Category Archives: Science and art cover illustrations

My style purkinje cell: ‘its a joke

I must have drawn this quick sketch of a purkinje cell decades ago, while cleaning out junk I found it and decided it was artistic enough to be a post. Clearly, I have a fascination with this cell type, remarkable, for sure. I think about my cerebellum when i jog (for exercise), as some of my best ideas spring to mind during that jogging…. thank you to these magnificient cells, and here is my rendition. You can see the tips of the dendrites have a lot of human things going on… hearts, smiley faces, peace signs.  I wonder what mood i was in when i sketched it.  LOL.

artistic rendition of a purkinje cell

Bitplanes color transform in Corel Photopaint help visualize LUT peaks along the arms of SP-D

Bitplanes-images were obtained as a filter in corel photopaint to visualize LUT peaks along the trimeric arms of SP-D (color>transform>bitplanes with slider) (original image by Arroyo et al).  It has become quite clear that there is a lot of image processing that can be done to AFM images, and with an honest approach, very little of it changes what appears in the original image.

This gif animation was made in GIMP using png files (exported from corel photopaint x5 and sized and edited in corel DRAW x5 to add the arrows that point to three distinct peaks along the collagen like domain of one of the SP-D trimers– in this case to the left of the glycosylation  and N termini peaks ).  While it is garish, the data are real. If you look at the LUT plot (made in ImageJ) from the same SP-D dodecamer in the previous post you will see the three peaks, in their typical increasing height (left to right) as those areas marked by arrows in this animation.

The tiniest (also previously undescribed) peaks that I am pretty sure exists can be seen like  “blips” on either side of the central N termini peak (on the more vertical hexamer).

Cicadas: brood X, “here’s to the cute cicada clinging to a tree who in the summer’s heat chirps his melody””

June 11, I am ready for them to be “done”  ha ha. wikipedia says cicadas began about 250 million years ago. 

if they fall on their backs they must expend an enormous amount of energy to right themselves and sometimes are unable.

if they fall into a puddle it means pretty certain death because their wing muscles are not sufficient to break the surface tension of the water. I have rescued many from the cat’s water bowl and from shallow puddles in the sidewalk.

they can fly a little, haha, but not much. Most i have seen a cicada fly is about 40 feet. If one grabs them by both wings to move them to the side of the walkway and sends them air born, most just make a deep dive to the ground.  Presumably those are the cicadas that have performed their function and they have no energy reserves. (fun article on the science behind their wings)

i have seen them fly into stone walls and brick buildings. They must not have good vision, or visual processing capabilities.

Their legs are their strongest point, obviously for climbing up that tree. I did read that one website said they had 6 pairs of legs…. i tried to contact them to get them to edit it to 3 pairs (as insects have), but there was no good way to tell them.  Anyone looking at the belly up of a dead cicada shows very large legs, redish, folded neatly across their abdomens (the latter with red stripes).

I wonder if the males do the flying mostly and the females just go straight to the tree branches without venturing out.  The cicadas i toss into the air are mostly males as they chirp because of the disturbance.

i mowed grass today…. these bugs are big (thank goodness they are not the biggest cicadas (as noted below) but they are about 2.5 inches, its good they are not the loudest cicadas (as noted below) but the drone is still undeniable and kind of nice but after a long time (weeks and weeks) its a little annoying,

but they might be the dumbest… ha ha… per todays observation – any female cicada that thinks that my briggs and stratton lawn mower engine sounds like a handsome male cicada ready for mating is going to become a statistic of darwinian evolution…. survival of the fittest…. as they just fly into me, into the lawn mower and if they are down close to the wind tunnel created by the lawnmower blade they become new fertilizer for the grass… and thus dont propagate….

25 eggs (give or take) per slit, 300 eggs (give or take) per female – 12 slits per female

i have had so much fun thinking about these bugs, but ugg… ha ha… 4 more weeks and they are gone for another 17 years (well not gone, just underground preparing for their next emergence)

While these are interesting, loud, and sometimes annoying, i am grateful they are not the Emperor Cicada with a wingspan of 7 – 8 inches. YIKES. Or the Greengrocer cicada in australia which is touted as one of the loudest insects in the world.  Imagin billions of those in the air.

from the ancient literature here is an ode to the cicada: “and the tuneful Tettix sitting on his tree in the weary summer season pours forth from under his wings his shrill song”
which i have converted into a kid’s rhyme….

“here’s to the cute cicada
clinging to a tree
who in the summer’s heat
chirps his melody”

CorelDRAW process: 5 gaussian blur-color_transform 3-4-4

CorelDRAW process: 5 gaussian px blur then color_transform 3-4-4 of several images from a publication that i have referenced many many times shown below. On these dodecamers of SP-D I have been using various image processing programs to figure out just the best way to amplify, and plot their peak brightness peaks along the collagen-like segment.  In that process (bad pun) i found the color transform in corelDRAW ( both x5 and 19).  It is a stitch, and the peaks along the collagen like segment are well noted…. at least as well as in any other image processing (or data processing as gwyddion calls it) program.  My picks for programs for processessing AFM images are the old versions of Photoshop  (yep, the old CD style) of photoshop 6 is just as nice as the new photoshop 2021, and the old version of CorelDRAW (x5 and including CorelPhotoPaint) is just as good as the new version (CorelDRAW 19 also including CorelPhotopaint)  and both are much more user friendly with many more options than either Gwyddion or ImageJ.  And sometimes with these highly developed (though NOT FREE) programs it can be just plain fun while it is informative.  (Thank you Arroyo et al. for the various AFM images from your publication  (smiley face).  Blue bar-100nm

Just a nice image of SP-D

Arroyo et al published AFM micrographs of SP-D, along with others, in fact, many images which I have been using to sort out whether it is possible to determine some of the structure of SP-D by determining the number of LUT peaks along the collagen-like domain. In the process of processing images, this one just turned out to be what i think is beautiful. It is a combination of photoshop and corel photopaint and I am thinking it looks like a poster that would nicely be framed and hung on a research office wall.


Just for fun: color gradient of AFM of multimer

This is just arts and crafts, but it does have a great definition of the arms of a multimer (the image itself i did not take but it is part of an ongoing effort to see what types of image processing provide the best data on number of peaks along the length of each arm.  So this is more science illustration with just  a tad of science. The original had some label in it which i patched with photoshop, then flattened, then exported as tiff, imported into CorelDRAW 19 where i did “texture sculpture”, relief at 10o and detail 100, smoothness 100, and depth 100.  This image was saved as a tif, opened in photoshop and a custom color gradient applied.   The ring multimer is pink.

Hearts — not by chance

It is fun when examining structures in biology (probably also true in physics, math, etc, its just that my experience is with biology) one finds little circumstances which are very likely frequent happenings with real significance, but show up relatively obscurely, and are difficult to quantify.  So is the case with this multimer which has an unusual crook to its arm, and yes,  different places along the arm tend to gravitate to other places on the arm.  THUS THE FORMATION OF HEARTS… LOL.  While this is a post in jest…. it also is NOT a post in jest.  Left images are cropped from a 30-36 arm multimer image (AFM) and processed with photoshop high pass 250 filter, then range limit of 100-255 in gwyddion.

Right hand images are rotated cropped and vectorized and trimmed in CorelDRAW.