Mean and Picayune

clip_image001A reader wrote:

I think you are being excessively mean. I agree that the [Siefker and Spicer] paper is a bit weak, but what is the point in drumming on day after day with picayune criticisms?

My intention is not to be mean. I think people who know me know this.  The paper is unfortunate.  What makes it appear that I am being mean is that the paper was written by two good people with the best of intentions. Others, I believe, who knew better, and were in a position to do so, should not have published it without some serious editing. The authors also could have sought input from others as they wrote the paper either in the relative privacy of the Shroud Science Group or in a public forum such as this blog where give and take is the norm.

Drumming on, day after day? I think the point was to try to learn from as many people as possible by going through the lists in the paper and hoping for comments. And why not do the same with Fanti’s paper that was published in JIST or Rolfe’s Challenge list from Valencia or Rogers’ FAQ or the infamous SSG List from Dallas 2005? These are all public documents. The idea of a topic of the day was something I had already been thinking about – how many Super Bowl ads can you talk about? – when the Siefker and Spicer paper was published. I announced it without much commentary in Paper Chase (NEW): The Shroud: A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses

By the next day, following some comments by others, in another, more critical posting, Déjà vu or what?, I wrote:

It seems to me that a positive thing to do with this paper over many days and weeks ahead is to take one item at a time, maybe one-a-day or so, and discuss it in this blog (or re-discuss it or choose to ignore it). And there will be no let up on the many other things that get posted like this wonderful new Guest Posting by Kelly Kearse: Distinguishing human blood from that of other species.

The fact of the matter is that the paper is published in a public place. The authors should know it will be criticized. They are welcome to join the discussion. I would love it.

Perhaps calling each days’ item the “teaser” of the day was insensitive. Okay, it will be the topic of the day henceforth.

If I’m mean, I don’t mean to be, so call me out on it when I am.

Here is where we have been. In clicking on a posting in this list, it is important to read the comments. In this blog comments are more important and more informative than postings:

6 thoughts on “Mean and Picayune”

  1. I’m rougher on high school students who need to learn to write scientifically. This paper is very unscientific and thus works against Jackson’s hypothesis. The topics are interesting so keep them coming.

    1. I’m personally fascinated by the vast unknowns in our own studies about the Holy Shroud …
      AFM based (chemical and mechanical) properties mapping technique can be the useful ways to open the doors.
      What is your idea ?

  2. Dan wrote: “…the paper was written by two good people with the best of intentions.”

    REALLY? Wow… I disagree completely with that notion. Just like the paper written in 2010 by Fanti, Di Lazzaro, Heimburger and some other members of the SSG, this paper written by the Colorado team is obviously an attempt to back-up their own little hypothesis concerning the image formation. To me, this is as obvious as the nose in anyone’s face.

    Note: concerning the paper written in 2010 by Fanti et al., it’s important to note that Thibault Heimburger, on the contrary to Fanti and Di Lazzaro, had not a personal hypothesis to promote and defend at all cost. Nevertheless, he put his name on that paper and to me, that was a big mistake on his part. Of course, this is just my personal opinion.

  3. A paper which dares to call itself “A critical review …” of anything should itself be beyond reproach, Careful writing and editing needed to be exercised by its authors. Its title invites adverse comment, if its authors fail to come up to the standard implied by such a title.

  4. Last year I read (on the following title :
    “Probing delicate samples: stiff AFM mechanics at soft forces” See
    : And then the
    interesting words for the useful research about the ancient linen
    fibrils (coming from the samples taken in the past from the Holy
    Shroud) were : >Atomic force microscopy (AFM) measurements
    of nanoscale mechanical properties can require relatively large
    forces to probe elastically stiff materials such as metals or
    ceramics. Such forces are potentially damaging, particularly to
    thin or delicate samples. >Recently, researchers have
    demonstrated a solution to this dilemma. >The new method
    enables AFM measurements of elastic modulus with forces less than
    20 nN, roughly 10 times the force needed to break a single atomic
    bond. >Researchers Jason Killgore and Donna Hurley at the
    National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, US,
    achieved these results using an AFM technique called contact
    resonance spectroscopy So … Bulder is located in Colorado … Am
    I right or not ? I tried to see under the address :
    but there is not a great amout of informations. In any case this
    technique was the point where the concrete hope to know the truth
    about the linen fibrils of the Holy Shroud can start. And now
    (perhaps) there are the interesting improvements for this way. —
    — What is your opinion ? Have you tried to look ? — —
    Regards, Piero P. S. Instead, in the case of the Jospice Imprint
    (Liverpool Man : = “The
    Jospice mattress cover image”, by Dr. Fred Zugibe) the outside
    coating was polyurethane, because the manufacturers indicated that
    the nylon was nylon 6 and that the outside coating was polyurethane
    … So I tried to search something of interest and then I think
    that under the address :
    You can find the following study : Quantitative mapping of elastic
    moduli at the nanoscale in phase separated polyurethanes by AFM
    European Polymer Journal Volume 47, Issue 4, April 2011, Pages
    692–698 >Nanoscale mechanical properties of segmented
    polyurethanes have been investigated by two novel dynamic imaging
    modes of AFM. Varying stoichiometric ratio of isocyanate and
    hydroxyl groups resulted in polyurethanes samples with
    characteristic fingerprint AFM phase images. AFM resolves the
    elastic moduli of stiff and soft segments of the phase separated
    polyurethane samples at nanoscale resolution. >Mechanical
    mappings were in excellent agreement for both modes, opening novel
    avenues for nanoscale mechanical characterization of heterogeneous
    polymers. > The PU samples studied show characteristic
    “fingerprint” AFM phase images. >Novel dynamic imaging modes
    of AFM, including HarmoniX material mapping and Peak Force Tapping
    were used to assess the mechanical performance of phase separated
    polyurethanes quantitatively as a function of their molecular
    structure. >The values of surface elastic moduli were
    determined with nanoscale resolution and were in excellent
    agreement for both AFM modes. >While tensile testing
    provides a bulk average value for the elastic modulus of the
    elastomers, the novel AFM based elastic moduli mappings introduced
    enable the study of surface stiffness with nanoscale resolution in
    a quantitative way. I hope that you can find an answer for these
    long gossiping (or boring ?) technical (= Applied AFM on linen,
    “ghosts” and Jospice Imprint) notes (without measurements or
    experiments !). PI

    1. I have found the following title : MML Publishes “How To”
      Guide for AFM-Based Nanomechanics under the address :
      >Publication information is as follows: “Contact Resonance
      Force Microscopy Techniques for Nanomechanical Measurements,” D. C.
      Hurley, in Applied Scanning Probe Methods Vol. XI, eds. B. Bhushan
      and H. Fuchs (Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg New York, 2009),
      Chapter 5, pp. 97-138. The original publication is available at (Date created : February 9, 2009 |
      Last updated: October 2, 2012) — — — Regards, Piero and the
      address was the following : Material Measurement Laboratory (MML)
      Materials Reliability Division 325 Broadway, MS 853 Boulder, CO
      80305-3328 >The Material
      Measurement Laboratory (MML) serves as the national reference
      laboratory for measurements in the chemical, biological and
      material sciences through activities ranging from fundamental and
      applied research, to the development and dissemination of certified
      reference materials, critically evaluated data, and other programs
      and tools to assure the quality of measurement results. MML is also
      responsible for coordinating the NIST-wide Standard Reference
      Material and Standard Reference Data programs — — I have read
      that : >The Material Measurement Lab has more than 900 staff
      members and visiting scientists, an annual budget of more than $160
      million, and serves as the nation’s reference laboratory for
      measurements in the chemical, biological and materials sciences
      through activities ranging from fundamental research in the
      composition, structure and properties of industrial, biological,
      and environmental materials and processes, to the development and
      dissemination of certified reference materials, critically
      evaluated data and other measurement quality assurance programs …
      —- —- Unfortunately in the interesting paper written by the
      Colorado team there is not the word “AFM” … Then, see under the
      address :
      Asylum AFM, Model MFP-3D Retrofit Upgrade Jan 18, 2013 5:23 pm
      >The Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards
      and Technology (NIST), intends to negotiate a firm-fixed price
      purchase order, on a sole source basis, with Asylum Research
      Corporation, Santa Barbara, CA for the purchase of an Atomic Force
      Microscope (AFM), model MFP-3D upgrade to allow top down optics for
      imaging opaque samples under other than full and open competition.
      … … >Asylum Research Corporation holds the proprietary
      rights to the specialized hardware and software components of the
      Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), model MFP-3D system. … … — —
      If the scientists were able to do something on Mars (also using the
      AFM), then they have to be able to control the Holy Shroud using
      the advanced microscopy. What is your answer ? Have you a Project ?
      Do you know the AFM instruments ? — — — PI

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