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  1. 15 Sep '10 05:24
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/12/magazine/12FOB-IdeaLab-t.html

    .....


    One seemingly obvious explanation for the presence of engineers in violent groups lies in the terrorist’s job description. Who, after all, is least likely to confuse the radio with the landing gear, as Gambetta puts it, or the red wire with the green? But if groups need geeks for political violence, then engineering degrees ought to turn up in the rosters of all terrorist groups that plant bombs, hijack planes and stage kidnappings. And that’s not the case.

    Gambetta and Hertog found engineers only in right-wing groups — the ones that claim to fight for the pious past of Islamic fundamentalists or the white-supremacy America of the Aryan Nations (founder: Richard Butler, engineer) or the minimal pre-modern U.S. government that Stack and Bedell extolled.

    Among Communists, anarchists and other groups whose shining ideal lies in the future, the researchers found almost no engineers. Yet these organizations mastered the same technical skills as the right-wingers. Between 1970 and 1978, for instance, the Baader-Meinhof gang in Germany staged kidnappings, assassinations, bank robberies and bombings. Seventeen of its members had college or graduate degrees, mostly in law or the humanities. Not one studied engineering.

    The engineer mind-set, Gambetta and Hertog suggest, might be a mix of emotional conservatism and intellectual habits that prefers clear answers to ambiguous questions — “the combination of a sharp mind with a loyal acceptance of authority.” Do people become engineers because they are this way? Or does engineering work shape them? It’s probably a feedback loop of both, Gambetta says.

    .....
  2. 15 Sep '10 05:26
    i call BS. almost the entire top-level committee of the PRC is composed of engineers, except for one lawyer IIRC.

    ---

    "Among Communists, anarchists and other groups whose shining ideal lies in the future, the researchers found almost no engineers. "
  3. 15 Sep '10 05:31
    another problem with their analysis is: a lot of the college students who are sent overseas by their countries to study are poor kids paid to study engineering. what use has a poor country got for a humanities student? the countries expect these kids to come back and better their countries. at my uni we had lots of malaysians studying electrical engineering and comp sci, lots of Africans studying chemical engineering, all paid for by their home countries.
  4. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    15 Sep '10 10:11
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/12/magazine/12FOB-IdeaLab-t.html

    .....


    One seemingly obvious explanation for the presence of engineers in violent groups lies in the terrorist’s job description. Who, after all, is least likely to confuse the radio with the landing gear, as Gambetta puts it, or the red wire with the green? But if groups need geeks for ...[text shortened]... oes engineering work shape them? It’s probably a feedback loop of both, Gambetta says.

    .....
    I have long suspected that engineers are among the most conservative groups in the country. I would wager that as a group they lean heavily toward the Republican party. This stems from their fantastically bloated sense of self-importance. The view that they, and they alone, are the force that keeps society moving and 'progressing' gives them a vested interest in the maintenance of the status quo.
  5. 15 Sep '10 18:13
    Originally posted by rwingett
    I have long suspected that engineers are among the most conservative groups in the country. I would wager that as a group they lean heavily toward the Republican party. This stems from their fantastically bloated sense of self-importance. The view that they, and they alone, are the force that keeps society moving and 'progressing' gives them a vested interest in the maintenance of the status quo.
    that's because they are smarter than most liberal arts majors. but not smarter than lawyers and doctors and politicians, who can write their own tickets and jealously defend their niches in the food chain.

    where you'd be without engineers:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalahari#Population

    The Bushmen have lived in the Kalahari for 20,000 years as hunter-gatherers.[8] They hunt wild game with bows and arrows and gather edible plants, such as berries, melons and nuts, as well as insects. Bushmen rarely drink water; they get most of their water requirements from plant roots and desert melons found on or under the desert floor. They often store water in the blown-out shells of ostrich eggs. The San languages are notable for a number of distinctive features, including click consonants. These Bushmen live in huts built from local materials—the frame is made of branches, and the roof is thatched with long grass. The Bantu-speaking Tswana, Kgalagadi, and Herero and a small number of European settlers also live in the Kalahari.
  6. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    15 Sep '10 19:59
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    that's because they are smarter than most liberal arts majors. but not smarter than lawyers and doctors and politicians, who can write their own tickets and jealously defend their niches in the food chain.

    where you'd be without engineers:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalahari#Population

    The Bushmen have lived in the Kalahari for 20,000 years as ...[text shortened]... wana, Kgalagadi, and Herero and a small number of European settlers also live in the Kalahari.
    Believe me, we'd be a lot better off that way. I would gladly drink water from an ostrich egg for the rest of eternity if I could be spared from any more of the self-congratulatory blather that engineers ladle out in such copious amounts.
  7. 15 Sep '10 20:11
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Believe me, we'd be a lot better off that way. I would gladly drink water from an ostrich egg for the rest of eternity if I could be spared from any more of the self-congratulatory blather that engineers ladle out in such copious amounts.
    your wish is granted!

    surely you've got the assets available for conversion to a one-way ticket to Namibia, transport to the desert, and purchase of a loin cloth, bow and three arrows, quiver, and ostrich egg?

    if your debts exceed your assets, don't worry, i doubt the creditors will think of looking for you in the Kalahari.
  8. 15 Sep '10 20:12
    unless you're posting this from prison, as an inmate. that could get complicated.

    what are you in for?
  9. 15 Sep '10 20:13
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Believe me, we'd be a lot better off that way. I would gladly drink water from an ostrich egg for the rest of eternity if I could be spared from any more of the self-congratulatory blather that engineers ladle out in such copious amounts.
    But without us uber important engineers, you wouldn't be able to complain about us on an internet forum.

    By the way, don't a majority of educated people in the US vote Democrat?
  10. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    15 Sep '10 20:19 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    But without us uber important engineers, you wouldn't be able to complain about us on an internet forum.

    By the way, don't a majority of educated people in the US vote Democrat?
    In 2008, Obama scored best among those who didn't have a high school diploma though he won in all categories of educational attainment.http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/results/president/exit-polls.html
  11. 15 Sep '10 20:19
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    But without us uber important engineers, you wouldn't be able to complain about us on an internet forum.

    By the way, don't a majority of educated people in the US vote Democrat?
    it just seems that way because Democrats are loud and whiny.

    or maybe it's observer bias.

    http://www.carolinapoliticsonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Democrats-Seal.jpg
  12. 15 Sep '10 20:24 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    In 2008, Obama scored best among those who didn't have a high school diploma though he won in all categories of educational attainment.http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/results/president/exit-polls.html
    Hmm, well "college degree" doesn't mean much, what about people with degrees at top universities?

    And why do jews so overwhelmingly vote Democrat?
  13. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    15 Sep '10 20:38
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    But without us uber important engineers, you wouldn't be able to complain about us on an internet forum.

    By the way, don't a majority of educated people in the US vote Democrat?
    That only matters if you think that having this computer to publicly complain on makes me happier than your average Bushman. I doubt that it does. The engineers of the world have a vested interest in convincing everyone else that their vaunted technological advances are making us 'happier.' But they aren't. Primitive societies are no less happy than technologically advanced ones. On the contrary, without the strain, alienation, and frenetic pace of technological societies, primitive societies are frequently more happy. You'd never know it from listening to an engineer, though.
  14. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    15 Sep '10 20:39
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Hmm, well "college degree" doesn't mean much, what about people with degrees at top universities?

    And why do jews so overwhelmingly vote Democrat?
    Because the WASPs won't teach them the secret handshakes.
  15. 15 Sep '10 20:39
    when do you leave, rwingett? d-ng, i'm jealous!