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09 Oct Resolving a Paradox

Square Paradox

In time and space some things are impossible, but the pen is more powerful than reality. I can draw a world in which stairs lead in crazy, mind-bending directions, and I could probably build a structure that implemented upside-down staircases to nowhere. But I could never build the cube shown here, because it violates some […]

30 Jan From Aristotle to the Enchanted Loom

Brain Sphere

“Swiftly the brain becomes an enchanted loom, where millions of flashing shuttles weave a dissolving pattern-always a meaningful pattern-though never an abiding one” (Charles Sherrington). What of the centillion warps and woofs of ideation? Does it never abide? Passing seems to take away all that was ever weft, unless the Gods endow immortality on our thoughts and carry them […]

02 Jan Synapse Formation

Synapse Junction Types

Many neurons have only a few synapses. Others, like giant pyramidal and Purkinje cells, may have tens or even hundreds of thousands of synapses. At the conclusion of the complex growth process, called synaptogenesis, in which growth cones at the tips of spines, axons, and dendrites propel or draw the fiber through the crowded gray and white matter […]

01 Jan Axon and Dendrite Growth

Neuron 3D

Link Formation in a Bio-Network It was once believed that the link structure of the nervous system was formed randomly during embryogenesis and remained static after maturation – sometime between early development and adolescence (except for regeneration after injury). Due to improved imaging resolutions and preparation techniques, we now know that axon termini, dendrites, and spines […]

31 Dec Signal Transduction in Neurons

Two Neurons

Wires in the Brain Electrical impulses jump from neuron to neuron in the brain through their branching nerve fibers. This movement of electrical potentials is called signal transduction, and significantly resembles the process of electrical flow in printed circuit boards and semiconductor chips. Nerve fibers (axons and dendrites) are filled with a fluid called axoplasm. […]

30 Dec Context Models

Model Plane

Building a Model The goals of the research that evolved into Understanding Context were twofold: to investigate human physiology/psychology for clues that would let us evaluate neuromorphic computational paradigms; and to explore the possibility of new computational models using context to correlate and associate concepts. Birds fly and they are lightweight. Building models of flight with lightweight materials works […]

10 Mar Biological Brains – Section 1 Intro

Brain Sparks

In this segment of the Understanding Context Blog, I will take a high level look at the brain: Its areas, Cell types, And functions. I’ll also explore where the brain stores and processes different types of information, including emotions. Studying the human brain is an important part of this analysis, because biological brains clearly outperform man-made information […]

26 Feb Choosing an Ontology Framework

Knowledge Domains

Ontology is a knowledge representation language like Roger Schank‘s Semantic Networks and John Sowa‘s Conceptual Graphs or Doug Lenat‘s Semantic Web. An Ontology framework is the model (structure, function and content definition) in which you choose to build your ontology. Like a Relational Database or an Object Oriented Programming Language, an ontology has defined structures, functions […]

27 Dec Cytoskeleton Components in Cognition


A Neuron’s Skeleton Unlike the external structure of many spheroid and amorphous cells, the external structure of neurons is complex and rigidly determined. As you may remember from earlier posts, the many different types of neurons residing in particular cortical strata (in layers of the gray and white matter) each have distinctive characteristics that enable […]

06 Sep Varieties of Neural Circuits in the Cerebellum

Cerebellum Gross Structure

The Cerebellum In this post we explore the roles and varieties of neural circuits of the cerebellum in motor control and the maintenance of life-support systems. The layers of the cerebellum have different cell populations, and the types of cells have radically different forms. Three main points will be made today: the morphology of cells and layers […]