Friday, April 25, 2014

How infuriating. LIRA (The Linen Industry Research Association of Belfast) is no more.

Yes, it closed in 1993. Damnation!

"The Linen Industry Research Association, Lambeg, Lisburn was a government research centre founded in 1921 for the study of textiles, especially linen. LIRA closed in 1993."


There's so much it could have done (if asked nicely) to check out the various Shroudie narratives (one in particular!) as to where the image is located on the Turin Shroud.

 Looks like I may have to invest in an upmarket microscope after all.

Binocular microscope? Is a binocular microscope essential  to check out the  claim (Raymond N. Rogers et al) that the image layer can be stripped off Shroud image fibres?  Would it be reproducible in superficial model contact scorches? How feasible is it to micromanipulate  individual scorched linen fibres under a standard microscope?

Further reading: here's a link to an extract from a book called "The King's Flax", which describes attempts, encouraged by the monarch (King George V) referred to in the title to put 20th century  UK flax and linen production onto a more scientific footing. It was that which led to the creation of LIRA. (This blogger has a soft spot for the UK's now dwindling number of industrial research associations, funded jointly by Government and industry, having worked for one, initially on Principal Scientific Officer grade in the  Nutrition and Toxicology Group for some 12 years, i.e. FMBRA - the Flour Milling and Baking Research Association).

Update: I see one can buy not only binocular microscopes but trinocular ones too, i.e. with both monocular and binocular modes of viewing. But do they come with a USB connection for viewing and screen grab, and low as well as high magnification? S  As reported earlier, the lowest magnification on my present USB microscope was too high in order to resolve a particular issue!

Some thorough catalogue-searching will need to be done in this household, with its attached kitchen-lab

Speaking of which, kitchen labs that is, I'm presently away from home (in Switzerland) and away from my usual kit. But I've been eye-balling what happens when one applies sticky tape to scorched linen. The first pull takes off heavily scorched fibres (not whole threads, note, but individual, so-called ultimate fibres). With fresh tape on the same area, one gets progressively lighter harvests of detatched fibres. So far so good. One is basically seeing what Raymond N.Rogers did with his sticky tape sampling of the Turin Shroud.

It's what happens next that is interesting. If one takes the sticky tape samples, one can lever up free or broken ends of fibres, and then pull them out with tweezers (tricky but feasible). When one looks at the extracted fibres, one's first thought is that they are colourless, matching Rogers' description, i.e. his claim that the image colour stays behind through being highly superficial and able to be easily stripped off. But here's the caveat. If one sticks the collected "clean" fibres back on paper with the same sticky tape. one then finds they are in fact still yellow or brown, and indeed is able to compare them with those that were not removed, i.e. still in situ, to see there is really no colour difference when compared side-by-side under the same conditions, i.e. white background, viewed through a thickness of sticky tape. In other words, one has to beware of artifacts when looking at individual fibres, even with the naked eye (with still more artifacts possible when using a microscope).

What I have described here is a means of viewing those stripped and unstripped fibres side by side, with the option of making a permanent photographic record. For the moment I for one shall be keeping an open mind as to whether the image layer of scorched linen is easily strippable and, by extension, whether that is true also for the Turin Shroud. As ever, where subtle colour changes and surface (?) phenomena  are concerned, the devil is in the detail. Thus the need to maintain a meticulous and objective photographic record.

Late update (Sunday 27 April). I see my posting, my very preliminary, some might say tendentious posting re the much quoted Rogers' sticky tape experiment, has quickly been picked up elsewhere.

It's illustrated with that amazing chequer board illusion that appeared on the same site over a year ago, and which this dyed-in-the-wool sceptic initially found hard to believe.

Well, here below is the initial claim, namely that squares A and B are both of the same grey intensity, followed by  my checking out using MS Paint to blot out the surrounding squares. Yes, squares A and B are the same intensity, incredible though that may seem, once isolated from their visual-cortex fooling surroundings.

Do squares A and B really have the same shade of grey?

Answer: YES!!!!!!!

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