Inking up the blogosphere. And no, I don't glow in the dark. But thanks for asking.

February 9, 2010

DARPA: Continuing To Blur The Lines Between Science Fiction and Science Fact!

I don't often comment here about articles in the mainstream media, but this one was too good to pass up.  I was browsing through Google News and a headline from caught my eye....

To read the full article, click here.  Excerpt is as follows:

Pentagon Looks to Breed Immortal ‘Synthetic Organisms,’ Molecular Kill-Switch Included
The Pentagon’s mad science arm may have come up with its most radical project yet. Darpa is looking to re-write the laws of evolution to the military’s advantage, creating “synthetic organisms” that can live forever — or can be killed with the flick of a molecular switch.
As part of its budget for the next year, Darpa is investing $6 million into a project called BioDesign, with the goal of eliminating “the randomness of natural evolutionary advancement.” The plan would assemble the latest bio-tech knowledge to come up with living, breathing creatures that are genetically engineered to “produce the intended biological effect.” Darpa wants the organisms to be fortified with molecules that bolster cell resistance to death, so that the lab-monsters can “ultimately be programmed to live indefinitely.”
Of course, Darpa’s got to prevent the super-species from being swayed to do enemy work — so they’ll encode loyalty right into DNA, by developing genetically programmed locks to create “tamper proof” cells. Plus, the synthetic organism will be traceable, using some kind of DNA manipulation, “similar to a serial number on a handgun.” And if that doesn’t work, don’t worry. In case Darpa’s plan somehow goes horribly awry, they’re also tossing in a last-resort, genetically-coded kill switch: 
'Develop strategies to create a synthetic organism “self-destruct” option to be implemented upon nefarious removal of organism.'
"nefarious removal of organism"....Bwahahaha!!  Wow, I just inked a little bit.  Curse you, Moose and Squirrel!

I can't help but envision a group of DARPA geeks, strung out on Pop-Tarts and Red Bull sitting around a table and tossing out ideas:

--"Hey, seriously, what qualities would the ultimate superhero have?" 
--"'d have to have the soullessness and invincibility of the Terminator, the hamstring flexibility of Jean-Claude Van Damme, and the rage-strength of Rambo."
--"And don't forget the undefendable Chuck Norris roundhouse kick!"
--"Ooh, ooh, and maybe it could have bad-ass tentacles and tracking capabilities like the Predator!!"
--"Naw, man, that would just be over the top. Waaay too comic-book."
--*sigh* "Yeah, you're probably right.  I still say tentacles are cool though."
--"DUDE!! Let's build one!!  We could SO push it through on the budget to do this--Jenkins over in Fiscal owes me a solid."

Now, I am all for progress, especially in the realm of science.  Also, no innovation has ever been achieved without bold thinking.  However, and call me crazy here, this MIGHT be one of those times when an "" might be in order.  In my opinion, the Universal Soldier is something that needs to stay on the DVD shelf and not brought forth for field testing.