I’m in a blissful lull now, awaiting my editor’s feedback before starting revisions on my book about the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. The book runs just under 300 pages without notes and other back matter. Some other stats:

Working title: The Department of Mad Scientists: Inside DARPA and How It Shapes Our Technological Future

Tentative list of chapters:

1: An Arm and a Leg
DARPA and the military industrial complex, advanced prosthetics, and why DARPA may just represent the best use of our tax dollars.

2: The Sky Is Falling
President Eisenhower, Sputnik, and how ARPA became America’s first space agency.

3: The Intergalactic Network
ARPA invents the Internet, GPS, and stealth airplane technology, and then wonders what the hell it’s for after the fall of the Soviet Union.

4: Crazy-Ass Things
Tony Tether takes over DARPA with a mission to bring back the era of visionaries with their hair on fire, and after 9/11 becomes DARPA’s longest-serving director.

5: Back Seat Drivers
Ten days in the desert with 35 driverless cars and their humans.

6. Bot on Bot Action
The robot cars go head-to-head in DARPA’s first robotic street rally.

7. The Final Frontier
Back in space, DARPA launches satellites on the cheap and discovers the secret of hypersonic flight.

8. The Robot Will See You Now
Robotic surgery comes of age; up next: surgery as word processing.

9. Power to the People
Behind the scenes at perhaps DARPA’s most important project yet: getting us energy security now.

Pub date: Fall 2009

Publisher: Smithsonian Books/HarperCollins Publishers