Future Testing of the Shroud

December 16, 2014 10 comments

2014, A Good Year for Blogging

December 16, 2014 5 comments

Hopefully, I will be adding a “What is Being Discussed and Questioned” page

imageIt has been a good year on this blog.  We will have achieved almost a million page views in 2014. I’m projecting 950,000 versus 553,885 for the previous year for a life of the site total of 2,740,000.  The number of unique, different people (browser fingerprints) visiting the site during the year will have jumped to about 375,000 compared to 167,894 for the previous year. 

Thank you, many of you, for suggestions on how to improve the blog.

imageProviding share buttons for users’ Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts on each and every top-level web page proved very beneficial. I am going to start providing similar buttons on all pages.  (I just noticed that the now gloriously redesigned Holy Shroud Official Website, sindone.org, has done the same thing on every page). 

Having certain information on each and every page proved popular with users. This included the search box and the TEDx talk by Barrie Schwortz. I’m adding the new 15 minute video by Russ Breault and, hopefully, early next year, a “What is Being Discussed and Questioned” page.  Links to various papers, interviews, etc. maintained in this blog’s storage space will soon be listed on a distinct catalog page.  I’m also adding a tip sheet for reader comments with easy to understand instructions for including hot links to images and videos from other websites. Comments are the never ending dialog and debate of ideas that makes this site useful and interesting; there have been 12,500 such comments this year.

We hit our stride in 2011 and doubled the number of page views in just three years. 2014 showed great growth. We won’t hit a million by year end but it will be close.image

WordPress only started counting unique visitors for full years last year. A visitor (a unique browser fingerprint) is only counted once in a calendar period such as a single year. The same visitor may be counted in each year, however. We will come close to 400,000 visitors by year end compared to 167,894 last year.image

 

Thanks, everyone.

Categories: News & Views

Is Fluorescence Still in Question?

December 15, 2014 24 comments

Which compels us to revisit Charring, fluorescence and image-forming
mechanisms. Beware Shroudology’s junk science and flawed logic…
on Colin’s blog

imageJonathan in Houston writes:

Before moving to Houston I worked as a tech in a crime and accident lab for twelve and a half years and I can tell you we found scorches on cloth so light you could not see them. Even so they fluoresced. We also found very visible scorches that did not fluoresce at all. So what Dr. Berry wrote about light and heavy scorching makes a lot of sense to me.  I do not recall anything about linen specifically and I do not know about the effects of age.  I wonder, is there a definitive study about the scorching on the Shroud? Did anyone quantify and chart fluorescence at the edges of different burn marks and beyond the edges of the burn marks?  Did anyone experiment with a control sample of untreated linen cloth that was not modernized for brightness or wettability?  Did anyone examine other ancient linen cloths that have been burned in places?  BTW I am not a chemist.

I think this recent comment by Colin Berry is what Jonathan is referring to:

image. . .  Polymerization may well be the key to understanding the basis to the fluorescence of the 1532 burn marks, and why (in passing) it’s a mistake to imagine that the TS cannot be a scorch through lacking fluorescence.

The fact that the 1532 burn marks still fluoresce almost 5 centuries later suggests the molecules responsible for the fluorescence are of relatively high molecular weight, almost certainly solids, or they would have evaporated away by now. Candidate molecules, if one is looking for uv fluorescence and high molecular weight, say 300 or greater, would be the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, containing fused aromatic ring systems (5 or 6 carbon). Are there mechanisms by which they could be formed in linen exposed to very high temperatures? Yes there are. Here’s the reasoning. The ultimate product from deep scorching of linen is black charcoal, i.e. microcrystalline graphite. While the latter is almost pure carbon, its graphene sheets are polycyclic aromatic in structure, ie. fused benzene rings, and there is no way they could be formed from cellulose etc of linen except via a polymerization process from low molecular weight monomers. But forming those monomers, whether furfural or some other product of pyrolysis, requires high temperatures, considerably higher than those needed merely to leave a scorch mark on linen.

Without labouring the detail, or going over old ground, the structure of the flax fibre is probably the key to understanding the difference between light scorching (no fluorescence) and heavy deeper scorching (intense fluorescence). Light scorches probably pyrolyse selectively the carbohydrates of the primary cell wall, notably the chemically reactive hemicelluloses. Heavy deeper scorches affect the cellulose in the core of the fibre, requiring a considerably higher temperature, and generating the monomers that are needed for polymerization on the graphite pathway terminating in charcoal that are responsible for intermediate uv fluorescence.

Take away message: it’s false logic or bad science or both to imagine that the fluorescence of the 1532 burn marks precludes heat as a mechanism for TS body image formation. Barrie Schwortz, Russ Brault and other pro-authenticity proslelytizers please note: your playing the ‘fluorescence card’ may impress your audiences, but they don’t impress this retired researcher who has experience of tracking fluorescent compounds as part of his research career, and knows rather more than you do about the complexities of the fluorescence phenomenon, and why it can never be used to prove or disprove a case if you know NOTHING about the chemical identity of the fluorescent species.

Which compels us to go over old ground and revisit Charring, fluorescence and image-forming mechanisms. Beware Shroudology’s junk science and flawed logic… on Colin’s blog wherein we read:

The non-fluorescent body image on the Shroud is a pale sepia colour.  It may or may not have been the result of mild scorching (I happen to believe it is a light scorch). But the fluorescent, heavily charred regions on the Shroud are the result the 1532 fire etc. There is no inconsistency whatsoever between these two findings. All that remains to be done is to offer an explanation as to why one fluoresces and the other does not, ensuring that it is a TESTABLE  and potentially FALSIFIABLE explanation, i.e. a SCIENTIFIC explanation.

Science Channel’s new Biblical Conspiracies series

December 15, 2014 7 comments

ripped from the pages of speculative sensationalism

imageJoe Marino tips us off. After reading Joe’s note below, click on the image to the right to see a couple of back to back trailers of the show. The trailers may be all you need to see.

The Science Channel premiered a new series tonight (Sunday) called "Biblical Conspiracies."  One of the episodes was titled "Nails of the Cross."  The description from the Science website:  "Two nails were discovered in the tomb of the High Priest Caiaphas who, according to the gospels, sent Jesus to the Romans, who then sent him to the cross. Using high tech tools, scientists try to prove that these nails were used to crucify Jesus."

imageThis is a follow up documentary to the recent Simcha Jacobovici program that was on the Discovery Channel I believe, that also sought to prove that the nails may have been the ones used in Jesus’ crucifixion.  Many mainstream scholars dismissed his claims out of hand after that airing, but this program features a skeptic of Jacobovici who proves that the nails were, in fact, used in a crucifixion.  He found bone and wood on the nails.  Before it was proved to be wood (in an altered form), it was thought that it might have been the Shroud.  One other Shroud-related point is a depiction of how the nail may have nailed into wood and through the palm.  The program shows the use of a scanning electron microscope as well as many other scientific tests and interviews of various scientific experts.

There may be two interesting segments. Here is a link to the schedules for . . .

  • Nails of the Cross:  Two nails were discovered in the tomb of the High Priest Caiaphas who, according to the gospels, sent Jesus to the Romans, who then sent him to the cross. Using high tech tools, scientists try to prove that these nails were used to crucify Jesus.
  • Secrets of the Crucifixion:  A scientific investigation of 2,000-year-old bones may hold the key to the Crucifixion, revealing that the classical depiction of Jesus on the cross may be all wrong.

And then there is also . . .

  • Bride of God:  Gathering dust at the British Library is a 1500-year-old manuscript, written by an anonymous monk. After millennia of rumors, this seems to be the first solid written evidence that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.

And this is what the Science Channel calls science; it’s kind of like thinking that Ice Road Truckers and Ax Men are history on the History Channel.

Russ Breault: The Shroud of Turin in Fifteen Minutes

December 14, 2014 6 comments
Categories: Uncategorized

A New York Times One-Sip-of-Coffee Story

December 14, 2014 3 comments

imageVictoria Shannon writes in the New York Times:

Millions of people make a pilgrimage to Mexico City around this time every year for the festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12, a Christian holy day and a national holiday in Mexico.

The object of their devotion is an Indian peasant’s cloak with the portrait of the Virgin Mary, which was said to have miraculously been imprinted on this date in 1531, after he encountered her apparition there.

The 4-foot-8-inch cloak has never been subjected to a complete scientific analysis the way the Shroud of Turin has. . . .

The rest of the story is meager, hardly worth the effort to click your mouse. It briefly mentions the microscopic pictures that one man thinks he see in the eyes of the image.  You are better off searching Google for <Our Lady of Guadalupe eyes>.

Is there an art historian in the house?

December 13, 2014 14 comments


imageColin Berry did an interesting 3D rendering from the painting "Descent from the Cross with the Holy Shroud" or as it is sometimes called, “The Entombment of Christ” by Giovanni Battista della Rovere (c. 1575-c. 1640).  The question must be asked; how much has this painting been enhanced from the original? To what extents did this alter the 3D rendering. To see why we need to question this, look at the copy on the website of the Shroud Museum in Turin (see clickable thumbnails below).

The bigger question may be: how accurate is this popular web version (center below) as a useful indicator of what the shroud looked like in the early 17th century.  Should we not be using the photograph that is on the Shroud Museum website.


ImageJ Rendering from the Giovanni Battista della Rovere painting shown here in the center. The "Descent from the Cross with the Holy Shroud" or “The Entombment of Christ” by Giovanni Battista della Rovere painted about 1625, as it appears in many websites on the web. As it appears on the website of the Church of the Holy Shroud and the Shroud Museum where the painting is located. As photographed Nov 6, 2008. The web size is 2585×3396 meaning you can have a good close look.

imageNote:  Paul Vignon attributed the above painting to Giulio Clovio (1498–1578) and a different painting, shown here on the right, to Giovanni Battista della Rover.

Is there an art historian in the house?

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