1. Science

    People Who Pray for Their Romantic Partners Are Way More Committed to Keeping Them Around

    Today in "news that's actually kind of obvious," a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology claims that people who pray for their significant others are usually more committed to them. Unless you're a female mantis, of course. Then, you're probably about to kill yours.

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  2. Science

    Neil deGrasse Tyson Will Speak During Omaha’s Pastafarian Conference

    Noted astrophysicist, Director of the Hayden Planetarium, and host of Cosmos Neil deGrasse Tyson will be speaking during the Omaha Pastafarian conference "Apostacon" this September. Allow us to explain what that is and why we've photoshopped a colander on Tyson's head.

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  3. Entertainment

    Paramount Warns People That Noah May Not Be Biblically Accurate

    Apparently Paramount has entirely renounced hope that Darren Aronofsky's beleaguered Bible epic Noah will be popular with Christian audiences. Yesterday the studio preempted expected religious outrage by releasing a statement warning conservatives to please not freak out, but the movie won't be 100% Biblically accurate.

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  4. Tech

    The Internet Is a Gift From God, You Guys. The Pope Says So

    Pope Francis has been known to say crazy things, like how he doesn't need to talk about abortion and gay marriage all the time and that non-believers just need to try to obey their conscience. Madness. Now he's saying that the Internet is a gift from God, which makes me wonder if he's ever actually been on the Internet.

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  5. Tech

    Yom Kippur Begins Tonight, So Atone For Your Sins With the eScapegoat

    Did you guys know that the word "scapegoat" comes from the ancient Hebrew tradition of transferring your sins to a goat and then sacrificing it as an offering during the Day of Atonement? That's probably illegal now, so if you want to celebrate Yom Kippur right, you should probably transfer your sins to this fictional Internet goat instead.

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  6. Tech

    New Pope Announces Papacy Via Twitter, Enables Cruise Control for Cool

    The Holy Smoke Monster has spoken! Rather, the white smoke issuing from the Sistine Chapel announced that a new Pope has been chosen. But more importantly, the Bishop of Rome and successor of Saint Peter has returned to Twitter -- the modern-day proverbial mountain from which all things are shouted. And shout Pope Francis I does, with ALL CAPS, in tweet #1.

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  7. Tech

    That Didn’t Last Long: Pope’s Twitter to Close Up Shop in Wake of Historic Resignation

    Benedict XVI, as we all know, is stepping down from the office of the Pope after nearly 600 years of no one doing that. But even more stunning -- brace yourself, Internet users! -- is the fact that the Pope is going to disconnect completely by not tweeting anymore. That's right, @pontifex will be shut down. But will anyone pick up the papal micro-blogging slack?

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  8. Weird

    Does The Pope Quit in the Woods? Benedict XVI Resigns, Here’s What Happens Now

    Pope Benedict VXI has shocked the world by resigning this morning, citing the ravages of age and poor health that, he feels have begun to prevent him from carrying out the duties of the office. While the office of Pope is not necessarily a lifetime appointment, stepping down from the post is exceedingly rare, and has been unheard of for the last 600 years.  The 85-year-old pontiff will continue poping it up -- the technical term for serving as Holy Father of the Catholic Church -- until the end of the month, while the College of Cardinals convenes to find his successor. Here's how they'll do it.

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  9. Tech

    Pope Benedict XVI Starts Tweeting, Doesn’t Quite Know What He’s Doing

    The entire Twitter community felt the holy vibes this morning when Pope Benedict XVI began tweeting in earnest on his once languid network profile. Within minutes, pious devotees, critics, and people who couldn't pass up the opportunity to crack a topical joke swarmed His Holiness' profile to communicate with Pope Benedict XVI directly. Tweeting under the moniker @Pontifex -- which is Latin for "bridge builder," but sounds more like the name of a dragon from Skyrim -- the Pope is dishing out the blessings and words of wisdom in 140 characters or less, but based on his tweets, it looks like there's a going to be a bit of a learning curve.

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  10. Weird

    Indian Sadhu Keeps His Arm Raised for 38 Years in Devotion to Shiva

    Indian Sadhu Amar Bharati claims to have kept his hand raised for 38 years in devotion to Hindu deity Shiva. One day in 1970, Bharati left his job, wife, and three children in order to pursue his devotion to Shiva; three years later he felt he was still too connected to the luxury of mortal life, and decided to raise his arm and keep it raised in order to disconnect himself from said luxuries of mortal life.

    As one can see from the above picture, his raised arm is much more deformed than his other arm. He claims that he dealt with immense pain for quite a while, but it eventually subsided and now he can't even use the raised arm if he wanted, as it atrophied and is now stuck in its current raised position. Bharati inspired other sadhus to raise their arms as well, some of which have managed to keep them raised for 7, 13, or even 25 years, forever asking for permission to speak in class.

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  11. Science

    Study Links Religious Experiences to Brain Shrinkage

    A study published in PLoS ONE by Amy Owen and her colleagues at Duke University showed greater atrophy in the hippocampus of people who identify with a specific religion, as well as people who do not identify with any; basically, the subjects who experienced shrinkage in certain areas of the brain were identified as religious, or specifically not, as opposed to those who are casual about religion.

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  12. Tech

    Swedish File-Sharers Want Religious Status

    The founders of the Missionary Church of Kopimism have attempted to gain official recognition of their religion. What religion is that, one may ask? Why, a group of software pirates that are so into piracy, they are claiming it as their religion. They hold CTRL+V and CTRL+C as their sacred symbols. What is it they are trying to achieve through their religion? To spread harmony, which would be a noble endeavor, if it weren't between piracy and the police.

    Found by 19-year-old Isaac Gerson, the church believes:

    ...copying and the sharing of information is the most beautiful thing in the world. To have your information copied is a token of appreciation, say the church, a sure sign that people think you have done something good.

    The church was denied the status it seeks back in March of 2010, because it was deemed their meetings did not constitute "worship." Their religion revolves around a few core principles:

    # Reproduction of information is ethically right. # The flow of information is ethically right. # Remix Spirit is a sacred kind of copying. # Copying or remixing information conveyed by another person is an act of respect.

    They're also against DRM, as one might never have guessed, and their induction policy is fairly simple: Agree that all information should be copyable and free, within the context of the above principles. If these principles are so extremely important to your beliefs, you can go ahead and learn more about your potential religion at its website.

    (TorrentFreak via Slashdot)

    Read on...
  13. Gaming

    Chain World: Minecraft As Religion

    The Game Developer's Conference Game Design Challenge this year was "Bigger Than Jesus," and had game designers create a game in one week that could be a religion. Jason Rohrer won that challenge with his creation Chain World, a modified version of Minecraft that exists only on a flash drive.

    The drive is handed off player to player, preventing direct interaction between players. Instead, they work to build their legacies through in-game creation until their character dies. Upon their death, Chain World copies the game and wipes it from the user's computer. Then, it's time to find the next player.

    Interestingly, Rohrer's rules for Chain World dictate not so much what players do in the game, but what they do with the game.

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  14. Weird

    “Any Entity – No Matter How Many Tentacles It Has – Has a Soul.”

    [Guy Consolmagno] would be "delighted" if intelligent life was found among the stars. "But the odds of us finding it, of it being intelligent and us being able to communicate with it – when you add them up it's probably not a practical question." Speaking ahead of a talk at the British Science Festival in Birmingham tomorrow, he said that the traditional definition of a soul was to have intelligence, free will, freedom to love and freedom to make decisions. "Any entity – no matter how many tentacles it has – has a soul." Would he baptise an alien? "Only if they asked." -- Guy Consolmagno is an astronomer to the Pope. (via The Guardian.)

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  15. Weird

    The Catholic Church is Recruiting Through Facebook

    In the face of dwindling numbers of French priests and an international child abuse scandal that many feel has not been addressed strongly enough by the Vatican, the Catholic Church in France has created a Facebook page as a part of a two-week marketing campaign to "to attract young people to the priesthood." Maybe they should also spend some time preventing the opposite! Hey-oo - Er, sorry. We'll try to keep those sorts of things to a minimum.

    Read on...
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