[FRIAM] looking for a word

Steven A Smith sasmyth at swcp.com
Tue Aug 21 17:21:56 EDT 2018

Glen -
> Well, I did mention "plexus" in the very first post.  So, perhaps all the word needs is a champion!
That would explain why we didn't mention it!  Out of deference to the OP
(you, who also became the champion)?   Doh!   When prompted here I
*vaguely* remember dismissing it as too pop-sounding to give any
interest to... funny what proper socialization can do!
> Anastomosis seems to be more like a shunt around the type of networked structure we're talking about.  Or, at least, the etymology seems to talk about connecting two whole openings "make a hole"! 8^)
I agree that on the surface, this is correct, though in
medical/anatomical contexts, it appears that the *dysfunctional* version
of this is a "fistula"....  

I *think* that just above the cellular level, this is where the "good
work" is happening... all the networking is about
distribution/aggregation which you have already discussed.... the
"sorting by many methods" seems to be happening at this finer level
(porosity of the endothelial lining, ductules, etc.).    So I would
counter "shunt around" with "shunts amongst" perhaps?   There is an
abrupt shift in the nature of structure when we reach the cellular level
(the physical size of blood cells, endothelial cells, etc.) and rather
than continued shrinking of the same organ(elle?) (veinous structures)
we start having partial-cell-size voids/pores between cells (and
collections of smaller cells forming ductules?), etc to effect "a little
more" scaling and then begin to allow/mediate transport between
differing networks (anastomosis)?
> Reticulation is much more powerful, I think.  But, yes, it seems to target the leaves or the most-fractalized part of the network.  But that brings to mind: "matriculation" (from matrix) and "articulation", for whatever reason.  The branching being done by these systems is "matrixifying" ... splitting the dimensions from a low number to a high number (for efferent) and the reverse for afferent.
I wonder at this idea of "splitting of dimensions".   It seems more like
*mainly* a subdivision of space down to some threshold (cellular or
organelle level)? where the diffusion-like system takes over.   This
seems like the point at which the hierarchichal is replaced by the
reticulated?   There is no more need/point/opportunity for reducing
scale, and simply optimizing flow through the bed/plenum is the goal?

Some of the other discussion about the point of the afferent/efferent
hierarchy/ self-similar branching, etc. seems "obvious" in that this
type of branching conserves flow?   I'm probably missing some subtlety
here... "of course" the major vein/artery must carry the same volume of
fluid as the next level of scale collectively carries, no down to the
cappilary level in the same way that the sum  total tiniest of rivulets
in a watershed must match (give or take evaporation, etc.) the outflow
of the main channel... 
> It's bizarre, really.  I'm reminded of Luc Steels' "language games", where the suggestion is that the root of language lies in the ability to _point_ at some concrete thing.  If you draw any one of these networks, I can draw an oval around the part I'm referring to and say "I'm talking about THAT part.  Not the other part over there.  THAT part."  (The part excluding the trunk of the tree, excluding the foliage, etc. ... just containing the part after branching begins and before the branching is complete.)  Like Steels' robots, I could make any random bleeping noise to name the part of the network at which I'm pointing and everyone would understand. [sigh]
And as many of us are too familiar, if you keep using a word often
enough ("Plexus, plexus, plexus"... it becomes indistinguishable from
"bleep, bleep, bleep..."!

- Steve

> On 08/21/2018 11:41 AM, Steven A Smith wrote:
>> 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?).
>>     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anastomosis
>> I also encountered the term "reticulation" which might also be
>> *structurally* relevant to what is happening in the "bed" or "plenum"
>> you are considering?

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