Front page
Silflay Hraka?

Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
Hrairoo is the proprietor of a quality used bookstore
Kehaar is.
Woundwort is a professor of counseling at a private university

The Hraka RSS feed

bigwig AT

Friends of Hraka
Daily Pundit
cut on the bias
Meryl Yourish
This Blog Is Full Of Crap
Winds of Change
A Small Victory
Silent Running
Dr. Weevil
Little Green Footballs
Fragments from Floyd
The Feces Flinging Monkey
the skwib
Dean's World
Little Tiny Lies
The Redsugar Muse
Natalie Solent
From the Mrs.
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
On the Third Hand
Public Nuisance
Not a Fish
Electric Venom
Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo
Common Sense and Wonder
Neither Here Nor There
The Greatest Jeneration
Ipse Dixit
Blog On the Run
Redwood Dragon
Greeblie Blog
Have A Cuppa Tea
A Dog's Life
Iberian Notes
Midwest Conservative Journal
A Voyage to Arcturus
Trojan Horseshoes
In Context
The People's Republic of Seabrook
Country Store
Blog Critics
Chicago Boyz
Hippy Hill News
Kyle Still Free Press
The Devil's Excrement
The Fat Guy
War Liberal
Assume the Position
Balloon Juice
Iron Pen In A Velvet Glove
Freedom Lives
Where Worlds Collide
Knot by Numbers
How Appealing
South Knox Bubba
Heretical Ideas
The Kitchen Cabinet
Bo Cowgill
Raving Atheist
The Short Strange Trip
Shark Blog
Ron Bailey's Weblog
Cornfield Commentary
Northwest Notes
The Blog from the Core
The Talking Dog
WTF Is It Now??
Blue Streak
Smarter Harper's Index
nikita demosthenes
Bloviating Inanities
Sneakeasy's Joint
Ravenwood's Universe
The Eleven Day Empire
World Wide Rant
All American
The Rant
The Johnny Bacardi Show
The Head Heeb
Viking Pundit
Oscar Jr. Was Here
Just Some Poor Schmuck
Katy & Bruce Loebrich
But How's The Coffee?
Roscoe Ellis
Sasha Castel
Susskins Central Dispatch
Josh Heit
Aaron's Rantblog
As I was saying...
Blog O' Dob
Dr. Frank's Blogs Of War
Betsy's Page
A Knob for Brightness
Fresh Bilge
The Politburo Diktat
Drumwaster's rants
Curt's Page
The Razor
An Unsealed Room
The Legal Bean
Helloooo chapter two!
As I Was Saying...
SkeptiLog AGOG!
Tong family blog
Vox Beth
I was thinking
Judicious Asininity
This Woman's Work
Fragrant Lotus
Single Southern Guy
Jay Solo's Verbosity
Snooze Button Dreams
You Big Mouth, You!
From the Inside looking Out
Night of the Lepus
No Watermelons Allowed
From The Inside Looking Out
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Suburban Blight
The SmarterCop
Dog of Flanders
From Behind the Wall of Sleep
Beaker's Corner
Bad State of Gruntledness
Who Tends The Fires
Granny Rant
Elegance Against Ignorance
Say What?
Blown Fuse
Wait 'til Next Year
The Pryhills
The Whomping Willow
The National Debate
The Skeptician
Zach Everson
Geekward Ho
Life in New Orleans
Rotten Miracles
The Biomes Blog
See What You Share
Blog d’Elisson
Your Philosophy Sucks
Watauga Rambler
Socialized Medicine
Verging on Pertinence
Read My Lips
The Flannel Avenger
Butch Howard's WebLog
Castle Argghhh!
Andrew Hofer
Moron Abroad
White Pebble
Darn Floor
Pajama Pundits
Goddess Training 101
A & W
Medical Madhouse
Slowly Going Sane
The Oubliette
American Future
Right Side Redux
See The Donkey
Newbie Trucker
The Right Scale
Running Scared
Ramblings Journal
Focus On Reality
Wyatt's Torch

January 29, 2005

If It Can't Be Disproved, Then It Must Be A Fact

It's a banner day for science!

"I cannot disprove that this cloth was the burial shroud that was used on Jesus," Raymond N. Rogers, a retired chemist from the University of California-operated Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, said in a telephone interview Friday from his home.

Other claims about the Shroud that Mr. Rogers will be unable to disprove.

1. That the Shroud was the focus of a thousand year war between the Insectivore Warriors of Zetabin Three and the Interstallar League of Astro-Monks.

2. That when used as a prayer mat by certain elderly nuns, rain falls in unobserved parts of the Sahara.

3. Tying a thread from the Shroud around one's wrist delays the onset of cancer by up to six months.

4. That the original title of the Shroud was "Self-Portrait With Camera Obscura," but the accompanying documentation was eaten by starving Jesuits during the Thirty Years War.

5. That the real value of the cloth is due to the accidental ventral x-rays of the last remaining Ichthyosaurus found on either side, discovered swimming in Como Lake in the 14th century.

6. That the portrait is not of Jesus at all, but rather of a 7th Century Italian knight who was ashamed about the size of his package.

"The chemistry says it was a real shroud, the blood spots on it are real blood, and the technology that was used to make that piece of cloth was exactly what Pliny the Elder reported for his time," about 70 A.D., Rogers said, referring to the naturalist of ancient Roman times.

Other things reported by Pliny The Elder; Dog headed people! Elephants writing in Greek! Basilisks!

The American chemist said he decided to analyze the amount of vanillin, a chemical compound that is present in linen from the flax fibers used to weave it. Vanillin slowly disappears from the fiber over time at a calculated rate, he said.

Judging by those calculations, a medieval-age cloth should have had some 37 percent of its vanillin left by 1978, the year the threads were taken from the shroud, Rogers said. But there was virtually no vanillin left in the shroud, leading the chemist to calculate it could be far older than the radiocarbon testing indicated, possibly some 3,000 years old.

Shocking fact somehow left out of the article above, presumably due to the sudden death of the reporter. The rate of vanillin decay varies with temperature.

Unfortunately, Rogers's test is much less accurate and precise than radiocarbon dating because its crucial parameter is the temperature at which the Shroud was stored. Small differences in storage temperature, however, lead to very divergent results, which is the reason why Rogers could only give a huge range of 1700 years for his dating. By contrast, the relevant parameters for radiocarbon testing are known independently of the item's history and the radiocarbon testing yielded more precise 130-year range for its results.

Of course, the Shroud had not been stored at a constant 20-25C temperature, and its actual storage temperatures can only be guessed since this information has not been recorded for much of the history of the Shroud. But the temperature is critical to Rogers's dating. For example, using his equation, I estimate that if the temperature of the Shroud were raised to 150C (300F), it would only take about six (6) hours to lose 95% of all the vanillin. This is not an unreasonable possibility since the Shroud nearly perished in a serious fire

The chemist said he doubted the shroud could be reliably tested any more, contending that a top-secret restoration in 2002 likely would influence chemical results.

How very convenient.

Posted by Bigwig at January 29, 2005 10:29 AM | TrackBack
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.

How can it be proven that he is a retired chemist? Can his vanillin levels be measured to give this? Can the effects of an irony-proof "landfill of enchantment" background preserve or destroy "scientific" evidence like this? After all, he raises more questions and gives no firm answers, so his own scientific method is annoying when applied, Heisenberg-like" to his credentialed life. Wonder if the ChiComs got useful nuclear bomb information from his likes?

Posted by: Rich at January 29, 2005 04:02 PM

On a serious note, I think the significance of the article, and the finding, was not that it proved the shroud was genuine, but that the finding rebutted an earlier study that said "no way."

On a less serious note, was Pliny a Cleveland Browns fan? I've been drinking with friends and woken up the next day at a game, surrounded by those dog faced people. I'm here to tell you folks, they exist. And man, do they eat some sausage.

Posted by: Blackavar at January 30, 2005 04:55 PM
Post a comment Note: Comments with more than two dashes per line will be blocked as spam.

Remember personal info?