Sunday, January 30, 2005

Historic Day for Both Iraq and U.S.

Expressions of joy from a sampling of Iraqi bloggers: See here, here, here, here, and here.

Today has been a historic day not only for Iraq but also for the United States. No one knows what the future holds, of course, and things could certainly turn bad, but days like this make one awfully proud to be an American. What our country has done in Iraq is the sort of thing many Americans grew up believing was typical of the American people. This might be the grandest day in our history since the Marshall Plan era c.1950. If someone can think of a day that beats it, let us know because we can't think of one.

UPDATE: Ok. Maybe the day the Berlin wall was torn down has to be pretty high up on the list as well.

Winners and Losers

Today's WINNERS:

1) The Iraqi people

2) All who desire peace and freedom in the Middle East

3) George W. Bush

4) Neo-Conservatives

Today's LOSERS:

1) Islamo-fascist terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere

2) Tyrants in Syria and Iran

3) The Michael Moore/Ted Kennedy wing of the Democratic party

More on the Shroud has a story about the Shroud of Turin, which many believe to be the actual burial cloth of Christ. Radiocarbon dating tests run in the 1980s seemed to place the cloth in the medieval period, but more recently that analysis has been questioned. Now a chemist who worked on testing of the Shroud of Turin says new tests on the fiber indicates the cloth could be as much as 3,000 years old:

The analysis, by a scientist who was on [a] 1978 team that was allowed to study tiny pieces of the cloth, indicates the shroud is far older than the initial findings suggesting it was probably from medieval times, and will likely be seized on by those who believe it wrapped the body of Jesus after his crucifixion.

"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.

"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.

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.

Asked why carbon-dating might have been off, Rogers contended that "the people who cut the sample didn't do a very good job of characterizing the samples," that is, taking samples from many areas of the cloth.

Apparently, however there's no chance of resolving the age discrepancy since secret alterations were made to the shroud which make it unsuitable for further analysis. You can read all about it at the link to