Keep on rockin’ six feet under!

If you’re living impaired or a vampire who likes a bit of musical accompaniment as you wile away the long hours inside your coffin then the CataCoffin from Swedish company Pause could be just what you need. The customized coffin packs a CataCombo Sound System that features a custom-built 2.1 amplifier and includes a pair of 2-way speakers, tweeters with external cooling, and an 8-inch subwoofer tuned to the coffin’s acoustic space.

The coffin is paired with the CataTomb tombstone that packs an upgradeable music server powered by a 2.5 GHz Intel processor and a 4G wireless connection that allows playlists to be managed online. Using the CataPlay application that connects to Spotify, friends and family can keep you grooving to the latest tracks. The hi-tech tombstone, which supplies power to the coffin’s onboard sound system, also features a 7-inch LCD for displaying the currently playing song alongside your epitaph.

Prices to make your death the life of the graveyard start at $30,715.

The hum that helps coppers fight crime

A rape victim has come forward to the police. She says she has confronted her attacker and has secretly recorded him admitting his guilt.

A suspected terrorist has been taped planning a deadly attack, and the police want to use this evidence in court. Or someone has been captured on CCTV threatening an assault.

Forensic scientists…can authenticate these recordings with the help of a hum.

For the last seven years, at the Metropolitan Police forensic lab in south London, audio specialists have been continuously recording the sound of mains electricity.

It is an all pervasive hum that we normally cannot hear. But boost it a little, and a metallic and not very pleasant buzz fills the air.

“The power is sent out over the national grid to factories, shops and of course our homes. Normally this frequency, known as the mains frequency, is about 50Hz,” explains Dr Alan Cooper, a senior digital forensic practitioner at the Met Police…For forensic experts, it has turned out to be an invaluable tool in the fight against crime.

While the frequency of the electricity supplied by the national grid is about 50Hz, if you look at it over time, you can see minute fluctuations in the order of a few thousandths of a hertz…

A decade ago, a Romanian audio specialist Dr Catalan Grigoras, now director of the National Center for Media Forensics at the University of Colorado, Denver, made a discovery: that the pattern of these random changes in frequency is unique over time…

By itself, this might be an interesting electrical curiosity. But when you take into account that most digital recordings are also embedded with this hum, it becomes a game changer.

Comparing the unique pattern of the frequencies on an audio recording with a database that has been logging these changes for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year provides a digital watermark: a date and time stamp on the recording…

Hmmm?

When will it end? 20 children, 6 adults, shot down in an elementary school!

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Allison Joyce

CBS News is reporting that 27 people including numerous children have been killed along with the gunman after a shooting inside a school in Newtown Friday morning.

The scene is being called ‘atrocious’ inside Sandy Hook Elementary School…

According to CBS News, the gunman, who is believed to be 18 to 20 years old, got into an argument with people at the front office at about 9:41 a.m. People have to be buzzed in before entering the school and there is a camera to view whoever is entering the building.

State police said this is one of the worst shootings emergency officials have seen in a long time.

The children inside the school have been evacuated to the nearby Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Department and reunited with some of their parents at this staging area.

Connecticut has called surrounding states for more medical examiners because they do not have enough to conduct autopsies.

Standing up for good sense, for regulation, for simple procedures to manage access to firearms is long overdue.

I’ve been a gun owner for years and still am – both handguns and long guns. There is no problem passing through a procedure which at a minimum evaluates a purchaser for criminal background, for mental instability, for being a danger to society. That doesn’t take a lot of data mining.

I absolutely reject all the stupid political rationales for existing loopholes, the silliness that guarantees profits before the lives of innocent people. It’s time for ordinary citizens to reject the fanatics who make unregulated gun ownership a religion.

It’s time, now.

What is love? Five theories on the greatest emotion of all

“What is love” was the most searched phrase on Google in 2012, according to the company…The Guardian has gathered writers from the fields of science, psychotherapy, literature, religion and philosophy to give their definition of the much-pondered word.

The physicist: ‘Love is chemistry’

Biologically, love is a powerful neurological condition like hunger or thirst, only more permanent. We talk about love being blind or unconditional, in the sense that we have no control over it. But then, that is not so surprising since love is basically chemistry. While lust is a temporary passionate sexual desire involving the increased release of chemicals such as testosterone and oestrogen, in true love, or attachment and bonding, the brain can release a whole set of chemicals: pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin and vasopressin. However, from an evolutionary perspective, love can be viewed as a survival tool – a mechanism we have evolved to promote long-term relationships, mutual defence and parental support of children and to promote feelings of safety and security.

• Jim Al-Khalili is a theoretical physicist and science writer

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Secret report confirms torture added nothing to our safety

cheney by toles

The public debate over the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” during the Bush-Cheney administration will be reignited in the coming days, thanks to a new congressional report…

President Obama banned the use of torture as one of his first acts in office. But some (though not all) Republicans claim that “enhanced interrogation techniques” on al Qaida operatives following 9/11 kept the country safe.

And a few more, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, even go as far to argue that intelligence from “enhanced interrogation techniques” made it possible for Obama to order the killing of Osama bin Laden.

The contempt I feel for these fascist-minded creeps beggars description.

But a 6,000-page report, scheduled to be approved on Thursday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, is expected to conclude that “none of this enhanced interrogation worked,” according to Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff at the State Department during Gen. Colin Powell’s term.

“[Torture techniques] did not, as Cheney has alleged, lead to the killing of bin Laden,” Wilkerson, a frequent Cheney critic, told Ed Schultz on Tuesday’s edition of The Ed Show on MSNBC. “It was counterproductive. It was damaging to our reputation and he’s still lying about it…”

The Senate Intelligence Committee, however, is not planning to make the findings of the report immediately public, The Hill reports. Even if the secretive panel approves the report on Thursday, there will still be a lengthy review process in which the White House, the intelligence community and members of the panel will determine what information can be declassified and released to the public.

Wilkerson believes at least “portions” of the report should be made public.

“We should have some reckoning,” Wilkerson told Schultz. “If we’re not going to hold people accountable, we should at least let the American people know what was done in their name that basically constituted war crimes.”

Torture has been rationalized away in modern times by the worst murderers, the most egregious and arrogant thugs in history. From Himmler to Cheney, these corrupt slimeballs convince themselves of their success by adding crimes against humanity to their roll of deceit and lies.

Governments founded on their lies dishonor the nations they serve, the citizens they say they represent. Though history makes it clear that these torturers demonstrate only contempt for the ordinary people they say they are saving.