The Department of Mad Scientists; How DARPA Is Remaking Our World, from the Internet to Artificial Limbs
New York: Smithsonian Books [An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers], 2009. Second Printing [stated]. Hardcover. xxiii, , 295,  pages. Notes. Selected Bibliography. Index. DJ has slight wear and soiling. Michael Belfiore is an author and journalist reporting on the technological innovations shaping our world. Some of his notable works include The Department of Mad Scientists: How DARPA is Remaking Our World, Rocketeers, and The Way People Live - Life Aboard a Space Station. He has written articles for Popular Mechanics and Popular Science. He has reported on game-changing technologies for Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Times, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian, Air & Space, Financial Times, Foreign Policy, and many other outlets. He is an International Aerospace Journalist of the Year Award finalist and a recipient of the Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace Award for outstanding journalism. Michael has appeared as a commentator on the Fox Business Network, Bloomberg Radio and TV, CNN, NPR’s Marketplace and Morning Edition, and C-SPAN. The Department of Mad Scientists is the first trade book ever on DARPA—the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—the maverick and controversial agency whose futuristic work has had amazing military and civilian application, from the Internet to GPS to driverless cars. Michael Belfiore, author of Rocketeers, visited science research sites across the country to provide this unprecedented look at the people who shape our country’s future technology. Belfiore traces the agency’s origins and exploits from the 1957 Sputnik launching (which shocked the United States government into technological action) to the 1969 birth of the original Internet, known as Arpanet, to Total Information Awareness, the controversial 2002 project that was supposed to scan telecommunications data for signs of terrorism. He captures the agency’s essential virtues: boldness, creativity, agility, practicality and speed.
The Army needs vehicles that can move cargo without exposing human operators to bombs or enemy fire. To encourage development of such vehicles, Darpa sponsored a 2007 contest in which cars designed by 35 teams navigated a simulated urban war zone. The cars used systems like those already in consumer vehicles: GPS, lane guidance, calibrated braking. But instead of routing their information and advice through human drivers, the cars simply acted on it.
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Keywords: DARPA, Advanced Research Projects, ARPANET, Ballistic Missiles, Biofuels, Computers, Douglas Kirkpatrick, Nuclear Weapons, Tony Tether, Biomedical, von Braun