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ESQUIRE LOOOOVES DARPA

So explain this one: You're Tom Junod, one of the top writers for Esquire, one of the finest-written magazines on Earth. You're assigned a fat feature on Darpa, the Pentagon's research arm, for the mag's "Best and Brightest Issue." And in your story, you devote one sentence one! to Total Information Awareness, Darpa's infamous uber-database project.Now, instead of focusing on TIA -- a program that's been the subject on front pages and Congressional inquiries you choose to wax rhapsodic for paragraphs without end about Darpa's unparalleled genius. Aside from a few throw-away lines about the terror futures market, you make no mention of the agency's creepier programs the ones to keep an entire city under watch, for example.Here's a sample of the wet-kiss approach: "If there's anything you learn from visiting DARPA, it's this: An alien race is exactly what we are. Americans. Humans. There's nothing we won't think of, nothing we won't do. There are no limits. Nothing is impossible."Oy vey. I guess at this point I'm supposed to cue the rousing theme music.It's true, of course, that Darpa and the scientists they fund do a tremendous amount of work that is really, really cool. And it's led to a lot of not-unimpressive achievements, like this whole Internet thing.It's also true that these "Best and Brightest" magazine issues are boosterish, by their very nature.But one sentence? Come on.THERE'S MORE: Esquire atones for its sin of Darpa sycophancy by sucking up to Secrecy News chief and Defense Tech pal -- Steven Aftergood.This guy deserves more attention for his many efforts. It's nice to see him get it.

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