Nested sets of chickens and eggs.


I’m much better in terms of hypervigilance. But it’s still useful to keep my number of social spaces to a minimum while I think about social variables around me. “Social firmware update”? It makes sense that groups would complicate that. “Gender-Null” still makes sense. It’s easy to just be “like everyone” when the group is more sensitive to the words than me. I make choices with the words. Relative to tourette syndrome maybe it’s an “intense words” thing. I make choices with lots of words that other people feel intensely about. This is not to say that tourette syndrome and non-binary or gender-null are connected, rather these parts might have connections for me.

I can’t say this is me going back to blogging on a regular basis either. This is more like I have a creative project connected to a lot of feelings about what I wish I was doing professionally, origin of life research. Obsessing over brain science is more of a defence mechanism, this is an older obsession and it’s not only interesting but I may get some benefits out of it. Lots of feelings here.

I have spent a lot of time drawing metabolic pathways until I can do it from memory as a way of internalizing them. More body parts and sensations involved enhances memory. Drawing anatomy is helpful too. And I’ve had a lot of time to think about the patterns. I’ve come back to one project over and over and I recently got a tablet with a good screen for drawing and transferred the latest version of a group of pathways to Sketchbook. I’ve also started using Kingdraw for molecular structures.

BUT, I can’t just post this drawing by itself. If you have a strong background in molecular biology you can skip to the end (check out the transcription and translation diagram though, I integrated aaRS class information in with the genetic code) but for everyone else I need some figures to make this somewhat more meaningful. An attempt to go from public perception to hardcore molecular biology.

This is for fun. I’m playing with the ideas and concepts. So there is a lot of me imagining things in here but I try to be clear about what is data and what is me speculating. Other views are welcome, including data that suggests I’m wrong, or people who have made the same observations that I missed. This is a work in progress, but keep in mind that this is about fun.

From public perception to molecular biology.

The perception about A G U C T nucleic acids are usually understood by their relationship with amino acids through the genetic code and the making of “proteins”. Equating the metaphorical “hard drive” with its products hides the full range of relationships that must be taken into account, even pinning things relative to DNA sequence or protein sequence.

DNA “base pairing” on the left, RNA on the right.

The letters pop up all over culture, but usually not the “U”. Here’s what that looks like in detail, the drawing includes the pathways that make these molecules. And metabolically related molecules.

A DNA/RNA hybrid example. The first 4 pairs from the top down are DNA, the bottom 1 is RNA. Arrows point to the hydroxals (-OH) removed in De-oxy-Ribo-Nucleotides. The green dashes between bases are base pairing hydrogen bonds.

Briefly, the Deoxy-Ribo-Nucleic acids are “duplex chains” of -ribose-phosphate-ribose-phosphate- with Adenine, Guanine (purines), Cytosine, or Thymidine (pyrimidines) attached to the Ribose by the 1′ Carbon (read as “one prime carbon” ). The structure of the “nitrogenous bases” is such that attractions (hydrogen bonds) between molecules allow A:T and G:C pairing between the strands.

Triplets in those chains (with 3 reading frames on each strand) are a basis of the “genetic code” used to synthesize the proteins in a cell. A “protein” is a chain of amino acids.

Below is the simplest amino acid, Glycine, and water in even more detail so I can show some more molecular features that can be referenced in the future. The previous figure omitted them and following ones will as well to simplify things.

The previous base-pairing diagram omitted parts of molecules worth mentioning that aren’t often represented.

  • Ionic charges. Many of these molecules are actually ions in water, amino acids lose a proton (hydrogen nuclei) on one end, and gain one on the other (center versus right). This comes down to some atoms having more “electronegativity” than others (nuclei attract electrons more strongly) Most of the time I don’t do this to save effort.
  • “lone pairs”. Oxygen and nitrogen atoms have electrons in “non-bonding orbitals” (the places electrons go). These regions are more negative while not being full ionic charges, called “polar” . That’s why nitrogen atoms can either attract or repel one another in the base pairing. If a hydrogen is sticking out from one base and a lone pair from another they attract.
  • Water also has lone pairs, it’s actually a pyramid shaped, highly polar molecule. There is no “hydrophobic”, water is attracted to itself and crowds non-polar molecules away as it is attracted to itself. I also mostly omit lone pairs to save effort.

Now for all of the amino acids your body, and all cells, use to make proteins.

Cells use these 20 amino acids to chain together “poly-peptides” (the bonds are called peptide bonds) that do biochemistry or make structures. Essentially they are glycine + something at a specific carbon. (There’s a layer called chirality I’m not getting into yet, the hydrogens on that carbon aren’t the same chemically and biology uses one here).

This is my own take on how to organize them. There are 2 organizing principles; metabolic relationships, and atoms in the side chain.

The untitled block on the left roughly acts as precursors for ones to the right. There’s a system that can generate serine from glycine and back as the cell needs. Serine itself can be used to make cysteine. Larger amino acids can be broken down into smaller ones too.

The “aromatic amino acids” (Phe, Tyr, Trp, named for the benzine ring) are complicated because they are made from 3 carbon and 4 carbon molecules. So I put them on a different level.

Tyrosine and histidine are close because they both use ribose in their biosynthesis.

Making proteins from DNA.

This is a simple protein made with the previous “proteogenic amino acids” (cells use these). The next figure will explain how, and why methionine is first.

This is how cells make proteins with DNA sequences.

This figure starts on the top left with the DNA genome, so named because it contains the “genes” expressed into proteins (now more complicated due to RNA genes). Some cells have “linear” chromosomes of 100’s of millions of base pairs (genome segments), and bacteria tend to have small genomes of a few million.

The DNA is separated into it’s 2 strands and one strand acts as a template for copying a part or all of the genome. That copy of a part is made from RNA in a process called Transcription. The copy is called an “mRNA” or “messenger RNA”. Many proteins are involved.

The mRNA is escorted to the smaller half of a massive 2 subunit complex called the Ribosome where the nucleic acid sequence is transformed into a poly-peptide sequence. The small subunit (SSU) contains an RNA called rRNA or “ribosomal RNA” and 20+ proteins in bacteria.

After the mRNA docks with the SSU a large subunit (LSU) made from 2 rRNAs and 30+ proteins in bacteria docks with the small subunit.

Small (50-70 nucleotides, nts) RNAs called transfer RNAs (tRNA) bring in amino acids one at a time and a 3 nucleotide sequence in the mRNA called a “codon” determines what amino acid is placed through binding to an “anticodon” on the tRNA. (In the bottom-left I show an intermediate in the aminoacylation of tRNA, an aminoacyl-AMP intermediate.)

Both protein and RNA are involved in aminoacylation.

A 3 codon system gives 64 possibilities and the way those are arranged is the generic code. 3 of these are reserved for STOP: UAA, UAG, and UGA. Methionine doubles as START with AUG.

There are 2 classes of tRNA and systems of attachment of amino acids to tRNA. The aminoacyltRNA transferase systems. Class 1 involves attachment of amino acids to the 2′ hydroxal of ribose, class 2 involves attachment of amino acids to the 3′ hydroxal of ribose. On the figure I have listed the classes and subclasses under the relevant hydroxals and listed their codons next to them.

The ribosome subunits hold the mRNA, and the tRNAs in place and one amino acid is added at a time while empty tRNAs leave. Eventually a STOP is reached and a new poly-peptide/protein is released from the exit tunnel of the large subunit.

These proteins are then often modified in many ways and transported to many places to do their structural or catalytic jobs.

The genetic code relationship plus ribose metabolism.

That is not ONLY how I see these things. I also see the individual biochemical reactions that cells use to make nucleic acids. Starting with RNA. (Anabolism=construction, catabolism=breaking down and I will need to look at catabolism at some point).

DNA as a physical substrate for molecular biology, our “hard drive” is based in RNA metabolism. And so the metabolism of RNA, not deoxy-ribose is context to understand these relationships. (Deoxy-nucleotides are definitely part of the story though.)

Ribose centered metabolism.

PRPP is circled and pathways are aligned relative to PRPP. The Purine intermediate AIR is in a diamond. The products of each pathway are in a box.

Note that this is at lower resolution but still ok for display. A full resolution version can be found HERE.

This is a Ribose centered metabolic diagram. A tool for thinking about how metabolism can tell us where nucleic acids and proteins came from. They have metabolic relationships beyond the DNA>RNA:>Protein one. These are parts of that relationship.

All of the hydrogens are implied to save space and work. Each protein is named with type instead of written so they stand out. Each protein is positioned with the molecules they interact with, and are products of the previous protein(s).

This is a prokaryote centered metabolic diagram. It’s been difficult to get interested in us bacterial-archal fusions (eukaryotes) here. The blending complicates the picture.

Beneath each protein is the length in amino acids, usually from E.coli strain K12 unless E.coli was the exception relative to cells in general. I’ll get around to citing everything eventually but I can get specific things if someone wants something. I’ll put some sources of information at the end, and here and there in the text.

Along with the length I list each known subdomain within the protein and the protein domain families and superfamilies to which the domains belong. These parts of proteins are related to one another and their relationships are part of the puzzle. I go over an example with PurF in the resources section. These bits of related protein often have themes to what they do, and can potentially lead to primordial subdomains.

Black arrows point in the direction of biosynthesis.

This is a very unfinished diagram. Once I did The pathways that produce the bases in nucleic acids I kept adding Ribose related pathways and I’m not done. This is maybe the 20th iteration and I keep adding elements and reorganizing.

My intention is to upload and comment on new versions, as well as adding new categories of information as big as protein subdomains (below). There are likely errors here (PurF is a GATase class 2!!! I keep putting class 1, I used PutF as an example in the references with correct info and this will be my first correction,) and after and once this is up I’ll do another error sweep before doing more. There is fading and smudging from copying and pasting. And I’m still making decisions on how I’m going to represent things so there may be inconsistent bits.

The following pathways use ribose in the form of Phospho-Ribosyl-PyroPhosphate, PRPP.

  • The Purines: produced as Adenosine-MonoPhosphate (AMP), and Guanosine-MonoPhosphate (GMP). (Starts center left with PurA, runs right and down, and forks left into AMP and GMP)
  • The Pyrimidines: produced as Uridine-MonoPhosphate (UMP), Cyotosine-MonoPhosphate (CMP), and deoxy-Thymidine-MonoPhosphate (dTMP) (Starts at the bottom-left, continues to the middle, and forks into CMP and dTMP after UMP)
  • Amino acids: Tyrosine (starts top-left, goes down, turns right to the center, forks right into Trp, and forks up into Phe and Tyr), and Histidine (starts top-left, moves right)
  • Cofactors: Thiamine (Vitamin B1, starts upper right under histidine, pathway moves right), Nicotinamide-Adenine-Dinucleotide-Phosphate (niacin, starts lower-middle-left and moves right), Cobalamin (Vitamin B12, starts to the right of NADP, this only covers the part of B12 derived from AIR),and Tetra-Hydro-Folate (to be added).

If someone is wondering why I haven’t added the cofactor that donates the formate for Purine biosynthesis to the diagram, that is an example of going too far with treating things like dispensers of things available in earlier environments. Some organisms use formyl-phosphate. But it still needs adding. Ultimately I’m betting THF, and things like glutamine (the NH3 donor, mostly) are providing things that were environmentally available. THF is a remodeled GMP (like how histidine is a remodeled AMP?) A GMP with an intermediate from the Phe/Tyr/Trp pathway (PABA) added.

Purines and Pyrimidines

The Purine pathway produces A and G. The Pyrimidine pathway produces U, C, and T. These 2 pathways interact with Ribose in opposite fashion. A and G are built onto Ribose bit by bit out of small things and rings are closed. Pyrimidines are made by building a ring and putting them on Ribose. PRPP is also used with whole nitrogenous bases that are already finished.

It might be useful to look at the pathway like this.

Purines: PRPP + NH3 + Glycine + CH2O + NH3 + CHO3 + Aspartate – Fumerate + CH2O = IMP (pathway fork).

That aspartate-fumerate is effectively a 2-step, or indirect amination (ammonia addition) that releases a TCA cycle intermediate.

IMP + Aspartate – Fumerate = AMP

And there that weird amination again. It happens in arginine production too.

I have ideas of different places in time where aspartate and AMP accumulation occured. Maybe glycine accumulation earlier too. How to define the “start” of things?

IMP + H2O + NH3 = GMP.

Pyrimidines: CHO3 + Aspartate – H2 + PRPP – CO2 = UMP

Maybe there was aspartate accumulation with more than one use. A transition from a 5 to a 6 ring polymer (Purine intermediate AIR) leading to Pyrimidines and other things? A step is shared with arginine biosynthesis (CHO3, bicarbonate use through an intermediate called carbamoyl-phosphate).


UMP + PO4 – O + PO4 – 2 PO4 + CH4 = dTMP

Thymidine stands apart from the other nucleotides in that it is made from Uridine-DiPhosphate (UDP) that is dehydroxylated before being methylated. Since I’m a bit RNA focused I haven’t pursued Thymidine much.

Amino Acids: Histidine and Tryptophan

In histidine biosynthesis a ribose from PRPP is connected to a nitrogen on ATP. The same nitrogen provided by aspartate. Then the ribose leaves with a C-N, and the rest of the ATP is a late intermediate of Purine biosynthesis. Adding an NH3 and some processing gives histidine.

A molecule that is a 4-carbon clone of Ribose-5-phosphate, Erythrose-4-phosphate, is combined with a 3-carbon glycolysis intermediate, Phospho-Enol-Pyrivate, to make a 7-carbon molecule that is processed into a ring before being attached to ribose via an added nitrogen. After that the resulting molecule loses carbons 1-3 of ribose as the glycolysis intermediate Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate, a molecule like a 3-carbon Erythrose-3-phosphate (or ribose-5-phosphate) (histidine takes the ones ribose loses here…). That G3P is replaced with a serine to make tryptophan.

Cofactors: Thiamine, NAD, and THF

A cofactor is like an “attached functional module” for proteins. Like different heads on a power tool.

There’s Thiamin (VB1), a carbon group extractor/dispenser. Interestingly AIR is made into the part of Thiamine that isn’t grabbing carbon chains. But it’s rearranged into HMP in an interesting set of reactions where the ribose is dismantled and parts are attached to the carbon-nitrogen ring to make a 6-membered ring. And the thiazole-P that HMPP is combined with looks a lot like the ring on AIR but with sulfur instead of nitrogen.

Thiamine is part of many complexes and it acts to move carbon chains from one molecule to another. In the Pentose-Phosphate-Pathway Thiamine is one way ribose-5-P is made by moving 2-carbon units between other carbohydrates (carbon with water, hydrocarbons are carbon with hydrogen). Maybe we’re descended from the thiazole?

And while it’s fuzzy on the diagram ThiO/ThiH are two routes to make what looks like glycine, but there’s a double bond on the nitrogen (an imine as opposed to an amine). Like the double bond on FGAM, the molecule right before AIR (and see NADP). There’s some interesting things with glycine similar molecules here and there.

Then there’s NAD(P) (the P is a phosphate that changes Nicotine-Adenine-Dinucleotide’s metabolic role, the 2′ hydroxal, interesting…), a proton extractor/dispenser. It’s effectively the same for electrons. Aspartate is involved again and now it gets an imine before getting combined with DiHidroxyAcetonePhosphate, another glycolysis intermediate before ring synthesis and attachment to ribose.

Then there’s cobalamin (VB12), this molecular monstrosity is a rearranger (isomerase), methyl extractor/dispenser, and halogen extractor. I need to add it but the initial rearrangement of AIR opens ribose like with histidine and Tryptophan, and the 1′ carbon is lost.

Tetra-Hydro-Folate, a methyl (-CH3), methylene (-CH2-), methenyl (-CH=), formyl (-CH=O), or formimino (-CH2=N) extractor/dispenser. This molecule is part of many 1 carbon processes. It dispenses the formate in purine biosynthesis. It’s involved with the transformation of serine to glycine and back. And it’s made from GTP. I’ll add it but the 5-membered ring of GTP is opened first between the nitrogens and the carbon between is lost as formate before ribose opens and all of the ribose is used in following molecules.

Lastly I added a part of Sulfur metabolism, the Iron-Sulfur cluster part that provides the sulfur in the Non-PRPP part of Thiamine biosynthesis in the form of carrier proteins being the sulfur where it is needed. Sulfur chemistry is a big part of this, and yet it’s not very directly involved in nucleic acid biosynthesis. It is critical in cofactors used to move carbon around (Thiamine, Biotin, coenzyme-A…).

PurF has what may be a vestigial iron-sulfur cluster though. Structural Biology of the Purine Biosynthetic Pathway: “The first type, present in higher vertebrates, plants, flies, cyanobacteria, and Gram-positive bacteria, contains a structural Fe4S4 cluster and a cleavable N-terminal propeptide, and is exemplified by Bacillus subtilis PurF in literature [10,16,17].”


Add info about proteins and nucleotides as adaptors and dispensers/extractors of other molecules.

Add info about thematic differences among NTPs as P or PP donors.

Add more AARS (aminoacyl tRNA synthetase) info.

Attempt to organize the relationships by intermeadiates, and protein subdomain.

Add the urea cycle due to the connections between Purine (Asp amination), Pyrimidine (CP) and Arginine byosynthesis.

Add more reaction intermediates like aminoacyl-AMP. For example the glycine in purine biosynthesis exists as phospho-glycine. The aspartate as phospho-aspartate.

Other Observations.

Molecular “dispenser/extractor” and “adaptor”.

ATP, THF, glutamate, and other things ultimately may be providing things that were primordially available. So to an extent they, and some protein subdomains of associated enzymes, can be excluded from the picture. In fact aspartate and even glycine itself are ammonia donors in transamination reactions.

Similarly the same exclusion of parts can be done for molecules that act as adaptors, even tRNAs. I have ideas about coenzyme-A without the Adenosine-phosphate used to carry it around the cell.


Pre-cellular life. When looking at the NMPs and NDPs as adaptors the Pyrimidines have seem to have a bias towards membrane components and systems. CDP-glycerol and UDP and this part of bacterial cell wall biosynthesis.

G3P>E4P>R5P progression in backbone = each nucleotide in codon triplet?

Lysine is the only aa with a C1 and C1 AARS. Connection to Lysine looping steps in Lys biosynthesis via symmetry at the codon stem?

Glycinamide and bicarbonate, ammonia, or hydrogen sulfide as significant to abiogenesis.

Ribose originally come from a 3C+2C source? G3P + the activated aldehyde on Thiamine?


The medium allows a never-ending cycle of reorganizing by different principals. On one level this is good. Copy and past my way to unpacking metabolism.

Good and Bad. All the things in my visual field is a potential benefit with ADHD. There are drawbacks.

Resources and how I use them.

Biochemical Pathways: An Atlas of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 2nd ed. Gerhard Michael and Dietmar Schomburg, 2012. General reference.

Roche free molecular and cell biology posters. Sometimes I like to just stare at the whole mess.

Uniprot. This is a resource for protein sequence and functional information. This was my first stop in getting information about a protein, example PurF. After getting length and other info I scroll down to family and domain databases and check the Interpro links.

Interpro. This is a resource for classifying proteins into families and predicting domains and other important sites. Here’s PurF again. Scrolling down to entry matches for the protein you can see the what domains have been defined so far, 2 subdomains. Once I have the subdomains I go to ECOD.

ECOD. This is a resource that is a “… hierarchical classification of protein domains according to their evolutionary relationship.” Proteins aren’t just related to one another, their subparts are related to one another. Often separately. There are 4 levels of comparison X: possible homology level, H: homology level (big families), T: topology level (structural similarity), F: Families.

The first domain of PurF is in the alpha helixes + beta sheets 4-layers group. X: Ntn/PP2C (N-terminal nucleophile aminohydrolases/Protein serine/throinine phosphatases 2C), H: Ntn, T: Class 2 glutamine amidotransferases, F: GATase_2_1st. You can click right into it.

The second domain of PurF is in the alpha helix/beta sheet 3-layered sandwich group. X: PRTase-like (PhosphoRibosyl-Transferase), H: PRTase-like, T: PRTase-like, F: Pribosyltran.

With these 2 domains and boxes of their close relatives I can look for patterns that suggest general functions of the group, and how they relate to one another. There are many studies looking at relatedness among for example ATPgrasp enzymes and their subdomains.

And with all of these relationships in ribose metabolism visible on the diagram lots of patterns may become visible. It’s like a Rubik’s Cube/Matryoska Doll/Where’s Waldo combo. There are probably multiple Waldo’s.

KEGG. Sometimes it’s useful to look at more specific metabolic pathways. This is also good for finding everything a molecule like uracil might be involved in.

Pubmed. A major archive of journal articles.

Wikipedia. Often a good place to get general info.

The shapes hurricanes take.

Things started feeling different over the last 6 months. And yet parts were very familiar.

“Saturated” maybe? “Overstimulated”? An increase in tension driven by several sources including politics, family, career and more. All of my social parts hurt. And they were interconnected. I could feel the hyper-vigilance coming on. Again. And I was in a place where I was letting my negative feelings hit me so I could understand them better so I just let the hurricane come.

And I did what I did every time before. I reduced my number and kind of social interaction for stability. Especially online. The internet does not feel like meat space. “Reduced” is doing some work because in the past it has been a matter of abruptly stopping interaction with no word to anyone. It’s not that I did not want to tell people that I had to go for a while. I could not process extending social contact, too much negative feeling and its effects on my ability to make responses. I managed to type something in some places this time.

I wish society was better at preparing us for what we are as human beings. This shit makes sense as personality with impulsive elements. I honestly believe we are doing something similar to what we did with left-handed people but with personality. People feel as if they were 7-10 on a 1-10 spectrum even when I feel positive about them. It helps to process alone but this is not something I like.

Relatedly I’ve been getting an understanding of just how old and deep my general social anxiety goes. I know I was an outcast by 1st grade. And sometime in there my ability to extend contact was compromised. Maybe it was always compromised. I can like people, but groups feel negative. I don’t know how much in-group feeling I have. But it’s still perfectly natural human behavior so instrumental control of that is something I have to work on.

And it’s a difficult thing integrating myself with the tourettic version of this, while I’m learning about the structure of feeling and emotion. There are advantages and disadvantages. I don’t know how to generalize that part beyond issues relating to volume and sets of repetitive thought processes. I’m somewhat lost in everyone else.

Right now I’m arguing politics on a local politics board to keep in practice and almost nothing beyond that. It’s not that hard to poke at beliefs and behavior I see as social negatives but I still have to push through something. I can do the social conflict thing. Other things are harder. This blog is often painful.

I’m chipping away at it. It’s just big. And there aren’t guides for a lot of it. I’m pushing to get my family talk politics with me and other things I feel negative about. Avoiding it has resulted in decades of accumulated negative feelings. Feelings that don’t just go away when I am around them. Career is full of negative feeling that I’m trying to figure out and that’s tied to politics at multiple levels including how society utterly fails at neurodevelopmental differences. Family connects to career and politics because Rs. Republicans. My birth culture was not helpful with the science thing.

And still more. There’s a whole subsection where where I’m in a kind of “rumination and introspection mode” with respect to my political behavior. Difficult and useful criticism. I’m preening my tools. I ran into this “gender null” thing that looks interesting as a result. At least the hurricane is interesting so far.

I’ll end by saying that I want to try to blog about the game Gems of War. I need something to practice and I have to process the strong feelings in what I have posted so far. I actually have most of a draft finished. It got hard. I’m hoping that this post helps. If the spawn of Bejeweled and Magic the Gathering sounds interesting to you this blog could stay interesting. It’s what I think I can do for practice.

Stochastic terrorism should be a topic of public discussion.

I was happy to see there are a lot of articles about the subject of stochastic terrorism when I did some looking. Here is one by Mhedi Hasan, After El Paso, We Can No Longer Ignore Trump’s Role in Inspiring Mass Shootings. The article defines it as,

“the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.”

Trump talks about his political enemies like they are violent threats in addition to the constant lying and other disparaging things. DARVO. The chants to lock people up without any respect for cited crimes or judicial processes are incitement.

Right after the kidnapping attempt on Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer we might have one on Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple. Trump is the best worst example of things right now. In this case how irrational incompetent political leaders can inspire violent acts with broad disparaging language.

Credit to Lynna in PZ’s Political Madness thread.

Feelings, emotion, and consequences of knowledge.

A feeling is a body sensation.
We feel while we do things, and we feel about things.

I often go to this paper when an opportunity to offer information about, or contrast a popular misconception of feeling and/or emotion comes up. Maps of Subjective Feelings. One specific figure is very useful.

The image from the paper is a map of body feelings reported by a group of people while they were doing or experiencing 100 things. The colors indicate presence and intensity.

I’m going to discuss the categories out of order. I’m sure plenty of people will have criticism about the categorization of individual items or whole categories, I do too. But I want to emphasize the general embodied nature of feelings independent of our ability to categorize them.

Homeostasis is your feeling of of your body’s basic system status. Oxygen, hydration, nutrition…and lack thereof. Your meat computer has wiring for the status, location and integrity of it’s parts. A related part of the nervious system is the “enteroception”, or the parts that have to do with your ability to feel your body. Incoming sensory pathways for skin, meat, bone, organs…

Illness is your feeling of infection, injury, hangover…you feel the damage, chemical driven metabolic change, and reaction to microbial invasion of yourself.

Cognition is your feelings associated with mental tasks and experiencing it as an action. I can feel the increased blood flow in my head, often in specific locations.

Unknown, look for yourself and see what you think. I’m interested in a more general point.

These first four are feelings of yourself as an object. A running biological being of 44 segments if you go by nerve pairs. An apatite mounted tube of eukaryotes.

There is a lot of individual diversity here and things like mindfulness meditation focused on your body would have the effect of increasing the resolution of your feeling of yourself, and that component of emotion.

Feeling and emotion.

Emotion, both positive and negative emotion, is a more complex thing than the mere feeling of the body.

There is a relationship between feeling and emotion. Feeling is in the body, but emotion involves feeling about objects we see, hear (words are objects), touch and experience through “exteroception”, or the parts that have to do with your sensory organs that detect objects outside of yourself. Eyes, ears, skin…

The objects we store in our minds through exteroception are associated with the enteroception feelings we were having while we stored the memory of the object. That includes our bodies as objects making three important categories of feelings:

  1. The enteroception feelings associated with our bodies as functioning objects.
  2. Our feelings about exteroceptive objects outside of ourselves. Body states recorded as we interact with objects.
  3. Our feelings about our bodies as objects. Body states recorded as we interact with ourselves as objects.

That’s how we store our sense of goodness or badness of something, or “valence” in brain science language. Exteroception gets bound to enteroception in memory which lets us have feelings about things.
We feel happy, sad, angry, or fearful about outside objects, other meat computers, ourselves.

We abstract body feelings into feelings about objects which include other meat computers. Feelings are good things, perfectly natural, basic features of consciousness. Emotions which use feelings are likewise perfectly natural basic features of consciousness.


There are many social attitudes and beliefs about feeling and emotion that are producing bad decisions all around us and that should be challenged to reduce irrational and illogical decision making.

As I learn about what we are and how we work I see consequences to it. Some of those consequences affect many common uses of the words feeling and emotion that aren’t consistent with reality and have political dimensions.

Note that I came to these views largely through political confrontations and so they are good for political confrontations and people should be aware of that bias.

“Being emotional”

This seems presented as a bad general category like the person is wrong because they have emotions, usually negative ones. I don’t see people disparaging emotion this way talk about what the feelings in the emotions are attached to. Quotes about the objects the feelings are attached to for example.

The reality is that we are always emotional.


The reverse problem is that there is no such thing as “unemotional”. At what time is a person cut off of past enteroception associated with object memory? You don’t stop feeling good and bad about the objects stored in memory.

“Emotional argument”

This is considered a bad thing but all arguments are emotional. I think this is about avoiding what people feel emotional about.

“Feels before reals”

No, “enteroception feels are connected to exteroceptive reals through memory”.

“Emotions X is bad”

General portrayals of emotions and feelings as bad things not only don’t make sense, they are certainly harmful when it comes to understanding and control of yourself as a meat computer, a biological being that binds feeling to objects in memory. I want control all of my feelings as information and tools. This goes for blanket complaints of people feeling offended too.

It gets complicated with things like hate, I’ll admit that up front. But we don’t choose the hate. The hate is bound into the memory. It’s a natural response so I’m more interested in what to do with the hate, fear, disgust, as well as the positive emotions and their associated feelings.

Solutions and Possibilities

A better understanding of how we function when it comes to feeling and emotion is useful on a personal and a social level. In my experience it’s useful when it comes to politically aggressive people because you can redirect to the feelings they are reacting to, and often obfuscating and disparaging about.

It seems simplistic but asking or demanding to see what a bigots feelings are attached to also makes the job of demonstrating the bigotry easier. I like to practice interrogating bigoted disparaging claims. It’s irrational. It’s going to run into an error.

I welcome other observations because this is a social challenge with many pieces and I have one perspective.

You should know what is happening in Portland.

Crip Dike is in Portland. They’re participating in the protests and sharing their experiences. You can learn more about the different groups involved, and what it’s like to be tear gassed in a continuing series of posts as events occur.

Start with What do you need to know about the Portland protests?

It’s important see what people actually there are experiencing.

A long and shameful tradition.

Recently at Pharyngula a commentator mentioned something related to a political problem I’ve been thinking about. The political problem is the attempts to call covid 19 by names related to China or Wuhan and probably other versions.

They pointed out how people from one country would name a disease after another country and specifically the “the French disease”, syphilis. After some searching I found this.

Brief History of Syphilis.

Introduction, second paragraph.

From the very beginning, syphilis has been a stigmatized, disgraceful disease; each country whose population was affected by the infection blamed the neighboring (and sometimes enemy) countries for the outbreak. So, the inhabitants of today’s Italy, Germany and United Kingdom named syphilis ‘the French disease’, the French named it ‘the Neapolitan disease’, the Russians assigned the name of ‘Polish disease’, the Polish called it ‘the German disease’, The Danish, the Portuguese and the inhabitants of Northern Africa named it ‘the Spanish/Castilian disease’ and the Turks coined the term ‘Christian disease’. Moreover, in Northern India, the Muslims blamed the Hindu for the outbreak of the affliction. However, the Hindu blamed the Muslims and in the end everyone blamed the Europeans [46].

Anyone who wants to name a disease after a country, region, ethnicity, race and similar are bigots. This is social dominance behavior for no good reason. Racism and other bigotries.

Another version could be naming pranks and irresponsible behavior after other races. When I was a kid a prank some kids did involving knocking on someone’s door and running away was called “n%$$#& knocking”. Knocking someone out by pushing on their neck was called a “Chinese knockout”.

It’s unacceptable. It’s a discriminatory irrational insult and for what? I honestly want to know and I’m going to look for the reason so I can do something with it. Racist, nationalist and similar solidarity is one answer. In addition to desire to make a percieved adversary feel insulted.

I seen people insist that it’s acceptable because that’s where it started. That changes nothing. That’s an excuse to keep doing something insulting. I’ll keep calling it racist, bigoted. Coronavirus for the kind of virus and covid 19 for the specific example.

Finally I’ve considered and rejected calling it something like “the Trump virus” (reflect their behavior back on them). I’ve got the same instincts but I want them attached to better things. I may use that as an example of something that is similarly useless and counterproductive dominance behavior in place of relevant personal characteristics to attach negative feelings to.

Mental Hygiene

I’ve seen this mentioned a few times and it’s very interesting. Healthy habits of thought? I’m not sure quite how to fully define such a thing. I’ve been trying to think of a collection of examples to post about though.

One is something I want to call “therapeutic social isolation” which involves spending time processing things by myself. Processing by yourself and processing around other people are going to feel different and that’s likely to be a good difference to feel. Maybe we have an instinct for such social isolation if we get “overloaded”.

Another thing which is like a version of the first is if I feel particularly intense about a piece of writing, even a text, I do a draft and come back later. Later can be an hour, the next morning, a couple of days… I can’t say how long it takes to move an experience from short to long term memory but a night of sleep can be useful in seeing if you still feel the same.

I’m sure there are many things that can be included in something like mental hygiene. I’m not sure what it looks like as a fleshed out concept but that’s a start.

Expressing disgust and fear on facebook.

I posted this link to facebook a few days ago. I’m trying to remember the feelingThe department’s own records demonstrate that, as with other types of force, canine officers use dogs out of proportion to the threat posed by the people they encounter, leaving serious puncture wounds to nonviolent offenders, some of them children. Furthermore, in every canine bite incident for which racial information is available, the subject was African American. This disparity, in combination with the decision to deploy canines in circumstances with a seemingly low objective threat, suggests that race may play an impermissible role in officers’ decisions to deploy canines.s. What prompted this?

It was text accompanying an article I shared from The Root, Minnesota Corrections Officers File Lawsuit Claiming All Non-White Officers Were Barred From Guarding Derek Chauvin

It’s so blatant. The distrust in black people. The discrimination and prejudice. I wonder how many get ignored on a regular basis?

Not just police. I mention criminal justice system a lot for a reason.
And I mention other bigotry in the criminal justice system officials occasionally to reinforce the fact that it’s a system broken on multiple dimensions (but not so much as to take from antiracist momentum, the sexism and ableism support the fact of bigotry in our criminal justice system).

I when there is no example present I try to use “criminal justice system” at least half of the time when critisizing the country because that includes the police. The current social focus is racism and if people deny it’s systemic it’s useful to point to multiple bigotries in support of the current example.

I just finished the first episode of Behind the Police, by the creators of the Behind the Bastards podcast and they mention that 100% of police dog bites involved black people in the justice department report in the ferguson missouri police department.

The department’s own records demonstrate that, as with other types of force, canine officers use dogs out of proportion to the threat posed by the people they encounter, leaving serious puncture wounds to nonviolent offenders, some of them children. Furthermore, in every canine bite incident for which racial information is available, the subject was African American. This disparity, in combination with the decision to deploy canines in circumstances with a seemingly low objective threat, suggests that race may play an impermissible role in officers’ decisions to deploy canines.

It’s blatant and we didn’t talk about it as a nation.

Interrogation of claims.

The word interrogation has a negative vibe because of things like police behavior, torture, and other legitimate abuses that deserve attention. But I see interrogation as a tool and a solution to our current political problems. There’s too much bullshit and bullshitters aren’t willing to back up said bullshit. Questioning, “grilling”, and other synonyms and euphimisms.

That is one of my primary political behaviors. An unapologetic willingness to interrogate the claims of people making strong, disparaging, and other claims. I want the behavior to be picked up. I want people on every political side to feel the pressure to back their shit up. It takes practice and mistakes will happen but that doesn’t stop me.

My failed country and culture really doesn’t like criticism like interrogation pointed in certain places. Places like ones in-group which switches from party to country depending on context. I don’t accept that natural behavior that feels negative is wrong just because it feels negative. It has a good and bad use like everything else.

The instincts in me smell prey, privilege sensitivity worthy of political pressure.

It’s in the whining about “civility” as if minority groups got that from history. It’s in “I/ authority/celebrity have the right to an opinion” bleating, as if my intrusive questions aren’t also speech. It’s in the claims that being negative won’t change anything, if so why was it used on minorities and why does the sensitive have to police it’s use?

So I took the tool for myself and I’m refusing to stop using it. The tourette syndrome is very much a benefit here. Keep in mind that you don’t want them to simply have an opportunity to air awful views. You want quotes, citations, sources, video time points and quotes, and especially the reasoning and logic between the claims and the sources. They will do work or they will be made to look like unreliable people.

  • I interrogate the negative feelings of bigots and their disparaging characterizations and claims. From transphobes to racists if what they say was really real or important they would back their shit up. I don’t even accept that trans people as a set are like the group they were assigned to at birth. If “it’s biology” you can fucking show it and back your fear up.
  • I interrogate the rape culture that appears when an accusation is made from the right (Caroline Ford) and the left (Tara Reade).
  • I interrogate the claims of forced-birthers, if they really were trying to help someone they’d cooperate.
  • I interrogate the claims that mental illness is involved in some act that someone is bothered by such as a mass shooting, or a rape accusation. Those people will show the abstract diagnostic criteria and concrete examples to match.
  • I interrogate the claims about the need for civility since they seem unevenly applied. With the election of Trump I don’t really think this country cares about civility.
  • I interrogate the idea that this is a good country, or that we’re good people. Good people don’t cover up and make excuses for torture. Good people don’t make concentration camps for migrant children. Good people don’t care about things more than people, failed fellow citizens.
  • I interrogate the narratives around the value of the unstable magical token generator, the stock market. An expression of things being more valuable than people, it hurts people not even invested in it.
  • I interrogate the support of the military in confronting protestors, such a fellow citizen should be ready with a constitutional justification to avoid being a failed fellow citizen.

And that’s just one form of criticism. Society should get used to it because rather than it being a bad thing, it should be evenly distributed and available for all. Trump and not-Trump both made to show where they got that bullshit from and why anyone should think it’s real.

Reciprocity and social contracts.

I’m including this in another post, but I think it’s useful and I’m using it now. It’s rhetoric that I’ve settled on and seems useful.
“A riot is a kind of protest, it’s reciprocal behavior in a culture where there’s a broken social contract relative to the criminal justice system.”

Martin Luther King Jr. is the inspiration. I just like to have more than one way of saying something and I really like the usefulness of “social contract” here.