systems? what happens when the blood cannot carry enough oxygen for ATP production and all cells become energy-starved?
Does oxygen deprivation accelerate cancer onset and growth?
- RNA codes for some proteins that return to act upon the genome itself – the originating DNA molecules. Does this mean that a protein re-enters the cell nucleus from its point of production on a ribosome at nucleus-encircling rough endoplasmic reticulum. Is this protein assembled within the cell nucleus from ribosomes that did not migrate from their zone of origin at nucleolus out to the rough endoplasmic reticulum or is there rough endoplasmic reticulum within the nucleus?
- Are all 20 amino acids present in every cell type? One would think that only those amino acids required for a particular cell type’s proteinic product.
- Are amino acids imported into cells or created from scratch within each cell?
- Oneiric question: How many different brain areas must our dream machine tap into in order to create those scenes in places we have never been, populated by people we have never seen, with buildings of a type never imagined, living through social roles never experienced? Is this dream-stuff located in a long-term memory zone of the hippocampus, mixing and matching from previous experience to create a unique movie? Must some dream nucleus reach out with its dendritic rhizomatic web into various sensory regions of the neocortex for every sight, smell, sound, color, face, weather condition, assembling these into a coherent though still mysterious story.
- Might prehistoric DNA have cannibalized itself to create an origin event for a new kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus or species? Say an ancient organism one billion years ago had only one chromosome with 100 million base pairs. 80,000 base pairs of these 100 million split down their center i.e. unzip, break off from main strand and end up ejected from this cell as two strands of RNA and then excreted by the organism itself. Extracellular environment is such that this nuclear material can float freely, remaining intact and multiplying.
Hapleate, hapleated, hapleation, haplioid: A JB neologism that means to remove 23 of 46 chromosomes of any somatic cell from any organ in order to create a new haploid cell that is not a germ cell.
- Experiment One: Insert 23 chromosomes from a colon cell into a hapleated kidney cell nucleus. adjust each of these haplioids prior to insertion through post translational modifications so that they are pluripotent
- Insert hapleated kidney cell chromosomes into hapleated stomach cell nucleus. Has a viable zygote has been created?
- Experiment Two: Variation on #6 Knock out various combinations of regulatory accessory DNA in hippocampal neuron, hapleate, merge with hapleated liver cell nucleus to create Neo-germ cells
- Experiment Three: Relocate half of mouse neocortex to a zone just below the cerebellum of target mouse – see if new neuronal connections are made thus increasing brain power of target mouse. Is target mouse smarter after six months of synaptic growth?
- Experiment Four: Relocate neocortical mouse-one neurons into thalamic ventricle of same mouse – see if these neocortical neurons add value to hippocampal function. Mix and match various brain cell types into different brain areas to see if brain cells can be re-purposed.
- Experiment Five: Plant a slab of neocortex of healthy, young recently deceased ape,Party One, across the lower back of a healthy living ape, Party Two- – initiate axonal links from relocated ape neocortex into spinal cord of of Party Two – see if this transplanted neocortex has added consciousness to Party Two. Try neocortical transplant at various regions closer to the head, say at back of neck. try this on rats, mice, other primates, dogs, cats etc. Has any memory from Ape One been transmitted to Ape Two? A maze pattern or Pavlovian response unique to Ape One into Ape Two?
- Experiment Six: Replace cerebrospinal fluid at lateral ventricle(s) with new neuron population. Check for increased caudate nucleus or hippocampus function. Perform this neuron relocation to 3d, 4th ventricles with specific neuron types involved in specific signalling or hormonal process.
- Experiment Seven: Transplant brain cells from the pons or medulla to the lateral ventricles. Attach axons to any deficient brain area injured in battle or accident or genetic mishap. Whichever brain area is deficient could receive 200,000 additional neurons / brain cells to assist in restoration of brain function.
- Experiment Seven-A: Switch on or off specific DNA regions at these relocated ( new) brain cells in order to customize function for specific tasks.
- Must any or all interorgan signaling travel through the brainstem like afferent-efferent signal from sensory organ to and from brain?
- Is interorgan signaling reflexive bypassing brain and even perhaps the spinal cord – direct organ to organ signal.
The following is a letter to Cal Tech Professor Elliot Meyerowitz re: interorgan signaling in a tree:
Dear Professor Meyerowitz,
I encountered a brief description of your work on structural forces effects upon patterns of plant growth while reading an article about Professor Jennifer Zallen and mechanical forces on Drosophila embryo growth.
I have wondered lately about the large scale growth of primary branches of an 60 foot tall oak tree in my rear yard (6 acre farmette in Lebanon, TN). I was trained as an architect at the Harvard GSD where I was introduced to D’Arcy Thompson so was primed to think about such things. My questions are as follows:
- How does a big tree signal the amount of new growth in order to maintain its structural equilibrium? The compressive and tensile forces can be very large in a big tree under equilibrium ( compression) and tension resulting from regular lateral forces of wind and traumatic force induced after losing a major branch during lightning strike or pruning.
- Say a big branch on the left side of this big oak got blasted off by lightning one night; the tree would have a lot of new compressive force in the cells on the side opposite the loss and lots of new tensile force in the cells on the side that lost the big branch.
- My question: Is it the strain ( deformation measurable via strain gauge – a common structural engineering tool) of the compression force or the strain of the tensile force that initiates compensating new growth thus ensuring the balance of the entire tree in its new configuration? new growth that may be initiated by pathways you describe for Arabidopsis growth patterns i.e. PIN1 – Auxin or Ms Zallen’s myosin-actin(cell adhesion under tension) biochemical process.
- Whatever these forces are at work on the large deformed tree, they must be similar for a plant sensing tensile or compressive forces in its hierarchy of stems as it grows from seed to maturity.
- I wonder if different chemical pathways are involved in compressive strain as opposed to those at work under tension forces. Each side of a plant having its own chemistry depending on tension or compression stress OR one side of a big tree ( or small plant) sending signals from one side to the other.
I’m using basic statics- architectural-structural engineering definitions for stress ( pounds per square inch, or whatever units force divided by area) and strain (deformation in inches, fractions thereof) in relation to tensile force.
- It would be interesting to measure relative amounts of PIN1 and auxin before and after an amputation of a large tree limb to investigate chemical changes.
Good luck in your researches
Jim Blake -Harvard GSD ’79
Dear Mr. Blake,
All very good questions. To the degree that we have answers, you can read them in the Wikipedia article on reaction wood (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reaction_wood). We don’t know the signaling mechanism that leads to this adaptation to stress (or strain) – initially something must strain (a protein molecule, a membrane, who knows) and it is thought that auxin is involved, so PIN proteins probably are part of the mechanism. The response depends on the type of tree – tension wood at the top of the branch in angiosperms, compression wood at the bottom in gymnosperms – but as far as I know, no one has the least idea why.
Just one more area open for research!
It is surprising sometime how little we know about plants, given their importance to us, but as you know our federal science agencies are very much slanted toward animal research in service of medicine, and in applied, not basic, plant studies. The good part of this is that plenty of interesting phenomena are barely studied, so are open for new investigation. The bad part is that there aren’t a lot of resources for such investigations, or many available answers to even simple questions about plants.
One area my lab studies (and not mentioned in the article), in a similar vein, is grafting in plants – no one knows why it works (or fails when it doesn’t work), despite large parts of agriculture relying in it. I enclose a recent review and a research paper, in case you are interested.
Elliot M. Meyerowitz
George W. Beadle Professor of Biology
Division of Biology and Biological Engineering
Mail Code 156-29
California Institute of Technology
1200 East California Boulevard
Pasadena, California 91125, USA
May 28, 2015
“Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest of Los Angeles is real. It is a deterrence machine set up to rejuvenate the fiction of the real.” – Jean Baudrillard
“It is the market not nature that generates poverty.” – M. Sahlins
Darwinian Natural Selection asserts: normal members of a species thrive in an existing environment while the abnormal are denied membership, forced into the periphery into a strange and challenging environment. The nature of this remote environment is such that the mutant thrives, becoming the new norm. In some instances the old comfortable environment changes catastrophically in a direction that favors an outlier, an extreme variant. This relationship holds in all human endeavor. It is those who do not “fit in” who become pioneers. They are the avant garde, the pathfinders in science, art, technology and land development as they make the best of a new niche. The niche becomes the norm and its population proliferates to create a new generation of freaks, mutants and oddballs in a new left field.
When the going gets weird – the weird get going.
Pioneers at Jamestown between 1607 and 1630 lived a brutal existence – few survived.
Many real estate developers have a bold, brash and fearless personality type. They are the first to establish a foothold in new territory and they almost always go down in flames, leaving further development to more sober personalities.
There was single prisoner in a jail cut deep into the rock at the base of Mt. Pele, a volcano forming the island of Martinique in the Caribbean. In 1902 Mt. Pele erupted burying the capital city of Saint Pierre, killing 30,000 people. The prisoner who was deep in his dungeon survived and walked away from the carnage.
Humans, bacteria and cancer are extreme proliferates. Maggots proliferate to extremes in rotted meat. Nuclear arms proliferate and decay as cobwebs are woven around ICBMs rotting in missile silos across the U.S.A. Cancer is proliferation squared. The nature of the stuff is extreme proliferation. We poison the human environment and this proliferation proliferates. Too much of a bad thing creates a synergy of dissolution, a vortex, a black hole, an accelerator of negative force. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing – ask a celebrity with drug issues. The word celebrity implies drug issue as fame itself is a drug and one that typically initiates a cascade of other, less potent drugs; nicotine, heroin, cocaine, etc.
A guitar wizard shreds too many notes limiting the possibility of musical meaning. Peter Max and Paul McCartney overuse sweet colors and hyperglycemia follows, reputations are diluted. The mutants on the freak frontier take to the vile swamp like ducks, gaining a foothold, they begin to proliferate. Back home, the well has gone dry and the crops die. Back home where millions, who once swarmed are now dying. The center shifts. A new species emerges from the chaos along the interface of old and new.
“Every dog has his day.” – anon
“The times, they are a-changin’” – Bob Dylan
Please tell me something I don’t know from instinct or experience. Extreme locales are rich in unexplored places revealing opportunity. Pioneers beware, the second mouse gets the cheese.
What’s so funny? Cruelty and mishap are good for a laugh. People falling on their asses and faces and stumbling into pools. An alligator eating its neighbor gator’s hatchlings is not funny, nor is a lion ripping apart the pre-existing cubs of its new mate.
Two different ideas here in the words “extremes proliferate”
- The Darwinian notion that speciation occurs among the outliers.
- The Malthusian notion that populations proliferate until resources are exhausted.
We are propelled by myth. There is no passion or greed without a context providing fuel for the accumulation of wealth, honor and perhaps fame. I have two options, one with a high resonance context and one with low resonance:
- I can work myself to death behind a team of mules trekking across a Nevada desert to no one’s notice.
- I can work equally hard training to throw the discus at the Olympics where my gold medal earns international honor and product endorsement income. Mule skinners get no medals and little pay.
Looking closely at many phenomena causes them to evaporate. It is easy enough to debunk the founding beliefs of any religion, so what? By the time of your debunking, a great web has been woven around this lie-myth-void and the web now has strength and resonance. It can start or stop a conversation, send men to die in war, make men wealthy or strip them of dignity and property.
Once you accept basic tenets of the Freudian or Darwinian myths you can discuss the relative merits of Jung and Reich, Mendel and Crick and entertain yourself debunking them ( Jeffrey Masson and Stephen Jay Gould respectively) Good luck ! It’s like trying to debunk the English language. Its screwy, goofy, illogical, always changing, saturated with unscientific tradition, habit and prejudice but it’s all we have and it gets the job done – see: Shakespeare and Thomas McGuane.
Once a web of myth has formed and people are traipsing back and forth building careers and reputations along filaments, it is too late to debunk the founder. She may have been vulnerable when first proposing her wild, paradigm-shifting theory due to its error and misconception but once the web has been woven, there is substance afoot. It is not necessarily scientific. Scientific evidence may be a single component of this web of myth, maybe not. Myth trumps science.
In the 154 years since the publication of Darwin’s “On The Evolution of Species” there has not been one single shred of evidence that a new vertebrate species has emerged or the tiniest shred of evidence that one has evolved in any way, changed for sure but evolved? Domestic animal breeds change but this is not evolution. The standard response ( hardline Neo-Darwinism) is that evolution works very slowly and very gradually – one wouldn’t notice it in a human lifetime. It has been proven that mutations ( the stuff of evolution) occur thousands of times per second in a vertebrate body and that new species, when they evolve at all, emerge in a flash ( a “flash” in evolutionary time may be ten million years), in a single moment, a punctuation followed by eons of stasis – no discernable change, nothing gradual here. This has been proven. Yet we cling. Darwin’s still the man, disparage his theory, even today with reams of evidence contradicting many of his fundamental notions, and suffer snickering ignominy. the myth lives on. Darwin was right that organisms have evolved but many other aspects of his theory wobble.
Capitalism, private property, The Magna Carta, Democracy and Rule of Law are all myth but they served to launch the Hubble telescope by which much wonderful science has been explored. Operative myth trumps science always. Scientists have difficulty understanding that all science is a subset of myth. All myth contains a black hole at its center. Don’t go there. There is little to be gained. People don’t care if it isn’t “true”. People want to believe and shall believe.
It’s myth all the way down, just like guru turtles, a cascade of belief from Christianity, through our language, our anthrocentrism. Darwinism and quantum mechanics are webs of myth. the scientific enterprise is all myth but such a fine one, so much excruciating, obsessive detail and those charts, graphs and formulas! – all so seductive and it works half of the time to cure illness, almost all of the time to fly a plane. Learn to excruciate minutiae and earn a PhD. Most things can be proven up to a point and anything under the sun can be hypothesized, boldly asserted and vigorously defended.
The Myth Engine:
- The hippocampus is a key brain area in mammals used for long-term memory storage. the neurons of the hippocampus have 46 chromosomes as do all 50 trillion of our cells except for sperm and egg with their 23. These non-germ cell chromosomes comprise six billion base pairs. The operative genome has three billion base pairs. 2 billion nine hundred forty million of these base pairs exist within what is called “junk” DNA. There are 18 base pairs for each histone giving us 160,000,000 “junk” histones along with the “junk” DNA – AT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF 40 million hippocampal neurons ! Current memory theory assigns NO role for these DNA, histone targets. As current theory stands, memory is a product of the strength of synaptic connections between dendrites – HA ! Look to the “junk” lads, there are a trillion places to store a memory in each neuron at DNA and histones in the hippocampus and in every one of 200 brain areas.
- Do hippocampal neuron nuclear membranes dissolve to allow tighter memory formation i.e. more room to move, maneuver, more neuronal geography to inhabit in order to create sensory distinctions i.e. memory.
- Do humans ( mammals, vertebrates) have neuron super cells? i.e. large neurons with many nuclei thus more opportunity for rhizomatic interaction between post translationally modified histones and RNA-DNA? There could be 10,000 memory-making interconnections within a single cell membrane!
- Long, non-coding RNA regulates gene expression. How much long-coding RNA at hippocampal neurons?
Oppositions- moving parts of the reciprocating American Myth Engine:
- Boomer – Very Oldster
- Boomer-gen X,Y,Z
- Obese – normal
- Diabetic – healthy
- Ill – healthy ( note: typography failure as cap I (eye) and l ( ell) are identical)
- Environmentally concerned – not concerned
- Liberal – conservative, Conservative-fundamentalist
- Prisoner – Not a prisoner
- Employed – unemployed
- White – non-white
- Straight – Gay
- Veteran – Not Veteran
- Speak english – Do not speak English
- College education – no college education
- Rational – Intuitive, Left Brain-Right Brain
- Normal – insane
- Gun owner/enthusiast – No guns
- Urban – rural
- middle class – upper class
- middle class – lower class
- upper class – lower class
All are created equal here in America but we go to ferocious, relentless length to differentiate ourselves in every conceivable way.
May 27, 2015