Notes #8 Brain Levers etc.


Once again I am subjecting my dear readers to some selections from a biology paper.  While this has not yet been labeled as torture by the UN, it might as well be.  However as I do not believe in human rights, your only recourse is to run screaming away from your user interface.

This week on things beyond me we will be looking at:

Evolutionary Development of Neural Systems in Vertebrates and Beyond

Lauren A. O ’ Connell

Neurogenetics, Early Online: 1–17

Abstract: The emerging field of “ neuro-evo-devo ” is beginning to reveal how the molecular and neural substrates that underlie brain function are based on variations in evolutionarily ancient and conserved neurochemical and neural circuit themes. Comparative work across bilaterians is reviewed to highlight how early neural patterning specifies modularity of the embryonic brain, which lays a foundation on which manipulation of neurogenesis creates adjustments in brain size. Small variation within these developmental mechanisms contributes to the evolution of brain diversity. Comparing the specification and spatial distribution of neural phenotypes across bilaterians has also suggested some major brain evolution trends, although much more work on profiling neural connections with neurochemical specific city across a wide diversity of organisms is needed. These comparative approaches investigating the evolution of brain form and function hold great promise for facilitating a mechanistic understanding of how variation in brain morphology, neural phenotypes, and neural networks influences brain function and behavioral diversity across organisms.

I can’t wait…

“Although developmental patterning of central nervous systems is remarkably similar across animal phyla, small variations on developmental themes have produced striking variation in brain morphology.”

One of the major themes of this paper is the how conservative the methods of generative neural diversity are.

Continue reading “Notes #8 Brain Levers etc.”

Notes #8 Brain Levers etc.

Guest Post: EvolutionistX: What if Famous Scientists wrote like Gender Scholars?


Have you ever wondered what famous, ground-breaking math/science papers would sound like had they been written by gender scholars? Luckily (or unluckily, depending on your point of view,) HBD-blogger EvolutionistX has undertaken to find out:

I. Distance, Surface, Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies: A Relativistic Critique of Maxwellcentric Conceptions of “Knowing” Bodies, by A. Einstein

In Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Isaac Newton examines the sensory and cognitive, mathematical processes involved in rendering bodies in motion as remaining in motion and bodies at rest as remaining at rest, using the language of infinitessimal, geometric calculus. Maxwellcentric social norms emphasize differences, rather than similarities, between moving electrodynamic bodies, creating perceptions of asymmetries which do not appear to be inherent in the phenomena. In this paper I focus on a particular subjectivity and a particular spatiality. The subjectivity is that of dominant Western Maxwellcentric electrodynamics. The spatiality is the specific organisation of spacetime through which that subjectivity is constituted and through which it sees the world, a problematic described here as a relativistic space of electrodynamic self/knowledge. Take, for example, the reciprocal, non-patriarchal electrodynamic action of a magnet (“masculine”) and a conductor (“feminine”). By introducing the “infinitessimal” metaphor, Newton enables theoretical development in how cultural norms and sensory perceptions shape the social construction of spacetime curvature around the action of the magnet and conductor. The observable phenomenon here depends only on the relative motion of the conductor and the magnet, whereas the customary, phallocentric, Maxwellian view draws a sharp, “othering” distinction between the two cases in which either the one or the other of these bodies is in motion. In the process of electrodynamic attribution, cognitive filters guide our attention to certain features of bodies marked as different (e.g., spin, charge, mass), while priming us to ignore other features of bodies (e.g., shape, velocity). The move from a structuralist account in which “electricity” is understood to structure activities between magnets and conductors in relatively homologous way to a view of hegemony in which electrodynamic powers are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of space structure, and marked a shift from a form of Maxwellian theory that takes structural, atomic totalities as theoretical objects (eg, photons, electrons,) to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of unified spacetime structures inaugurate a renewed conception of electrodynamics as bound up with contingent bodies.

Continue reading “Guest Post: EvolutionistX: What if Famous Scientists wrote like Gender Scholars?”

Guest Post: EvolutionistX: What if Famous Scientists wrote like Gender Scholars?

Thoughts on Proverbs 4


Proverbs 4King James Version (KJV)

Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. 

This connects the law of the father as generational.  A father was once a son.

He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 

This reminds the son that Wisdom and the responsibility to it is older than the relationship before him.  It is often we get caught up in our personal relations or temporal relations and ignore the meaning before us.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Proverbs 4”

Thoughts on Proverbs 4

Notes #7 The Problems with Ideology


Ideology is the mind killer.  But if so what is it?  Our entire system seems to loath the ideological, yet how can one avoid something that’s not understood or even defined?  Most of the avoidance of ideology are merely the attempts to uphold the sacred neutral.  If one can set the frame of what is normal thought,”non-ideological” thought, then one can control thought patterns. To think non-neutral thoughts is to engage in a narrative about the world.  Often when stumbling blindly out of the mainstream, when we sense there is something wrong with normal, and subsequently we find convenient explanations for what is wrong all around us.

Often these systems of thought are quite powerful at explaining the world around us.  For the moderately intelligent among us, these systems of thought might even be internally consistent.  At the very least they are internally consistent with what we know about the world.  The power of ideology feeds pride, as one can divine insights (many indeed valid) that others would never think of.  Yet it is telling that on some of the stranger sections of the internet the phrase sheeple is used to describe normal people. The narrative follows: that there IT sits atop a throne to peer down upon the world.  The unwashed masses pass before IT without a clue as to what is going on.  They do not think, about well anything very deeply at least.  Maybe a thought or two about what they will do next, but to hardly about why and what they know about the world.  Yet here the ideologue has found the TRUTH but, like Cassandra, no one will listen.

There is some truth to this (there have been many Cassandras in history) and yet it misses the heart of the matter.  Pride at a rare truth misses the wonder of being humble before the unknown.  The derision of “sheeple” misses their rational and valued approach to life.  The political for all its pop-bang pizazz is something that a very successful person could go their entire life without needing to engage with.  Whether it feeds off pride or envy ideology seems to engage with our baser drives.  It is an appeal to win the race not by running but my moving the finish line.

Continue reading “Notes #7 The Problems with Ideology”

Notes #7 The Problems with Ideology

Notes #6 Degenerate Trucks

018 (1)

This week we are going to explore complex adaptive systems. Particularly we are going to be looking at an important aspect of complex systems which is degeneracy. Now normally degeneracy is the sort of word you hear coming from the cranky old men, unfortunately for you, you’re going to have to learn to love degeneracy (biology):

Within biological systems, degeneracy occurs when structurally dissimilar components/modules/pathways can perform similar functions (i.e. are effectively interchangeable) under certain conditions, but perform distinct functions in other conditions.[1][2] Degeneracy is thus a relational property that requires comparing the behaviour of two or more components. In particular, if degeneracy is present in a pair of components then there will exist conditions where the pair will appear functionally redundant but other conditions where they will appear functionally distinct. –La Wik

When most people refer to biological degeneracy they usually mean a unique feature of the translation of DNA to amino acids.

A code in which several code words have the same meaning. The genetic code is degenerate because there are many instances in which different codons specify the same amino acid. A genetic code in which some amino acids may each be encoded by more than one codon. –Glossary Holmgren

Continue reading “Notes #6 Degenerate Trucks”

Notes #6 Degenerate Trucks