On the meaning of “superficial”, as in a superficial wound – or scorch …

Superficial:  existing or occurring at or on the surface: “superficial damage”.

Shroud ‘authenticists’ – and even some sceptics-  bang on monotonously about the alleged 200nm thickness of the Shroud image . Oooh, isn’t that like, so, you know, superficial?

In fact 200 nm is the typical thickness of gold leaf, the kind that our medieval ancestors used for illuminating manuscripts.

So is not in point of fact a thickness, or rather thinness, that is beyond human comprehension, given it was guided into place on the end of a brush. In any case that 200nm figure has never been measured directly – it is merely assumed on the basis that a stripped image “ghost” in Raymond Rogers’ and others STURP tests with adhesive tape which  was too thin in cross-section to see, far less measure,  under a light microscope is unlikely to be more than 200nm thick, albeit with a sizeable margin of error. But that doesn’t stop some folk intoning “200nm , 200nm” almost Hare Krishna-like as if the figure had been brought down from some mountain on a tablet of stone.

So what ‘gives’ with all these Shroud investigators who routinely play the 200nm card: have they done any systematic studies of scorching and temperature? Nope, none as far as I aware. But that does not stop them or blogmeisters from setting up their 200nm roadblock saying “advance no further, you are encroaching on forbidden territory; desist from your line in scorching immediately, your images are not sufficiently superficial (read less than 200nm thick) “.  Spot the science (but all I see is self-serving playing with words and numbers).

Nor does it  stop them demanding that I measure the thickness of a scorch image if I want to be taken seriously. It doesn’t stop them ignoring or ridiculing the growing dossier of evidence accumulating on my postings these last 8 months that a thermal imprint  (“scorch mark”) from an inanimate template  explains crucial features of the Shroud image – its negative character, its encoded 3D properties, its confinement largely to the most superficial part of the weave – i.e. the ribs or the so-called crown threads.  It doesn’t stop them seizing on my posts, and doing instant cover versions with one purpose only – to make an Aunt Sally of my focus on scorching despite the latter being entirely conventional and mainstream in its approach and in my view the only credible theory that stands up to close scientific scrutiny and which is TESTABLE and potentially FALSIFIABLE in model systems as all good hypotheses should be.

How many investigators are doing model studies on scorching right now? Just one as far as I am aware,  et c’est moi, not counting  Dr. Di Lazzaros’s one-off experiment with the (excessively) hot coin posted to Dan Porter’s site last February with the condescending science lesson attached – which beyond a simple acknowledgement  and one or two carefully chosen words,  I decided largely to postpone responding to in detail until yesterday’s posting, having little regard for: 1. Nominal, self-serving,  point-scoring experimental protocols and 2. People who talk at me instead of to me.

Science by decree? Science by diktat?  Science by agenda? Science by ridicule and snide putdowns even in  blog titles that are pirated cover-versions of MY research displayed purely to maintain the footfall on someone else’s agenda-driven website?

No thanks. I reject this attempt to be carpeted on the 200nm criterion – itself a monument to lackadaisical indeed sloppy ill-focused science – one that attempts to shift the burden of proof onto those who pursue realistic lines of research, coming from those who resent feet-kept- firmly-on-the-ground science, ones who wish to continue with their own wacky lines of so-called research, forever promoting the idea of “enduring enigma”,  grabbing newspaper headlines, promoting some might say the current Vatican agenda.   Until someone can show me proof that a scorch mark can never be less than 200nm in thickness (why not????) then I shall continue to investigate scorching, on the commonsensical assumption that a scorch can be as thin as one wishes – simply by adjusting temperature and contact time, even if one does not (temporarily) have the means for measuring it, and nor for that matter does anyone else.

Remember: there is always a time factor in scorching – as well a protective elements like a film of moisture. That’s why one can brush lightly against a hot surface, like Mrs. Porter’s electric iron, trigger some nerve endings and pain receptors, but be left without a serious third degree burn – or even one that penetrates appreciably below the skin.

I will return to some of those checklists (e.g. that of Paulette’s) at another time. In fact I do have a reply already prepared, but shall keep it under wraps for now. I do not care for checklist so-called science at the best of times -knowing that much of what passes for “science” in those lists is anything but (e.g. “uv fluorescence”), being little more than name-dropping (hands up all those who know why heavily- charred linen, as distinct from superficial scorches-  fluoresces under uv )and I care even less for the supercilious stance of the science teacher in question. Yes, I do know the meaning of the term “superficial” dear lady, having researched Shroud image-superficiality for some 9 months now, producing over 100 postings, and in fact have provided as far as I am aware the only rationale as yet for several of the peculiar and subtle properties of the Shroud image  – e.g. that half-tone character you mention- in terms of (superficial) PCW hemicelluloses.

So people, science teachers included, who kick off by asking if  “I even know the meaning of superficial” should not expect the courtesy of an immediate reply.  The same goes for those who say I have “merely produced a scorch” with my 250 degree C oven. Wrong. I repeat WRONG, and spectacularly so. I have produced an IMAGE that is an approximate facsimile of a 3D bas-relief template, one moreover which is a pseudo-negative with encoded 3D information, one that I have shown responds to 3D enhancement programs? Ring any bells?

Colin Berry, retired science-researcher

PS: this comment from “Louis” has just appeared on The Other Site:

September 8, 2012 at 11:10 am | #1

It is obvious that if Colin Berry wants to be taken seriously about this he should publish a peer-reviewed paper first. Only then can he begin to really contest Paolo di Lazzaro.

Fair comment.  But my experiments are done with simple equipment in a kitchen, not a laboratory.  I attempt to summarise exactly what I have done to get the results obtained, and wherever possible I take photographs. So it’s open to anyone without detailed technical knowledge to verify my findings in their own homes, if they so desire, and to do their own internet searches on ideas that I develop and expound from my experiments. That is my modus operandi, suited I would say to the age of the Internet, and to the circumstances of a retired science bod who has not been near a research lab in over 20 years.

Update: Saturday 19:35 London time.

This comment has just appeared on The Other Site from Thibault Heimbuger MD:

September 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm | #2

Yes a faint image is not the same as a superficial image.

It is easy to show that without any sophisticated mean.
Today I did it in my kitchen :-).

Just take a 3 millimeter thick linen sheet. The thickness, similar to that of the Turin Shroud, is important.
Put it down flat on a hotplate with a 3-4 mm deep depression in the center of the plate.
The temperature is the same on the entire surface including the depression.

The results :

1) Even with the fainter (yellowish) discoloration of the heated side, there is a very faint (although visible) discoloration of the back side
2) if you cut the sheet in a colored area, you see that the section of the threads is colored
3) 1)+2) shows beyond any doubt that a superficial image can not be obtained with even a very light scorch.

But there is something which was very amazing (at least for me) :
it is impossible to get an even faint discoloration of the heated side in the area that is just above the 3-4 mm depression of the heated plate : the linen remains white even if the temperature is high enough to give a strong brown discoloration of the surrounding areas in contact with the hot plate. In other words, the radiant energy of the heat is unable to color the linen even at a distance of 3-4 millimeters of the source.

This is very important. Why ?
Because it is absolutely impossible (in the context of the Shroud) to have a perfect contact everywhere, particularly in the face area. If one uses a statue or even a bas-relief, there will be necessarily some (even small) non contact areas, i.e. some non colored areas. A life-size bas relief has nothing to do with small coins.

I’ll try to provide soon my photographs and if possible the results of microscopy observations.

My preliminary response:

Firstly I am pleased that Thibault concurs with my view –  expressed for some considerable time – from the very beginning in fact, that radiated heat will not affect linen across an air gap. Radiation has to be absorbed for chemical change to occur, but white linen scatters/reflects radiated light. My very first experiment showed that impregnation of linen with an opaque light-absorbing material, e.g charcoal, was necessary to produce scorching from a close source of radiated heat (what I called “thermo-stencilling”).

Secondly, Thibault’s geometry differs radically from mine, which could explain why he was getting obverse-side scorching (but so was I under certain conditions – but is that not a good thing, given that the “second face” has become one of the criteria that have to be achieved?).  Thibault appears to be heating his linen from below, so is getting surface scorching from the points of immediate contact, but also convection heating into the weave from superheated steam. I heat my template and push it DOWN into linen to get surface scorching. Yes, there will be steam as well, forced to go down, but I  have preliminary evidence, still to be confirmed, that if the backing underlay is moist, then there is little or no obverse-side scorching, probably because the moist underlay acts as a heat sink, and prevents the more heat-sensitive carbohydrates (PCW hemicelluloses?) from being pyrolysed.

I may add more later, but in the meantime would  simply say that a faint scorch CAN be a superficial scorch, provided some elementary precautions are taken against the secondary effects of superheated steam penetrating the weave and accessing the obverse side. But then the Shroud does have an obverse-side image we are told, especially the head.


About Colin Berry

Retired science bod, previous research interests: phototherapy of neonatal jaundice, membrane influences on microsomal UDP-glucuronyltransferase, defective bilirubin and xenobiotic conjugation and hepatic excretion, dietary fibre and resistant starch.
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