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On Monday evening, on MetaFilter's job board, someone posted an ad for a job. A very important job, in fact. It's a one-off gig, for someone who can "[p]lease throw an item into an active volcano for me."

The request was posted by MetaFilter user popechunk, a 46-year-old self-described "UNIX dude" from the notably volcano-less city of Austin, Texas. The ad reads:

If you live near an active volcano, and are willing to help someone out, I'd like to mail you a small item (and some USD to cover your expenses), and have you video yourself putting that item in molten lava for me.

* this is not a joke
* I'm not trying to get anyone to break any laws.
* it's a very small object that would not harm a volcano
* thank you

location: Proximal to Volcano
payscale: $0-$40

I have so many questions: What is the item? How small is small? Why not a larger item, that could be more fun? Why does it need to be videotaped? What items would harm a volcano? Is this a viral marketing for a sequel to Joe Versus The Volcano? Is this a hoax? Why does the scale go from $0 to $40? What would represent, say, a $5 toss into a volcano, versus a $40 toss? While we're at it: Is $40 dollars a reasonable amount to pay someone to place something in a volcano? What is the going rate for such a task? Is this the future of work?

I've reached out to popechunk to see if he'll tell me more and I'll update this story if he gets back to me.

Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at