American Innovation, Thy Name Is DARPA
Think the private sector has a monopoly on innovation and government is just hopeless bureaucracy? Not DARPA. It's the agency that invented the Internet and flies at Mach 20.
What's the Latest Development?
If you think Google or Apple had a monopoly on large-scale innovation, you must not have heard of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. This government agency, with a modest $3 billion in annual funding compared to the Pentagon's $75 billion, is responsible for the Internet, for trying to grow vaccines inside of plants, for building a glider that can fly at 20 times the speed of sound and for researching the technical requirements of interstellar space travel. DARPA represents the best of what American ingenuity has to offer.
What's the Big Idea?
But DARPA had lost its way during the height of Iraq and Afghanistan wars, focusing on projects that needed immediate solutions, such as stopping IEDs, rather than dreaming big. Then, three years ago, when DARPA hired Regina Dugan, the agency's first female director, she encouraged the agency to take big risks that would benefit all society, not just the military. As Dugan told Congress two years ago, one of DARPA's missions remains leveraging democratized, crowd-sourced innovation. And while this public agency may be king of innovation, the private sector is no courtly fool. In March, Dugan left DARPA for Google.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
How you talk to people with drug addiction might save their life.
- Addiction is a learning disorder; it's not a sign that someone is a bad person.
- Tough love doesn't help drug-addicted people. Research shows that the best way to get people help is through compassion, empathy and support. Approach them as an equal human being deserving of respect.
- As a first step to recovery, Maia Szalavitz recommends the family or friends of people with addiction get them a complete psychiatric evaluation by somebody who is not affiliated with any treatment organization. Unfortunately, warns Szalavitz, some people will try to make a profit off of an addicted person without informing them of their full options.
Groundbreaking neuroscience confirms what Sigmund Freud first theorized.
China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.
- China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
- In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
- The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.