BALANCE 2013-10-08-DearMissClinebyDavidDeSilva4-thumbWhere does a concussion begin ? The change occurs within the balance of sensing that tenuous link with gravity, where up and down are both present. Yet mysteriously the sense of balance is off when standing easily atop a gym ball disappears regressing as if hurled back into childhood scurrying on hands and knees over the floor.

Balance is something gyroscopic something mechanical as if the spin of a helicopter blade tilts the entire horizon away as a lost reference reflex.


So where does this sensation of balance go ? What happens inside the brain to distort the sense of orientation of what we mean by facing forward?

What happens if a bird flies into an unseen glass surface ? The bird lies on its side stunned from the impact. This immobility is at the heart of the recovery in the wild. Everything is spinning inside flight is no longer a seeking of life. Motionless the bird waits for the horizon to return as if the balance bubble of air inside was pointing in the worst direction of choice. The bird is now vulnerable to the reach of any seeing predator. The risk is now enormous for the very survival of repair.

bird crossing-a-rainbow-c2a9-2011-christopher-martin-3622Always in this observation is the presence of gravity determining the orientation be it walking over a surface or gliding across the winds in the rainbow. How might Nature tell each and every creature where is the up where is the down?

Do fish also share this vulnerability to direction after a concussive blow into their sensing systems?
FISH EYE 600x285px-LL-7235d6e8_DSC04435woodsmelt2Each concussed fisheye scans the immediate neighborhood for the sign of orientation for the sparkling surface of interface that has always been above. The energy of concussion transformed from impact energy into sound based conductive energy. The affect is the same: the fish lies still, unable to navigate, vulnerable to the always present predators circling not concussed.

FISH sideways Titan-trigger-attacksThe effect is always in reference to how gravity is sensed when a concussion causes the failure of the internal gyro that will stabilize the head. The head of the bird the head of the fish the human head. Suddenly after a concussion as an impact of energy either in the form of distortion sound waves or impacting into surfaces that are transparent. The destructive energy is transformed into the sense of balance distorting the very position the very sense of which way to go next. The loss of sense of balance determines the rate of repair within the entire brain. Seeing just positioning of the eyes becomes flawed as each component of the pivoting of eye positioning no longer links smoothly.

SOLDIER imageAt the blast form the vulnerable soldier is impacted with pressure in the form of a percussion wave that jars the very symmetry of the brain into a turning in on itself. The soldiers eyes gaze outward at the flipping horizon over and over, the inner voice screaming, ” when does this spinning go away?”

Connecting the lines Nature depends on the position of sensing the horizon this primal orientation that stakes each creature capable to move about elegantly, effortlessly in 3 dimensions land-water-air.

FISH effect_path2

The reflex of positioning has always been present, we just need to lose this reflex to understand its real importance. The reflex to orient within the gravity field telling the inner gyro of all creatures where is the up-down orientation is within the elaborate sequence of muscle contractions that involve a yawn motion. Did you ever wonder what happens to the yawn sequence for an astronaut? This is the opposite of gravity sensing, this is the anti-gravity of sensing but what happens to the yawn for a tired astronaut? Does it change in character? Yes it does !

astronaut APPOLO on side i8-14cEach yawn starts with one specific pattern, each yawn draws the breath in with a deep motion of muscle contractions, specifically the chest intercostals with the diaphragm plus with some abdominal contractions too. Yet the very first night of physiological accommodation into each first night of sleep, did NASA ever actually measure the rate of yawning of the astronaut ? Comparing the before to after space flight? No they never did, but they did measure the character of the inspiration muscles that significantly changed that first night experiences, adapting into microgravity. The character of the inspirations for breathing changed from intercostal/chest and diaphragm becoming more abdominal contractions. The measurements were mathematically significant. What NASA missed despite the intense surveillance was that the astronaut reduced or stopped yawning, which is in their data.


Take away gravity and the yawning reflex is affected, the righting reflex doesn’t work.

The astronauts also suffer loss of balance in space,  everything can start spinning especially seeing another astronaut within their  immediate surroundings upside down compared to the view outside the window of Earth right side up. It’s as if the astronaut is mimicking a brain concussion, lying on his side, stunned. Waiting to get better. Waiting to get his balance back.

Expedition 27 Launch Day

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Why things don’t fall down: anti-tensegrity

reflections 426802163_1280

Light bends inside a gravity field. Does shape bend inside a gravity field in a similar response? What is shape ? The critical question to ask is: what happens to the brain shape after a brain concussion ? The answer is more difficult than it appears to be. First reference frame is inside the brain case, the very elastic nature of brain tissue capable of deforming. But what of other tissues, coherent tissue shapes, aren’t they involved too, since all shape sensing networks are inter-connected? What happens to the control of tensegrity of shape after a brain concussion? Is there such a thing as anti-tensegrity in terms of loss of shape stability, what I have termed tensegrity as Snelson floating compression/tension networks? Can we see shape change in lung tissue after a brain concussion? If an astronaut venturing into space begins to experience prolonged micro-gravity mimics a brain concussion event sensed first within the vestibular system, what shape changes inside the saccule/utricle might be altered ? Does the astronaut experience anti-tensegrity as a vestibular reaction within micro-gravity inside his brain shape, is this observational perspective appropriate to describe space flight mimicking a strong concussion ?

Dew on a spider web by Luc Viatour

Dew on a spider web by Luc Viatour

The tiny orbs of dew cling onto the tension determined web. These linked suspensions cling within a field of balanced tension that is oriented with a gravity field. Notice how all of the reflections show a sun in reflection at the bottom right of each droplet? We recognize the up compared to the down. We recognize the shape of space as if we had imposed a coordinate system into the reference frame. Which forces the query: does Nature impose a necessary coordinate reference frame, how many dimensions should the observer create to describe the event?


The concept of floating tension started in 1948 by Kenneth Snelson. Despite Nature having utilized the design inside cells for over hundreds and hundreds of millions of years, as a spider web is a particular form of floating Snelson tension/compression balance. We are familiar to our bodies acting in motion, but do our cells need a reference template of coordinate space to function with ? Is it possible that a reference frame is constructed to be used as if a matrix space was necessary? How might you calibrate your X-Y-Z space with Nature’s space ? Perhaps gravity itself is the shape of relevance to determine function.

butterfly pelvis 6a00e39335dc1e8834011168cca997970c-800wi

The relevance to shape is found throughout Nature, making the pelvis bone girdle comparable to the overall shape characteristics of a butterfly wing structure. One shape substance is flight capable, one shape is ground mobility functional. Both shapes are Snelson-like floating tension/compression designs that are suitable to solve two gravity based events for creating motion, for flight or walking over a surface. Snelson himself describes the elemental comparison of matching butterfly wings within the simple triangulation of pairs of triangles balanced in formation of function.

Type 1:Tension/compression triangle 
Working much like a sling used by riggers for hoisting, triangles of type 1 are formed with two struts and two tendons. The two tension lines run from the end of one strut to the two ends of a second strut. Type 1 triangles always occur in pairs like butterfly wings.

Triangles occurring in opposing pairs assures symmetry with a left and right version. The specific difference is that opposing struts can not be substituted with the cables. This is where anti-tensegrity begins to reveal itself as the structure deforms into lost stability throughout this substituted structure, the tension is lost, the shape is lost. So to begin to understand shape we have to explore some of the new language that mathematicians are employing to describe Snelson’s floating compression/tension in balance.

The following is a mathematical model for figures related to the tensegrity icosahedron, which explains why the tensegrity icosahedron is a stable construction, albeit with infinitesimal mobility.

Consider a cube of side length 2d, centered at the origin. Place a strut of length 2l on each face of the cube, so that each strut is parallel to one edge of the face and meets the center of the face. Moreover, each strut should be parallel to the strut on the opposite face of the cube, but orthogonal to all other struts. The coordinates of one vertex of the struts are (0,d,l), the coordinates of the other vertices can be obtained by either cyclicly rotating the coordinates (0,d,l)→(d,l,0)→(l,0,d) (rotational symmetry in the main diagonal of the cube) or by changing the sign of the coordinates (0,d,l)→(0,-d,l)→(0,-d,-l)→(0,d,-l) (mirror symmetries in the coordinate planes). The distance s between two neighbouring vertices can be obtained from the following relation

s^2 = (d-l)^2 + d^2 + l^2 = 2(d-\frac 1 2 \,l)^2 + \frac 3 2 \,l^2

Now imagine, this figure is built from struts of length 2l and tendons of length s connecting neighbouring endpoints. The relation tells us, that for s > \sqrt{3 / 2}\,l there are two possible values for d: one is realized by pushing the struts together, the other by pulling them apart. For example for s=\sqrt 2 \,l the minimal figure (d=0) is a regular-octahedron and the maximal figure (d=l) is a quasi-regular cubeo-octa-hedron . When s =\frac {1} {2} (\sqrt 5 - 1) then s = 2d, so the convex hull of the maximal figure is a regular icosahedron.

In the case s = \sqrt{3/2}\,l the two extremes d=\frac 1 2 \,l coincide, therefore the figure is the stable tensegrity icosahedron.

Since the tensegrity icosahedron represents an extremal point of the above relation, it has infinitesimal mobility: a small change in the length s of the tendon (e.g. by stretching the tendons) results in a much larger change of the distance 2d of the struts.


Here in Kenneth Snelson’s own words he describes the comparison of weaving structures to tensegrity,”

Weaving and tensegrity share the same grounding principle of alternating helical directions; of left to right; of bypasses clockwise and counterclockwise. In these figures, the column on the left shows the primary weave cells.

To their right are the equivalent basic tensegrity modules. By transposing each weave filament to become a strut (stick, tube or rod) the cells transform into arrays of two, three, four, etc. compression members. They retain their original form and helical direction.

X-module; complete triangulation

3-way prism; complete triangulation

square prism; squares are non-triangulated

pentagonal prism; pentagons are non-triangulated

hexagonal prism; hexagons are non-triangulated

Individual tension lines (strings, wires or rope) are attached to the ends of the struts as shown so that each assembly comprises a closed system of tension and compression parts. Each tension line connects individually to the ends of two struts; they do not thread through like strings of beads. The lines are made taut so that they bind the struts, pressing on them as a continuous tension network. The forces introduced by the tightening is permanently stored in the structure, a state known as prestressing. In tensegrity structures complete triangulation in the tension network is highly important for it decides whether the structure is firm or flaccid. Only the cross with its two struts (and four tension members) and the three-way prism among these primitive figures have total triangulation. The square, the pentagon and the hexagon do not. They can be stabilized with additional lines but the supplemental lines necessarily will be selective in directions that will distort the form.

The transformed weave cell has now become an endoskeletal structure, mammal-like in that its muscles are external to the bones. Uniquely in tensegrity, the compression struts are separated one from another; non-touching within their tension envelope. The exception is the two-strut cross unit which lacks forces in the “Z” direction needed to separate the two struts. The cross figure is the same as a common kite frame in which the two sticks press on one another at their intersection. This simple form known as an “X” module, is the preeminent key to all extended tensegrity structures.” 

Snelson has grasped the essence of shape topology becoming shape sensing within the structure. Although his shape sculptures appear static they are actually dynamic, they vibrate containing the minimum energy necessary to keep the shape stable. In the lingo of the mathematicians they describe this as: super stable. It is a state that maintains the form of shape not only in the plane but in the other dimensions of coordinate space. Snelson describes the tension envelope. In Montreal we are blessed with just such an architectural  tension envelope to contemplate the essence of a floating tension envelope.


We are so used to the idea of an anchored structure, stability coming at the price of the weight being placed onto the Earth support so that the structure does not fall down. Yet tensegrity is not made for the necessity of the presence of gravity since only tensegrity structures can be built in space that are self-supporting. Snelson’s floating compression/tension are external in design to life on Earth, they will also originate on other planets since these structures are able to pack the most into the least volume, which appears to be an imperative of considerable importance for Nature. Now that there are billions of other planets in the universe the likelihood of having self-sensing tensegrity structures on those planets is probably not only likely but favorable.

So the characteristics of these tensegrity structures are varied yet specific. Tensegrity shape is in equilibrium, tensegrity is a super stable conformation involving the least amount of energy to maintain the positions of struts attached to cables, no stretching, no shrinking is allowed. The jump from structure to performance occurs as structures shape change which translates into the exchange of information, as a dispersal of tension. I will introduce the term: tethered information to describe this process.

Donald Ingber has elucidated this biological concept in the following manner.

As a marble rolls around a landscape the outcome of the resolving position of the marble determines the possibility of an outcome taking place. In other words the shape of the landscape determines the acquisition of learning behaviour in the dynamics of motion across a shaped surface. What is very important is the sequence of timing of one surface feature leading into another. Lets get right back to the beginning premise. What happens to an astronaut when he returns to Earth gravity? He has to learn to walk again as if he were a child, which is also the balance shift that a severe concussion can cause. Both the astronaut and the concussed person behave as if they are drunk swaying unstable to walk a straight line. The astronaut has the different opportunity to be rehabilitated upon his return in a given protocol of NASA, but the concussed person has no such protocol. They are on their own with no guidelines to recovery.

Listen to the words of former astronaut Chris Hadfield in his latest book AN ASTRONAUT”S GUIDE TO LIFE ON EARTH.

” Back on Earth, though, gravity was suddenly pulling me down and the floor was holding me up , trapping my ear in what felt like a constant acceleration that, inexplicably, my eyes couldn’t perceive. It’s extremely nauseating, worse than the most sickening ride at the fair. My body reacted as though the symptoms were being caused by a neural poison, and urged me both to purge it and to lie down, so that I’d metabolize the poison more slowly. I took anti-nausea meds on and off for about 10 days after landing; sometimes I felt just fine, but other times, I looked and felt green. 

My stomach recovered faster than my sense of balance. At first walking was difficult, a drunk’s stagger, but as I re-adapted I got better at it (so long as I kept my eyes wide open). Still for at least the first week, I over-corrected, swinging wide on turns, bumping into things and tilting forward as though I was walking into gale-force winds. All of this meant it wasn’t safe to drive for a couple of weeks, which was fine with me, because I was profoundly, almost unbelievably, tired, like an invalid recovering from a debilitating illness. “ Sounds just like recovering from a bad concussion, doesn’t it?

So how does a baby learn to walk, how does an astronaut learn to walk again, how does a concussed brain learn to walk from a shaped sensing Snelson floating tension/compression tensegrity reference frame of observation?

Chris Hadfield had the advantage of NASA specialists, the ASCRs which stands for astronaut strength, conditioning and rehabilitation specialists to help get him back his strength, stamina and balance. But is there a sequence to learn to walk like how a baby progresses ?

Babies learn to walk in the well dynamics of the attractor landscape. I will be citing from the excellent paper entitled A dynamical systems interpretation of epigenetic landscapes for infant motor development by Karl Newell, Yeou-Teh Liu and Gottfried Mayer-Kress in Infant Bevavior & Development 26 (2003) 449-472.

“Infant motor development has often been considered in the context of Wadington’s 1957 metaphor as an epigentic landscape. ” Basically a means toward visualizing the dynamics of developmental growth and change within a biological context as a maturational process of motor acquisition development first laid down descriptively by Gesell in 1929. “Gesell viewed growth and development as a unitary process mediated by innate processes that are laid down by the genes. This position recognized the dynamic ‘field like’ processes that constrain physio-chemical systems, where ‘field like’ processes refers to those neuromuscular and biochemical processes that operate within the body’s soft tissue as a result of concentration differences, gradient, asymmetries. Gesell’s principles of motor development were based to some degree on what we would know today as ‘dynamical-like’ system properties.’ Or perhaps as dynamic tension/compression fluxing within a hierarchical tensegrity based series of interconnected networks.

The motion of the ball on the landscape, acting as if in a gravity field which will roll into wells as depths of choice on the surface of choices such as apopotosis or differentiation or other biological outcomes. ” The fore to aft dimension is time or developmental age, the horizontal axis instantiates the emergence and dissolution of particular activities that hold dynamic equilibrium, and the slopes of the landscape surface capture the rates of developmental change. The stability of the system at any given moment of developmental time is inferred from the depth of the landscape wells. In Wadington’s 1957 theoretical approach to development, the properties of the landscape formation emerged through the genetic control but the landscape metaphor for motor development can be extrapolated to include the full complement of environmental and organizational influences.”

Here is the Snelson 1948 module shape of floating tension/compression.

tensegrity X MODULE 008 (1)If you replace the cables with the struts you lose the shape stability as this shape deforms bending like a couple of attached hinges. What this reveals to us that inside the floating shape is a tension net of balanced stress equal throughout the entire configuration confirming its dynamic stability as continuous tension balanced within the struts that don’t bend. The key term is stability and equilibrium since the least amount of energy is actually used to maintain the stability of the tensed state. The entire structure is in equilibrium. When Chris Hadfield returned to gravity the entire equilibrium within all his systems was no longer present. His tensegrity web was destabilized performing anti-tensegrity which was the adapted shape positions his body learned in micro-gravity, his body developed a new equilibrium at the expense of his gravity less stability to float around the insides of the International Space Station.

So how does a baby really learn to walk?  The baby progresses from instability to stability a dynamic state change that implicitly captures preserving the first state which is lying down as the point of departure which is stable to exploring new attractive stable states at points in time. The emergence is a linked sequence from lying down into sitting then creeping becoming crawling proceeding into standing then finally walking, all elements a linked development of prone progression as an infant learns to walk.

So is this what the ASCRs accomplished with the rehabilitation of Chris Hadfield relearning how to walk getting comfortable to be able to drive again?  Yes, I believe so. But can we consider mimicking a babies developmental progression by learning stability learning equilibrium following a brain concussion, a vestibular gravity affected injury similar to an astronauts experience when returning from a five month space flight.

“A dynamical systems approach requires the system to be described in a state space a geometric space that captures the state of the system on certain dimensions at a given moment in time. Given the many degrees of freedom at many levels of analysis of the movement action system, the geometric representation of the state of the system is usually compressed into only a few dimensions or even one dimension-dimensions that are seen to capture sufficiently the order or state of the system. This leads to order parameters or collective variables to capture distinctive pattern or qualitative state of the movement system.”

“It is instructive to consider the approaches of other context domains to this frame of reference issue for attractor landscape dynamics.”

gravity_well_cartography_2_by_lordsong-d5lrxws” Landscapes have been used as metaphors to describe the behavior under the influence of potential surfaces generated by different force fields. In the original sense of a landscape the elevation determines the potential surface generated by a constant gravitational force field. More complicated landscapes have been studied in the context of curved space of general relativity, where massive bodies create indentations in an otherwise flat space visualized as an elastic membrane. Other potential surfaces are distributions of charges and their electrical force fields. In these cases the forces have a long-range and the corresponding landscapes have an only slowly decreasing slope as one moves away from the attractor center. Other force fields such as generated by nuclear forces or those found in chemical or biological systems can only have a short effective range. Their slopes within their associated landscapes quickly go to zero within a short-range.”

” More directly relevant to infant behaviour, field potentials generated by the electrical brain activity can be displayed by continuously changing landscapes. Here the elevation of the landscapes determines which neurons will fire and thereby trigger certain behaviours. Finally the potential well of a single active neuron at a given point in time can be modeled by an inverted Bell curve, indicating in the average, short range interactions. ”

The significant intuition of Waddington toward proposing a unified dynamical framework for infant motor development for epigenetic landscapes is represented by the coordinates in the landscape. The influence of a given point in the landscape onto its neighborhood is determined  by its elevation as its potential energy. States in the immediate future of the system are determined by the slope of the landscape at a given point in the sense that the system will move in the direction of the steepest descent. In the dynamical systems interpretation the ball would not build up kinetic energy or momentum, it would come to rest exactly where the slope is zero. A peak represents unstable behaviour, the lowest point in a valley within the landscape corresponds to a stable fixed point as an attractor. ”

” Just as the collection of all genes in a biological species holds the potential for an array of phenotypes, the location of attractive centers determines a set of potentially stable modes of behaviour. For a motor development landscape, it appears that factors like intention and learning as well as organismic and environmental constraints will determine which among a set of potential modes of behaviour will actually be expressed. Change in behaviour can therefore be seen as a continuous switching on of goal attractive centers and simultaneous switching off centers that are no longer the focus of the intention.”

” Gesell in 1946 emphasized prone progression in his analysis of the infant motor development sequence. He illustrated the initial posture of lying down with the subsequent emergence of chin up, crawling, creeping and standing, all in relation to the development of component action patterns of the arms and legs.”

Lets stand back at this juncture to make some comments. What Gesell appears to have intuitively grasped is our version of a built-in App that primes the baby brain to learn to explore within a coordinate dominated system within axes of direction. Do you remember my mentioning of Donald Ingber ? I didn’t show one of his landscape diagrams until I could develop the idea of the shape of a landscape toward determining actual cell fates.

Here is Ingber’s description from JCS April 15, 2003 vol. 116no. 8 1397-1408

Attractor landscape representation of cell fate determination. A hypothetical `potential landscape’ that represents the n-dimensional state space compressed into two dimensions (XY) for visualization purposes. Every position in the XY plane would correspond to a network state (e.g. expression profile of gene and protein activities). The vertical axis (Z) represents a potential function, an `energy equivalent’, representing some distance measure of a network state to the attractor state. Lowest points in the valleys correspond to attractor states that represent cell fates. Yellow arrows indicate a path that takes the cell from growth to apoptosis.”


The reader may be confused at the point I am trying to emphasize. What does landscape motion have to do with a baby learning to crawl ?
Remember also the descriptions from astronaut Hadfield from his first day back into gravity? Let’s examine things from a landscape inner brain, vestibular recovery. Hadfield started his recovery of motion by lying down, that’s all he wanted to do at first to stay horizontal. Moving his head or body was worse than taking amusement rides he said. Slowly he merged his behaviour back nurturing his motion acting like a baby getting used first to a surface. Then trying to get smooth on that surface until finally the coordination with arms and legs merged so that he could walk, getting into the vertical. Hadfield described as if he was standing against a strong wind, his tensegrity sensing of gravity within a coordinate system had been shut down from his lengthy stay in microgravity aboard the International Space Station. Hadfield had the luxury with the help of his ASCRs to relearn to walk like a baby except they didn’t follow the sequence the way a baby follows the sequence. NASA has somehow figured out that it takes serious rehabilitation to get an astronaut to learn to walk again in gravity that takes a few weeks. I’m not convinced they, in NASA understand Gesell’s baby sequence to mimick the motor program of the learning landscape of space-time continuum, the shape App that a  baby instinctively follows as the baby learns to walk.

“From Gesell 1946 descriptive model of the development of prone progression we build a developmental landscape of attractor dynamics based upon principles of nonlinear dynamical systems. The landscape is created for the environmental context of a land- based surface of support, such as a floor in a house. ” You need an X-Y surface to start prone progression from while lying down. Your brain needs to orient to this surface first to sense where X-Y is located.

FOOT TENSEGRITY fig_21_Tens_Foot_ConstAs Hadfield placed his unsteady foot on the flat surface that his ASCR specialists supported him nearby. Chances are he would have something to grab onto to help himself steady his body swaying around as if his body had its own motion ready to slip into the risk of breaking his now fragile bones. Hadfield’s foot contact can be represented as a tensegrity joint, as can Hadfield’s knee, his pelvis his torso, his arms, his neck, his head. Hadfield like all humans has a tensegrity bone organization that needs to orient toward the gravity vector that has oriented all mammals on Earth at the present time. Yet Hadfield is stumbling around so unsure of his next step because his body doesn’t want to do what he wants to do. Hadfield is suffering acute anti-tensegrity vestibular dysregulation that is affecting his entire autonomic system’s balance. The landscape shape of his brain networks does not match the necessary stability the smooth equilibrium that was taken for granted as he left the grasp of gravity on his flight toward the International Space Station. The inner landscape map has to be remapped by the ASCR specialists one shaky step at a time. Until he can relearn to walk again, just like a baby does with its built-in App programmed to rise like Gesell described so intuitively back in 1946 as a maturity gradient. The rehabilitation starts with the emergence of chin up, crawling, creeping and then standing, all in relation to the component action patterns of the tensegrity moving arms and legs. The same motor sequence should be used to rehabilitate a concussed brain. The end result is the proper alignment to Earth’s gravity vector for both the astronaut and the concussed person. It’s all about shape sensing.

Cmdr Chris Hadfield at the coupole aboard the ISS taking Twitter photos of Earth

Cmdr Chris Hadfield at the coupole aboard the ISS taking Twitter photos of Earth

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Space station time

ISS station_backlitIf you had told me 6 weeks ago that I would spend all my time in my house not leaving it except for a brief few trips for diagnostic trips then another coronary artery intervention in the hospitals near me. Mid September my fragile genes caught up with me to block the left anterior descending coronary artery. I was having a widow maker heart attack early while reading my early morning Saturday Montreal newspaper. No muscular effort precipitated my attack.

LAD 1477-9560-7-5-2-lWe complain about the inefficiencies about our Quebec health care system but within one hour after presenting at St-Mary’s Hospital emergency department I was on the operating table after being sent via ambulance to Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital’s Cath Lab for angioplasty. As can be seen in the images above inside the large coronary vessel labeled LAD I had a similar no-flow event, I was suffering a heart attack. It felt like a big rope had been wrapped around my chest with two people tightening it. I was also in a cold sweat during the acute moments during the start of the attack. My surgeon placed a Drug Eluding Stent inside the LAD artery to keep the vessel from collapsing on itself.

stentA stent is a delicate device that expands inside the coronary LAD to prevent it from collapsing upon itself. My father had a similar incident that became his last alive moments before he passed away way back in 1969. But at my moment during the myocardial infarct I was having a very real conversation with my father. ” Dad this is what you felt in your burning chest all those long years ago. Now we are united in sharing this moment of destiny.” My father didn’t get a stent to return flow to his heart, his heart muscle never rebounded. During the angioplasty the surgeon discovered 3 more potential blockages. Last Friday at the Royal Victoria Hospital one more stent was positioned. But the best news was that my stunned heart muscle from the first attack was now beating with only a minor motion change within the entire anterior wall. I was now on the road toward recovery.

The time in my house became reflective time.

PRISM E2EE4C26-64A4-47C0-BB47-328E104C164E_w640_r1_sI pretended I was on my own space mission during my convalescence, limited to roaming only inside my home’s interior, just like the boundaries aboard the International Space Station. But I did read. I did think a lot especially about my work, about what I am trying to accomplish. I did learn the Sir Issac Newton developed many of his insights during a prolonged convalescence in his house, especially his observations on gravity.

Chris Hadfield inside the ISS cupola manipulating the Canada Arm

Chris Hadfield inside the ISS cupola manipulating the Canada Arm

So what does a real astronaut think about while aboard the International Space Station ? What might Chris Hadfield thoughts be about gravity, since he is acutely feeling no gravity within his entire body floating about the interior of his house away from home?

Gravity has always been present during the entire saga of evolution. This ultimate orientation has been imprinted into all signaling communication cellular nets since the start of life on Earth. Gravity has always been present until these last few decades of astronauts now living and working in microgravity. So suddenly withdrawing the force of gravity what are some of the physiological changes pertinent to an astronaut might sense within his chest? Listening to my own conversations, my own simple thoughts on a stent now opening up blood flow within my own heart. What happens to normal breathing for an astronaut experiencing anti-gravity effects? Let’s examine some research reports, specifically on the first day of flight aboard the ISS.

sts111-373-001The astronauts breathing rate slows down from a pattern within his chest expansion as antigravity begins its separation as if into separate colors behaving like a prism of light separating into the blended spectrum of colors. Breathing in microgravity becomes less of chest expansion involving intercostal muscles with the diaphragm into a more predominate abdominal muscle breathing pattern. So does breathing interact with the gravity sensing vestibular system? In other words if yawning has something to do with perfecting where my body is either horizontal transitioning into vertical what happens to my breathing , anything or nothing? What kind of confirmation is out there in the literature. Surprisingly very little, but I did find some info that starts to get to the heart of the matter.

My convalescence floating in my home for the post heart attack released a flood of thoughts taking extra naps during my days watching the light move around the interior as fall slowly descended into its color shifting outside my space station. So which way does vagal nerve input from lungs influence factors like lung volume interacting with intrapulmonary pressure? On a couple of occasions returning from slumber my mind floated in the sweep of the color spectrum vistas around my space station. Why do we yawn? is a report from the SciRes  by William Burke, Vol 5, No. 10, 1572-1579 (2013)
 Burke proposes a biomedical hypothesis, …”that the immediate trigger for a yawn is a restricted collapse of a few alveoli in the lungs.” As the author refutes the common concept that, ….”yawning can be inhibited by deep breathes of air, carbogen or nitrogen,” which refutes the common refrain that, ” a yawn is triggered by either lack of oxygen or by an excess of carbon dioxide.” This leaves according to Burke, the conclusion that, ..” alveollar collapse as the most likely possibility.”

The fractal branching of a tree is similar the internal design of our lungs.

fallOne of the key observations of Burke concerns, …” the fact that alveoli in the basal regions of the lung are more likely to collapse than those in the apical lung region.” The real measure of how our lung functions is called compliance. Lung compliance is the ratio of lung volume difference divided by the pressure difference. Lung compliance is the description of the elastic range of motion between inspiration to expiration. Lung compliance is a elastic/tension change within the shape motion of the lung tissue. Our lungs are tensegrity shape changes dynamically stretching in an elastic range of floating tension changes a la Snelson floating in a dynamic tension/compression balance.

A lung tightly held by the ribs and the horizontal septum, a lung directly attached to the trunk, specially formed and compactly arranged parabronchi, intertwined atrial muscles, and tightly set air capillaries and blood capillaries form an integrated hierarchy of discrete network system of tension and compression, a tensegrity (tensional integrity) array, which absorbs, transmits, and dissipates stress, stabilizing (strengthening) the lung and its various structural components.” Spectacularly robust! Tensegrity principle explains the mechanical strength of the avian lung. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2007 Jan 15;155(1):1-10. Epub 2006 Jun 2. Maina J

Tensegrity suspension 35.1986.1##S

Our bodies internally are in a floating suspension net within a gravity field determining the direction of down versus up. The fractal dimension within our lung compliance motion is dynamic tensegrity shape sensing. All the observers in this suspension behave in their dimensional space because gravity is present. But what of antigravity? What happens inside to the astronauts lung compliance where there is no down-up or sideways?

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What happens to a lungs tensegrity balance of tension/compression in anti gravity? The system crashes.


According to Burke’s hypothesis, sensing this lung compliance is at the core of one of the reasons for triggering a yawn as a tensegrity shape change within the elements of the lung’s anatomy, seen as a collapse of a few alveoli in the lungs. What Burke terms,…” as a yawning is due to a mild form of atelectasis.” Atelectasis is a term from Greek meaning incomplete extension,  defined as the collapse or closure of the lung resulting in reduced or absent gas exchange. It may affect part or all of one lung. It is a condition where the alveoli are deflated. What is very important for the general shape diagram of a tensegrity structure above is the imposed coordinate reference line planes of X-Y-Z, which orients the shape inside a gravity coordinate space. In anti gravity space there is no specific orientation within a X-Y-Z frame work to define the direction of shape sensing within this framework. The shape sensing crashes because the tensegrity forces are different in both direction and strength. The character, the very performance of lung motion elasticity is altered.

Yawning has been medically recommended to prevent the development of atelectasis in those patients experiencing respiratory disorders especially following operations where lung collapsing is a serious complication. Hyperinflation therapy has evolved as a means to prevent or treat atelectasis. Burke is advocating that, ” a very mild form of atelectasis may be a normal feature of regular breathing. ” According to Burke, ” Shallow breathing, in turn, is due to a marked relaxation of the whole body in various states or conditions such as tiredness, boredom, sleepiness, loss of attention, fatigue, hunger, malaise and most surprisingly, observing other people yawning, which is contagious yawning.” In other words in any dramatic state of body tenseness such as paratrooper just about to jump out of an aircraft or a musician about to perform before a large audience, shallow tense breathing (rigid tensegrity shape sensing) reduces lung compliance creating shallow breathing which may lead to mild alveolar collapse, triggering a yawn.

Tensegrity 6_strut_with_springs

Burke also compared on himself the effects of body position for yawning as he awoke testing the hypothesis that posture effects the degree of alveolar collapse, increasing the chance of alveolar collapse to occur when the body/chest orientation is vertical compared to the body/chest being horizontal, i.e. lying down. ” It is well known when the body is horizontal the lungs experience the same intrapleural pressure at all anatomic regions. But when the chest is oriented in the vertical plane parallel to the Z axis, the gravitational effect increases the intrapleural pressure in the basal regions relative to the apex. ” Yet according to Burke little or no yawns were experienced in the horizontal awaking position compared to an average of 3 yawns in the same measurement time following 15 minutes after awakening when moving around walking with his body/chest parallel to the vertical Z axis. ” It is uncertain what signal might come from the collapsed alveoli to initiate the yawn,” Burke assumed that the signalling is within the vagus nerve with the possibility that the relevant nerves may be those originating from the J-receptors.

Burke speculates with, “Nevertheless in the absence of lung disorders, gravity may provide the simplest explanation for the postural effect toward inducing a shallow effect on  alveolar collapse,” as the difference to trigger a yawn. ”


However, recent studies in normal conscious humans demonstrate that going from a deflating state of lung motion to an inflation state is accomplished mainly by the recruitment of alveoli. The number of alveoli increases, while the volume size of the alveoli remains relatively unchanged. If this (elastic shape change of balanced tension/compression a la Snelson) is correct, we can rephrase the ‘alveollar collapse’ as ‘closed alveoli’.’  Burkes final consideration states, ” It is not known how the ‘closed alveoli’ become open but this might be a function of surfactant. If (lung elastic motion) inflation (as a shape change event of elastic tensegrity tension/compression) caused secretion of surfactant at the mouth of a closed alveolus this might cause it to open.”

I might surmise that since the dynamic triggering of recruitment is the likelihood of  a grouped alveolar collapse within the basal regions as a gravity based motion elastic reconfiguration the state of alveoli changing from closed to open by inspiration as a yawn induced lung inflation is essentially a tensegrity triggering shape changed yawn. Let me simplify this summation. As an astronaut ventures into antigravity space flight he stops yawning as a consequence, since their is no X-Y-Z tensegrity 3-dimension space, only antigravity space.


So as I wander my home as an imagined space station in my convalesce I contemplate the amazing prospect that a simple yawn is a complex motion triggering within the micro space of our lung acting as a tensegrity trigger to gravity that is so present around me within the space time continuum what I call the yawn GST reflex.

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Dalmatian Pelican eye concussion

EYE 1704dalmatian_pelicanThe shock of impact was felt into the neck of the majestic bird. Diving into the glint of ocean waves toward the speckle of a school of fish the gravity descending bird did not perceive the hidden log just below the surface. The collision was dampened by the surrounding water, the bird used to the shock of hitting the interface but this time was different, the bird was dazed. Somehow swimming up into the bursting light at the junction of water with air the bird gasped to flounder in confusion. Everything was spinning.

What happens to the eyes during a concussion as the brain moves ? The eyes move.  But behave as tethered objects held in their sockets strained by the muscles that permit their rotation, their gazing up or down, their sweep side to side. The eyes acting as tiny orbs stretched into tension whiplash like the release of a slingshot ball snapping in on their trajectory at the moment of impact. The energy is translated not only into their surrounding socket structures but further into the bone tunnel connecting their very attached nerves within the brain stem. It is not as if the bird loses sight but worse the bird suffers brightness overwhelming the diaphragm of the iris but especially the pivoting skill of eye rotation, the up and down eye positioning that had been so smooth before.

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Jamshid Ghajar, MD, PhD , chief of Neurosurgery at Jamaica Hospital-Cornell Trauma Center, clinical professor of Neurosurgery at Weill Cornell Medical College and President of the Brain Trauma Foundation in New York City is developing just such a specific observation toward developing eye tracking as a means to diagnose brain concussion. According to Dr. Ghajar, ” There are also no methods to accurately measure attention continuously. Brain concussion (minor traumatic brain injury, mTBI ) patients may experience subtle but frequent lapses in attention that are not detected by any assessments with low temporal resolution. Therefore, the development of a rapid yet sensitive plus reliable test is necessary in order to detect, to grade subtle cognitive impairments due to injury. Can we generate accurate diagnoses for mTBI patients using faulty eye positioning? The Cognitive and Neurobiological Research Consortium investigated chronic mild TBI in civilians and provided anatomical quantification of the degree of diffuse axonal injury (DAI) using MRI-diffusion tensor imaging. Based on this anatomical quantification, we aimed to determine whether performance variability during visual tracking can provide a useful screening measure for mTBI. We also aim to develop a diagnostic protocol of attention metric for mTBI.” 

Undiagnosed and untreated mTBI has become a significant problem for men and women serving in Iraq, and the Department of Defense expressed an early interest and funding in the eye tracking project.  In September 2008 the DoD awarded BTF a four-year grant $4.6 million grant to develop a portable eye tracking device that can be used on service men and women in the field to instantly determine if they have suffered any brain damage as a result of blast injury or another type of head injury.  The researchers at BTF have been working with engineers and researchers at the United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine to develop this device that will revolutionize the way mTBI is diagnosed and help insure that service men and women with brain injury get the care that they need and are not sent back into the field where they could potentially be in harm’s way.”

PELICAN comp_arbeit--Alexander_Fischer_krauskopfpelikan

Where inside the human anatomy of the head do the eyes behave as if tethered objects stretched by the rebound of shock happening with brain concussive deceleration forces? Let’s examine some anatomy maps.


The cranial nerves supplying the dalmatian pelican’s eye involve: Cranial nerves III, IV and VI. In the diagram above is cranial nerve, CN III(3), the occulomotor nerve.

eye_movements1359393912968The cranial nerve CN VI (6) , the abducens, enters the brain stem at the junction of the foramen magnum, in the diagram below the red line from the cross section view showing the midbrain, pons and medulla zones within the brain stem. The cranial nerve CN IV, the trochlear controls both lateral rectus muscles.
Cranial Nerves NucleiAcute vulnerability enters at the foramen magnum during a concussive force since the energy is strained into the longest tethered segment of cranial nerve, the abducens nerve, CN VI. In the above diagram the cranial nerves are listed as numerics. Pay attention to the vulnerable insertion zones into the upper brain stem of cranial nerves 3, CN III occulomotor, cranial nerve 4, CN IV trochlear and cranial nerve 6, CN VI, abducens respectively.

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The pelican doesn’t understand the shock to its eyes. It swings its head positioning while immobile as the unstable response to this violent contact stirs the visual field into swirls of colour. The bird is dizzy, mesmerized by false balance sensation. The far horizon line is actually looping as if inverted motion gyros overhead. The bird thrusts its head into the waves splashing into the coldness. The bird fails to perceive the form beneath the waves, which engulfs the spinning spectacle of its twisting visual field into fury then only darkness.


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Octopus concussions

OCTOPUS coconut octopus 9.2560-1600

The octopus brain is evolutionarily different to mammalian brain by not being surrounded by a bony case. So can an octopus have a brain concussion ? Lets investigate.

If we define a concussion as the rapid deceleration in a gravity field distorting a brain into tension changes during rapid elastic distortions dependent on the shape characteristics, what of an entirely soft body, especially also within the head structure? But where does the excess energy go, which structures are really vulnerable ?

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Each arm of the octopus is independent without the requirement of a central brain to coordinate its delicate motions. Large octopus in captivity when threatened by a shark are not only able to subdue the shark but to actually wrap up the shark like holding a FedEx package, so that the shark suffocates by not being able to push water through its gills. So how do we define intelligence in such a creature? How did Nature solve this problem ? Are octopus immune to deceleration trauma to their self sensing? Do octopus have a sense of humour?


Octopuses have a pouch-shaped body and eight powerful arms (not tentacles), usually with two rows of suction discs on each. They don’t have any bones, but in some cases, the brain may be enclosed in cartilage. Their size can range from 1.5 cm (0.6 in.) to more than 5 m (16 ft.); spans of up to 9 m (30 ft.) have been recorded, although these measurements are often considered questionable. The arms usually make up about half their span.

Their skin has amazing abilities. Octopuses can change their colour to match the background and thus provide camouflage. They can change the colour pattern in order to communicate with other octopuses. They can also change the texture of the skin’s surface to further help them blend with their surroundings. They inhabit many diverse regions of the ocean, especially coral reefs.

Octopuses also have a sac that contains an inky substance. When an octopus senses danger, it ejects some “ink”. The ink darkens the water, thereby screening the octopus from the other animal. In some species, the saliva—deployed by a beak bite—can also paralyse prey.

Octopuses can travel through water by jet propulsion: they take in water and forcibly eject it through a funnel, using the contraction of their muscular mantle (the layer of tissue that encloses the body). They usually use this method only when trying to escape from danger or when catching prey. They are also able to creep over hard surfaces using their arms, and indeed, this is how most octopuses move around most of the time.

Octopuses are classified as molluscs. They are closely related to squids, cuttlefish and nautiloid. Other molluscs such as snails, mussels and clams are slightly more-distant relatives. There are around 300 recognized species; octopuses are found in all the oceans.”

When hunting and grabbing dinner, the octopus uses all the flexibility the arms are capable of. But to bring captured prey to its mouth, the octopus turns the arm into a semi-rigid structure that bends to form quasi joints. Just as a human arm has joints at the shoulder, elbow, and wrist that allow our arms to bend and rotate, the octopus bends its arm to forming three segments of roughly equal length. The motions of each arm are run by a complex system of about 50 million neurons that encodes the movements necessary for making coordinated movements. The octopus has the most complicated brain of all the invertebrates. The octopus brain is estimated to have 300,000,000 neurons. These neurons are arranged in lobes and tracts that are more specialized than ganglia. An octopus has the most advanced memory of the invertebrates plus is a rapid learner.

Understanding how the octopus controls eight flexible arms all at once could be the basis for developing the next generation of flexible robotic arms—long a goal among robotics engineers.

“Our specific aim in this project is to learn from nature how to build and control a flexible-arm robot,” said Binyamin Hochner, a biologist at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and one of the co-authors of the study. “And indeed our studies show how the octopus simplifies the complex problems associated with controlling flexible arms that have an infinitely large number of degrees of freedom. This in turn inspires the development of new strategies for the control of flexible robotic arms.”

“With more than a 250 species, octopuses are members of an ancient group of animals called cephalopods. The giant Pacific octopus (Octopus dofleini) can grow to over 20 feet (6 meters) and weigh more than 100 pounds (45 kilograms). The tiny Californian octopus (Octopus micropyrsus), by contrast, is no more than half an inch to an inch (1.3 to 2.5 centimeters) long.”

“There have been numerous accounts of (and searches for) an as yet unknown species of deep-sea octopus that is believed to grow to over 100 feet (30 meters) across and weigh several tons.

Octopuses have intrigued scientists for years, because they have both long- and short-term memory. They remember solutions to problems.  They can go on to solve the same or similar problems. They have been known to climb aboard fishing boats then open holds in search of crabs. They can figure out mazes, open jars, even to break out of their aquariums in search of food.

The arms are composed almost entirely of muscle, with no bone or external skeleton—a structure known as a muscular hydrostat. Elephant trunks and tongues are other examples of a muscular hydrostat.

Earlier research funded by the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) suggests that, to keep the arms from constantly tangling themselves up, each arm has an independent peripheral nervous system and neural circuitry (see related-story link below). This allows the brain to essentially give a command—”Arm Four, fetch that tasty crab crawling by”—and have the arm carry out the order without the brain thinking about it again.

This ability is combined with excellent eyesight. Once an octopus spots its prey, it has a remarkable ability to reach out with one of its arms and grab it with one of the suckers that form a double line up each of the octopus’s arms.” The eye of the octopus is very similar to that of vertebrates in that it has a cornea, lens, iris and retina. It can also focus and form images. The vertebrate eye focuses by changing the shape of the lens. Octopi can see shape, color intensity, and texture.

Octopus-suckers Desktop-Wallpapers

“The clever creature is a brown octopus about two feet (60 centimeters) long that slithers along the muddy bottom of shallow, tropical estuaries where rivers spill into the sea. It was discovered so recently that it still doesn’t have a scientific name, but scientists are intrigued by its uncanny ability to impersonate lion fish, soles, and banded sea snakes.”

Octopuses are thought to be one of the most intelligent invertebrates and can change the color and texture of their skin to blend in with rocks, algae, or coral to avoid predators. But until now, an octopus with the ability to actually assume the appearance of another animal had never been observed.

“Having studied many octopus species in the wild, I am never surprised by the color and shape change capacities of these animals,” said Mark Norman of the Melbourne Museum in Australia. “However, this animal stood out as it was the only one we’ve encountered that goes beyond camouflage to take on the guise of dangerous animals.”

Norman and fellow researchers Julian Finn of the University of Tasmania in Australia and Tom Tregenza of the University of Leeds in England describe the octopus mimic in the September 7 issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society of London.

“This,” Tregenza said, “is a rather dramatic animal.”

Mimicry is a fairly common survival strategy in nature. Certain flies, for example, assume the black and yellow stripes of bees as a warning to potential predators. But the adaptable octopus is the first known species that can assume multiple guises.

Each of the nine specimens that scientists saw during research dives off the coasts of Sulawesi and Bali in Indonesia impersonated more than one toxic species. The creatures they routinely mimicked were:

• Sole fish. To take on the appearance of flat and poisonous sole fish abundant in the habitat, the octopus builds up speed through jet propulsion and draws all of its arms together to form a leaf-shaped wedge. It then undulates in the manner of a swimming flat fish.

• Lion fish. Just above the seafloor the octopus swims with its arms spread wide and trailing from its body, mimicking the lion fish and its poisonous fins.

• Sea snakes. Changing its color to imitate the yellow and black bands of the toxic sea snake, the octopus threads six of its arms into a hole and waves the other two arms in opposite directions so they look like two snakes.

One reason why the researchers had not discovered the octopus previously is that it lives in a habitat that’s not very appealing to scuba divers—a muddy and relatively barren landscape that lacks the variety and splendor of life found in coral reefs.

“We also think that is why it has such a dramatic [mimicking ability],” said Tregenza. “It has nowhere to hide. It could burrow, or try and mimic one of the animals also found in their environment.”

“These boring environments are just the place where you might see the most exciting behavior of animals,” he added.

The researchers believe the recently discovered octopus uses its mimicry to avoid predation by large fish rather than as a mechanism to trick its prey. They also think it probably evolved from another species of octopus that’s active during the day in coral reefs nearby.

“It may have moved to open ground to harness the many crustaceans and fish found in these habitats,” said Norman. “Individuals which looked like dangerous animals were clearly selected for, while others were quickly nailed by passing barracuda, sharks, or groupers. Hence, mimicry was selected for.”

The fact that the octopus can adopt so many different animal impersonations greatly reduces its likelihood of encountering predators. This is advantageous, said Tregenza, because if a predator fish often saw a lion fish that looked suspiciously like an octopus, the predator would eventually be more willing to risk being poisoned by taking a bite of its prey—thus blowing the octopus’s cover.

Tregenza said the octopus may decide which creature to impersonate depending on what particular predator is near. Evidence of such behavior came from observations showing that when the octopus was attacked by territorial damselfishes, it mimicked one of the fishes’ common predators, the banded sea snake.

“If the mimic octopus can figuratively use its mimicry—that is, can choose to use a particular form in response to a particular threat—this could potentially dramatically improve the defensive value of its mimicry behavior,” said Tregenza.

We have suspected based on the large amount of nerves in the octopuses and from the behavior of severed arms during predation,” said James Wood of the National Center for Cephalopods at the University of Texas in Galveston.

“Arms have a lot of autonomy and the central brain of an octopus gives high-level commands but may not be aware of the details—in other words, there is a lot of processing of information in the arms that never makes it to the brain,” he added.

This research shows the mechanism by which octopuses are able to operate an arm that has a nearly infinite range of motion. This has been a long-term goal of the Israeli researchers not only because of their interest in nature, but also to learn how to produce a flexible and robust robotic arm.

“A flexible [robot] arm would not be constricted by the environment. It would be a better robot for unpredicted situations such as a natural disaster or surgery in a delicate area,” said Hochner. “It would have infinitely large degrees of freedom which are not constrained by the fixed joints of other robots that are currently used.”

Now that the researchers have figured out how octopuses control their flexible arms, the next challenge is to find a material that can replicate the property of an octopus arm. Currently nothing comes close, said Hochner.

In the meantime, scientists will remain awed by the intelligence of octopuses, which are thought to be the most intelligent of the invertebrates (species that have no spine).

“This [research] shows that centralized processing of all incoming information is not the only way to develop a neural network,” said Wood.

With their jet propulsion there is always the risk of a collision into something. But being invertebrates the brain is not inside a bone vault. Enormous brain flexibility allows them to squeeze virtually bounded by the limits of the dimension of their beak. In terms of collision risk their ability to deform is a superb strategy toward deflecting any deceleration energy during any brief impact. Their cloaking ability to either mimic other fish is probably one of the best cloaking skill sets of any creature on the planet. They have evolved a superior intelligence capable of eluding the various predators that share their range of activities. They are both strong yet flexible with no bones to break. But they are still vulnerable.

OCTOPUS brain Young Figure 1-6

Can a octopus endure a concussion ? What is the first response inside the brain as the concussion deceleration hits? It is the instantaneous movement sensed within the vestibular system in this case within the statocyst. Where the destructive energy comes into play is from sound waves as vibrations rather than collision energy. This man made sound energy that eventually concusses the octopus brain as an impacting energy cascade starting within the gravity sensor of the animals position, within their statocyst.

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Giant squid, for example, were found along the shores of Asturias, Spain in 2001 and 2003 following the use of airguns by offshore vessels and examinations eliminated all known causes of lesions in these species, suggesting that the squid deaths could be related to excessive sound exposure.

Michel André, Technical University of Catalonia in Barcelona, and colleagues examined the effects of low frequency sound exposure — similar to what the giant squid would have experienced in Asturias — in four cephalopod species. As reported in an article published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, a journal of the Ecological Society of America, all of the exposed squid, octopus and cuttlefish exhibited massive acoustic trauma in the form of severe lesions in their auditory structures.

The researchers exposed 87 individual cephalopods — specifically, Loligo vulgaris, Sepia officinalis, Octopus vulgarisand Illex coindeti — to short sweeps of relatively low intensity, low frequency sound between 50 and 400 Hertz (Hz) and examined their statocysts. Statocysts are fluid-filled, balloon-like structures that help these invertebrates maintain balance and position — similar to the vestibular system of mammals. The scientists’ results confirmed that statocysts indeed play a role in perceiving low frequency sound in cephalopods.


André and colleagues also found that, immediately following exposure to low frequency sound, the cephalopods showed hair cell damage within the statocysts. Over time, nerve fibers became swollen and, eventually, large holes appeared — these lesions became gradually more pronounced in individuals that were examined several hours after exposure. In other words, damage to the cephalopods’ auditory systems emerged immediately following exposure to short, low intensity sweeps of low frequency sound. All of the individuals exposed to the sound showed evidence of acoustic trauma, compared with unexposed individuals that did not show any damage.

“It is clear that the crista, by the arrangement of the cilia, of its hair cells  and by its configuration in three planes, is a receptor of angular acceleration . The macula is important in the maintenance of a fixed orientation by the animal, a fact that is of
particular importance in visual learning.” (from the article, Zeitschrift fiir Zellforschung 70, 91–107 (1966) THE FINE STRUCTURE OF THE STATOCYST  OF OCTOPUS VULGARIS  by V. C. BARBER* Anatomy Department University College London)

“If the relatively low intensity, short exposure used in our study can cause such severe acoustic trauma, then the impact of continuous, high intensity noise pollution in the oceans could be considerable,” said André. “For example, we can predict that, since the statocyst is responsible for balance and spatial orientation, noise-induced damage to this structure would likely affect the cephalopod’s ability to hunt, evade predators and even reproduce; in other words, this would not be compatible with life.”

The effect of noise pollution on marine life varies according to the proximity of the animal to the activity and the intensity and frequency of the sound. However, with the increase in offshore drilling, cargo ship transportation, excavation and other large-scale, offshore activities, it is becoming more likely that these activities will overlap with migratory routes and areas frequented by marine life.

“We know that noise pollution in the oceans has a significant impact on dolphins and whales because of the vital use of acoustic information of these species,” said André, “but this is the first study indicating a severe impact on invertebrates, an extended group of marine species that are not known to rely on sound for living. It left us with several questions: Is noise pollution capable of impacting the entire web of ocean life? What other effects is noise having on marine life, beyond damage to auditory reception systems? And just how widespread and invasive is sound pollution in the marine environment?”

What happens then to an octopus orienting to man-made low-frequency sound ? The response of orientation is a vestibular reaction within the octopus repertoire of dedicated fine motion. The destruction of fine hair cells dedicated to hearing is the beginning of a cascade of injury that starts with excessive sound waves as the input that deregulate the statocyst vestibular system, literally unbalancing the octopus capacity to defend itself using all its camouflage altering tricks. The response from an octopus having a concussion resolves not into a abrupt collision with an object but rather a collision with sound sensed first within the hearing apparatus which is intimately linked within statocyst head positioning as gravity sensing.

The apparatus of vulnerability within the octopus is its statocyst affected oil rig 118806528_NorthSea_368048cpositioning ability that can become injured. Octopus concussions occur as vestibular injuries that impact the very survival skills of these very intelligent creatures. What is to be learned from these elegant creatures is their exquisite sensitivity as a vulnerability of their gravity sensing statocyst. The statocyst itself is a biomineralized, structure the only hard substance in such a mobile elastic body. What Nature appears to be revealing is to comprehend how energy in the form of vibration, in the form of disturbing orientation within gravity orientation involves sensing gravity inside a hard substance affects directly the octopus ability to move – to perform its elaborate camouflaging skills. Once the octopus sensing of gravity is injured the octopus is at great risk to be attacked by the surrounding presence of predators.

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Müller vesicles: detecting up from down

Every single life form can detect the presence of the gravity vector. Gravity has asserted itself into this constancy by its presence since life evolved on our Planet Earth. If you want to understand how a gravity accident, like a brain concussion happens, you have to begin to comprehend how Nature first started sensing gravity direction in one the oldest of its creatures, the ciliates, over one billion years old. Our brain sits on the hierarchy of such ancient creatures.

CITY chuenokirpm12002As we gaze skywards into an imaginary city of skyscrapers we see in the scale of our perception the rising definition of buildings anchored against gravity. The soaring spectacle spins overhead into dizzying heights we marvel at the reach of height. Yet if we were to look into life’s smaller cells even into the murky bottom of a puddle at the base of such imaginary skyscrapers we would see the relevance of gravity applying its vector of direction down even at the lowly scale of such minute life forms. The first sensing apparatus evolved around the vector of gravity, all subsequent brain power focused into that sense of where the real down is toward interpreting this direction.

This years Nobel Prize in Medicine concerns the work of discovering the importance of vesicles inside cells. The joint 2013 winners are: James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman and Thomas C. Südhof. The citation form the Nobel web site reads as follows, “for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic,
a major transport system in our cells.”

” Each cell is a factory that produces and exports molecules. For instance, insulin is manufactured and released into the blood and chemical signals called neurotransmitters are sent from one nerve cell to another. These molecules are transported around the cell in small packages called vesicles. The three Nobel Laureates have discovered the molecular principles that govern how this cargo is delivered to the right place at the right time in the cell.”

“Randy Schekman discovered a set of genes that were required for vesicle traffic. James Rothman  unravelled protein machinery that allows vesicles to fuse with their targets to permit transfer of cargo. Thomas Südhof revealed how signals instruct vesicles to release their cargo with precision.”


“Through their discoveries, Rothman, Schekman and Südhof have revealed the exquisitely precise control system for the transport and delivery of cellular cargo. Disturbances in this system have deleterious effects and contribute to conditions such as neurological diseases, diabetes, and immunological disorders.”

Within each cell is a GPS of orientation that permits all this exquisite trafficking to become functional at delivery at the right time at the right place in a gravity coordinated apparatus. But to see all of gravity’s influence it is best to appreciate its detection at the simplest, tiniest aspect, where else but in a shimmering slime puddle at the base of a sky piercing tower. Micro creatures lurk beneath the surface each with vesicles, acting as micro bubbles within cells tempers their delivery motions with the buoyancy path of their progress acting within a gravity field of one, which is our Earth field.

NATURAL TEXTURES © 1998 PhotoSpin www.powerphotos.comBut how does a cell sense gravity? Does it just happen that in seeking to get away from bright light into the tension gradient of oxygen at the bottom of such a puddle what happens to the motion of the cell to discriminate the descent into the favoured oxygen tension level by swimming downward?

protozoansA Abundant varieties of shapes on unicellular life are like children’s scribbles, yet they all behave to the hidden vector of a constant gravity presence, every single one of the thousands of protozoa found in our little puddle on the ground.

To better understand gravity effects on puddle dwelling ciliates I will be referring to a paper entitled: The Structure and Function of Muller Vesicles in Loxodid Ciliates by Tom Fenchel and Bland J. Finlay from the Journal of Protozoology, Vol. 33, No. 1, February 1986, 69-76.

CILIATES NATURE 04_HM_Krebs_22063_3

The authors employ the term, geotaxis, to describe the sensing of gravity.

“Recently, we have  shown experimentally that the ability of these ciliates to orient
themselves in oxygen gradients depends on a true geotaxis. Under anaerobic conditions the ciliates tend to swim upwards, but if the oxygen, tension exceeds about 10% atmospheric saturation, they will swim downwards. Around 5% atmospheric saturation,
vertical drift (and random motility) takes minimum values and  the cells therefore congregate in this region. Cells in anoxic water swimming upwards will, if turned 180 degrees, immediately start to tumble and manage to bring their anterior end to point upwards again after about 40 seconds. Conversely, if a cell swimming downwards is turned 180 degrees, it will be able to turn and resume downwards swimming within 20-30 sec.”
“Loxodid ciliates must therefore possess a mechanoreceptor which tells them what is up and what is down. A likely candidate is the Müller vesicle, a peculiar organelle characteristic of loxodid ciliates. Superficial observations with the light microscope
reveal these organelles (numbering one to about 30 according to species) as vacuoles containing a mineral concretion (the Müller body).”

“They are situated on the left side of the cells, close to the dorsal rim. Penard noted that the concretion  is attached to the wall of the vacuole via a thin stalk and he suggested that the organelle functions as a statocyst.”

STATOCYST liriope-tetraphylla

STATOCYST liriope-tetraphylla

“More recently, a brief note and a more thorough study indicated a rather complex structure of the Muller vesicle, involving an invaginated cilium and other fibrillar structures. The invaginated cilium, the tip of which protrudes to the cell surface, has also been reported in a recent SEM study on Loxodes . Finally, it has been shown that the Muller bodies of Laxodes contain barium and those of Remanella brunnea, strontium; they are likely to consist of the sulfates of these metals.”

Essentially the Müller vesicle is acting like a girl on a swing. But, imagine the entire ceiling moving, the girl hanging on the swing will change direction if the ceiling is the suspended fuselage of a plane making violent turns.


What Nature has designed in the Müller vesicle is a miniature accelerometer to detect a gravity force change by swinging one way or another, the weighted swing essentially reacting to the change in gravity direction.

“Due to the asymmetric attachment of the body to the dorsal wall of the vesicle and due to the limitation in free movement set by the vesicle wall, the Muller body can take only one of the two possible positions for any of the four ways the cells usually orient themselves. If the cells are swimming head down or if they glide horizontally with their ciliated side downwards, the Müller body falls to the anterior right side of the vesicle nearly directly beneath the ciliary tube. If, conversely, the ciliate swims head up or if it glides horizontally on the underside of a surface, the body will be found in the posterior left side of the vesicle. Observations on turning cells show that the shift in position of the body takes place well within one second. During the movement, the stalk does not seem to bend. The total free path of the body is 3-4 microns, leading to a change of roughly 90 degrees in the angle between the stalk and the ciliary tube.”

“The fact that the Müller body takes one position within its vesicle when the cell is either oriented head down or with the ciliated side down and another position when the cell is either oriented with its head up or its ciliated side up is consistent with the observed behavior of Loxodes. If cells are placed in oxygen containing water, they will swim straight downwards. If they change orientation during their descent, they will tumble until the anterior end is directed downwards again. Once at the bottom, however, they will glide horizontally along it without an excessive frequency of tumbling. Therefore this orientation seems as acceptable to them as swimming downwards, given the O2 tension of the environment. In an anoxic environment exactly the opposite is the case; the cells tend either to swim upwards or to glide along the underside of objects.”


“It is a general observation that the presence of modified or unmodified cilia is nearly always a feature of sensory cells or organelles It is now generally believed that the transduction of the (mechanical) sensory input is not due to the cilium itself, which merely acts as a lever, but that it takes place at the base of the cilium. Here the mechanical stress on the cell membrane is believed to change the conductance. leading to a depolarization or a hyperpolarization. ”

” The change in membrane potential is then propagated along the surface of the cell leading to a nervous impulse or to a reversal or an increased frequency of ciliar motion. Our observations are consistent with this. The stalk supporting the Müller body seems rigid during the motion of the body and at the same time it is anchored to the posterior kinetosome by the microtubules. The kinetosome must therefore follow the movements of the slatolith. On the other hand, the ciliary tube is anchored to the wall of the vesicle. Consequently, any movement of the Müller body must lead to a deformation of some structure at the base of the ciliary tube, which then presumably transduces that mechanical signal into an electrical one. A likely candidate for this structure is the surface membrane adjacent to the

tensegrity membrane

ciliated kinetosome, but this is not really known. It seems likely, although entirely conjectural, that all the cilia of the kinety to which the Müller vesicles belong have a role as mechanoreceptors since they are immotile and held like bristles. If this is so, the Müller vesicle represents only a further development of a more primitive mechanoreceptor. The proportionality of Müller vesicle numbers to surface area in different species is consistent with the idea that the signal from the vesicles propagates as a membrane depolarization, but that the signal is dampened as it spreads over the surface. It is an important aspect of loxodid behavior and of its adaptive significance, that the geotaxis is modified by the environment, viz., that the ciliates tend to swim up or down according to the oxygen, tension. This requires that another receptor (presumably for oxygen,) can reverse the response to a given position of the Müller body.”

Please notice the highlighted descriptions of the authors, specifically, like, anchored and surface membrane they hint of the force of stretched tension attachments within these descriptions. What is happening here, what is Nature telling us, revealing in her ancient subtlety of shape design?

Nature is revealing inside a ciliate creature, as if behaving like a miniature submarine that can self sense its motions seeking out the nutrient rich layer at the correct oxygen tension within a defined density of light penetration into the correct zone of life-sustaining opportunity. The shape of this creature can bend to turn, rapidly pivoting into the light shaft of its opportunity by aligning into the gravity vector. Nature is revealing to us the über importance of gravity sensing as the primal orientation signal processing to align the direction of motion of a shape based intelligence system, based on suspended tension/compression shape a la floating Snelson tension membrane inside this tiny creature flitting inside a murky puddle.

What we learn as we try to comprehend a brain concussion is the enormously old, one billion year heritage that sensing gravity within a gravity based accident of deceleration is first sensed via the vestibular system into a shape based sensing apparatus designed under floating tension/compression, which is the city architecture of our massively interactive brain shape. It is following this ancient Müller vesicle trace as it reveals itself in our modern 2013 brain anatomy.

Like a precious code, the ancient signalling is the essence of back tracking into navigating the priority of the logic of the problem of brain concussion. Within this tiny puddle with swimming  ciliate loxodes, we learn to appreciate the basics of Nature, how to trace the first sensing motion of gravity when a brain concussion occurs, to address the current question: what sense has the oldest core signaling priority within a hierarchy of signalling status?

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Sand faces and Eigenmaps

FACE envelope-05

Each sunrise in a person’s life brings changes into the face in subtle ways. The changes are apparent on FaceBook watching pictures of children reaching different thresholds. The minds eye captures only the last image of a face. If a year or two suddenly passes,  the innocent picture taken at breakfast of a proud Mother beside her son, catches the observer, remarking with, ‘His face is fuller, he’s becoming an adolescent, way past that baby face stage.’

FACE aging OBAMA Each progressive decade has a criteria performing these dynamic changes sweeping over our faces. We scratch then pull on our face, smiling at our reflection in the morning mirror gazing back at our reflections. New lines, new wrinkles, new stress lines around the eyes, the nose and mouth appear as if an artist has painted in new features.  But is it all just skin sagging by drooping with the tug of constant gravity? William Shakespeare repeatedly called the face a mask of mobile motion revealing the angst inside,

Your face, my thane, is as a book where men
May read strange matters. To beguile the time,
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under’t. ”


But all mere mortals suffer the motion within the bones of the face, which underlies facial aging. A digital recreation of Shakespeare’s face stares at the reader. But Shakespeare  did not know the underlying shifting bony dimensions that lay as the cause for facial features to be read like a book. The face mask appears as all of skin,  muscle and fat. Those Hollywood starlets seeking facial rejuvenation at one point are told by their plastic surgeon, ‘I can’t pull things any tighter, you won’t have any face mobility, you’ll only have a mask of expressionless features.’ Behind this assessment are recent  studies suggesting that the bony aging of the face is primarily a process of contraction plus morphologic change within the very bony density of the facial bones.

Think of the face as if designed by an artist who has cleverly draped over a scaffolding this elastic soft tissue envelope. The scaffolding strength is determined by measuring the bone density within the facial bones using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans. The earliest suggestion of an association between osteoporosis with facial bone loss was made in 1060 by Groen, Duyvensz and Halsted. I will be quoting from The Aesthetic Surgery Journal on Facial Bone Density: Effects of Aging and Impact on Facial Rejuvenation authored by Robert Shaw, Evan  Katzel, Peter Koltz, David Khan, Edward Puzas and Howard Langstein: 2012, 32:937-942.

“The bones of the face are formed by intramembranous  ossification without cartilaginous precursors, which differs from the rest of the axial skeleton and long bones. Thus, the
growth and bony resorption of the face may be regulated by different factors. This has led many to believe that the facial bones and long bones age differently. Deguchi et al, however, analyzed this question by studying 134 subjects in 3 separate age categories based on mandibular cortex erosions and the lab values of serum bone-specific alkaline
phosphatase (S-BAP) and urinary N-telopeptide cross-links of type 1 collagen (U-NTX). He found that mandibular inferior cortical erosion on radiographs was associated with increased
levels of S-BAP and U-NTX and that there was a strong association between mandible and general bone metabolism.”

“It is well known that subjects with tooth loss undergo significant alveolar bone loss, but decreased mandibular bone density has also been found in multiple studies independent of
dental status. D’Amelio et al analyzed the mandibles of 15  men (ages 34-85 years) and 16 women (ages 23-82 years) with an X-ray densitometer. He found a significant bone
density decrease in the ramus for both sexes with increasing age.”

RAMUS Gray176

“Eighteen  postmenopausal women over 2 years  showed more bone loss in the mandible by DXA compared with the femur trochanter and phalanges. Thinning of the mandibular cortices of ❤ mm has also been associated  with low skeletal bone mass.16 In this study, we hoped to expand upon the previous research by including both sexes  and by analyzing the largest number of subjects to date. Various imaging modalities are utilized to measure BMD. In this study, we used DXA imaging, as it has been shown  to best predict patients who are at risk of osteoporosis”

FACE FRACTAL code 7046728-0-large

A fractal mask can be superimposed over the face mask creating the mapping points to build the surface features that make up the envelope of skin. We do not think of the shape of the bone as determining the shape of the face but that is the dynamic motion as if the tissue is a stretched mobile fabric membrane of flesh across the bone scaffolding beneath the surface. Facial recognition algorithms can now employ a rapid scanning capacity toward the creation of a individual facial biomarker unique as a fingerprint. But the use of the face shape itself as its own biomarker of aging is only just beginning to be considered.

Eigenfaces The very edges of shape features termed eigenmaps are able to be grasped by the brain as recognizable faces like ghosts of dreams on the cusp of memory. These mathematical mapping treatments come from an authored paper by  Si Si, Dacheng Tao and Kwok-Ping Chan 2010 IEEE entitled : Discriminative Hessian Eigenmaps for Face Recognition

“A key role for face recognition is the distance or similarity
between face images which can be solved via dimension
reduction, as dimension reduction performs the recognition
by enlarging the similarity among the intra-class samples
and maximizing the difference among the inter-class samples in a subspace rather than the original feature space. A dimension reduction algorithm projects the original high-dimensional feature space to a low-dimensional subspace, where specific statistical properties can be well preserved. For example, principle component analysis (PCA) [1], one of the most popular unsupervised dimension reduction algorithms, maximizes the variance of the data in the projected subspace; Fisher’s linear discriminative analysis (FLDA) [2], the most traditional supervised dimension reduction algorithm, minimizes the trace ratio between the within class scatter and the between class scatter so that the Gaussian distributed samples can be well separated in the selected subspace; locality preserving projections (LPP) [4] preserves the local geometry of samples by processing an undirected weighted graph that represents the neighbourhood relations of pairwise samples; Marginal Fisher analysis (MFA) [12] considers both the
intra-class geometry and interaction of samples from different classes; Discriminative locality alignment (DLA) [5] preserves the discriminative information by maximizing the distance among the inter-class samples and minimizing the distance among the intra-class samples over the local patch of each sample. However the geometric and discriminative information in these dimension reduction algorithms are not well modeled, e.g., LDA does not consider the geometric information; MFA ignores the discriminative information of non-marginal samples from different classes. By using the patch alignment framework [6], we can model both the intra-class local geometry and the inter-class discriminative information conveniently. In particular, for each sample and its associated patch (neighbours of the sample), it is important to consider the following two properties: 1) the intra-class local geometry can be represented by the local tangent space, which is locally isometric to the manifold of the intra-class nearest samples of the patch; and 2) the inter-class discriminative information can be represented by the margin between the intra-class neighbor samples and the inter-class nearest samples of the patch. Because the method used for local geometry representation is similar to Hessian Eigenmaps [7], the proposed dimension reduction algorithm is termed the Discriminative Hessian Eigenmaps or DHE for short.” (The interested reader may consult the equations pertinent to the facial algorithms from their paper.)

sand-ds FRACTAL PATTERNAs Nature carves fractal patterns into the sand the image is essentially amorphous in terms of a lack of connection to the layers beneath the surface features. Yet faces can be carved into the sand loam.

FACE OF SAND 121123496_640But their unattached dimensional platform- the structure of an unseen scaffolding separates in any strong wind gusting dissolving into antishape.

tensegrity SURFACE -floating-tension-webNature always designs using the integrity of both shape holding tension within its stretched connectedness both locally into distance connections. It is all about attachment in a flexible stretched membrane that is a Snelson floating tension/compression sequence. So when we speak of the human face we are not used to seeing the elements of features which Shakespeare said are carved into the mobile motions of emotions that play across the face surface. The face is much more than that stretched skin that we pay so much attention to. The face is attached within itself tethered beneath to the bony structures. As the facial bones age they change contours, they deform hence the aging face reflects this as a shadow reflects a building’s shape. It is the unfolding shapes skirting over time that determine how the face ages.


Which can now be mathematically modelled as a tension net respecting local neighbourhood geometry of positions relative to each other so that the statistical coherence of this intactness can now be blended into mathematical compressed forms that are just barely recognizable as edges of coherence that determine our recognition of a frowning face shape or a smiling face shape or any of the immense subtleties in between a la Shakespeare’s poetic descriptions.

The combined skin envelope with the connected integrated structure beneath are dynamically linked in time as the bone changes shape with aging. The skin reflects this shifting tension displacement across the surface, into what we call the wrinkled face.

Facial depressions with aging-front

The skin is the stretched Snelson floating tension envelope across the surface that we watch so intently for expressions of conversation of understanding of compassion of hatred. In the diagram above the zones of shape change happening as we age are highlighted at the blue arrows.

TENSEGRITY ENVELOPE 46486_470232419687350_1351397705_nAs you study a face think at the same time of a stretched envelope over the surface that at the same time reflects the integrity of the supporting scaffolding beneath the surface that changes shape in measured time as the face bones evolve in their shape distorting the Snelson floating tension/compression skin envelope.

FACE pinart-toy-profile-of-human-faceLike a pin art, the tension rises from the displacing Snelson floating/compression from below hidden from sight. As we age our face is the quality, the integrity of our bone density. As we age we lose this inherent strength this ability of bone density to reveal healthy facial features. As we age our face is our compass of health. If astronauts prematurely age and concurrently suffer accelerated bone loss at the same time, you will see their changing facial features as aging lines drawn at the stress points onto their stretched Snelson tension/compression face membranes. If concussions are also severely affecting the aging process then those afflicted  with multiple concussions will have that change from impacts recorded directly written into their facial structure.

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