Nimbostartus virga

Nimbostratus virga trails

‘In meteorology, virga is an observable streak or shaft of precipitation that falls from a cloud but evaporates or sublimes before reaching the ground. At high altitudes the precipitation falls mainly as ice crystals before melting and finally evaporating; this is often due to compressional heating, because the air pressure  increases closer to the ground. It is very common in the desert and in temperate climates. In  North America, it is commonly seen in the western United States and the Canadian prairies.

Virga can cause varying weather effects, because as rain is changed from liquid to vapor form, it removes heat from the air due to the high heat of vaporization of water. In some instances, these pockets of colder air can descend rapidly, creating a dry microburst which can be extremely hazardous to aviation. Conversely, precipitation evaporating at high altitude can compressionally heat up as it falls, and result in a gusty downburst which may substantially and rapidly warm the surface temperature. This fairly rare phenomenon, a heat burst, also tends to be of exceedingly dry air.

Virga also has a role in seeding storm cells whereby small particles from one cloud are blown into neighboring supersaturated air and act as nucleation particles  for the next thunderhead cloud to begin forming.

Virga can produce dramatic and beautiful scenes, especially during a red sunset. The red light can be caught by the streamers of falling precipitation, and winds may push the bottom ends of the virga so it falls at an angle, making the clouds appear to have commas attached.” Wikipedia

fractal vortex

fractal vortex

If I were a planetary biologist, like James Lovelock what might be the general principles that could be described here with the phenomena of virga? What is the relevance of virga within Gaia if any? The original Gaia insight has progressed during the twenty-six years since Lovelock broached the idea of Gaia. Yet, strong paradigm shifting ideas take decades to take hold since they are such a threat to the established dogma of understanding. Let’s dissect virga into general principles.

Most of the definition explained above to introduce virga concerns various forms of shapes, ice crystals or water crystals that form within a gaseous environment. These shapes depend on altitude of formation and temperature, which is derived from solar energy. Shape is a critical factor for both rain droplets of a particular dimension and air borne ice crystals.

Tiny elements of a fog particle can cluster into shapes that distorts our vision if we are driving along a foggy road. Despite the impression the fog is just suspended as a certain thickness above the ground surface, the fog drifts down as if a vortex school of nano sized fish are perturbed. We must invoke a vector of force that determines the direction of the fog slowly settling onto the earth’s surface. The necessary force of gravity will accelerate such a tiny clustered mass onto the surface for this attraction to the larger mass with Earth to occur, from the observational point of view.

But back to that shape which forces a very significant question, where does the design of the shape come from ? How does the shape of the ice crystal happen. What are the necessary ingredients ? Firstly, there is atomic attraction within acting between water molecules. There is the shape of the clusters of water molecules. There is the shape of the centered dust particle, however variable that may be, since a water crystal has attached itself to this tiny center. Since a shape configuration has occurred with a specific temperature, both freezing and melting temperatures are needed to create the ice crystal.

ice cyrstal

Koch ice cyrstal

This shaping event forces specific heat parameters behaving during the state change involving the solidity of the ice to exist in the transfer from liquid to solid. Sublimation can also happen as a direct transfer from solid state to gas. But the critical ingredient is the architectural assembly of the ice shape, which is either an Earth born unique process or an external universal building process? Since we have seen virga evidence within the gaseous photographs from Jupiter, virga is also an external capacity of shape forming of not only the singular crystal but also the vortex shape of the entire seeded cloud, visible from the flyby of the spacecraft Voyager.

The ice crystal also displays chirality, defining  a left and a right side to reveal a symmetry that some might appreciate as poetic. But what of the forces within the ice crystal stabilizing its shape, are they the same forces on Jupiter with those other wordly virga  gas clouds ?


The existence of design forces the observational query, does the water make its own shape, surely the design must exist somewhere ? The existence of this blueprint to manufacture an ice crystal has to conform to certain constraints, the constraints within final shape. The question becomes more accurately, what are fractal patterns in Nature ? Now these hexagon six-sided shapes start popping up in nature all over the place as polyhedron. Think of the DNA spiral helix or a hepatitis B virus hexa cluster, or Staphylococcus bacteria cluster shape, carbon dioxide ice crystals, or pollen grains, eggshells as a tension-integrity fractal grid, collagen string fibrils, insect eyes with a hexagrid hemisphere, bone tissue and meteorites. All these diverse structures share the tensional integrity of shape design that exists past the confines of our Earth. Shape is a universal property to build things from a fractal mathematical framework of elements interacting together. The universe is the supply shop containing all the diverse elements that make up contributions within assemblies with the capacity to assemble into common fractal shape of final form. The shape of ice crystals comes from the capacity of the universe to create shape on all scales of size. Shape is what I term, an external to Earth’s common property. Shape is outside of our system of reference. Shape is a stellar component in our Milky Way Galaxy.

Self-assembly of three-dimensional prestressed tensegrity structures from DNATim Liedl, Björn Högberg, Jessica Tytell, Donald E. Ingber

Self-assembly of three-dimensional prestressed tensegrity structures from DNA
Tim Liedl, Björn Högberg, Jessica Tytell, Donald E. Ingber

Nature Nanotechnology 5, 520–524 (2010)

Our DNA holds the genes of our heredity inside a shape that zippers down an RNA molecule as the very building block inside all our created protein structures. The interaction is at the defined use of shape as an output in itself. The creation of shape sensing within cellular repair is at the very essence of what we conceive as to the necessary proteins that exist from the very start of an embryo elaborating into a mammalian creature. All mammals have a non overlapping left and right aspect to their design symmetry. All cells are controlled with a nucleus that is within a floating tension, a tensegrity, envelope whose integrity is necessary for the continuance of life. When we age we lose the tensional integrity of our nuclear envelope, which becomes wrinkled and distorted covered in blebs of disintegration of the nuclear envelope. Nature organizes these fractal shapes into a coherence that can self assemble. When our cells can no longer repair themselves we are no longer able to perform , this is at the end of aging. Porgeria, which is the rare inherited accelerated aging disease, “…..because its farnesyl group cannot be removed, this abnormal protein, referred to as progerin, is permanently affixed to the nuclear rim, and therefore does not become part of the nuclear lamina. Without lamin A, the nuclear lamina is unable to provide the nuclear envelope with adequate structural support, causing it to take on an abnormal shape. Since the support that the nuclear lamina normally provides is necessary for the organizing of chromatin during mitosis, weakening of the nuclear lamina limits the ability of the cell to divide. ” wikipedia

Virga teaches us the general principles of shape, shape assembly, shape sensing, shape change with aging and shape orientation to gravity’s vector. If you want to understand the basics of brain concussions first you must understand the basics of Nature, especially  of something as elementary as an ice crystal in our atmosphere. You must translate the entire density of ice crystal formation to apply these general principles as your framework of observation toward understanding a brain concussion. Otherwise you are just guessing.

virga whisp 35-p

Virga has a general effervescent quality to its presentation. The visualization of the precipitation vortexes describe an enormous clustering of important forces to accomplish the overall shape. There is the individual ice crystal shape linking into the entire cloud shape, there is the necessary thermal coherence to create the ice crystals first seen in a floating by defying gravity phase then settling earthward as their mass reaches a falling point. The shape is variable but centered on a hexagonal type backbone. The ice crystals interact not only falling in the air but gently cooling the surface of their final attachment. The gravity vector is the hidden force of attraction that permits the observation of such assembly and movement. Virga teaches us a lot about the necessary framework surrounding each cell linking all cells as they coordinate their entire activity.

Abstract fractal design with the appearance of a neuron axon dendrite appearance

Abstract fractal design with the appearance of a neuron axon dendrite appearance

The word virga is derived from Latin, twig or branch. This branching is also the fractal dimension of branching, But within a fractal description is the chaos of mixing, how shapes are formed in a thermal flow that forces turbulence to release the final form of the descending vortex shape of virga mass.

Neuron shapes are complicated, their basic functional concept is that their synapses transmit electrical signals to the dendrites and cell body (input), and axons carry signals away (output). In one of many surprise findings, Northwestern University scientists have discovered that axons can operate in reverse: they can send signals to the cell body, too.

“It also turns out axons can talk to each other. Before sending signals in reverse, axons can perform their own neural computations without any involvement from the cell body or dendrites. This other shape of the axon perceived as the carrier cable is contrary to typical neuronal communication where an axon of one neuron is in contact with another neuron’s dendrite or cell body, not its axon. And, unlike the computations performed in dendrites, the computations occurring in axons are thousands of times slower, potentially creating a means for neurons to compute fast things in dendrites and slow things in axons.” Deskerati

Here is an overview of fractals:

‘The word “fractal” often has different connotations for laypeople than mathematicians, where the layperson is more likely to be familiar with fractal art than a mathematical conception. The mathematical concept is difficult to formally define even for mathematicians, but key features can be understood with little mathematical background.

The feature of “self-similarity”, for instance, is easily understood by analogy to zooming in with a lens or other device that zooms in on digital images to uncover finer, previously invisible, new structure. If this is done on fractals, however, no new detail appears; nothing changes and the same pattern repeats over and over, or for some fractals, nearly the same pattern reappears over and over. Self-similarity itself is not necessarily counter-intuitive (e.g., people have pondered self-similarity informally such as in the infinite regress as viewed in parallel mirrors or the homunculus, the little man inside the head of the little man inside the head…). The difference for fractals is that the pattern reproduced must be detailed.

This idea of being detailed relates to another feature that can be understood without mathematical background: Having a fractional or fractal dimension greater than its topological dimension, for instance, refers to how a fractal scales compared to how geometric shapes are usually perceived. A regular line, for instance, is conventionally understood to be 1-dimensional; if such a curve is divided into pieces each 1/3 the length of the original, there are always 3 equal pieces. In contrast, consider the fractal curve in  is also 1-dimensional for the same reason as the ordinary line, but it has, in addition, a fractal dimension greater than 1 because of how its detail can be measured. The fractal curve divided into parts 1/3 the length of the original line becomes 4 pieces rearranged to repeat the original detail, and this unusual relationship is the basis of its fractal dimension. 

This also leads to understanding a third feature, that fractals as mathematical equations are “nowhere differentiable”. In a concrete sense, this means fractals cannot be measured in traditional ways. To elaborate, in trying to find the length of a wavy non-fractal curve, one could find straight segments of some measuring tool small enough to lay end to end over the waves, where the pieces could get small enough to be considered to conform to the curve in the normal manner of measuring with a tape measure. But in measuring a wavy fractal curve such as the outline of a sea-coast, one would never find a small enough straight segment to conform to the curve, because the wavy pattern would always re-appear, albeit at a smaller size, essentially pulling a little more of the tape measure into the total length measured each time one attempted to fit it tighter and tighter to the curve. This is perhaps counter-intuitive, but it is how fractals behave.

 Spiral fractal

Spiral fractal

In other words what I have referred to as shape sensing in previous cerebrovortex essays, is the observation that the entire shape network of a neurons plus the axons are not just carrying the communications, the cables themselves can communicate as a separate network on a different time scale, too.

Listen to the following description of motion within the embryo it almost sounds like tensegrity robot moving a critical package, the critical package of the nucleus within a cell. ” Migration of cortical neurons during development is a saltatory process that involves repeated cycles of pulling the cell nucleus forward into the leading edge of the cell. The ‘tugging’ on the cell nucleus, applied by cytoplasmic dynein motors, exerts deformational forces on the cell nucleus and likely places a premium on the scaffolding provided by the nuclear lamina.” excerpted from :Human Molecular Genetics 2011, Vol. 20, No 18 3537-3544 An absence of both lamin B1 and lamin B2 in keratinocytes has no effects on cell proliferation or the development of skin and hair authors, S.H. Yang, S.Y. Chang, L Yin, Y. Tu, Y Hu, Y. Yoshinaga, P.J. de Jong, L.G. Fong, and S. G. Young. The authors invoke very mechanical events like tugging, deforming, moving the cell nucleus, deforming the cell nucleus. These descriptions are all involving reconfiguring the shape of the nuclear membrane as the migration of cortical neurons occurs. If the sequence is misaligned there is a loss of architectural integrity within the layers of the cortex at the end. The final shape is all distorted as if by an earthquake that has rearranged all the layers. Needless to say, a deformed brain’s innermost anatomy is a brain that does not function the way it should.

The unique perspective of the current generations of people privileged to view the world from the perspective of space is the new window of observation to contemplate the workings of a concussed brain and how to rationalize the changes. The viewpoint from space of our planet Earth can guide us into a better viewing of our own cells floating in space, how they link to elastically communicate. How their detailed shaping is so important within the omnipresence response to a  one gravity force. The perspective is the Gaia view of the bigger picture. Cells have shapes toward sensing to interact in the space around their design. Cell shapes need to recognize the gravity within space in order to move with direction. Sensing gravity is at the core of biological life seen from the perspective of an astronaut gazing out the  spacecraft window to his home, planet Earth.

This essay is dedicated to Dr Donald Ingber, founder at the Wyss Institute of Harvard for his teams ground breaking work introducing the floating tension of cellular networks into our consciousness opening our understanding to our world within connected to the world outside.

Fractal broccoli

Fractal broccoli


About cerebrovortex

Montreal Grandmother, Agnes Kent was saved by Raul Wallenberg from certain death, when he provided papers for her and her Mom to escape away from the Nazis. Today when asked what that escape meant, she replied,"Remind people, that while statesmen and whole countries remained silent and did nothing, a single individual chose to act, with ramifications that proved enormous. Similar choices confront us today. Write that simple truth she said, it can never be repeated often enough because the world keeps forgetting it."
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