The 404 1,310: Where it's love at first swipe (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Thanks to William for calling this to our attention: Yahoo used our screenshot for a list of the "Best Podcasts You've Never Heard, but Should."

- Cut your time in purgatory by following pope on Twitter.

- Internet dating firms entice lonely hearts with faked profiles based on real people.

- A new app that lets you share your leftovers with strangers.… Read more

Cut your time in purgatory by following pope on Twitter

If you're Christian, you might believe the keys to salvation are faith and good works. But a little Twitter might help get you to the Pearly Gates too.

You can now reduce the time your everlasting soul has to spend in purgatory by following tweets from Pope Francis and Catholic World Youth Day, an event held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that the pontiff will attend later this month.

The policy is a form of indulgence, a centuries-old tradition in the Catholic Church in which the temporal punishment for absolved sins is relieved. Since it's a plenary indulgence, a believer gets total remission of sins and relief from penitence. … Read more

The 404 1,244: Where we take a spa day (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Microsoft may announce the next generation of Xbox on May 21.

- Chinese people burn Apple products to pay respect to the dead; Americans do it just because.

- Here's a list of porn currently being watched in the Vatican.

- The season finale of "Alf": could it have been done differently?… Read more

Lawyer offers popefrancis.com to pope

If the media is to believed, the new Pope Francis is an extremely modest man.

Eschewing the life of palaces in Argentina, he lived modestly and even cooked for himself.

Such frugality, reticence, and identification with the poor of the world isn't often associated with lawyers.

Yet one member of Chicago's legal faith is offering up an act of generosity akin to just chatting with Mary Magdalene.… Read more

The new papacy and new media

When the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church were sequestered in the conclave to choose a new pope, they were instructed to give up their cell phones. No texting! Revealing the secrets behind the election of the successor to Pope Benedict XVI, they and their attendants were told, would lead to excommunication.

Jammers were also installed in the Sistine Chapel to prevent electronic communication.

For an institution that has suffered its share of leaks, the Vatican maintained its storied traditions as it voted for a pope for the second time in the 21st century.

But while the announcement that a new pope had been chosen was made via a cloud of white smoke -- a tradition that has continued since the election of Pope Benedict XV in 1914, and a symbol of the cardinals' cloistered proceedings -- the introduction to the world of Argentinean Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis was made on live TV and Internet, via Twitter and Facebook, and by the countless smartphone and tablet photos snapped in St. Peter's Square. … Read more

Pope Francis spurs hundreds of domain name registrations

Shortly after the smoke rising from the Sistine Chapel turned from black to white and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was deemed the world's new Roman Catholic leader, hundreds of people took to the Web to register domain names with the new pope's title.

Web hosting and domain registration site GoDaddy told CNET that it racked up more than 100 domain registrations within the first 10 minutes of the announcement. By the first hour, 479 new domains were registered. And, as of this writing, 647 domain names have been registered at GoDaddy.

"The election of Pope Francis is … Read more

Vatican reactivates pope's @Pontifex Twitter account

As the Vatican taps Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to lead the Catholic Church, the pope's Twitter account has been reactivated. Bergoglio's first official Tweet as @Pontifex was "Habemus papam franciscum," which means, "We have a Pope Francis."

Apparently, the account was actually the Vatican's official account, but was changed to @Pontifex after a the new pope was chosen, according to CBS News.

The original @Pontifex Twitter account went into hibernation this past month in light of Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign from the papacy due to health reasons.

Pope Benedict XVI … Read more

'Pope Alarm' alerts pope-arazzi when smoke turns white

In case you're unfamiliar with the significance of the color of smoke rising from the world's current most-watched chimney, here's how Ireland's Father Paddy Byrne broke it down in a Tweet awhile ago:

Not going to directly accuse Father Byrne of anything except wacky tweeting here, but it should be noted for noobs to the conclave of Catholic cardinals currently trying to select the pope's successor that only the first two parts are true. I hope. After each round of balloting that doesn't produce a two-thirds majority, a puff of black smoke goes up and out of the Sistine Chapel. Once a new pope is selected, the smoke turns white.

So, that means the true pope-arazzi should have already staked out a prime smoke-viewing spot outside the chapel. But for the rest of us who aren't trained to the live Vatican smoke cam but are maybe just a little obsessed with anything that involves balloting, be it popes or pop stars, fortunately there's Pope Alarm (tagline: "When the smoke goes up, you'll know what's going down"). … Read more

Vatican smoke signals: The science behind the smoke

To observers of the papal conclave, one part of the process will probably stand out as the most visible and exciting. Today, all 115 cardinals will isolate themselves from the rest of the world, their only contact with the outside world being smoke signals.

What the fumes indicate is simple: black smoke means there has been no decision on a new pontiff. But if the "fumata bianca," or white smoke, flows out of the chimney, then the world knows there is a new Bishop of Rome. The color has to be just right, or millions of onlookers will be fooled.

But just how does the smoke get its color? … Read more

Pope's tweets dissolved

The Catholic Church is one of the few remaining organizations that believes in absolutes.

Sometimes, though, this gives an impression of harshness.

No sooner had the pope bid farewell to his flock than his tweets were summarily removed from Twitter. Pope Benedict XVI officially left office today.

It's true that last week the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI's last tweet would be on February 27.

Yet to see the @Pointifex account deserted feels a little severe.

Currently, the account is open, but is marked simply with the words "Sede Vacante," the Latin for "vacant … Read more