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Severed Fingers, Scanners and the Un-Dead

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Happy Haunting Halloween everyone!

Let’s just jump right into the season’s freebie!

What do you think the connections is between these pictures and the expressions?

Saved By The Bell

The Graveyard Shift

Do you have similar expressions in your language? Can you explain it’s origin?


England is old and small and they started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a “bone-house” and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, one out of 25 coffins was found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the “graveyard shift”) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be “Saved by the Bell”


Extract from a post on


  • Staggering about: walking unsteadily
  • Something saves your bacon: something saves your day
  • Spoof fingerprints: false fingerprints
  • Severed fingers: fingers that have been cut off
  • To sound outlandish: to sound highly improbable
  • To hack something off: to brutally cut someting off
  • Skullduggery: illegal actions

IF AN invading zombie army is staggering towards your front door, don’t worry: a fingerprint-activated door lock could save your bacon. That’s because one group of researchers has worked out how a biometric scanner can keep the undead at bay.

OK, so they weren’t specifically trying to stop zombies, but there is genuine concern about dead flesh being used to spoof fingerprint scanners. Severed fingers and even fingers cut from corpses can be used to give the bad guys entry to secure facilities, to steal cars or log on to computers.

It sounds outlandish, but the first reported case was in March 2005, when thieves stole a biometrics-activated Mercedes in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Initially they took the owner with them so he could start the car, but they soon tired of his presence – and hacked off his digit before dumping him at the roadside.

To combat such bloody skulduggery, researchers at Dermalog Identification Systems in Hamburg, Germany, have developed a way for a fingerprint scanner to differentiate between live and dead tissue.

The trick is based on the way living tissue “blanches” – or changes colour – when blood is squeezed out of capillaries, as a fingertip is pressed against a surface, for example.

Extract from an article by Paul Marks, New Scientist Magazine issue 2822, published 23 July 2011

Well! So how can you make to spoof fingerprint? Let’s find out!!

ANSWER: FALSE – but definitly a plausible right? rounds up many accounts of live burial, feared and real, including only one instance of scratch marks purportedly discovered in a coffin lid. The idea of a signaling system inside a coffin didn’t occur until the late 19th century, when Count Michel de Karnice-Karnicki, a chamberlain to the Tsar, after hearing a horrifying account of girl nearly buried alive, patented a safety coffin. The slightest movement of the chest or arms of the body inside the coffin would trigger a complex mechanism to admit air into the coffin, ring a bell and wave a flag above.

According to the origin of Saved by the Bell is not in coffin contraptions or even the ardent prayers of students to be spared of answering a tough question by the clanging of the end-of-period bell. The classroom meaning is an extension of the original source of the phrase: boxing. It means to be saved from being counted out by the bell at the end of a round, and is first documented in the early 20th century.


The video on how to make spoof fingerprints has no verbal instruction. Today’s homework is to come up with instructions for this video and record them into your phone’s audio recorder.

Good Luck and have fun!

Comments always welcome below!

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