The Noble Hox

February 20, 2015 Nobility is a social class that possesses more conferred or acknowledged privileges or eminence than most other classes in a society, membership thereof typically being hereditary.  The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be largely honorary ( e.g. precedence), and vary from country to country and era to era.

Historically, membership of the nobility and the prerogatives thereof have been regulated or acknowledged by the monarch or government, thereby distinguishing it from other sectors of a nation’s upper class.  Nonetheless, nobility per se has rarely constituted a closed caste; acquisition of sufficient power, wealth, military prowess or royal favor has occasionally or often, enabled commoners to ascend ( descend-jb) into the nobility. - WIKI

Hox Genes ( aka homeotic genes) are a group of related genes that control the body plan of an embryo along the anterior-posterior ( head-tail) axis.  After the embryonic segments have formed, the Hox proteins determine the type of segment structures  e.g. hands, legs, antennae and wings or different types of vertebrae in humans,  that will form on a given segment.  Hox protein thus confers segmental identity, but do not form the actual segments themselves.  In many animals, the organization of the Hox genes of the chromosomes is the same as the order of their expression along the anterior-posterior axis of the developing animal.  Wiki

The 1995 Nobel laureates in physiology or medicine;  Edward B. Lewis, Christiane Nusslein-Volhard, Eric F. Wieschaus,  are developmental biologists who have discovered important genetic mechanisms which control early embryonic development. They have used the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as their experimental system. This organism is classical in genetics. The principles found in the fruit fly, apply also to higher organisms including man.

Using Drosophila,  Nüsslein-Volhard and Wieschaus were able to identify and classify a small number of genes that are of key importance in determining the body plan and the formation of body segments. Lewis investigated how genes could control the further development of individual body segments into specialized organs. He found that the genes were arranged in the same order on the chromosomes as the body segments they controlled. The first genes in a complex of developmental genes controlled the head region, genes in the middle controlled abdominal segments while the last genes controlled the posterior ("tail") region. Together these three scientists have achieved a breakthrough that will help explain congenital malformations in man.”

Hox genes prevent your lung from flapping below your tricep, your head from being reversed with a kidney. The Hox genes establish our ground plan, the fundamental rules of the road and rules for all bilaterally symmetrical animals including insects, reptiles and mammals.  These genes are highly conserved i.e. they are the same in tens of thousands of species and have been conserved over hundreds of millions of years.

Hox is an idea comprising inviolable, defining instructions that cannot be ignored without a freakshow.  Using Hox as a metaphor, there is a cascade of levels of cause and effect in my life as follows:

  1. Western  culture: Greek-Roman-Medieval-Enlightenment-Modernism-Postmodernism
  2. Judeo-Christian, Deist
  3. American materialism - commodification of everything
  4. Liberalism and other myths
  5. My personal values: be creative, work hard, study always, don’t follow leaders - watch the parking meters

Are these five items really a cascade in that they affect one another in important ways in  sequence from top to bottom or are these a hierarchy of things that may have outside causation rather than cascading causation by adjacency? First assuming a cascade followed by a non-cascade, more random causation. If a cascade then my Western culture has directly informed my Christianity, American materialism etc.  If a non-cascading hierarchy then I might be a born and bred liberal citizen of the West, of Christianity but have a powerful streak of Puritanism from a grandparent or parent who missed the liberal train.

So much of our selves are Hox generated, i.e. intensely strict, no room for experiment, play, revision.  why would we think we have free will on the tail end of this severely disciplined  cascade of humanhood: our bodies, our sensory mechanisms, our innate instinctive behavior? - after the elephant it’s turtles all the way down.  Perhaps what we see as free will is just the wiggle of a cilia at the tail end of a  billion regimented cells.  Sure we have a bit of free will,  sure we can exercise it,  but to what end?  does a person ever do anything that is not determined by our larger colony? by the collective need expressed by the collective hierarchy?  If we did perform this unique act wouldn’t it be ignored?

Root Hox

The Protestant Reformation as a re-assertion of Old Testament Judaic ideals into the fabric of the incipient Enlightenment into a Western culture softened by Papal ritual or disgusted with trials of Inquisition.

Catholicism  Papism - The Church had gotten too Greek ( all puns and ironies accepted) too sensual, too temporal in its art and architecture and literature.  It was no the paying of benefices or listening to Latin that torpedoed the Pope in Northern Europe but the laxity of it all, the sensuality, the beauty, the lofty, inaccessible holiness of it al  the Church had become spectacular.

Effects of The Scottish Enlightenment on the Victorian Zeit. i.e.

Blakescope Invention Proposal:

A very high resolution microscope for viewing real-time intracellular activities on a Sony-esque jumbotron with stop action image-capture capability

  1. Use Large Hadron Collider for cell imaging
  2. Use Hubble Telescope for cell imaging
  3. Use Cray supercomputer linked array for cell imaging
  4. Use Imax-Omnimax-Jumbotron  tech for cell imaging
  5. Step-1 aquire CADD 3-D models of all known human proteins or Drosophila proteins  or mouse proteins
  6. Step-2 Build a CADD 3-D model of a neuron with analogous organelles and other structures throughout
  7. Step-3  Look at a living neuron that has had several proteins stained or tagged with each tag signalling its big cell model analog.
  8. Step-4 Observe cell structures interact in real time
  9. Use a different stain for each type of atom in the cell: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen
  10. Stochastic re-resonance - scan the feld and watch DNA unzip at uncoiled histones in real time
  11. Use digitized organic molecules: DNA, RNA, mRNA, tRNA, miRNA, all 20 amino acids, 1,000 most common molecules
  12. Identify carbon atoms only in each of the CADD models of the above molecules, 8 positions per molecule: ventral, dorsal, coronal plane, cranial, caudal, sagittal plane, transverse plane, etc.
  13. The supercomputer cross checks its view of the living cell via its carbon-tagged atoms and then search database followed by the projection of the whole molecule onto the jumbotron screen
  14. Using color, abstract graphics one sees in real time when DNA-RNA interacts - read, copied, protein assembly at ribosome, protein at lipid zone, crossing through the cell wall at proteinic site.
  15. The whole thing is stochastic i.e. best guess in the spirit of Feynman
  16. Print stop-time frames at femtosecond intervals to study chemical events at nanoscale - get close, guesstimate
  17. Use Hubble tech for clarification strategies for fuzzy images
  18. Study neurulation, migration, proliferation, differentiation at neural crest stem cells
  19. Skip the microscope-Cray assembly and wire the scientist’s brain to imaging equipment @ protein level for real-tme view of cell activity.


  1.  Perhaps our Solar System is in an elliptical orbit around the Milky Way black hole center and when it is nearing apogee and the black hole event horizon there is more catastrophe at Earth causing major extinctions.
  1.  Perhaps the dinosaurs were poisoned by the iridium from bolide ( comet, meteor, whatever)  itself prior to Earth’s  loss of photosynthesis from smoke cover, etc.
  1.  Is iridium toxic to vertebrates?
  1.  Perhaps Chicxulub bolide ( 65 MYA) caused tidal wave only thus dinos living near prehistoric shoreline near jungle plants got dosed
  1. RE: essay #1 “The Ugly Gene”  John Ruskin tried to undo the negative effects of The Protestant Reformation on english esthetics - he failed.
  1.  Teddy Roosevelt was John Ruskin reified  ( to reify means to make an abstraction real)
  1.  Philistine: A person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts or who has no understanding of them.  In ancient history, the Philistines were  Israelites most dangerous enemies.
  1.  To begin to get a handle on the complexity of the Hox gene ( any of a group of genes whose function is to divide the early embryo into bands of cells with the potential to become specific organs and tissues) assign four body zones with major cities: the head is Boston, the trunk is New York City, the arms and legs are Philadelphia, the internal organs and glands are Washington D.C.
  1.  Track the growth of these cities over the past 200 years as if replaying the Ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny scenario with the cities in their current expanse representing the organ fully developed doing its a job.  There are far more things happening in a single human brain than in all of the physical components of boston.  Assign one brain zone and its function to one place in Boston and its urban-social function.
  1.  Review the current applicability of David Marr’s theories of brain function: computational, algorithmic and physical levels.  See: MIT Vision Group
  1. See: “Neural correlates of Consciousness” - Crick, Koch
  1.  Matthew Arnold on poetry:  “The dialogue of the mind with itself.”  “Escape from the prison of consciousness”