New DARPA challenge: find 10 red balloons, win

DARPA has a new challenge. On December 5th they will be floating 10 tethered weather balloons at different locations across the country. The first person to correctly enter all the locations into the website wins $40,000.

God knows what they’re trying to accomplish. The interesting thing is that this will take more than one person to accomplish, but only one person gets the prize. Are they trying to evaluate aerial civilian surveillance capabilities? The ability of people to cooperate in social networks? Is it some reality-show-esque experiment to see how people will betray each other in order to get the prize?

It’s a pretty small prize for something involving at least 10 people. Maybe they’re hoping to find someone who is able to search the Internet and find accurate reports from other people, to learn open-source intelligence gathering techniques.

So, do you think we could do it on the Dope? Our numbers aren’t all that great in the scheme of things, but I think we have a fairly good degree of trust. Public sources might be flooded with false reports. Someone would have to be the administrator, and coordinates would be PM’d. Anyone who provided a lead or confirmed a balloon would get a share. I guess the administrator would have to be someone with constant access to the Dope, nothing else to do on that day.

I’d be a little scared to get involved though. I have a feeling the government would be tapping my Internet or something if I won, or something. They’d be doing whatever they would do to a terrorist network.

When the DARPA sends up 99 red balloons it will be time to get worried…

From the contest website:

dammit I got here too late.