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A ‘Stranger Things’-style request from DARPA just freaked out the entire Internet

Published Sep 2nd, 2019 2:48PM EDT
Stranger Things
Image: Netflix

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The plot of Stranger Things 3, the latest installment in Netflix’s hit original franchise, is centered in part around the myriad ramifications of the presence of an underground complex of tunnels and lab space built by Russians beneath Starcourt Mall in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana. That warren of tunnels and space concealed soldiers and all manner of equipment meant to help open an interdimensional portal — the stuff sci-fi dreams are made of, right? In other words, definitely not the kind of thing you expect to see in real life.

Nevertheless, the eyebrows of many a Stranger Things fan were raised in recent days when the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA, for short), which develops technology for the military, put out the word that it’s hunting for a facility that sounds … well, there’s other way to say this than that it sounds exactly like the sub-Starcourt Mall lab.

Now, before we dive into all the lighthearted social media reactions this request spurred, here’s a bit more about what DARPA is looking for, including some context, which the agency shared with Gizmodo:

“Complex urban underground infrastructure can present significant challenges for situational awareness in time-sensitive scenarios, such as active combat operations or disaster response,” the agency explained. “DARPA is interested in exploring this domain for researchers to analyze and enhance approaches to improve situational awareness and response times in emergency scenarios.” Furthermore, the agency continued, the locations that get submitted in response to the request could help the research community identify relevant sites for additional field experimentation.

Nevertheless, as you can imagine, Twitter had a field day with this.

Someone even joked that, by making this request, DARPA is “definitely not looking for new places to keep all the Demogorgons.”

To which the agency had the best reply:

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.