Battleland

Another Pentagon Bargain…

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The GPS constellation

Folks don’t think a lot about the advances the U.S. military brings to everyday life. For starters, there’s the Internet, via which you’re now reading Battleland (yes, it was the brainchild of the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, not Al Gore). DARPA also played a major role in creating something else we take for granted — GPS, which now locates everything from our cars to our photographs. A new report notes that the folks who provide you with Global Positioning System data do so by piggybacking — for free — on the Pentagon’s constellation of satellites. If they had to pay to replicate the system, it’d cost them, and ultimately you, a cool $18 billion. Although, come to think of it, you’ve already paid for it.

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