Confronting society's absurd enthusiasm for DARPA's murdering 'mad science'

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For most of its history, DARPA was a shadow. Eisenhower signed the agency, then called ARPA, into being in 1958, in an America still trying to forget images of mustard and chlorine gas, one still feeling the effects of active nuclear fallout. Stories of inhuman experiments by German and Japanese military regimes were still being uncovered. Rumors were rampant about invisible Soviet subs and obscene biological weapons tests. Science and war were respected individually, but mistrusted in concert.

Additionally, the Cold War was already on, and all things military were under the tightest security lockdown. In its earliest phases, ARPA had many of the technological responsibilities of the modern NSA, and struggled with a newly created NASA for control of the country's rocketry program. There was a de facto wall of silence surrounding even their most domestic of projects. Even as the agency began relying more heavily on their corporate and academic partnerships, the public and internal consensus remained that ARPA was the agency of murder science.