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The Potato Salad Kickstarter Is The Science Fiction Villain We Deserve

Potato Salad

As of writing, a Kickstarter campaign for “just making potato salad” has raised $37,115. Every few seconds that number climbs higher, and each uptick is greeted with cheers. It’s a self-perpetuating humor machine, and it is horribly efficient. There is no joke, at least not anymore; whatever joke there was has become an adaptive, joke-like arrangement of circumstances. It is a perfect device, compatible with all known theories of humor and therefore with none of them.

More at The Awl

Why Has The Concept Of Hell Survived So Long?


In December 2013, a hoax began circulating on the internet claiming that Pope Francis had called a Third Vatican Council that, among other things, purged a literal hell from Catholic doctrine. ‘This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God,’ Francis purportedly said. ‘God seeks not to condemn but only to embrace… Hell is merely a metaphor for the isolated soul, which like all souls ultimately will be united in love with God.’ The piece quickly went viral on Facebook and other social media platforms – minus the element of parody. The remarks did not seem too out of line with the new Pope’s own attitude of embrace over condemnation.

This January, an article in the US online magazine Religion Dispatches offered some clues as to why the story took off so dramatically. ‘Millennials Invent New Religion: No Hell, No Priests, No Punishment’ went the title. The author, the Rev Candace Chellew-Hodge, described how her students at a community college in Columbia, South Carolina, when tasked with inventing a new religion, uniformly avoided ‘a concept of hell, or any form of punishment for not following the prescriptions of the religion’. When asked why they had avoided hell, one student replied that ‘Religion today is so … judgmental.’ Chellew-Hodge took this to mean that her students lacked a ‘full-featured understanding of religion’, and so overlooked ‘the core ideas of human suffering, the concept of discipline, and the very real threat of punishment’.

More at aeon

The Strange Story Behind The Meteoric Rise Of An Unknown Penny Stock


Cynk Technology, an unknown social networking “referral service for introductions” whose stock has gained more than 24,000% over the course of a few weeks, traces its origins back to a Las Vegas event promoter named Kenneth Carter, who told BuzzFeed his original ambition was to make money connecting Jay Z and Lady Gaga to their fans.

Carter, or Kenny Blaque as he is professionally known, is listed on a public securities filing from January 2012 as the sole officer and director of Introbuzz, described as a service for celebrities to interact with their fans. Introbuzz was the precursor to Cynk, whose meteoric share price rise – from around 10 cents to $14.71 at the close of trading Wednesday – remains a mystery to both the financial world and even the company’s own former auditor. The only evidence of Cynk’s service is the website introbiz.com.

More at Buzzfeed

X Rayed Toys

X Ray Toy Gun

Photographer Brendan Fitzpatrick whose floral x-rays we first featured back in 2012, just released three new collections of x-ray photos including toys, creatures, and a new set of flowers, as part of his Invisible Light series. The photos are created with the help of a standard x-ray machine, but are artificially colored to help distinguish different materials.

More at Colossal

Can You Die From A Broken Heart?

Broken Heart

Ruth and Harold “Doc” Knapke met in elementary school. They exchanged letters during the war, when Doc was stationed in Germany. After he returned their romance began in earnest. They married, raised six children and celebrated 65 anniversaries together. And then on a single day in August 2013, in the room they shared in an Ohio nursing home, they died.

“No relationship was ever perfect, but theirs was one of the better relationships I ever observed,” says their daughter Margaret Knapke, 61, a somatic therapist. “They were always like Velcro. They couldn’t stand to be separated.”

More at Nautilus

The Bizarre (And Criminal) History Of The Vatican Bank

Vatican Bank

The Vatican Bank’s history reads more like Dan Brown than the financial pages, but its worst — and weirdest — days may be behind it. After a year of reorganization and reform that saw a 97 percent drop in profits, the Holy See installed a new set of overseers that includes a man who made his reputation closing down North Korea’s illicit bank accounts.

But what is the Vatican Bank and why do the Catholic Church and its 1.2 billion adherents need their own financial institution? Officially dubbed the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) and founded in 1942, the bank’s history has been defined by scandal, secrecy, and noncompliance with the West’s standard anti-fraud measures. In fact, calling the IOR a bank may be stretching the term. It doesn’t issue checkbooks or make loans, there are strict criteria and background checks for clients, and some of its clients-only ATMs have a Latin option.

More at Foreign Policy

Brooklyn Tween Metal Band Signs $1.7 Million Record Deal

Unlocking the Truth

With recent sets at Warped tour and this year’s installment of Coachella, the Brooklyn teens in the metal trio Unlocking the Truth have come a long way since their first shows busking in New York City parks. But Saturday, guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse, 13, bassist Alec Atkins, 13, and drummer Jarad Dawkins, 12, made even more strides forward, signing a record deal with Sony that’s potentially worth $1.7 million, according to The New York Daily News.

The former SPIN profile subjects are tied into a guaranteed two-album deal that with a $60,000 advance on their first album and up to a $350,000 advance on their second. If Sony picks up all of the options on the six-record contract, the mini-metalheads could snag the full multi-million dollar figure.

More at Spin

There’s A New Material That’s So Black You Can’t See It


A team of British researchers has created a record-breaking material, but you might struggle to tell — because it’s so black that you can barely see it.

The new material, called Vantablack, is a coating made using carbon nanotubes, which absorbs all but 0.035 percent of visible light. Grown on a sheet of aluminum foil, the coating grabs hold of light and won’t let go: photos ping into the gaps between the nanotubes, bounce around within the structure, and are slowly absorbed without ever bouncing back into the air.

More at Gizmodo

The German Rocket Powered Monstrosity That Somehow Predicted The Future


The 1920s were a crazy time. In America, jazz was everywhere, and so was illegal booze. In Japan, the Showa period was just beginning. And in Germany, Reichsmarks were being used as wallpaper and rockets were being strapped to cars. Even if it didn’t make sense, everything was permitted.

In fairness to Weimar Republic-era Germany, the whole currency-as-wallpaper (and even toilet paper) actually made sense. After the Treaty of Versailles was signed, which forced Germany to accept blame and pay reparations for World War I, extreme hyperinflation beset the country. Yes, “extreme hyper” may seem redundant, but it really was extreme, and it really did move at hyper speeds.

More at Jalopnik

Haunting Surreal Photographs From The 60s Inspired By Children’s Nightmares

Childrens Nightmare

Noted American photographer Arthur Tress is known for his strangely posed and articulated surrealist work. Born in November of 1940, he was merely in his twenties when one of his most poignant collections of work came to life.

Depicting the dreams of children in the eeriest of forms, he dives into the subconscious side of children’s minds and draws out their biggest fears in the haunting photos that follow.

More at PetaPixel