Have we all been looking in the wrong place?

Are Di Lazzaro’s laser-generated pulses of uv radiation
actually targeting that S1 lignin, not “cellulose”

Colin Berry, looking through a microscope sees something. We’ll get to that. But first, parenthetically, he informs us know:

(sorry about the poor resolution,” he says in parentheses, “but that’s probably due to the cylindrical 3D light-reflecting/bending geometry of linen fibres).

image

He goes on:

See the link to a paper reporting from detailed microscopy – light and electron microscope- that some of the lignin of flax bast cells (as used for linen) is not only inside the fibres, but in the S1 layer that would put it just below the PCW.

When Colin writes, “See the link…” I think he is referring to Lignification in the flax stem: evidence for an unusual lignin in bast fibers. We find that in his blog. Colin continues:

Have we all been looking in the wrong place? Are Di Lazzaro’s laser-generated pulses of uv radiation actually targeting that S1 lignin, not “cellulose” as claimed, generating hot spots that may then cook what’s around them? First Law of Photochemistry: light – regardless of wavelength or how generated – has first to be absorbed by one or more chromophores for there to be any chemical reaction – which would include faint yellow/brown coloration. So the first priority of photochemists (I can’t speak for laser physicists) is to identify your chromophore. Uv light is far more likely to target an aromatic compound like lignin, albeit as a minor constituent of linen, than a non-aromatic carbohydrate like cellulose.

Have we all been looking in the wrong place? That’s one question. It’s a good one.

Another one comes to mind.  Colin didn’t ask this. I am. At what point is increased contrast more detrimental than helpful by introducing exaggeration, blocking detail and creating image artifacts? At what point does reliance on increased contrast cross the line between science and pseudoscience?

Pseudoscience Again

He writes: “From an artistic and anatomical perspective, the shroud image
follows the standard conventions of its time.”

Oh, really?

imageStrange: when the article, Pseudoscience: Great for Business… But Not Much Else!, by Sten Odenwald (pictured), appeared in the Huffington Post Science blog, the top picture was of the Shroud of Turin face with a photo credit to Joseph Eid via Getty Images. That was at 12:06 yesterday. Later, I noticed that the picture has been removed and the blog entry had been updated.

Anyway, that isn’t important. Odenwald opens with a simple paragraph with a list of issues he doesn’t really address:

A quick study of cable TV uncovers numerous programs purporting to use scientific techniques to uncover bizarre twists in history. Although card-carrying archeologists have long-since passed judgment on these ideas and moved on to far more interesting issues, pseudoarcheologists keep these ideas alive because (1) they sell books and bring in sightseers, (2) people are fascinated by the way they represent underdog ideas that "threaten" the establishment, (3) most people have no clue what scientific research is really all about, and (4) people view all scientists as equivalent experts on a given topic.

He then goes on to discuss the Kensington Rune Stone, supposedly carved in America by the Knights Templar; the Newberry Tablet; America’s so-called Stonehenge; the Grave Creek Stone; the Sinaia lead plates (that is Sinaia, Romania not to be confused with the Sinai) and, of course, the Shroud of Turin. He writes:

In 1988 a radiocarbon-dating test was performed on small samples of the shroud. The samples dated from the Middle Ages, between 1260 and 1390. From an artistic and anatomical perspective, the shroud image follows the standard conventions of its time. The artistic errors are so severe that it is impossible for it to be the image of an actual human body. Writes Gregory S. Paul, "Exceptionally tall for his time and place [over 6 feet], his rather narrow head was so shrunken and low browed that it would have indicated a unique form of hypocephaly so serious it would have impaired his mental function."

The apples and oranges comparison is amateurish. The Gregory S. Paul article, to which he refers, appeared on The Secular Web in 2010 and is significantly based on naïve and mistaken proportion peculiarities and contains this pseudoscientific gem:

Since the cloth is a proven fraud all attempts to show otherwise are at best misguided and gullible, and perhaps fraudulent.