diverse childhoods

“where children sleep” (via mefi)

tugged on my heartstrings but, then again, i am a chick.

see more here.


ass-burgery terrorists?

via infoproc, it seems that an awful lot of contemporary terrorists are engineers:

“Engineering Terror”

“[I]n the ranks of captured and confessed terrorists, engineers and engineering students are significantly overrepresented….

“For their recent study, the two men [Diego Gambetta & Steffen Hertog] collected records on 404 men who belonged to violent Islamist groups active over the past few decades (some in jail, some not). Had those groups reflected the working-age populations of their countries, engineers would have made up about 3.5 percent of the membership. Instead, nearly 20 percent of the militants had engineering degrees. When Gambetta and Hertog looked at only the militants whose education was known for certain to have gone beyond high school, close to half (44 percent) had trained in engineering. Among those with advanced degrees in the militants’ homelands, only 18 percent are engineers.

“The two authors found the same high ratio of engineers in most of the 21 organizations they examined, including Jemaah Islamiya in Southeast Asia and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Middle East. Sorting the militants according to their 30 homelands showed the same pattern: engineers represented a fifth of all militants from every nation except one, and nearly half of those with advanced degrees.”

steve hsu quips: “Hmm… autistic geeks fight for abstract ideas whereas empathic humanists fight to end human suffering?”


but, of course, he’s on to something there. at least the autistic part. there is a strong link between autism|ass-burgers and engineering:

“Both fathers and grandfathers of children with autism were found more than twice as often in the field of engineering, compared to fathers and grandfathers of other children. This link between autism and engineering may throw light not only on autism itself, but ultimately on the genetic basis of two essential human abilities: ‘folk psychology’ and ‘folk physics’.”

more on gambetta and hertog:

“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.'”


gambetta and hertog are obviously not ass-burgery themselves. (that’s ok. not everybody can be purely logical beings.) since i am an actual ass-burger, i’m going to take it upon myself to speak for autists|ass-burgers everywhere.

*clears throat*

there’s nothing about being on the autistic spectrum (AS) that gives us a “loyal acceptance of authority.” quite the opposite, in fact! AS folks generally joke that getting us to conform to any authority|situation is next to impossible – it’s like trying to herd cats.

no. afaics, the main difference between the “right-wing”|engineer|ass-burgery terrorists and the left-wing|artsy-fartsy|neurotypical terrorists is simply the logic thing.

simon baron-cohen (no, not that baron-cohen, but his cousin) theorizes that people on the AS have hyper-systemizing brains – we are constantly striving to understand how things (including people) work. looking for the mechanics underlying – well – everything!

that seems to explain almost perfectly the “right-wing”|engineer|ass-burgery terrorist vs. the left-wing|artsy-fartsy|neurotypical terrorist dichotomy. to me, anyway. the ass-burgery terrorists look for the logic behind the system – how things really work in the world – while the neurotypicals are completely lost-in-space with their communism, anarchism and “shining ideals.”

i mean, wtf? -isms like communism compleeeeeetely misunderstand how man works. compleeeeeetely. only a non-logical creature could come up with|believe in something so ridiculous.

ass-burgery terrorists want to reveal the wizard behind the curtain – neurotypical terrorists want to be that wizard.

now, i know what you’re going to say. “but the right-wing terrorists are so religious! how is THAT logical?” yeah, well no one is perfect. *sigh*

it has to be admitted, though, that most humans are infected by religiosity. (shame really, but it seems to work – and, after all is said and done, that is all that mother nature cares about.) and, again, in this way the ass-burgery terrorists are more realistic in that they don’t deny the religiosity of man – unlike, say, communists.

i can kinda relate to these ass-burgery terrorists. i don’t relate AT ALL with the desire to blow up things|people. that’s just wrong, wrong, wrong. but i think i can relate a bit to the mind-set wherein you’ve thought through a social problem|question logically – and because you have done so, you can see all the logical fallacies of the majority propping up the status quo – and it just offends you. (like: “it’s so obvious what the problems are! why can’t|doesn’t everyone else see that!”) and something needs to be done to get rid of all those g*dd*mn fallacies…!

kinda like political correctness. it offends me. deeply. and i know it’s not going to be able survive a great, economic depression, which looks certain to happen any day now. (people are NOT gonna be able to afford political correctness when push comes to shove.) and i kinda am looking forward to it, even though i know it’s going to mean financial wreck and ruin for everyone i care about, and possibly even war and what not. but, at this point, almost anything would be better than all this political correctness!! almost.

childish, i know. but autism is a developmental disorder.


test yourself to see if you’ve the makings of a terrorist! (~_^) i score pretty much off the charts, in a range not at all typical for your average chick.

and, now, for something completely different. a little ass-burgery music:

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