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My friend Mark Frauenfelder and I took our kids to a class on car theft this weekend. Part of Machine Project‘s new series entitled Good People Doing Bad Things, it was absolutely wonderful. Instructors Tom Jennings and Jason Torchinsky should be either thrown in jail or made into heroes of the people.

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The class description:

For most kids (and adults), modern cars are simply these gleaming, aggressive-faced jellybeans that house air-conditioning units and MP3 players while they idle in traffic. But underneath their shiny surface lurks all manner of exciting machinery that needs some demystification. That’s where we come in. In this class, we just focus on a few key aspects of cars, and our interactions with them, while learning a bit about the physics and mechanics behind how it all works.

Here’s what we’ll do:
• Breaking in! How to break into a car, and how car locks work – including exciting door-panel removal.
• Breaking out! How to escape from a locked car trunk. Each student will have a chance to learn and perform this exciting feat.
• Breaking… the law! How to hotwire and start a car with some simple tools.

This is a hands-on class, with an actual car to break in and out of.

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One class highlight: Mark F. and three kids being stuffed into the trunk to test their escape skills. They made it out alive!

Many thanks to Machine Project ringmaster Mark Allen for making this class happen. Please tell us you’ll teach safe-cracking next.