If you're looking for a quick, entertaining (and boosterish) introduction to the mission of ARPA-E, today is your lucky day. The agency is modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the government's high-profile defense tech lab that famously birthed the internet. As Derek Mead aptly notes over at Motherboard, ARPA-E "is shooting to make low-cost bets on ideas that could change the energy landscape."
Watch the film, a collaboration between GE's Ecomagination and VICE's Motherboard called "The Energy Fixers," below:
They look at Makani's high flying wind turbine, which is both a super-intriguing idea and an air traffic controller's nightmare, as well as BALs' efforts to turn seaweed into a viable fuel source. Though the film is pointedly uncritical (it's like an 8 minute ad for ARPA-E), its message is hugely important. These are exactly the kind of investments in R&D that we should be making—and we should be making far more of them than we are.