I have this idea for a great car… a great KILLER car!

Nicholas Turse provides an interesting look at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s foray into the natural sciences. It’s kinda interesting. Besides the weird science of remote controlled rats and bomb-sniffing bees, what’s most interesting about the article is what it brings to light about the unique tensions within the organization:

“[DARPA] is, perhaps, the most creative place in our vast government for a scientist who wants to stretch his or her mind in adventurous directions and be well paid to do so. If you have a wild idea, DARPA’s the place to try it out. There’s only one caveat — in one way or another most every project, however mind-stretching, invariably must end, directly or indirectly, in the incapacitation or death of future American enemies.” (emphasis added)

So: virtually unlimited freedom for the creative at heart (brain, whatever)—as long as they don’t mind that some day their creative project, their work of intellectual cunning, will be used (maybe) to kill someone. Or a whole bunch of someones.

(via MotherJones: “DARPA’s Wild Kingdom,” by Nicholas Turse [March 8, 2004])