[FRIAM] looking for a word

Steven A Smith sasmyth at swcp.com
Tue Aug 21 14:41:52 EDT 2018

∄ uǝʃƃ -

I can't believe none of us offered up "plexus" along the way!  

I think your invocation of "bed" *IS* maybe better served by "plenum"
and I can see how the portmanteau of plenum and nexus naturally arrive
at "plexus" as suggested.   Plenum seems to connote "mixing" not just
collection/distribution whereas "bed" seems a bit more static.

I always thought that the engineering use of "manifold" was modestly
disingenous, abusing the more abstract purity of the mathematical
"manifold".   Propogating the engineering use into biology would seem
only to aggravate the abuse?   Of course, this *IS* how language
evolves, so who am I to say?

While I am most familiar with the obvious nerve-bundle plexuses (solar
plexus, lumbar plexus, brachial plexus, sacral plexus, etc.) a little
review on the internet shows that the term is also used in lymphatic and
blood systems (collectively "veinous"?), including the blood-brain.

The concept (word?) I have been in search of since you first brought
this up turns out to be "anastomose" which describes the interconnection
between networks (of possibly different qualities?).


I also encountered the term "reticulation" which might also be
*structurally* relevant to what is happening in the "bed" or "plenum"
you are considering?

The following is one of the more compelling images I found regarding the
Liver Lobules you are working with:

I do find the general structure/function study implied with the myriad
networks interpenetrating here intriguing.   Nerve, blood, lymph, both
afferent and efferent do seem to interpenetrate throughout the body.  
More specialized structures (e.g. Liver) add yet more such as bile and
the chemically different composition of blood flowing from liver to
kidney vs heart to liver vs intestine to liver (etc.).

The hepatic sinusoid you referenced is an interesting structure...  or
more to the point sinusoids throughout the many "filtering" or
"exchange" tissues in the body.

Fenestrated endothelium seems to be one of the significant mechanisms
for the chemical "sorting" that goes on?

Strangely, this function/structure study parallels a current fascination
I have with the cross-boundary *human* networks involved in various
at-risk populations in the world (opposite sides of the US border,
including criminal/gang networks, but also family networks, aid
organizations, etc...  Middle East and North Africa refugee
sources/sinks, and the current prison workers union/strike
movements....   inside/outside the Catholic Church heirarchy/flock... etc.)

Art imitates life?  Life imitates life!

- Steve

On 8/21/18 7:50 AM, ∄ uǝʃƃ wrote:
> "Plenum" is a fantastic idea. I rejected "manifold" originally because I've tried to use it in conversations with biologists before and it just didn't seem to communicate the idea. It baffles me a bit because the word is so directly available as "many folds".  But perhaps it's too engineering-oriented.  Plenum may well be what I'm looking for, though.  It has similar problems to "plexus", though, in its etymology.  Where "plexus" can imply braiding where the threads don't merge/branch, but merely criss-cross, "plenum" can mean "full space", which might well refer to the center of the bed (leaf nodes in the lung or tree case, smallest diameter in the capillary bed case) where the network comes closest to filling the space.  Plexus has an advantage over plenum, though, because it's already used in the way I want.  E.g. afferent and efferent plexuses.
> On 08/20/2018 10:18 PM, Robert J. Cordingley wrote:
>> Whatever happened to 'inlet or exhaust manifolds' or 'plenum'? (The exhausts from the 7 cyclone sets come together in a plenum before exiting the reactor.) Too mundane?

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