In 2009, Haering -- a Swiss geologist -- set out to produce geothermal energy by boiling water on rocks three miles underground, then sending the superheated water up through a steam turbine. His goal was to be the first to produce commercial quantities of geothermal energy, enough to fill the electricity needs of 10,000 homes. His means to achieve this: a giant-ass drill. The result: Haering found himself in criminal court for causing a series of earthquakes.
Unfortunately for Markus, the site he had chosen for drilling was located directly over a fault line, which he managed to tickle to the effect of a series of quakes, the biggest of which hit magnitude 3.4. After $7.35 million in property damage and some visits from law enforcement officials (who were probably disappointed that Haering wasn't wearing a cape and reciting crazy monologue at them from atop his drill machine), our accidental affront to mankind found his ass in court.
Stefan Bohrer/Tages Woche
"Seriously, don't you at least have a monocle or something? A white cat?"
Haering was acquitted on the grounds that he hadn't intended to try to destroy the town with his doomsday device, and had turned it off as soon as it became evident that s**t was getting wrecked. So sure, he's not a supervillain in the eyes of the law, but his comments certainly indicate that this career direction might not be completely out of the question. Haering dismissed his quakes as "a learning process for everyone involved," and stated: "We don't get innovation for free. We have to work it out."