2015 preamble: Hello dear site visitor. Welcome to the site.
You have chosen to check out a 2015 posting. 2015 was my breakthrough year. Up till then I’d been wedded to direct scorching of hot metal template (whether fully 3D or bas relief). Why? The resulting imprints were not unlike TS body image, albeit sharper, but were, nevertheless, negative tone-reversed, responsive to 3D-rendering software (ImageJ) , bleachable etc etc. (All very encouraging).
But there was a fly-in-the-ointment: one cannot monitor degree of coloration when metal is pressed into linen – the action/contact zone being shielded from sight.
The solution took shape in late 2014: instead of heating the template, I coated it with a thin smear of oil, then lightly dusted with white flour ,then imprinted the flour-image onto linen. I then heated the linen over a ceramic hot plate (later with a modern electric iron or fan oven). Result: an arguably better model of the TS body image (fuzzier etc)
But the full potential of the was new procedure not realized. Why? Because I imprinted onto dry linen.
Similar two-step technology was developed in 2015 via an entirely different route.
I had been looking at acids as possible colorants for creating a look-alike “Shroud” image (with most or all its distinctive and unusual features) . Weak organic acids and even strong mineral acids (sulphuric etc) were quickly rejected for one reason or another. They either failed to produce colour, or, if they did (sulphuric) it was not only scarcely visible, but the cloth was dramatically weakened.
It was nitric acid (HNO3) that proved interesting. It produced a faint yellow coloration of untreated linen, probably on account of protein traces.. Could that be made more pronounced? Answer: YES, first by coating the linen with a high concentration of protein (gelatin or egg white), then realizing that a more common medieval commodity, i.e. plain white flour with its 10% or thereabouts of protein would serve.
Image formation? Initially I created imprints of metal and other templates (ceramic etc) using a slurry of wheat flour in water, with or without heat treatment to gelatinize the starch. I found to my delight that I could produce a negative image of my face, 3D enhancible, simply by taking the flour imprint and bolding up the intrinsic faint yellow colour of wheat flour using simple commercial photoediting software (Windows Office).
Insert image of my face, from May 2015: get it from this link.
Images of hands etc, brass crucifixes, plastic figurines quickly followed, still using liquid flour slurry as imprinting medium.
But they were criticized by a particular high-profile individual: I was told the edges were too sharp, too well defined to be considered a valid model.
There was a simple solution that largely silenced the critic.
I returned to the Oct 14 technique that had been shelved, with a small modification: smear the hand, (or metal or plastic template) with veg oil, sprinkle with white flour, shake off excess flour, imprint onto WET linen, then heat the linen until the desired degree of yellow coloration had been obtained (via the kind of Maillard browning or caramelization reactions that occur rotinely when baking flour-based goods).
Yes, nitric acid was dispensed with as the means of coloration. In its place was thermal colour development. Expressed more simply: HEAT the imprinted linen!
No, not a scorch, in the sense that the linen constituents per se (cellulose etc) were being coloured via complex thermal reactions, but, totally separate, at least chemically the acquired flour imprint. (How that imprint interacts physically with linen fibres provides a whole new dimension for speculation and detailed research – with microscopy leading the way.
One final step: a vigorous rub with soap and water to dislodge loose encrustations. What stubbornly remains behind is a somewhat diffuse fuzzy-edged yellow to brown discoloration of the cloth. If imprinted as an image, one sees with time and further reseacrh (2015 and beyond) a growing list of resemblances to (guess what?) the reported properties of the TS body image, including those bizarre features revealed by microscopy (“half tone effect”, “image discontinuities” etc). Yup, I say we’re home and dry with “Model 10”. Correction – home and wet (after the final washing step). Just add 30 mins for drying and we’re home and dry!
It did not take long for the rest of the faux-biblical ‘narrative’ pieces to fall into place. A fuzzy whole body imprint obtained with white flour and heating, with blood in all the right places, is likely to have been a 14th century Veil of Veronica -obsesssed attempt to simulate (“fake”) the imprint that might have been left on Joseph of Arimathea’s fine linen, used to retrieve a recently crucified body from a cross, for transport to a nearby rock tomb. (NO, neither intended nor used as the final burial shroud in 33AD, taking the biblical account as, er, 100% Gospel truth, thereby making the term “Turin Shroud” highly misleading, especially as it’s routinely expanded to “burial shroud”). See margin comments on this site for more details.
Here are the two key links: the first to the floured-up horsebrass from 2014:
The second is the link to imprinting of my face with plain white flour (amazingly) WITHOUT use of physical developing agent (mere recourse to photoediting software):
Maybe three more links from red-letter year, 2015, like Dan Porter’s reports on my Model 10 thinking, proposed mechanism for “half tone effect etc etc.
So much for the background to 2015. (Thanking you dear reader in advance for your patience and forebearance. (Hopefully you’ll appreciate that when one has posted a reported-in-real time online learning curve via 350+ postings, here and elsewhere, some kind of packaging then makes sense).
Here’s the start of the original posting.
Topic 8: This one is about the subtelty of the image formed on linen using my latest flour-imprinting technique, i.e. dry flour onto wet linen, followed by brief oven roasting to bring up the orange-brown image, followed by washing with soap and water.
To show how subtle it is, and why it strains the resources of my microscope to display it, I will take you through a series of steps using the microscope. I had originally intended to do it with the final attenuated soap-washed image, but a indicated earlier, that was too super-subtle, making a rod for my own back. What you see now are fields from paler areas on the unwashed linen. Oh yes, I decided to take a look at cotton as well, for reasons to be discussed later, but that can wait for now.
So maybe folk will now appreciate why this investigator makes free (but cautious) use of photoediting to ‘bring up’ the image fibres better, in a manner that avoids, or tries to avoid, introducing artefacts. (The latter can be avoided to some extent by working at low or intermediate magnification when there are familiar things in the field of view that can be used as benchmark references – that kind of precaution being second nature to those with a lifetime in research).
So let’s take that first optimally (top-illuminated) field and enter it into MS Office Picture Manager.
Next step. Last night I said on the vexatious shroudstory site that I would be putting up pictures of what happens when one imprints onto cotton instead of linen. I said that I had made a prediction based on the knowledge that cotton is closer to pure cellulose having, among other things, less lignin, and knowing lignin (an unusual variety thereof) is known to be present in flax bast fibres (the raw material for linen manaufacture) that there would almost certainly be differences at the microscopic level if I imprinted with flour onto cotton. Who’s to say the image colour on the TS, AND on my image fibres, is not on the lignin, not the cellulose as generally, and some might think RASHLY assumed. Just because cellulose is the major component does not make it necessarily the prime target for ultraviolet, whether beamed from a laser or not, especially uv of highly specific wavelengths as generated by excimer lasers.
Given the flak this blogger has received from all directions, some for incautious use of contrast (allegedly), some from an individual who says I should be viewing individual fibres at high mag with his sticky tape method (tried but didn’t work with faint flour imprints) and, to cap it all, the insult from that publicity-hungry photochemically-illliterate show-0ff Dr. Paolo Di Lazzaro, accusing this investigator, 14 years his senior, and equally-well qualified (at least) of not knowing how to use the focus control on a microscope, that his trained students could do better, I have decided to withhold all photomicrographs that might be seen as controversial, where my microscope or technique could be used in attempt to undermine my credentials as a “Shroud” investigator. (That’s such as it is, not being a member of Di Lazzaro’s secretive “Shroud Science Group” nor having any ambition to become one). This blogger detests secret gardens. Science should be out in the open, just as Shroudie conferences should routinely schedule time for questions. Instead I shall take one more look at my gallery of pictures obtained with cotton, taken through exactly the same steps described above for linen, and then write a description of the result in words. It will be appended here later in the day. Watch this space, anyone who’s stayed the course thus far.
It’s now 11:00 UK time, and I’ve just taken another look at the fainter regions of the unwashed, oven-roasted flour imprints of my own hand onto COTTON. At the gross level (i.e. macro, unaided eye) there is a yellow-brown image, which the uninitiated observer might assume would look the same under the microscope as the similar-looking one on linen. But it doesn’t. It looks totally different. Linen has those discrete coloured fibres, a minority among those that are still very white. In other words, the linen model bears a close resemblance to the so-called half-tone effect seen on the “Shroud” body image. The cotton does NOT show those discrete image fibres. Indeed it difficult if not impossible to see anything that might be described as an image fibre, since there are honey-coloured patches only between clumps of the imprinting medium (still adhering since the cotton was not washed). It’s tempting to propose that the mechanism of imaging with cotton is diffuse, maybe affecting parts of the bulk cellulose, whereas that with the linen is primarily discrete, affecting something on or within the linen fibre that is absent from cotton. The prime suspect has to be lignin, which the Day et al paper of 2005* stated to be underneath the PCW, ie in the S1 layer of the SCW.What’s more, that lignin has an atypical composition, with a high proportion, some 25% of so-called H-type monomer (hydroxyphenyl groups), high that is in comparison with the major site of lignin in the stem, namely the water-conducting central xylem tissue. The bast fibres of flax help support the phloem, ie. nutrient-transporting cells, though that’s not to say that support is necessarily the only role for that lignin.
*Cut-and-paste of abstract:
Planta. 2005 Oct;222(2):234-45. Epub 2005 Jun 21.
Lignification in the flax stem: evidence for an unusual lignin in bast fibers.
In the context of our research on cell wall formation and maturation in flax (Linum usitatissimum L) bast fibers, we (1) confirmed the presence of lignin in bast fibers and (2) quantified and characterized the chemical nature of this lignin at two developmental stages. Histochemical methods (Weisner and Maüle reagents and KMnO(4)-staining) indicating the presence of lignin in bast fibers at the light and electron microscope levels were confirmed by chemical analyses (acetyl bromide). In general, the lignin content in flax bast fibers varied between 1.5% and 4.2% of the dry cell wall residues (CWRs) as compared to values varying between 23.7% and 31.4% in flax xylem tissues. Immunological and chemical analyses (thioacidolysis and nitrobenzene oxidation) indicated that both flax xylem- and bast fiber-lignins were rich in guaiacyl (G) units with S/G values inferior to 0.5. In bast fibers, the highly sensitive immunological probes allowed the detection of condensed guaiacyl-type (G) lignins in the middle lamella, cell wall junctions, and in the S1 layer of the secondary wall. In addition, lower quantities of mixed guaiacyl-syringyl (GS) lignins could be detected throughout the secondary cell wall. Chemical analyses suggested that flax bast-fiber lignin is more condensed than the corresponding xylem lignin. In addition, H units represented up to 25% of the monomers released from bast-fiber lignin as opposed to a value of 1% for the corresponding xylem tissue. Such an observation indicates that the structure of flax bast-fiber lignin is significantly different from that of the more typical ‘woody plant lignin’, thereby suggesting that flax bast fibers represent an interesting system for studying an unusual lignification process.
[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Topic 7: Well, I tried the recommended technique with the sticky tape, and it didn’t work for me. Maybe the microscope is too basic, or maybe the technique needs more intense scorches, as per the Mark 1 model (imprinting off hot metal templates). Reminder: the new model imprints of a real human subject, one who has been coated with plain flour – now dry, not paste – and then using WET linen to get the imprint. That is then developed in a hot oven, taking just a few minutes, and the resulting bold image is then washed with soap and water to get what I call the final attenuated image that is closer in character to the “Shroud” of Turin.
So where do we go from here – in the quest to get better close up pictures of image fibres, with a view to seeing precisely where the image resides – on or in the fibres (present results suhggesting the latter)? There’s a technique this blogger developed during the R&D for Mark 1 scorching that will now be resurrected. it’s actually quite pretty (though I say it myself) so I will now proceed to describe it step-by-step, and hopefully, by the end of the day, be able to show some new microscopic images, up to inyermediate ,magnification (highest magnification on my microscope being a waste of time when one can no longer see the image colour, when the images are poorly resolved, when there are no reference points within the tiny field of view making it all to easy to be mistake artifacts for real images).
Here’s a series of pix which I’ll upload as a batch, and then add captions at leisure in the next hour or two.
Back shortly (it being 09:00 on Aug 27, 2015)
It’s now 09:30. Here’s a preview of what relatively low-power microscopy can achieve, using the teasing-out technique described (though photoediting helps to enhance the salient features):
I’ll b back later with more photomicrographs on image fibres, probably as Topic 8 to go on top of this one.
Topic 6: Want to see something truly amazing? The current experiment is to compare linen v cotton as the fabric for receiving the model “Shroud of Turin” imprint. But there were two samples of cotton in the house – a thin one, as used for pillow cases, and a thick close-weave one, bought in France as a decorator’s cloth for protecting furniture.
I could scarcely believe my eyes when the imprint onto the thick cotton came out the oven. It was a bas relief of my hand!
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? The “Shroud” is thick linen. Would thick linen behave like thick cotton? Was the original “Shroud” of Turin a semi-3D image.
Let’s put that bas relief imprint into ImageJ and see how it behaves!
Topic 4: Curiosity-driven yellow-tailed ant can’t understand why he (or she) keeps seeing the underside of blue-tailed ant (and vice versa).
But yellow-tailed ant is not willing to accept that as the natural order of things, simply the world ‘the way it is’. Yellow-tailed ant has an IDEA, which develops into a model, a SCIENTIFIC model, one that is testable.
Yellow-tailed ant puts down some red paint.
Yellow ant is a rather unusual ant. Yellow ant not only has curiosity about the peculiar world in which he finds himself. Yellow ant is not content simply to express ideas and opinions about why the world is the peculiar way it is and immediately expect every other ant to believe him. Yellow ant sets up an experiment to test his ideas. Yellow ant is what’s known as a “scientist”.
Hello again folks. It’s now Day 3 of Week 35, and this is Topic 3 – a follow-on from yesterday’s Topic 2 (see below). Yes, microscopy is still in progress on my modelling of the “Shroud” of Turin by imprinting my hand, coated with dry white flour onto wet linen, then heating in an oven to develop a strong orangey-brown negative image (yup, negative, with 3D properties) and finally attenuating the image by washing in soap and water and finally drying.
The only trouble is that I have still to do the experimental work. It involves taking sticky tape samples from my flour-imprinted images, and viewing them under high magnification in order to compare with certain images in a certain pdf that shall remain nameless (for reasons that will be discussed later, except to say that I disapprove strongly of that format when there’s no facility for attaching a comment. Indeed, I consider it an abuse of internet). Sticky tape has proved problematical to this investigator in the past, but it has one thing in its favour – namely the ability to see colour at high magnification, provided the illumination is right – and that’s an aspect where my recent new technique of deploying a hand-held torch might help).
Hopefully there will be something to post here by the end of the day.
It’s now 15:15 UK time, and for the last four hours this investigator has been struggling to get the ‘recommended technique’ to work (a) with his very basic microscope and (b) with his attenuated image samples.
Chief problem? It’s difficult to distinguish between image and non-image fibres as one increases the magnification. They all start to look the same. At the highest magnifcation (40X objective lens multiplied by the magnification of the USB sender (?)) the fibres all look pale and ghostly, and the tiniest movement of the focusing wheel produces weird effects due to fibre birefringence. There had to be some modification of usual microscopic technique as well. Instead of back-lighting, which reduces all images to B/W, wiping out any faint coloration, I have had to place a matt black background under the microscope slides, and view with top illumination only – that of the microscope’s built-in lamp, but often needing to be supplemented with a hand-held LED lamp.
So much for the difficulties. Here is my ‘best’ result, the others not worthy of reporting, and being ‘best’ may not be typical.
Here are the three steps in a single graphic:
Interpretation: I have tried the recommended ‘sticky tape’ procedure. It was hugely problematical for the reasons stated, but the result gives no reason for withdrawing the previous claim (suggestion?), namely that the image produced in the new model system may reside on the SCW, not the PCW, and the same might therefore be true for the “Shroud” image, given the close correspondence between TS and the new model system (especially the halftone effect and discontinuities).
Topic 2 – a follow-on from yesterday’s Topic 1 (see below). Yes, microscopy is still in progress on my modelling of the “Shroud” of Turin by imprinting my hand, coated with dry white flour onto wet linen, then heating in an oven to develop a strong orangey-brown negative image (yup, negative, with 3D properties) and finally attenuating the image by washing in soap and water and finally drying.
Yes, I’m not only persevering with my simple and very basic microscopy techniques. I’m forever tweaking them with a view to enhancing a particular effect described earlier – one in which the final attenuated colour seems to be inside the linen fibre, not right on its surface.
Btw: this long-in-the-tooth investigator is a stubborn old goat. Once he’s found a good spot on which to stand on the perilous rock face of exploratory science, one with a new and arguably superior vantage point, he’s not going to let another old, or not-quite-so-old goat try barging in, claiming the spot as his own, saying that he’s really far better qualified to occupy the new vantage point, especially as he can then tell others where to look, and not be distracted by parts of the scenery which are deemed to be irrelevant.
Observations are still in progress on that particular specimen, presently viewed with the intermediate level of magnification (x10 objective). I have no great desire at present to use the x40 lens (see reasons later). Meanwhile here are my 3 model-friendly favourites:
The interpretation bit comes later. Time to take a break.
Original preamble to the week’s new posting:
Hello folks. It’s now Monday of Week 35 in my new blogging format, where I shall be posting Topic by Topic. This is Topic No 1. Later ones will be added on top, so as to be easier to find when flagged up elsewhere (notable Dan Porter’s shroudstory site which, for all its faults, and oh boy are they many, is needed to give this blogger a bridge to Google rankings – thanks to its funny old algorithm).
Let’s cut straight to the chase. One of the Usual Suspects on the shroudstory site, he with an exceedingly high opinion of himself, has attempted to rubbish this blogger’s microscopy. Never mind the details for now. This investigator, with three previous scientific models under his belt, all published in peer-reviewed journals (1972, 1974-78, 1986-90), is always prepared to take criticism on board and improve his experimental technique, including that of microscopy. I’ll first put up some new images generated by my latest flour-imprinting model, using a small modification of technique, one that backs up my previous claim that an image does not have to be on the primary cell wall (PCW) but may be on the layer immediately underneath (details later).
What do we see here? I say we see an image fibre in which the pigmentation is not on the most superficial layer, ie. the primary cell wall (PCW), but is actually inside the fibre. Where? As proposed earlier, the image may reside in or on a little known lignified layer that lies directly beneath the PCW, namely the S1 (the first formed secondary cell wall).
How were these images obtained? Answer, by deploying a slight change in microscopic technique flagged up earlier on the shroudstory site.
Practical details will follow later in the day.
Practical details: here’s an image that appeared early on in the posted that preceded this one (Topic 2) with its original caption:
It’s the one on the right that is relevant – the image one obtains with the more recent flour-imprinting technology (dry flour powder this is, not wet slurry, imprinted onto wet linen). But it’s the final attenuated image -after washing with soap and water – not straight from the oven. It’s the image I regard as having the closest resemblance to thje TS – faint, fuzzy etc.
So today I retrived that image, and cut more pieces from it to look more closely at the microscopic features, ones that have previously been reported here to bear an uncanny resemblance to the TS ( half-tone effect, discontinuities etc).
Here’s the same image,re-photographed this morning, being steadily snipped away for microscopy:
How to get optimal imaes from top-illuminated linen fibres?
Answer; dispense with one’s microscope’s own fixed position light source.
Switch it off completely. use a hand-held light source that can be beamed through 360 degrees until one finds the optimum angle for whatever one happens to be looking at.
More to follow: