Why Are Terrorists Often Engineers?

The database of engineering-savvy extremists grows

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With terrorism back in the news, so, too, is a curious footnote: Of the hundreds of individuals involved in political violence, nearly half of those with degrees have been engineers. This finding, first published in 2008, has been substantiated by two years of additional research by Oxford sociologist Diego Gambetta and political scientist Steffen Hertog, of the London School of Economics. Host Steven Cherry talks with Hertog about why terrorists seem to have a knack for engineering.


Extremist Engineers, Election Day Edition

The story starts out the usual way: political lawn signs are secretly stolen and replaced with the opposition's political lawn signs. Shawn Turschak, the owner of the pilfered signs, decides to fight back: he runs wires from his house and hooks the signs into a power source for an electric pet fence. The goal being to deliver a shocking surprise to the next person who tries to steal his political signage. The problem is, the next person is a 9-year-old boy. Enter angry parents, police, and media. No harm done, in any case--the little boy was fine and probably learned an …