Is the Shroud of Turin really just 18 years short of its 2000th birthday? SEE THIS BLOG FOR A DAILY ACERBIC OVERVIEW OF CURRENT WRANGLING (currently 2015, now Week 35)

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.

xx 10x objective lens. Top illumination only (optimal). Optimal focus (!)

xx
10x objective lens. Top illumination only (optimal). Optimal focus (!). Note the pale-yellow brown image fibres, a tiny proportion of those in the entire thread.

As above with a tiny clockwise adjustment of the focus wheel, increasing the distance slightly between linen and lens. Now totally out of focus!

As above with a tiny clockwise adjustment of the focus wheel, increasing the distance slightly between linen and lens. Now slightly out of focus! Discrete image fibres now hard to discern.

Slight anticlockwise turn of the focus wheel. Image now totally out -focus. So the first image was optimally focused, as indeed are all microscopic images displayed on this site, even if they look blurred. That is the fault of the microscope, lacking as it does depth of field, when viewing a 3D entity (such as linen). View single fibres instead? It's been trield, see earlier topic, and introduces a whole new range of problems, especially inability to distinguish pale image from non-image fibres, plus the birefringence of isolated fibres generally.

Slight anticlockwise turn of the focus wheel. Image now totally out -focus. So the first image was optimally focused, as indeed are all microscopic images displayed on this site, even if they look blurred. That is the fault of the microscope, lacking as it does depth of field, when viewing a 3D entity (such as linen). View single fibres instead? It’s been trield, see earlier topic, and introduces a whole new range of problems, especially inability to distinguish pale image from non-image fibres, plus the birefringence of isolated fibres generally.

Illumination? Here's the unilluminated specimen. No image fibres visible.

Illumination? Here’s the unilluminated specimen. No image fibres visible.

Here's the same field with illumination from below. Again, no image fibres visible. Test after test has shown that the light source needs to be above the specimen to detect the faint colour of image fibres.

Here’s the same field with illumination from below. Again, no image fibres visible. Test after test has shown that the light source needs to be above the specimen to detect the faint colour of image fibres.

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.

Here it is with maximum saturation (100) in the Color Slide control. Not surprisingly the image fibres are now easier to spot.

Here it is with maximum saturation (100) in the Color Slide control. Not surprisingly the image fibres are now easier to spot. There is also  a pink glow (possibly enhancement of slight fluorescence) that is interesting, in view of the BBC’s Halta image responses, but that can wait for another day. The saturation was then restored to zero, and  chnages made to Brightness, Contrast and Midtone value. Experience has taught me to start with the last of those, moving to minimum setting (-100). One doesn’t need to know how or why it changes the image – regard it as an empirical research tool for making known images more prominent and easier to see.

Midtone value -100. This is a good setting for seeing faint yellow images.

Midtone value -100. This is a good setting for seeing and strengthening faint yellow images.

Here the midtone has been kept at -100, and the contrast moved to its maximum value (100). The image fibres now look exceedingly prominent, but there's a lot of ancillary changes that are less desirable.

Here the midtone has been kept at -100, and the contrast moved to its maximum value (100). The image fibres now look exceedingly prominent, but there’s a lot of ancillary changes that are less desirable.

Finally. here are some 'optimized' settings found by trial and error that 'dramatize' so to speak the image fibres without too much distraction elsewhere.

Finally. here are some ‘optimized’ settings found by trial and error that ‘dramatize’ so to speak the image fibres without too much distraction elsewhere.

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.

Day A1, Ruel K, Neutelings G, Crônier D, David H, Hawkins S, Chabbert B.

Author information

Abstract

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.

PMID:

15968509

[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.

1.

1. Final attenuated soap-washed image (left) compared with bold image as it appears straight from the oven (right).

2.

2. Here’s a handy way of observing threads and occasional surface fibres- by pulling threads from the centre of the weave to as to view warp or weft cross threads with lots of surrounding space.

3.

3. Here’s the appearance under low power. This method is good for looking at the transition zone between coloured v uncloured threads,

4.

4 Here’s a pulled thread, again showing the transition zone.

5.

5. Here’s another method, which is to strip threads from a cut edge of the linen, again with alternating bands of image v non-image.

6.

6. Here’s the piece de resistance. Provided the pulled thread is long enough, one wets the end, and then rolls the thread between thumb and forefinger so as to gradually unspin the fibres.

7.

7. One needs to explore a range of option for obtaining the best view. Here I am using a black background with overhead illumination. The latter can be usefully supplemented on occasions, eith with daylight from a window or using a hand-held lamp at different angles.

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):

Image fibre in apposition with non-image

Image fibre in apposition with non-image (low mag, 4X objective lens). Note the extreme faintness of the coloration (which is why this work is such a challenge, with no easy remedies, far less panaceas). Let’s see how that coloration can be enhanced without producing gross or misleading artifacts.

Here's the same at greater magnification (10x objective lens( still without enhancement.

Here’s the same at greater magnification (10x objective lens( still without enhancement).

Here's the same picture, with the colour saturation slide moved from 0 to 100 in MS Office Picture Manager.

Here’s the same picture, with the colour saturation slide moved from 0 to 100 in MS Office Picture Manager.

Here's the same after making major adjustments to midtone value and contrast.

Here’s the same after making major adjustments to midtone value and contrast. Note the ‘solid-looking’ nature of the colour. Does the coloration in this model  really reside on the most superficial PCW (200-600nm thick?) as claimed for the “Shroud”?

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!

A bas relief imprint - totally unexpected!

A bas relief imprint – totally unexpected!

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 5:

New revised, updated edition!

New revised, updated edition!

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).

ants on mobius strip blue v yellow

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.

ants on mobius strip blue v yellow with red paintYellow-tailed ant then looks a while later at the underside of blue ant and notes that blue ant is leaving a trail of red footprints, as indeed are all the other ants.

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”.

From earlier:

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.

Sticky tape sample of mixed fibres (mixed image and non-image).

Sticky tape sample of mixed fibres (mixed image and non-image).

Viewing the sticky tape under the microscope, top magnification, matt black backround with overhead lighting, supplemented on occasions with a hand-held LED lamp.

Viewing the sticky tape under the microscope, top magnification, matt black backround with overhead lighting, supplemented on occasions 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.

Faint brown image fibre stripped off linen with oven-roasted then attenuated flour-imprint image.

Faint brown image fibre stripped off linen with oven-roasted then attenuated flour-imprint image.

As above, after applying maximum colour saturation.

As above, after applying maximum colour saturation.

As above, after then reducing midtone value to near-mimimum, increasing contrast with minor change in brightness.

As above, after then reducing midtone value to near-mimimum, increasing contrast with minor change in brightness.

Here are the three steps in a single graphic:

“As is” result on left with the two further stages of image enhancement described above.

Here's the result when one does the same with uncoloured fibres - essentially no change.

Here’s the result when one does the same with uncoloured fibres – entirely different response.

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.

To business:

xxx

Still taking samples from the attenuated flour imprint. Other linen samples scattered around.

xx

This was the conventional illumination that was optimum for spotting coloured fibres – from above, using th microscope’s own inbuilt, fixed angle lamp.

xx

Once an interesting fibre has been spotted, the fixed lamp is switched off, and this hand-held high-intensity lamp then used to find the optimum illumination, tested through 360 degrees and high versus low angle (here relatively low).

xxx

Here’s a gallery of 22 pictures, all from the same field of view, with different angles of illumination, and different types of photoediting in MS Office Picture Manager.

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:

xxx

1st: a particular fibre that has been illuminated from a low angle from the “north- west” approx, then given max colour saturation, then given max contrast.

xxx

Second: It’s the same as above, but without the final contrast.

xxxx

Third: it’s the same as above, but without the extra saturation. In other words it’s the “as-is” output from the microscope’s USB attachment as seen on screen  before photoediting.

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).

Note the vertical image fibre from flour imprinting, as seen under the microscope with its own top-illumination.

Note the vertical image fibre from flour imprinting, as seen under the microscope with the new illumination technique (side-lining  that of the microscope with its fixed-angle top-illumination mode).

Now see it photoedited under the minimal value for midtone value, WITHOUT any adjustment to contrast.

Now see it photoedited under the minimal value for midtone value, WITHOUT any adjustment to contrast.

Now see it with maximum contrast.

Now see it with maximum contrast.

Now see it on the same cumulative settings with a small decrease in brightness.

Now see it on the same cumulative settings with a small decrease in brightness.

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:

From this blogger's recent photoarchive: Left: a typical imprint of his hand using a wet flour slurry, followed by heating (hot iron). Right: a much fuzzier more TS-like image obtained by imprinting with dry flour onto wet linen, followed by heat treatment (oven) and final washing with soap and water for that iconic ghostly-look. The cut-out sample was for microscopy.

From this blogger’s recent photoarchive: Left: a typical imprint of his hand using a wet flour slurry, followed by heating (hot iron).
Right: a much fuzzier more TS-like image obtained by imprinting with dry flour onto wet linen, followed by heat treatment (oven) and final washing with soap and water for that iconic ghostly-look. The cut-out sample was for microscopy.

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:

xx

Yes, the attenuated image- an imprint of this blogger’s fingers – is faint – as per TS! That’s because it was washed with soap and water after the oven-roasting stage.

How to get optimal imaes from top-illuminated linen fibres?

Answer; dispense with one’s microscope’s own fixed position light source.

Microscope with external LED light source (hand held, variable angle) for optimal illumination.

Microscope with external LED light source (hand held, variable angle) for optimal illumination.

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:

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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.
This entry was posted in medieval forgery, Shroud of Turin and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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