The Imagineers of War

Author: Sharon Weinberger
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0385351801
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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The definitive history of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon agency that has quietly shaped war and technology for nearly sixty years. Founded in 1958 in response to the launch of Sputnik, the agency’s original mission was to create “the unimagined weapons of the future.” Over the decades, DARPA has been responsible for countless inventions and technologies that extend well beyond military technology. Sharon Weinberger gives us a riveting account of DARPA’s successes and failures, its remarkable innovations, and its wild-eyed schemes. We see how the threat of nuclear Armageddon sparked investment in computer networking, leading to the Internet, as well as to a proposal to power a missile-destroying particle beam by draining the Great Lakes. We learn how DARPA was responsible during the Vietnam War for both Agent Orange and the development of the world’s first armed drones, and how after 9/11 the agency sparked a national controversy over surveillance with its data-mining research. And we see how DARPA’s success with self-driving cars was followed by disappointing contributions to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Weinberger has interviewed more than one hundred former Pentagon officials and scientists involved in DARPA’s projects—many of whom have never spoken publicly about their work with the agency—and pored over countless declassified records from archives around the country, documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, and exclusive materials provided by sources. The Imagineers of War is a compelling and groundbreaking history in which science, technology, and politics collide.

A History of the Atomic Space Age and Its Implications for the Future

Author: Willis L. Shirk
Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN: 145756145X
Format: PDF, Docs
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The Atomic Space Age has been and continues to be an engine for future wealth creation. Humanity stands on the verge of becoming an interplanetary species. We know we are made of star-stuff precisely because many of the isotopes in our bodies originated in the death throes of dying suns. With the discovery of nuclear fission in 1938, mankind was for the first time able to glimpse both our distant past and our possible future. As with the discovery of fire and agriculture thousands of years ago, wind power hundreds of years ago, and steam power and electricity in the nineteenth century, we must now learn to tame this powerful new force locked within the heart of the atom. Buckminster Fuller once observed that wealth is nothing more than energy compounded by ingenuity. Since (mass-)energy can never decrease, and ingenuity will only increase, there is no limit to the quantity of wealth that our species can and will create using nuclear space propulsion.

The Future of War

Author: Lawrence Freedman
Publisher: Penguin UK
ISBN: 014197561X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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A new approach to ideas about war, from one of the UK's leading strategic thinkers In 1912 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a short story about a war fought from underwater submersibles that included the sinking of passenger ships. It was dismissed by the British admirals of the day, not on the basis of technical feasibility, but because sinking civilian ships was not something that any civilised nation would do. The reality of war often contradicts expectations, less because of some fantastic technical or engineering dimension, but more because of some human, political, or moral threshold that we had never imagined would be crossed. As Lawrence Freedman shows, ideas about the causes of war and strategies for its conduct have rich and varied histories which shape predictions about the future. Freedman shows how looking at how the future of war was conceived about in the past (and why this was more often than not wrong) can put into perspective current thinking about future conflicts. The Future of War - which takes us from preparations for the world wars, through the nuclear age and the civil wars which became the focus for debate after the end of the Cold War, to present preoccupations with hybrid and cyber warfare - is filled with fascinating insights from one of the most brilliant military and strategic historians of his generation.