Friday, August 29, 2014

Let's move things along one easy step at a time - making life as difficult as possible for those who leech off other people's content.

New feature of this site (I can't speak for others):  here's a LINK that takes you straight to Comments.

Admittedly the comments are all my own on this and recent postings, possibly because Blogger Blogspot, for reasons best known to itself,  does not see fit to provide a sidebar link to Comments, at least not as a default. Folk have to scroll down through a posting, which while tedious is tolerable if the posting is short. But mine are now deliberately long, for reasons stated previously.

Hey, I've even been able to add a Shortcut to Comments to the sidebar. Where there's a will, there's a way.

Update: Sunday August 31:

A critique of this posting has appeared on Dan Porter's shroudstory site. He still seems aggrieved at my continuing references to ENEA's Dr.Paolo Di Lazzaro as a "Mickey Mouse scientist", despite my recent  line-by-line critique of a guest-posting which at Porter's instigation, PDL delivered against me PERSONALLY on shroudstory. That recent response of mine (scroll down to the blue font) should surely have convinced anyone that if anything my language was moderate and restrained, given the liberties that PDL has taken with physics and chemistry in his attempts to dismiss thermal imprinting (aka scorch hypothesis) and prmpt us all " to think more about philosophy and theology". (Groan: what's become of the country that gave us Galileo?)

 (His theology, needless to say, with its obsession and belief in the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin).

I have penned a hasty response (since I'm setting off my travels again later today) and attached it to the end of this posting (more blue font, use your laptop's search  facility for "Blogmeister" to get taken straight there). While I'm away, with intermittent access to the hotel's wifi, anything further I have to say will  be here on this posting, over-long though it may be already. I will not be participating in discussion on Porter's site until I get back, no matter what the provocation (his trolls far surpassing in their insults my use of the Walt Disney descriptor, like being told I select results to "distort", or that my writings are "drivel").

IMPORTANT: The text and graphics here are my property, the end-product of a great deal of research and reflection, regardless of whether my conclusions finally prove right or wrong.  By all means paraphrase the text, and give links to the graphics. But kindly DON'T COPY  AND PASTE  - unless you are a genuine Shroud researcher with constructive ideas of your own, or willing to invest a little time and thought, as distinct from churning out a never-ending stream of vacuous musings, designed purely to entertain and titillate your client base. 

 The Shroud  represents the tip of an iceberg in our modern internet-connected society - the systematic deployment of PSEUDO-SCIENCE to push through an agenda, whether that be commercial, religious, doctrinal, political or ideological, i.e the thin-end of some kind of control-freak wedge.

As a defensive measure against the cut-and-paste merchants, those who pirate others' copy, simply to whet the appetite of their faithful clientele, then I will say this.

  Yes, we know your clients are dependent on and grateful for their daily fix of  ridicule against those who, like myself, oppose the pseudo-science of the pro-authenticity tendency. But I'm no longer prepared to tolerate your raiding my postings, often within hours of hitting the send button, simply to see eviscerated, hollowed out, spin-doctored  versions appear on your site that attempt to portray me as some kind of hopeless bumbling amateur intruding into your closed-off little world of  shroudology. You allow your clients to refer to my research as bent, biased, drivel etc etc, yet spring to their defence whenever I blow the whistle on their systematic trolling and character attacks.

I shall now make it my business to make life as difficult for the scavengers of other people's content. I've previously adopted the strategy of posting in serial instalments, sometimes over several days. I'll now take that a step further and pitch my postings to genuine  fellow researchers, using a minimum of explanation, relying on their intelligence and open-mindedness to grasp the way my thoughts are going.

I shall start today's new pirate/troll unfriendly MO with a series of pictures, with minimalist captions.  In fact, I'm in no hurry to add any further content just yet..

 I repeat, just in case you failed to get the message first time. Kindly don't copy/paste my pictures, my text, my property unless you are a bona fide fellow researcher.

Friday 29 Aug

Here's a picture that I've dredged up from my image archives. Note the two kinds of template, top left and bottom right, both metal, but differing in 3D character if deployed as templates for leaving a thermal imprint on fabric (linen, cotton etc). One is largely  "flat"and rectilinear, apart from that curving edge. The other is rounded, a  bas relief  in fact.

Note btw the strategy that was adopted right from the start - not to rely on a single imprint, but to do serial imprints, each one draining thermal energy out of the template, until the there was no point in continuing further, the template having reached a particular temperature at which it could no longer scorch fabric (while still being able to give a hiss and steam when water was run over it under a tap.

To be continued (as and when the spirit moves this patient, systematic, one-step-at-a-time but nevertheless determined blogger).


Here's a link to a Mickey Mouse scientist (speaking "as a scientist bla bla") who couldn't be bothered to do serial imprints, who relied upon just one sustained pressing of heated (probably overheated) template against linen  to get an excessively deep scorch, and who then concluded that ALL scorches would leave imprints on the opposite side of the fabic. Yup, MICKEY MOUSE SCIENCE, one of the worst examples I have seen in my entire research career, sent as an email to Dan Porter's site (at his instigation) directed at me and the 'scorch hypothesis' specifically.

More to come (please be patient, my restricted  but non-agenda driven, non-Mickey Mouse-scientist populated client base).


Here's an iconic picture, which should need no introduction:

If you don't know what it represents, please don't blame me, someone who has spent years trying to explain. Just accept that it is important.

Think pseudo-positive Secondo Pia image, a reversal of light and dark on the 'as-is' Shroud face, a mind-blowing appearance of a "photograph", not seen until 1898. It's got to be a photograph of the crucified Jesus, miraculously preserved , right,  albeit as a non-photogenic negative, intended as a present to 20th century man, right? Right? Do I hear any voices of dissension? No?  Time up, let's quickly move on.

 But it's not quite perfect is it? That sharp demarcation between image and non-image, light v dark, not just one side of the face, but TWO, and symmetrical about a vertical midline, says the cut-off image is real, but hardly photogenic.

Cue the entire "banding" story. It's all due to differences between one batch of yarn and another, those 1st century linen manufacturers having failed to get the bleaching perform in a reproducible fashion. Quality control was still a few centuries away you see,  that "cut-off" being just an accident of bleaching variability, despite that remarkable 'bilateral symmetry' about the midline. That's a green light, OK, to get busy with modern photo-editing, to do away with those pale strips making the face look too narrow, too  mask-lke. Yup, lets fiddle around with this or that to get the face to look "right", as it would if there had been no pesky defects in 1st century bleaching technology. Just intone "banding variation" enough times, and then go to town on the infilling of those otherwise unsightly cut-offs.

21:30   In the post immediately preceding thsi one, I showed what happens when the 'cut-off' Shroud face is entered into ImageJ for 3D enhancement. It seems my observations have been  questioned and/or misunderstood  in some quarters, despite mysubsequently finding they square with what previously has been reported by pro-authenticity image analysts.

More about that later. As I say, let's take on step at a time. Let's remind ourselves what happens when those scorch imprints above are entered into a 3D-enhancement program (Image J). We'll start with standard settings (natural colour, minimal smoothing, just sufficient to avoid 'spikiness', and just enough uplift in the z value (3D-producing control) to achieve an image that neither nover- nor under-exaggerates the 3d-ness of of the original template.(This is where we modellers, with our 'drivel', score over those who spend weeks tweaking the 3D images. We can compare what's on screen with the template. The sindologists who have no time for models have never laid eyes on the man whose image they say is imprinted, either miraculously or by natural processes.Their knob-twiddling and slide-control sliding is not normalised against any reference system. Mine is.

Above: 3D rendering of the scorch imprint below in ImageJ (standard original colour settings).

To those who claim that a model scorch imprint can never match to 3D properties of the TS image, my response to such pseudo-science is to say - prove it if you can (but you can't for the reason already cited - you've never seen the original

 In fact there's a huge amount of misinformation and mythologizing about the 3D properties of the TS. We are told that "no painting" shows 3D enhancibility. Oh yes it does, as I showed not so long about, merely by entering images into ImageJ that had no 3D history:

A 3D enhancement program reads image brightness (or darkness) as height on a relief map - the higher the image density, the higher the relief and vice versa.

There's one term that ought to be summarily uprooted from the literature, namely that the TS image has "encoded" 3D information. No it doesn't anymore than those flags above have encoded information.It's simply a pattern of light and dark on fabric, one that may and indeed probably was derived from a 3D subject, but there was no encoding by imprinting - merely an analogue process of capturing the topological relief - the higher the relief, the greater the density of the image. It's no more encoded than the scorch mark left by the sole of an iron held too long  or too hard against a pillow case.The proof comes from photography, where one simply captures differences between light and dark, maybe in colour too, but using a camera - not an encoding computer in sight. The computers come later, in offering options as to how that captured information can be displayed to best advantage. Repeat: the camera itself is not a computer, even if it's the modern digital type that incorporates ancillary software to assist with focusing, filtration etc etc.The use of terms like "encoded" is a slippery slope where the TS is concerned, one that quickly disposes of the line between science and science fiction.


I've only a few hours left before heading off into the wild blue yonder (the Caucasus), Icelandic volcanoes permitting, so will simply add pictures here that tell their own story, or should do, provided one is not wedded to a pro-authenticity agenda that assumes either (a) miraculous outside assistance in image formation, defying the laws of physics and chemistry or (b) a series of near miraculous processes operating over years and decades, maybe involving some initial brief contact between a corpse and linen, that gradually matures like cheese in a dark cave.

I say one should start with the obvious - thermal imprinting off a metal template - and too be too quick to dismiss it for lacking this or that incidental feature of the TS image, like say lack of uv fluorescence (which some have done, without knowing or caring about the nature of the chemical species that may or may not be present to confer fluorescence. Quick screening processes HAVE to have a solid scientific foundation if they are to a reliable aid in decision making.

That was obtained using ImageJ in 'Thermal LUT' mode. (LUT apparently stands for Look Up Table, so seems a somewhat superfluous tag to me, but I stand to be corrected).

Whenever I post a picture in Thermal mode, the aficionados (notably OK in Poland and Hugh Farey) can be relied upon to ask what level of 'smoothing' one has used, cautioning against excessive smoothing. Yes, it's important to get that optimized, which is why I've added that picture immediately above. It's been taken with the smoothing slide moved far enough towards its zero setting to get that spiky image. I then raise it one percentage point at a time until the spikiness just disappears. That would seem to my untutored mind where IT is concerned to represent the point at which the software switches from from digital (binary) display to a more user-friendly pseudo- or at any rate virtual analogue representation.

To me, the interesting, hopefully scientifically-meaningful control as I've said before in the one labelled "min" in the lower right hand corner. I'll be using this posting to report some new validation(?) findings where that min control has been systematically varied when applied to the TS image alongside a 2D relief diagram, the kind used in atlases, which has no 3D history. (There's a recurring error in shroudology that consists of confusing a map with the territory it tries to portray; I for one have no intention of falling into that particular rap).

First, lets show 2D images of the TS face, first from Shroud Scope (added contrast) with my added yellow lines to indicate the sharp cut-offs, and then the corresponding 3D-renderings in ImageJ in Thermal LUT mode at three levels of "min" control advancement. As I say, we'll worry about the nature of of that "min" re-processing shortly. let's not lose sight of the objective, which is to see if the cut-off is a property of the underlying linen that alters its ability to respond to the image-imprinting process OR whether it's a property of the subject or representation thereof (template etc) that would result in a cut-off, regardless of the yarn-to-yarn variation in the weave of the fabric, allegedly the cause of "banding".

Compare the 2D and 3D images closely, especially at the outer extremities of the left and right side cheeks. (Click to enlarge images). Notice anything? I did, and said as much, and have since discovered by googling that I'm not the first to have noticed the effect that 3D imaging has on that peculiar cut-off. Petrus Soons has reported it too (insert link), not so long ago, in fact (2010).

Dr.Soons's words (my bolding):

“The following photograph shows the difference once we applied the technique that Barrie indicated. On the left is a photograph of material we used to produce the first Master hologram and it is clear that there are very dark imageless areas in the banding. The photos 2 and 4 show the face with the corrections. Also another method was used in the conversion of 2D to 3D and that resulted also in much more detail. Photo 3 is the gray-scale information of the photos 2 and 4. The face is now much more “natural” and detailed.”

Odd, don't you think, that Petrus Soons can say it, and the godfathers of Shroudology are happy to accept it as fact, confident no doubt that there will be no anti-authenticity implications. When I say it, with a hint of an anti-authenticty message, it's not the message that is targeted (relying on guilt by association) but the very facts themselves.

Can anyone explain how the image* on Colin Berry’s blog can begin to convince us that banding is not really all that real. Maybe you can understand what Colin is saying. Something about “bilateral symmetry.” If anything, it helps to convince me that there really is banding there. You really need to see it in its full size in Colin’s blog space so CLICK HERE.

 Having thus used my posting and my graphics to provide a "new posting", with just enough words to set me up as an Aunt Sally for his client base (trolls included, who are allowed free rein to impugn my research credentials and character) he then diverts the topic onto the photographic jiggery-pokery, sorry subjective, non-validated photoediting (out) of Godfather-in-chief:

Barrie Schwortz did some of the earliest technical work to show one optical illusion effect of the banding. (Use Google translation after obtaining the linked-to page in order to see it in English). It is well worth reading.
The left image shows vertical banding on the outside portion of each cheek that extends upward and downward well above and below the face, particularly so on the right side. The middle image shows the area Barrie chose to add +20 points (Photoshop calibration) of RGB luminance. The effect is immediately obvious in the right picture.

Good, isn't it, the way that one's latest postings can be instantly flagged, only to be  instantly queried, immediately sidelined, then used to give a puff to someone who is a photographer (I don't doubt a good one) but with no scientific credentials that I'm aware of, who simple uses one device ("trick") or another to "correct" for an alleged image fault. Yes, a  near-iconic feature of the TS face - it's severe, narrow, 'rectangular-look' is clawerly seen as problematical in Shroudie Land, something to be corrected or "fixed". And what better way to do it than seize on a tendentious authenticity-friendly hypothesis, namely banding as a result of 1st century inability to bleach flax yarn uniformly without batch-to-batch variation. Thanks then to Hugh Farey for providing another explanation, a new paradigm as someone else splendidly put it. Science thrives on its paradigm changes. Agenda-driven pseudoscience does not.

There's a word for what is doing, systematically, month in, month out, year in, year out. It's on the tip of my tongue.

We'll leave the interpretation of the humanising 3D-fleshing-out effect till later. First I want to insert a word as to why I never bought into the "banding explains all" mantra from the word go, and became the target for no end of ridicule for having done so. (I might try dredging some of it up later to show what happens to us Doubting Thomases who have the temerity to question Shroudie Land's received wisdom.
There were 3 main grounds for rejecting the banding hypothesis:

1.The symmetry of those cut-offs, appearing on both sides of the face at approximately the same distance from the vertical axis, what I dubbed "bilateral symmetry" would have been somewhat fortuitous if each cut-off, and each pale zone between cheek and hair, were the result of yarn differences. Sure, accidents and other events that a priori seem improbable do happen, but  one's suspicions should be immediately aroused when those who rush to impose their models show no readiness to comment on the 'mirror image' look of those cut-offs, suggestive of something other than a chance event.

2. If the linearity of those cut-offs were due entirely to banding, due to some threads being more receptive to image-imprinting than others. then one would expect the blocking effect, if not complete, at least able to prevent major features of a face from displaying. But that was not the case, which was why I made the yellow line shorter on the right than the left. The prominent cheek bone on the viewer's right HAS been able to image onto the pale zone. (There's a hint of it having happened to the opposite side too). The crucial no-go area for image reception is NOT unbreachable, provided the subject's physiognomy offers something that interrupts an otherwise linear edge, that something being a prominent cheekbone.

3. The clincher for me is that distinctive feature of the TS image, one that was rarely commented upon until this blogger came along, namely the transverse 'crease' where chin meets neck.There are some, naming no names, who try to dismiss it as merely a crease that was acquired in folding or rolling after acquisition of the image. Well, that simply does not stand up to the facts, namely that the character of that 'crease' is indistinguishable for the rest of the body image, at least where colour is concerned. It's NOT a shadow,like so many other transverse markings are concerned , the latter being the result of oblique lighting. It has a fine structure that is a twin-track at first approximation, i.e. dark-light-dark, and one of the tracks is darker than the other. I've done a number of postings in the past on what I now describe as a 'baked-in crease', implying that it's a permanent feature that is NOT a temporary crease that one could hope to iron out. That baked-in crease is an INTEGRAL part of the TS image, and as such can be used for hypothesis-testing or for model evaluation (which amounts to the same thing).  So what's that baked-in crease got to off re the banding hypothesis? A great deal, because it is imprinted right across the chin/neck region, indifferent to the two pale 'no-go' areas. Why should a crease, somehow formed and baked-in at the instant of image capture, be able to leave an imprint on a particular type of yarn, unreceptive to main body image? It's at best an anomaly, but when combined with the two previous objections, it says that the banding hypothesis simply cannot be sustained. It fails to account for all the evidence, and indeed makes no attempt to do so (my previous objections having been brushed aside).

So, if it's not banding that is responsible for the non-image zone (Petrus's terminology).i.e. the cut-off effect, which I see is what Hugh Farey too now maintains, based on a close-look at weave characteristics, the herringbone spines especially (good work, that man)  then what is?

As I said in the preceding post, if there's  nothing intrinsically wrong with the linen, preventing it accepting an image at a particular location, then it has to be something to do with the properties of the subject, or part thereof, along the same portion of imprinting.

So the next step is to take another close look at the 2D image and those 3D-enhancements, and ask oneself the question: what could leave a 2D imprint with a sharp cut-off at both cheeks, giving an unnatural look, yet appear a lot more  human and natural when that same 2D image was 3D-enhanced by reading image density as height of relief?

My answer, for what it's worth (and I don't deny that a lot more supporting evidence will be needed to nail it conclusively): the imprint was made from a mask-like bas-relief  OR from a  fully in-the-round 3D subject or effigy thereof  ("statue") that was imprinted from in such a way as to capture uppermost relief only, thereby avoiding wrap-around effect and/or lateral distortion, i.e. to yield a quasi (pseudo?) essentially bas relief end-result.

Before moving on to explore the new horizons of the post-banding world, this might be a good moment to mention another use I've made of the Thermal mode in ImageJ (thanks again OK for the tip). I mentioned that 'baked-in' crease as a diagnostic aid, and said how it seemed an integral part of the TS image in terms of colour (original colour that is). But there was one unsatisfactory aspect, namely it's reluctance to show a convincing response to 3D imaging in standard settings. there will be some who might ask why it should, if it's simply a crease, and not an imprint off a 3D template. But I have to remain consistent. If claiming as I do that response to 3D depends purely on the distribution of light and dark in a 2D image, regardless of history (3D OR 2D) then one expects that crease to respond.

Well, I was relieved yesterday to find that the colour-coding feature of the Thermal mode, which can be amplified using the "min" control, does allow one to see a 3D response. It's not dramatic, in fact it's at the limit of visibility, but is nevertheless there.

Can you see what I can see? (viewing obliquely from a 'south-easterly' direction).

Here's the 2D Shroud Scope image from which it was obtained.

I should have taken a third snapshot of the crease before or after the Thermal mode,  to show how it was difficult to visualize in standard original colour settings. It's too late now, but I will come back later with a new comparison where everything is matched except for Thermal v Standard mode.

 Late addition: no sooner said that done

So, why the emphasis in this and the previous posting on that Thermal mode. What does it tell us that the Standard mode does not. Is it really the Thermal aspect that is the novelty, or is it a belated recognition that the "min" control should have been harnessed sooner as am image- research tool, which may have been overlooked earlier through lacking the colour-coding of relief that now makes it seem meaningful. Past oversights apart, is that min control doing something that is scientifically-meaningful and defensible. I do not like twiddling knobs unless I understand what is happening inside the electronic black box, maybe not at a detailed IT level, bit at least in broad brush terms ("one is accentuating this or that feature of an image, amyeb at the expense of something else, maybe with risk of distortions of other artefacts that can be tolerated if one can systematically track them through doing a series of small changes). The way to investigate ImageJ, using my axiom that it's merely reading image intensity as height, with no need to assume a 3D history (indeed a major error to assume so) is to create a 2D diagram with graded image intensity, with no 3D history, to check that it responds as expected in ImageJ's standard settings, and then to compare the behaviour of the TS image with that reference model alongside. I reported that exercise here some months ago, and will use the same 2D model in the next series of pictures.

Saturday mid-morning

Here's the starting point for the 'ramp up the min value' exercise, Shroud Scope TS image on left, and my colour-coded model on the right (not that the first thing that Thermal does it dismiss one's own colour scheme and replace it with its own numerically-scaled colour coding of image height (z value) above ????.. Oops.  I nearly said base plane, but if you read the scale, it's the ceiling that is being used as the reference plane. Why is that? It's because the default mode in ImageJ reads image density as depth beneath the surface, not height above, and I have corrected for that using the Invert option near the top right hand corner, which ImageJ responds to by reversing the markings on  the vertical z scale. Put another way, Image J recognizes that the input image is a negative, not positive. I could have inverted the image first - an option under Edit in ImageJ,  but chose not to, wishing to stick with the as-as image to minimize the risk of unforseen difficulties, me being a rookie image analyst.

OK, let's start racking up. Clcik on images to enlarge (when you may then be able to see the steps in the "min" value setting).

 And now for a big jump, to see what happens at the top end of the scale where the TS image becomes useless.

As one can see, ramping up the min value has a dramatic effect on the TS image, and while there are obvious changes in the strictly 2D image too, they are rather subtle, implying no great change in algorithm that governs matrix transformation and final image appearance. That gives on confidence that it is legitimate to use the min setting freely, if or when it appears to bring out, dare one say 'unmask' extra detail that might otherwise be hidden. I'm finding it hard right now to select the terms that best describe what that min value control has done, although "amplifying", possible "stretching" or "elongating" are possible candidates. Maybe there's someone reading this who can make sense of ImageJ's help files, and explain for the benefit of us greenhorns what is happening. Who knows, we might then progress up the ImageJ colour scale become yellowhorns or even redhorns.

Afterthought: I'm realizing I should have created a new 2D diagram with a narrower range of tones that match more closely those of the Shroud Scope Durante image, especially I used the latter with no extra contrast - a break from my previous practice. My model is lacking in sensitivity relative to the  TS image.

I'm tempted right now to deliver a lecture on the difference between scientific and non- scientific image-processing, and extend it to cover scientific photoediting and non-scientific photo-editing. No doubt I'd be told to get of my "high horse|", to which my answer would be that I've already spent far too much off a professional high horse and an now experiencing the downside. The scientific approach is two-fold - what you see above where there's a systematic variation to see what happens, aided with a simple model for comparison, but essentially hypothesis-free, to see what happens and report the results without imposing any model. There's the unscientific approach, which is to select particualr settings, failing to control them systematically, depriving one of a wider perspective. Then there's the totally unscientific approach, indeed pseudo-scientific approach, which is to fiddle around with settings , judging which results fit best with one's preconceived notions about "banding" as an explanation for image-cut off, and effectively to doctor the TS image in a way that can be used not only to impress the suggestible or gullible, but to  distract genuine scientific enquiry into the most puzzling iconic features of the TS image.

Pseudo-science stinks. It stinks to high heaven. Somebody has to say it.

Afterthought: that posting to which I take great except, using me simply as a coathanger for someone else's garment, also has a totally inappropriate title:

"Banding. Is it real". Banding we know is an obsession in shroudology. But my posting did not attempt to question the reality of banding. It simply points out that an image appears in the cut-off zones when 3D-rendered. It hints at a possible explanation - namely that the lack of 2D imaging is something to do with the properties of a 3D template, whether bas relief  or something more life-like. Beyond that I have nothing more to say (as yet), but am pleased to see that Petrus Soons had earlier observed the same effect. No doubt he interprets of differently if his explanation is reliant on banding. I say that banding is looking more an more like agenda-driven  pseudoscience, especially as it's touted as fact based on the assumption that the TS cloth is a product of 1st century linen technology.I t's the job of the objective scientist to seek out these cosy little underlying assumptions that masquerade as established fact.

For an extension of pseudo-science try googling "shroud quad mosaic". Look out for the bit where you are told that the different colours 'obviously' or even 'apparently' represent different molecular species. Beware of photographers posing as scientists. Challenge them to produce evidence that their zones of different colour represent differences at the chemical level, as distinct from knob-twiddling artefacts.

Then read Hugh Farey on the subject. Yer gotta larf, han't yer?

Returning to an earlier point, i.e. choosing the best word for what's been happening re this site and wider blogosphere these last 32 months. There were those lectures we had on different trophic (feeding) relationships. There was predation. Nope, that's not the right word. Predation is  sudden kill, often done quickly and efficiently by predators. Was it symbiosis? Nope, that where two organisms cooperate to get mutual benefit. Think lichen - a fusion of algae and fungus. The algae photosynthesizes, supplying sugar and other nutrients to the fungus. The fungus attaches to the stone, establishing a firm grip, absorbing minerals, some of which are passed to the algal cells. Nope, not symbiois in any shape or form. However, I seem to recall another lifestyle, one where one organism feeds off  another unwilling victim on a long term basis, gaining benefit, offering nothing in return, and in fact stunting and weakening the other. I can't for the life of me  recall what that set up was called, but think it ended in -ism, and maybe started with a p. It certainly wasn't professionalism. What I'm talking about is entirely unprofessional in blogging terms - just look at that recent offering for a glaring example, but there are scores of others, all based on the same one-way drain-the-lifeblood trophic model.

Saturday midday.

Halleluja. There's not ony a wiki entry on LookUp Tables, but a subsection devoted to LUTs  in image processing.

Here's just a couple of  selected paragraph to provide a flavour.  (Even I can make sense of them, well, in places).

In data analysis applications, such as image processing, a lookup table (LUT) is used to transform the input data into a more desirable output format. For example, a grayscale picture of the planet Saturn will be transformed into a color image to emphasize the differences in its rings.
A classic example of reducing run-time computations using lookup tables is to obtain the result of a trigonometry calculation, such as the sine of a value. Calculating trigonometric functions can substantially slow a computing application. 

(section omitted)

In image processing, lookup tables are often called LUTs and give an output value for each of a range of index values. One common LUT, called the colormap or palette, is used to determine the colors and intensity values with which a particular image will be displayed. In computed tomography, "windowing" refers to a related concept for determining how to display the intensity of measured radiation..

Oh, and here's a link to Hugh Farey's thesis, the one that drives a coach-and-horses through the banding hypothesis.

I was pleased to see that my own input received a mention, even if I'm just one of a "number of people"  who have commented on the "reflective symmetry about the midline". Now why didn't I think of that - reflective symmetry, that is  instead of my  clunky "bilateral symmetry"? I came close, mind you, referring once as I recall to "mirror images".

Saturday mid-afternoon

So where are we at? What does the 3D result in Thermal mode have anything new to say, if anything, about the nature of a putative template (I leave it to others to fathom out the consequences in terms of the banding narrative). What do the parallel image transformations with the metal templates have to say, if anything, about the reasons for a 2D image with strong linear character losing that severe cut-off look in 3D mode?

I shall deliberate on those questions some more befo0re committing thoughts to print. Even they, they will be hedged around with so many qualifications, ifs and buts to make them less porterable, correction, portable.

Saturday evening

Have just spotted this comment from Thibault Heimburger. Spot the computer-assisted image re-processing masquerading as science (I've used bolding to provide some help).

August 30, 2014 at 2:15 pm
Thank you Hugh for clarification.
” The face on the shroud has a ‘vertically aligned’ look, with sharply cut-off cheeks and vertically falling hair. The question is, are these light bands true representations of the model (dead body, bas relief,painting or whatever), or are they artifacts of the cloth, or of the photographs in which they appear?”
The banding problem is not some kind of “all or nothing”.
There are several kinds of bands on the Shroud. Here we are speaking of the alternated regular light and dark vertical bands.
You have shown that these bands are clearly connected to the herringbone weave of the fabric. I fully agree and some weeks ago I also discovered the same fact in the hands area.

The light bands on both sides of the TS man face are connected to the herringbone weave ( ‘pitch’) of the fabric.
“So the light vertical areas defining the sides of the cheeks are really present, but they are not as precise or as well defined as they appear, and are not merely artifacts of the cloth, but real areas where the image making process just didn’t happen.”
How can you conclude that in those areas “the image making process just didn’t happen.”

Thierry Castex is a true expert in imaging techniques.
From Castex and your studies, one can conclude: 1) there is an image in these light vertical areas.
2) The light vertical bands are closely related to the herringbone weave
3) If you exclude the effect of the weave, you obtain a much more realistic image.

Now, the true question is: how can we explain the relationship between the herringbone weave and the image? 

It doesn't matter how expert Thierry Castex is in imaging techniques. He knows nothing about how the image was formed, so is no better informed than anyone else as what is or is not a "realistic image".
The only thing one can legitimately do with photo-editing is to test scientific hypotheses. To start with presumptions, that are in fact hypotheses, and then "confirm" those presumptions with filtration or any other photoediting technique is not science.

Addendum: Sunday Aug 31

Blogmeister Dan Porter succeeded in finding someone in his so-called “Shroud Science Group”( (science my foot!) prepared to take me on re the TS image being a thermal imprint (“contact scorch”).

  Feb 21 2012   L

 Paolo Di Lazzaro, my bete noir since December 2011- the very same individual who raised my hackles with his daft uv excimer  experiments, telling us all to think more about philosophy and theology,  duly obliged with a guest posting on Porter’s site.

Having already shot himself in one scientific foot, he then proceeded there to shoot himself in the other with his claim, based on a single prolonged pressing of a hot coin into linen, that a scorch would ALWAYS penetrate through to the other side. Not content with that crass, self-serving  exercise, he then proceeded to preach the gospel of radiation physics according to Paolo Di Lazzaro, effectively shooting himself a third time through the head.  When a hot metal template is pressed into linen, he intoned, the initial effects of conduction at the surface are immediately followed by production of secondary infrared radiatio  (which I don’t dispute). He then went on to claim that infrared would produce further scorching at a distance, progressively deeper and deeper, right through to the opposite. Garbage. Complete and utter garbage. Perhaps he missed my  very first TS posting on this site, inspired by ENEAs tomfoolery, and directed at PDL, having reads his attempts to “explain himself” further on Tom  Chiver’s Telegraph blog. That's where I reported  a simple experiment showing that one could not scorch linen with an intense source of primary infared (and white light) holding it close to a spotlight with an incandescent tungsten filament:  to get scorching there had to something dark  or black present to absorb and retain the infrared radiation (I used charcoal, and coined the term “thermo-stencilling”)

Talk about piling error on error. PDL went on to mock those  who considered forgery was a possibility by citing the “microscopic complexity” of the TS image, thereby displaying the most profound ignorance and misunderstanding of the world of atoms and molecules. (The latter  self-organize you know, sometimes as a response to supplying with thermal energy, or even when thermal energy is withdrawn, as is the case with formation of unique six-sided snow crystals when water vapour or aerosols are cooled – producing, yes,  microscopic complexity, needing no outside assistance, either from man or On High.

I could have got very personal about seeing the subject I love, the one that has provided an immense source of satisfaction, to say nothing of a roof over my head, by roasting PDL on every internet forum in sight, starting with Tom Chivers’ blog. I did not. I was content to flag up that he and his ‘theophysicist” pals at ENEA were in my view Mickey Mouse scientists, and for my trouble immediately offended the finer sensibilities of Dan Porter. But he is not part of  the solution, whatever he may think. Dan Porter is and was part of the problem in then recruiting PDL from the self-styled, self-appointed  "Shroud Science Group" to come onto his site injecting still more  pseudo-science into Shroudology, and doing so  moreover to attack me and my orthodox science.

That Dan Porter should still be attempting to defend PDL, ignoring completely the rights and wrongs of the science, having himself set PDL against me personally, and still be banging on about my ‘name-calling’, given the discretion I have exercised in the face of huge provocation at both the scientific and personal level, says we are now beginning to see the true face of Organized Promotion of Shroudie PseudoScience. There’s no point in Porter constantly telling us about his own doubts and open-mindedness. That’s an irrelevance, since he never goes beyond expressing his doubts. He never addresses the issues in detail, and whenever I attempt to do that in my postings (well over 200 to date) the response is invariably a quick one of his own with my name in the title, followed by a cold douche that I have had the temerity to question his idea of orthodoxy, rooted as I say in pseudo-science on an industrial scale. Oh, and my graphics, and a verbatim chunk of  my words, with no attempt to write a summary( if only to show he's taken the trouble to grasp the gist).

I recently did a line-by-line dissection of PDL’s attack on me and the scorch hypothesis, and his mind-boggling misunderstanding of radiation physics as it applies to the initiation of photochemical reactions, the latter usually having unfavourable free energy changes at ordinary environmental temperature and/or a high Arrhenius energy of activation that precludes a role for infrared radiation. (And uv radiation tends to bleach rather than colour linen, so there's not a lot of wriggle-room left where electromagnetic radiation is concerned, unless as coherent light, with peaks and troughs all in step, as beamed from a 20th/21st century high energy laser with no counterpart in the natural world).

It’s not easy to find my critique, deliberately so, since I prefaced it by saying I did not wish to appear too aggressive. But it’s Dan Porter who is still banging on, still attempting to label me as some kind of villain of the piece, simply because I have derided PDL as a someone who has been trashing science in his personal mission to get us all to “think about philosophy and theology”. PDL may want to use the TS to put the clock back, to pre-Renaissance times, attempting to supplant  real science with his idiotic brand of pseudo-science, and Dan Porter , having aided him in that task, continues to offer him moral support, and turn it all into an issue of how I express myself on my website (which despite his daily poaching expeditions is MY SITE,  my space, not his, not an open house for his content-raiding expeditions. 

Oh, and I see Porter is again deploying the Don Quixote poster, the very same one that he chose to adorn PDL's guest posting on his site in 2012.  That's despite the title on his current posting "Time Will Tell", which would have us believe he's so relaxed and taking a long term view. 

Reminder: "Tilting at windmills" is generally taken to mean attacks on imaginary enemies. There was nothing imaginary about PDL'st argeted hit-and-run attack on me for championing the scorch hypothesis, done at the prompting and behest of Dan Porter. (Yes, the insufferably patronising PDL could not even be bothered to acknowledge my polite and researched response, far less respond to it).

Back to the real world:  spot  the usual sneer with that put-down graphic, spot the inconsistency, spot the control-freakery, spot the attempt to isolate and demonise,  albeit in the most genteel of Yankee fashions, spot the soft power, New Age, New Joisy Godfather at work. 

Who knows, maybe in 5 years the Porter site will be entirely legit'. As he says, time will tell...

Postcript: Have just spotted this priceless comment from Daniel R.Porter:

"I’ve decided that I no longer mind it when one scientist calls another scientist a “Mickey Mouse Scientist,” as Colin Berry does this morning in his blog. I may be wrong, but I realize now that it is a cheap shot in lieu of being able to criticize effectively."

I've been criticizing PDL's claims IN DETAIL, line by line, on and off for 32 months, and none, absolutely NONE of my points has ever appeared on So what are we supposed to think? That Porter has read my arguments and considered them so ineffective that he doesn't need to relay them to his readers? Hold on a bit. Why did he invite PDLto attack me back in Feb 2012? He said it was because he was not competent to judge in matters of physics. So has he now discovered a competence in these matters?

Back to the science (tricky though it may be where image analysis is concerned). I'm now going to make a somewhat daring claim, and it's based on my work with ImageJ in 3D Thermal LUT mode, with progressive increases in the "min" value. Here's the latest comparison, hot from the press, which has persuaded me that the time has come to stick head above parapet.

What you see is that critical region between cheek and hair, your/my right as viewed, the one that Petrus Soons and others have quite rightly described as largely "image-free", at least prior to the RGB-infillers getting busy.

Know what I think? It's not the carefully and minimally 3D-enhanced images (above) that are at risk of introducing artefacts, provided the various ImageJ settings are used sensibly, validated versus model systems as I have done. It's the initial 2D photograph  prior to 3D enhancement that is the culprit, giving the impression of a severe cut-off, left and right, both sides of face, and then prompting all the speculative hot air re banding/bleaching effects etc.

Rationalization?  The TS image is an imprint from a 3D (or semi 3D) bas relief template that has captured (captured, note, not encoded) some of the 3D-ness via gradations in image intensity. It's that 2D image that is wrong, making it seem as if there's a severe cut off, when it's not really there, as my above graphic demonstrates at 5 different levels of min-control advancement.

Back again (Monday Sep 1) on rotten lousy hotel wifi:

I realize I've not made clear the major conclusion, which is this: the pale strips are real, non-image bearing zones. They are not, repeat NOT for infilling with computer-aided wizardry, or should one say trickery if it's designed to sneak in hypotheses by the back door (like those that claim certain batches of linen yarn behave as if unreceptive to image-imprinting due to banding and bleaching differences).

No, the image-free zones are real because there IS no body image in those pale zones.  What's unreal is the apparent sharp cut off between light/dark in standard 2D (non-3D rendered) photographs. It is slight 3D rendering that reveals the truth - that the demarcation line is not linear, as would be the case if it were a genuine banding/weaving effect. It's actually quite wavy.

I'll be trying a different tack in the next few days, as and when I've a moment to spare, hopefully to make that case more conclusively.

Tester. Am in a different hotel right now, with a better internet connection. Hopefully it will allow me to edit (admittedly overlong) postings without hanging up. If so, I'll be able to add on to this posting  being disinclined right now to put up new ones, only to see them Porterized over yonder. (I see he's still trying to make out that I've failed to justify my "Mickey Mouse" tag for a certain ENEA so-called scientist. On the contrary, on the contrary, and he will now be seeing, since he's the one who is still trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

 I could have been lot more uncomplimentary about the theo-physicist in question, and now have no inhibitions in spelling out my reasons with greater force, greater detail.

 More to come: but don't hold your breath. Much else to attend to, like a plane to catch...
Update: Monday pm:
Plane caught. Now at destination with a tolerably good wifi connection. But editing or adding to an already  long posting can quickly overload bandwidth allowance on hotels' wifi.

One is made painfully aware of that fact when one's attempts at updating,  ending as often as not with a time-out message.

There are things I still want to say on this posting, for the benefit of those who follow my blog, without starting a new one and seeing it quickly godfatherized into vague and meaningless pap.

 So while I'm travelling, and reliant upon hotels' wifi, I'll try switching to my own  comments section. talking to myself, at least initially,  and hopefully avoid overloading the hotels' preset wifi allowance.

See you on my comments, if you're still interested where my thoughts are going, aided by the recent valuable input from Hugh Farey that largely dovetails with my own evolving 'hunchology'.

Saturday 6 September

Here's a piccy taken just a few hours ago in the Caucasus mountains of north Georgia.

 And here's one I took two days ago looking out over the impressive capital, Tbilisi, from a moving cable car.

Tomorrow we head back, via Kiev and Amsterdam.

Monday 8th September

Arrived back yesterday fuming, thanks to a second encounter (two too many) with the ghastly Schiphol airport terminal in Amsterdam (designed by a megalomaniac, signposted by a moron). Have resolved never to use it ever again. Thank goodness for the Museum quarter (Museumplein) a 5 euro, 20 minute bus ride from Skip (Hell) Hole (beats the extortionate 45 euro taxi any day) great for people watching, even if most are sporting those sunglasses with a most amazing range of garishly reflective coatings.

I shall now be taking a break while I research the subject of traditional Georgian winemaking (8-10,000 year old technology depending on who you believe). It will focus on what you see in the next two photos (my own) taken a few days ago on our personal guided tour of the Kakheti wine region in SE Georgia (with one super driver of sturdy SUV, both of which one needs on crazy anarchic Georgian highways and one incredibly articulate English-speaking guide).

It's just one of those kvevri, (Georgian: ქვევრი) i.e. subterranean earthenware pots use for prolonged fermentation, that are now enjoying something of a renaissance, even if based in some instances on some questionably- romanticised New Age 'organic'  mantras. Each of these impressive receptacles can typically hold 2000 litres.  That's a whopping 2 cubic metres).

 (The one in my picture one is not subterranean, but buried into the floor of the wine cellar; UK Elf-and Safety would not have allowed visitors to stand so close to the unplugged hole).

 Here are some de-commissioned ones on display outside the winery we visited, with a piccy of our splendid tour guide. 

 (We used her and the driver for a second trip up north to see the High Caucasus)

 But what's the science behind them? Splendid raconteur though she was, our university-educated guide was not really clued up as to the pros and cons of this ancient pre-Pasteurian way of doing things versus your modern stainless steel plant or those dubious oak barrels, new ones especially, that swamp grape tannins with those from wood (Bordeaux region winemakers beware: I have you in my crosshairs, the result of having toured your facilities in 2013).

So I shall spend the next few days scouring the internet for information on kvevri-contained  fermentation and maturation. If all goes well it shall the subject of my next posting (am now taking a break from the shroudie blogosphere, considering it to be a complete waste of time and effort, being for the most part an unholy alliance between agenda-pushers and internet trolls). Am off to a quite promising start, given that those kvevri have their own wikipedia entry.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ImageJ's Thermal LUT mode for generating a heat map largely rids the TS face of its alleged "banding effect", prompting reinterpretation of the facial cut-offs.

Note added October 7, 2016: Dear reader. Please be aware that my 5 year Shroud investigation has come on considerably since penning this post over 2 years ago. Indeed, one could say it's reached a conclusion - a very definite one - summed up in this recent photograph:

Centre: plastic Galaxy Warrior, approx 1/12 human scale. Left: thermal  imprint of the same onto linen, using oil/flour as imprinting medium, followed by oven-roasting of the imprinted linen. Right: the same thermal imprint after tone-inversion and 3D-rendering in ImageJ. Note the amazingly close correspondence with the original figurine, except obviouslyfor colour.

Yes, I believe the Shroud to be of medieval provenance, consistent with the radiocarbon dating (1260-1390). Moreover, I believe it to be a thermal imprint of a real adult man, obtained using the technology decribed above. A final wash of the thermal imprint with  soap and water would have removed all traces of the imprinting medium. That would leave just a faint attenuated 'enigmatic' image, a fair description one might think of the Turin Shroud. Purpose?  The latter was intended to represent what a 1300 year old body imprint (sweat, blood) would or might look like some 1300 or so years later.

See my recent Shroud posting for more details.

Start of the original 'Thermal LUT' posting:

How many times have we been solemnly assured that the sharp cut off at opposite sides of the TS image is "just a banding effect" due to yarn-to-yarn variation?  How probable is that given the high degree of bilateral symmetry, or the break in linearity at one of the cheekbones (your right)? See my previous attempts to get my head round the existing and largely unsatisfactory literature.

Don't ask (yup, there are so many things one is not supposed to ask, unless one wishes to invite ridicule - or  derogatory remarks that question one's scientific credentials).

Here's an image obtained using my new toy (hat tip to OK on t'other site) that should by rights kick that banding idea into the long grass.

Click to enlarge

(Technical note: the first graphic above was a Shroud Scope image to which I had given my customary contrast-enhancement in MS Office Picture Manager. For the Thermal image above, the input was Shroud Scope's "as is" image: the software seems perfectly happy to work on an entry-level image that is available to everyone, including those who don't wish to be bothered with photo-editing programs, and it's not a bad thing anyway to dispense with any initial image-enhancement that might risk creating artefacts, or lay one open to the charge of being cavalier in that respect).

It's been obtained by using a setting in ImageJ known as Thermal LUT ( LookUp Table) mode, available as an option on the 3D image-rendering option. It not only reads 2D image intensity, plotting that on a third dimension (z axis). It also colour-codes the gradation of image intensity - see chart on right - to create an admittedly somewhat fanciful  'heat map' ranging from blue (lowest relief) through shades of green and yellow to red (highest relief).

Straightaway one can see that the sharp cut-off at the sides of the face, aka excessive and unrealistic 'linearity', disappears almost completely.   With it must surely disappear any idea that the cut-offs had anything to do with banding. Instead, the cut-off must surely be telling us something about the nature of the 3D (or semi-3D) subject from which the (negative) imprint was taken.

(Late addition, Aug 31 : some have got the wrong end of the stick, and think I'm saying that banding is non-phenomenon. I've said nothing of the sort. Banding is a reality, though whether it's the result of yarn variation due to batch-to-batch variation in bleaching technique is another matter. See the 'new paradigm from Hugh Farey which attributes banding to interactions between the herring bone weave and mechanical bunching caused by rolling and folding etc. Nope. I'm not rejecting banding at all. I'm saying that the severe cut offs at the sides of each cheek, producing those pale largely image-free vertical bands between cheek and hair on BOTH sides, i.e. symmetrically, is nothing to do with  banding, and that other explanations must be sought. One does not need to agree with my explanation for the cut-off effect (properties of an imprinting template, not linen) to reject banding as the reason for the cut-offs.)

My own fast-crystallizing thoughts are the same as those expressed by the admirable Professor Luigi Garlaschelli, he of the imaginative and scientifically-sophisticated  reconstruction of possible medieval "forgery" technology, namely that a  bas-relief  template was used for the face, ie. a casting with shallow relief, but other possibilities are not excluded.

Here's an example of a modern-day bas relief made in bronze.  Yup, that's heat-resistant bronze. How I wish I had something similar. It would be inside my oven before you could say "negative thermal imprint" or even "scorch".

Are there other features in that 'heat map' that fit with a bas relief template? Yes, methinks there's at least one. It's the intense imaging of the beard, and (especially) the moustache. In an thermal imprinting ("contact scorch") model, it's possible that a heavy imprinting of the chin might look like a beard. But a moustache also? Wouldn't that imply a row of front teeth that were set too far forward in the jaw bone?

One wonders how the "radiationists" would try to account for the prominence of facial hair in their fanciful models, those I tag as "theo-physics".  Wouldn't any hair be instantly singed off by any radiation sufficiently energetic to leave an imprint on linen?  Heck, how come those radiationists able to get away with describing themselves as "scientists" in their 'look-at-me' press releases, the same ones who bang on about the impossibility of a forger being able to create "microscopic complexity" at the fibre level, thus betraying their total ignorance of physical and chemical principles (reminder: atoms and molecules are self-ordering, almost as if they had a "mind of their own" in common parlance, which is needless to say a consequence of those quantized electron energy levels that spontaneously generates  'microscopical complexity'. See my previous analogy with the snow-making machine, where microscopic complexity arises simply from cooling water vapour or liquid aerosols, i.e. from abstracting, not adding kinetic and thermal  energy.

It should be clear by now that I have lost patience entirely with those radiationists. They are turning science and scientists into laughing stocks, especially when they preface their remarks to MSM journalists and bloggers with "speaking as a scientist". "Speaking as a totally gormless numpty" more like it.

I'll be looking at the rest of the TS image, frontal and dorsal, region by region with my new toy in the next few days. Maybe there will be more surprises and (hopefully) new insights in store. Thanks once again, OK.

Wednesday Aug 27

Here is the region of the crossed hands (a promising one in a diagnostic sense for distinguishing between contact-only v non-contact permitted models) shown at four levels of "heat", i.e. 3D amplification:

Click to enlarge

It's that first one that I find especially interesting, one in which the "heat" has been turned down to a very low setting, such as to show small areas of blue ("very cold") which might reasonably be interpreted as the basal background value of a non-imaged area. (Reminder: it would be unrealistic to assume that non-imaged areas are totally colour-free, since the TS background colour is a faint yellow, not a pure white.)

Click to enlarge

What we see there is a clear discrimination between sizeable areas of crossed hands/abdomen compared with surrounding areas, notably the thigh (viewer's right) and the areas immediately abutting onto the crossed hands and abdomen.

Can any conclusions be drawn?

One has to proceed cautiously, in view  of the background colour problem . But here's where the ability to ramp up the "heat" comes into its own, offering a superior analytical tool when compared to standard ImageJ 3D enhancements that lack the 'tunable' colour coding.

Let me explain. In the picture above, one of the thighs (reader's right) appears to be essentially non-imaged, which initially came as a surprise to me, and made one wary.Surely a thigh would be imaged, whether the imprinting was by contact-only or not?

However, it was imaged, as can be seen by turning up the heat, and its 3D shape becomes more obvious at the higher settings. So even a raised part of a subject's relief can be poorly imaged, relative to other raised parts (crossed hands). Is that because of an air gap between cloth and subject, which may have allowed weak imaging, or is it because there was no air gap, allowing direct contact between cloth and subject, but with some other factor operating to produce weak imaging, relative to those crossed hands and forearms?

More to come (after I've given those questions some more thought).

07:50   Well, I've thought. Frankly, I cannot see why the thigh is poorly imaged in any model that allows for non-contact. Either the thigh would be very close to the subject, or would be in physical contact, so the cloth-distance measurement is small  - a matter of mm at most- or zero, and if radiation were the only factor, then thigh imaging should have been stronger. That;s assuming that the radiationists are not suggesting that contact opens the door for non-radiation physics too. What would that be? Heat conduction? But that required a hot subject - like a heated statue. It is inconceivable that a corpse could ever be hot enough to imprint an image by heat conduction.

So where does that leave us? Let's forget about radiation and focus on heat conduction, requiring direct contact. But while direct contact in that model (the only realistic model in my view) is necessary for imprinting an image, it may not be sufficient to guarantee a strong imprint.

What are the other factors, apart from obligatory contact, that make for a stronger or weaker imprint? Model studies provide immediate answers. They are: 1. temperature of the template 2. contact time. 3. contact pressure  4. curvature of the template, resulting in different angles of presentation.

Let's home in some more on the fingers. They seem to show promise as an especially diagnostic area for distinguishing between alternative imaging mechanisms (radiation projection v direct imprinting) reinforced by some recent experiments I reported using imprints of my own hand. (It wasn't the entire finger that imprinted, only the bony central spine, giving the appearance of separated fingers when  in fact they weren't).

I started using the same 4 steps as used above for the crossed hands. Here they are in sequence:



And here for good measure is a 5th in the tuning-down sequence, with plenty of blue to show we are near to background levels of image intensity.:

Interpretation?  I'll be back when I've had time to digest.

Update: this scurrilous, indeed slanderous comment has just appeared on Troll Central:

August 27, 2014 at 4:15 am
You’ve already answered Dan. This is just another obvious illustration of CB’s bad habit to distort/select/ignore facts.

 And what' prompted it you may ask? It's on a pirated version of this very posting, yet one instance in scores of my content being used within hours or even minutes of me posting to provide instant entertainment to the bored souls who assemble at that site to be given their daily fix of pro-authenticity reassurance.

Note the item I have ringed in yellow, top right hand corner. It's a link to the second of Thibault Heimburger's pdfs ( "potpourris de fantasie" as I call them). The first, also in the sidebar, claims that scorch imprints will always display excessive contrast compared to the image TS, to which my answer is/was: "Yes, they will if you choose an unsuitable template, i.e. a sunken relief instead of bas relief".  That claim, based on an cavalier piece of experimental design is now stated as fact in the wiki entry for Shroud of Turin under the sub-heading "Bas relief". (Yes, a wiki contributor too has got it wrong too).

As for that circled pdf, the second, words simply fail me, claiming as it does that one cannot scorch a few superficial fibres in a linen thread - that it's "all-or-nothing". That's not just wrong. It's laughably and grotesquely wrong, as I have pointed out, with and without a microscope, yet the pdf is steill there, being advertised, indeed highlighted in red. I've asked Thibault Heimburger to withdraw it - he hasn't. Yesterday I asked the site's owner to at least provide a facility for attaching comments to pdfs that are otherwise closed-off to criticism, and been met with a blank refusal. Meanwhile, that same owner continues to pirate my content on a daily basis.

What am I going to do? Answer: nothing. I've spelled out clearly what is happening, so as to let folk see things for what they are. The promoters of pro-authenticity have no ideas of their own - good or bad. All they can do is grub around for other people's ideas, and then sit in their little cave gnawing away at the meat and bone until all that's left is detritus. Far be it from me to deprive them and their provider of their sad, saprophytic* lifestyle.

* Saprophyte: any organism that lives on dead or decaying organic matter.

(Yup, the second part is an apt description of what happens to my postings  in that cave, after they have been messed about to make Porter's potted versions). 

Back to the pure clean air of science: at the risk of being accused of "selecting"  data (what could possibly have been selected - or rather de-selected- in this posting?) the images above dovetail neatly with those I produced last month from imprinting my hand:

From the archives: 

It seems so obvious now (why the Man on the Turin Shroud has bony fingers and no thumbs). The image is NOT a photograph. It's an 'impactograph'.
from Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The conclusion I arrived at then is reinforced with the new thermal graphics, inasmuch as the latter look "bony". Now why should that be, one may ask? What is it telling us about the imaging mechanism. Leaving aside those fanciful ideas that a  recently-deceased cadaver in a 1st century tomb turned briefly into a hospital X-ray machine (yes, really!) let's ask which fits - a radiation-allowing-air gaps model or a  conduction/contact only-no-air-gaps-allowed model.

Stretch out your hand, palm down, and place the edge of a ruler across the fingers. What the greatest gap between flesh and ruler? Answer - a few millimetres at most, so any conjectured radiation has only to cross a tiny air gap, where such gaps exist, everywhere on the hand. There is little potential there one might think for getting a clear impression of fingers, much less seeing prominent joints (knuckles) or gaps between fingers.

Now consider a contact-only model, There one expects all-or-nothing imprinting, so one DOES expect to see individual fingers, through failure to image between fingers where there is loss of contact. One might also expect the central bony part of fingers and the bony joints to imprint better than the more fleshy parts. Well, that is precisely what one is seeing in those thermal images, and precisely what one is able to model from one's own hands, coated with a safe and suitable paint ( I used a well-known brand of chocolate/hazelnut spread).

Selected data? The only data I select for my science is that which puts my readers into my garage and/or kitchen so they can picture with their own eyes what I am seeing and reporting. Why would I, with a lifetime in scientific research and education, be spending all this time if it were simply to deceive people? Who in their right mind would want to round off their life's work with a reputation for lying and cheating?

The only results I hold back are the ones that fail to make a point. I don't select points according to whether they seem to fit or not fit with a preconception. Scientific experimentation  starts with clearing one's mind of preconceptions.  Only a total moron would attempt to deceive himself and others. This blogger/retired scientist may be many things, some of them possibly unflattering, but he is most certainly not a moron. At least, my wife and grown-up children say I'm not, which is good enough for me. What that troll chooses to think is her business, but she ought to be more careful about what she says about people like myself who blog under their real names with reputations at stake, while hiding as she does behind her  French pseudonym. Why does Dan Porter allow that troll to trickle her poison onto his site? Does he think it spices up the site? If so, then he is equally culpable in allowing it  to be used as a platform for making character attacks. I'm not issuing threats - simply asking for a little human decency.

Update:  12:40. Comment addressed to the toxic anoxie:

August 27, 2014 at 7:27 am
Can you provide a Top Five list of CB’s Distorted/Ignored/Select Facts? If you are going to make a claim like this you need to back it up with ‘facts’ yourself. Otherwise you are guilty of one CB claim – that you are a troll ..........................

Thanks DavidG. It's good to see there are still folk like yourself, prepared once in a while to put their head above the parapet in defence of fair play.


OK, it's time now to go back to the face (Hugh Farey having made his usual perceptive analysis elsewhere, to which I may return later) and starting with maximum "heat", repeat the same process of draining away the colour-coded '3D-ness' to see what disappears first, and what remains at the end.

I'll be back later, hopefully with some succinct interpretation, or, there again, maybe not.

14:00 Toxic anoxie is back, responding to DavidG's challenge essentially to put up or shut up with a link to Thibault Heimburger's first pdf, the one with the crazy template that I mentioned earlier.

In fact I produced critiques of that pdf in short order - in three instalments - and when they were all ignored by Dan Porter (thus giving TH an easy ride) I did a post purely to flag up the existence of my 3 postings.

Here's a screen grab from 2012:

Here's a link to that paper:

Still Dan Porter ignored my critique, so I gave up and did other things. But the pdf in question remained in the sidebar over there, gradually acquiring hits over the months, gradually improving its Google ranking, so it's no surprise (1) that wiki has made use of it, despite its flawed experimental design and invalid conclusions and  now (2) toxic anoxie is attempting to deploy it as a proxy weapon against me, presumably having nothing of her own to offer.


I briefly toyed with the idea of posting this image to Troll Central, with the caption: "Spot the bas-relief template" in Thibault's first pdf:

That's bas relief as in this wiki definition:

A bas-relief ("low relief", French pronunciation: ​[baʁəljɛf], from the Italian basso rilievo) or low relief is a projecting image with a shallow overall depth, for example used on coins, on which all images are in low relief.

"As used on coins" note. The relief rises out of the base plane. it does not sink in from the base plane. It is also supposed to have smooth rounded contours, no ledges.

A proper bas relief penetrates into linen easily initially, since the highest planes account for a small farction of the contact area. Pressure builds as more and more of the planes enter the cloth. Thibault's template encounters high resistance as soon as it meets the clothe, and it will then be harder to imprint from the lower plane. Is it any wonder that his scorches display what he called "excessive contrast". It was an even greater shame that he went on to generalise, claiming that all scorch imprints would have excessive contrast. It's an even greater shane that the pdf is still on display on the Porter site, and that it's attempt to dismiss scorching  based on excessive contrast (or colour gradation) is now being relayed to the big wide world via the wiki entry on the TS.

But as regards posting the above to that highly problematical site (in more ways that one, given its tolerance for trolls AND promotion of dud pdfs, I quickly thought better of it. Why bother? It pirates enough of my content as it  is. Why go there simply to work a treadmill, endlessly correcti g all the same old errors and misconceptions. there are folks over there who need their shroud authenticity like others need Maltesers or TV soaps.

16:40:  I have a confession to make. I've been raising and lowering the "heat level" in the TS images without saying how it was done, and/or whether it was scientifically meaningful. What's more the way I did was discovered purely by twiddling controls in ImageJ without any thought as to the underlying matrix transormations (not that I recall much about those, except from private tutoring 'modern maths' some 30 years ago.

Draft only- may be changed.
So what control was used? It's actually one I rarely of ever use.It's the "max" and "min"  slides, bottom right of the ImageJ control panel, which I usually leave set on 100% and 0% respectively.

To produce the changes you see above, I varied the "min" value between about 0% and 50%, leaving the maximum unchanged.

How best can I demonstrate to my readers what changing the min value does? For now let's do it for a home-made image from a previous posting of mine that explored  ImageJ software, one with no 3D history, but a coding for 3D as used on old-style relief maps.

Here's the inputted  image:

Here's how it responded previously  in ImageJ without the new-deployment here of the thermal/colour-coding option.

The max and min controls were set, as I say, at 100% and 0% respectively, as can be confirmed by clicking on the image to enlarge, and reading off the two slide scale values lower right.

So let's enter the 2D image into "Thermal LUT" and see what we get, starting with  the 0%  min value:

OK, compare and contrast with the preceding image. They are comparable, thank goodness, with the bonus now of ImageJ's own colour coding of relief that overrides my own.

The next step is to ramp up the min value by degrees and see what happens in the model system, hopefully to better understand what was happening earlier in my 'suck-it-and-see' MO (this being  a quirky stream-of-semi-consciousness, age-impaired  real-time investigation site - as you may realize - as indeed it has been from Day 1, back at the tail-end of December 2011.

OK, that min value is now at 14%.

The change is subtle.(I'll try to articulate it  later when there's more progression, more trend data to work with.

We're up at 33% now. The effect we are seeing seems to be one of amplifying the highest relief, making it taller, but lopping off the highest relief. That's the point where I stopped with the TS image - when I saw those flat plateaux appearing. We'll now do one more step, if only to confirm the trend.

That's now at 76%.

Methinks it time to get back to the drawing board, where I will play around some more with Thermal LUT.  I'll switch to using my contour line model  probably returning to standard settings on max and min, given the complexity and subtlety of the response to changing the "min" value. (It doesn't  matter how dramatic the effect on the TS image if one cannot adequately explain what the software is doing).

Instead I'll try altering some of the  other controls. One is on a whole new learning curve here, but definitely worth exploring further to see if the software can unmask hidden detail and differences in the TS image.

Getting to grips with this thermal software may take some time, and I don't want to waste people's reading time with any more dead ends. I'll be back once I've made  sense of it. That may take some time, days, possibly weeks. Bye for now.

Update 21:40

in response to Dan:
Can anyone explain how the image* on Colin Berry’s blog can begin to convince us that banding is not really all that real. Maybe you can understand what Colin is saying. Something about “bilateral symmetry.” If anything, it helps to convince me that there really is banding there. You really need to see it in […]
Excuse my need for a general refresher here. The banding is important because, if it exists, it is problematic for the scorch theory because there is no way an artisan could have achieved this effect, therefore it must point to some other image formation process. Is this the gist of why banding matters?
Colin’s investigation points to another possible cause for the banding effect — it not being banding at all. Anoxie is countering that the banding is obviously there. Hugh is not ruling out banding, but is not as convinced as Anoxie as to it’s “obvious” existence.
Fair summation?

This blogger's response: 

My position, for what it's worth, based as much on arts and crafts as it is on science, is that the TS face looks quite unlike a real one - it's too rectangular, too gaunt, too "gothic".

I think the pro-authenticity folk know that, and have been desperate to provide a comforting albeit distracting narrative. It's based on the phenomenon of banding - bleaching differences in the yarn used for weaving.

Nobody doubts the existence of banding, but does it provide an explanation for the rectangular face? I say it doesn't, that it's a red herring, and have previously given reasons based on (a) the improbability of the cut off being at  much the same distance on both sides of the vertical midline (b) the bulge at the cheekbone which lies across the cut-off line and (c) the baked-in neck/chin crease (an integral part of the image in my opinion)  that is also indifferent to the region of image-interruption, i.e pale areas between cheek and hair.

If it's not banding, what is it that causes the cut-off? Well, if the facial image is rather too gaunt and mask-like, then that suggests, does it not, that it was derived from a gaunt and mask-like template, which in turn suggests, after Luigi Garlaschelli, that a bas-relief template was used?

Somehow, don't ask me how,  the thermal picture in ImageJ has a blindspot for banding - the face in 3D colour-coded mode no longer looking so rectangular, having a wavy edge, with scarcely a hint of linearity or banding in sight.

It may not be clinching evidence, but it's one more nail in the coffin for the facile "banding-explains-all" cop out.


in response to Colin Berry:
If you can spare a minute, David, scroll down to the far end of my current posting re banding (revisited) and you will see your comment (2.31pm) and a possible clarification.
A good clarification of your side of the issue. I don’t really ‘buy’ one assumption though — that the face is too rectangular, too Gothic. If anything the face looks swollen to me, which is exactly what I’d expect of a death mask. I saw my share of corpses as the son of an undertaker, and the man on the Shroud sure looks like one. We are not dealing with a painting, we all agree on that. We are dealing with a yet to be confirmed image process. Because we do not know how it works, we cannot rule out any image distortion caused from that process.
Your research is in an effort to prove that a medieval scorch theory cannot be ruled out. You’ve made some strides there. On the other hand, nothing you have discovered, to me, has ruled out a 1st century origin. I believe you’ve acknowledged this as well, pointing out that a scorch (in the broader sense of the term) theory might support a 1st century origin.
Question: a bit off topic perhaps. Can sound waves create latent images on surfaces other than liquid ones? The banding (lines) on the TS remind me of sound ripples in some pics. Too sci-fi perhaps, but could an ultra-sonic pulse have created a reaction on the linen forming an image? A Big Bang mistaken for an earthquake perhaps? Sorry, the creative writer in me is bleeding onto the page at this point.

My response: The immediate goal for me is not to try proving or disproving that the TS is first century (for that we'll need repeat radiocarbon dating, if only to dismiss the re-weaving story), It's to demolish the various dogmas still doing the rounds about the TS image being different in character to any thermal imprint, medieval or otherwise, based on dated experiments and observations, ones that look increasingly redundant with each passing day.

Contact scorches can be highly superficial, at least at the thread level, and can respond just as well as the TS to 3D rendering etc etc. However, the chief reason for thinking the TS is a contact scorch is the negative character. I cannot think of any process except contact imprinting that can produce a negative image, considering the radiation theories to be frankly barmy - pseudo-science by any other name.

Thursday: finally, to draw a line under this over-long posting (a more detailed look at that "min slider control" will be the subject of my next posting), here are two comments that have just appeared on Pirate/Troll Central, the first from the new(ish) BSTS Editor, Hugh Farey, followed by my congratulatory response.

Hugh Farey
August 28, 2014 at 3:42 am
In Shroud 2.0, longitudinal banding is very clear, and is definitely related to the pitch of the zigzag, specifically the darkness of the shadows cast by the overlying warp threads onto the underlying weft threads. Thus the entire Shroud is covered in alternating lighter and darker bands. This pattern is not seen on the Durante photo. Here the various longitudinal stripes seem to me to be much thinner, where you can see them, and appear to be related to the ‘spines’ of the herringbone ribs, which may have formed into slight ridges or troughs as part of the rolling up process. I cannot find a good positive Enrie image, but the large scale negatives, which can be found at the link above among others, show a variety of bands, some very thin and some as thick as a width of a pitch. However they are much less consistent and the thick ones do not appear to be lighting artifacts as they sometimes extend over two or three bands of alternating pitch. It is not clear in any case that the pale vertical areas defning the sides of the cheeks, or the dark vertical areas defing the fall of the hair, are due to imperfections in the weave or the lighting of a photo rather than the shape of the image model itself. As such, attempts to ‘correct’ the image by removing them are probably misguided.
August 28, 2014 at 4:09 am
Brilliant. Hugh. Possibly, nay probably the best contribution to ‘banding’ in all time.
Re my new toy (Thermal LUT in ImageJ), I have been playing around with the “min” slider control. I now believe it to be a powerful aid to TS image analysis, having figured what it’s doing using model 2D shade diagrams with no 3D history. It basically drills down bit by bit from the high points on a 3D rendering lopping off the peak value progressively as it goes, probing deeper and deeper into the lower levels of the relief. The ability to do this in degrees, comparing the TS with model at each stage, makes it, in my opinion, a valid and powerful research tool in image analysis.
I’ll post my model validation study today or tomorrow, and will then take a break for a while, leaving this vexatious site (but for you and David Goulet) for yet another cooling off period.