According to urban legend, "red mercury" is a incredibly rare substance which is attracted to gold and repelled by garlic, and it has incredible capabilities; The New York Times explains its purported powers: "when detonated in a combination with conventional high explosives, red mercury could create the city-flattening blast of a nuclear bomb" and-- even more conveniently-- it is rumored that a bit of the stuff could fuel a neutron bomb that could fit in a lunch bag; I hadn't heard of the stuff until yesterday, but apparently the myth of this non-existent material has been around for decades and recently ISIS has been sucked in by the hoax . . . I guess if you're into that kind of eschatological apocalypse, then red mercury is just too damned convenient not to believe in . . . but I've also learned that Graeme Wood's Atlantic article "What ISIS Really Wants" might be exaggerating the fundamental religious element of ISIS's ideology and that the article (and current conservative idiom) might be wrong in saying that we are at war with "radical Islamic terrorists" for several reasons:
1) there are plenty of radically fundamental Muslims who abide by the Koran and aren't violent or on a jihad or in any way associated with terrorism, just as there are plenty of radically fundamental Mormons who aren't polygamists and plenty of radically fundamental Christians who aren't part of the KKK or The Aryan Nation;
2) we never refer to the Nazis as Christian Fascists, like Indiana Jones, we just say: "Nazis, I hate these guys;
3) there's no reason to constantly associate the 1.5 billion non-terrorist Muslims with the bad apples in Syria;
4) this is probably less of a war, and more about trying to prevent criminal acts from criminally minded people with various abnormal and psychotic and sociopathic and delusional and obsessive and violent proclivities;
5) a terrorist is a terrorist, and scholars are at odds about their motivations, but in the end, if someone is willing to strap a bomb around their waist and blow themselves up in a crowd, it doesn't matter if the act is religious, or indignance over the American invasion of Iraq, or anger because of Saudi cooperation with America or simply because they consider Paris to be the world capital of "prostitution and obscenity" . . . it's still a lunatic act by a lunatic group, and there's no real reason to lump them in with the whole . . . and if ISIS thinks that about Paris, what do they say about Bangkok and Amsterdam?