wasting bandwidth since 1999

High Risk Research

The birthplace of the internet is turning 50 this month.

DARPA, the Advanced Research Projects Agency, was created in the wake of the Russian launch of Sputnik to provide a high-tech research lab for the military.

Their current director describes the agency’s mission this way:

“DARPA will take a chance on an idea with no data. We’ll put up the money to go get the data and see if the idea holds,” said Anthony J. Tether, the agency director.

“That is the highest-risk type of research you can have.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were willing to provide that kind of support for research in areas that have nothing to do with preparing for war?

Just asking.


  1. Dave

    I get a little jealous when I read about wars that unified the country, especially WWII. When just about everyone places the same goal as their top priority, it’s pretty amazing what happens.

    I would never have thought that we’d have unity like that again, and then 9/11 happened, and there we were, unified. And then what happened? I love that we are allowed to have dissenting opinions…but I’ll always wonder if things could have turned out different. Could that post 9/11 unity have been built into a strong nation-wide effort to invent new technologies and optimize current processes?

    I’m hoping you’re on the right track — that we’ll find goals that have nothing to with with preparing for war. We need an influential person to make a list of the top 10 solvable problems (AIDS? obesity? better criminal rehabilitation?), and then the nation needs to gitterdone…so to speak.

  2. Betty

    It would be great if money always went towards peaceful research. How is it that there is always enough money for war? I wonder.

  3. Tim

    As far as I’m concerned, the top priority for the next president and Congress should be to commit this country to develop economically feasible alternatives to fossil fuels. The investment necessary to make this happen will more than pay for itself in jobs, environmental quality, national security, and more.

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