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Let's win the DARPA Network Challenge!


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Anyone who would like to participate can submit the location of any sightings to me and we will share the winnings between the participants who submit the first coordinates via responses to this posting. Your post will serve as legal claim via timestamp of your submission.

Let's win this thing!

 

http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-10406752...ag=2547-1_3-0-5

 

A new DARPA contest is using balloons to test our social-networking skills.

 

After kicking off the Internet 40 years ago, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is again tapping into the Net for a new challenge. The DARPA Network Challenge will award $40,000 to the first person who can identify the latitudes and longitudes of 10 red weather balloons positioned at different parts of the sky across the continental United States.

 

The 8-foot balloons are scheduled to lift off on Saturday at 7 a.m. PST and remain in their locations throughout the day, until sunset. The contest will be open until December 14, so contestants will have a little more than a week to gather up and submit their answers.

 

But the contest has a twist. Since no one person can identify all 10 balloons across the States in one day, challengers will need to rely on social networks to team up with others to pinpoint the locations of the balloons. DARPA's goal here is not to see if people can answer the question but to gauge how we use social networks to resolve a problem.

 

"We are not interested in the balloons. We already know where those are," Norman Whitaker, DARPA's deputy director of transformational convergence technology, said in a statement. "It's the techniques people use to solve the challenge we're focused on. We have people who are going to be actively watching from the sidelines to see how this plays out."

 

Whitaker is hoping the contest will offer insight into how the Internet and social networks can help people build teams and collaborate with each other to solve real problems and challenges.

 

DARPA is leaving it up to the contestants to best figure out how to work with others to track the balloons. One example posed by Whitaker is that of using a Web site to offer a portion of the prize to anyone who shares info about the locations of the balloons. Another idea is to work with a charity and donate your winnings. People can also naturally ask for help through Web-based tools such as Facebook or Twitter, connecting via computers or smartphones.

 

Although the challenge may be tough, Whitaker believes that at least one person will be able to solve it, whether it takes five minutes or all day. But if no one responds with the locations of all 10 balloons by the December 14 deadline, the agency will reward the $40,000 to the first person who tracked down at least five of them.

 

DARPA isn't sure yet what it will do with the information it finds. But that's never stopped the agency before. "We're DARPA," Whitaker said. "We like to do things that are really out of the box."

 

The agency enjoys a history of out-of-the-box challenges. Past contests have set up races between unmanned, robotic vehicles, including DARPA's 2005 Grand Challenge and its 2007 Urban Grand Challenge.

 

Are you willing to take the DARPA challenge? How would you use the Internet and social networks to win the prize?

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I'm confused... what does this have to do with geocaching, aside from the minor point raised in another thread that DARPA mentioned geocachers as one of many internet social networks (I will admit that I have not read the link)

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I'm confused... what does this have to do with geocaching, aside from the minor point raised in another thread that DARPA mentioned geocachers as one of many internet social networks (I will admit that I have not read the link)

 

You have to send in the coordinates of the balloons

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I'm confused... what does this have to do with geocaching, aside from the minor point raised in another thread that DARPA mentioned geocachers as one of many internet social networks (I will admit that I have not read the link)

 

Geocaching is an internet social network?

 

GAAAAKKK! :)

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I'm confused... what does this have to do with geocaching, aside from the minor point raised in another thread that DARPA mentioned geocachers as one of many internet social networks (I will admit that I have not read the link)

You have to send in the coordinates of the balloons
OK.
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i think google wave is to new to be useful, but twitter on the other hand. i just did a quick search and came up with quite a few good results. id say that'd be a good starting point. obviously they arent going to put them in the middle of the desert or on mountains , they need people to see them to report them.

i dont think the GS forums are active enough to instate a nationwide coverage in 4 days time. But a pretty big swath could be knocked out if the right people were contacted. ie event cache in specific cities. just my opinion... :huh:

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i think google wave is to new to be useful, but twitter on the other hand. i just did a quick search and came up with quite a few good results. id say that'd be a good starting point. obviously they arent going to put them in the middle of the desert or on mountains , they need people to see them to report them.

i dont think the GS forums are active enough to instate a nationwide coverage in 4 days time. But a pretty big swath could be knocked out if the right people were contacted. ie event cache in specific cities. just my opinion... :)

 

I thought google wave would be a good tool for this too. I'm not sure how Twitter could be used as it would require a hashtag that would be used for a group to contribute but it would be difficult to keep that hashtag private. Googlewave, because, waves can be private (by invitation only) would allow a group to have a real time discussion with a select group. I suppose a facebook group could be used as well.

 

What if we see 99 red balloons, not 10?

 

Thanks. ;) Now I have that song stuck in my head!

 

Don't worry! Be happy!

 

(Crud! Now I am probably gonna hate myself. :huh: )

 

Allow me to be the first to say that you deserve it. :(

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ok so theres officially two of us interested in this deal, how do we find more.

 

im on twitter and google wave , im in LA you're in NY , only a lil strip in between us to worry about.. :huh:

I'm in Texas so that makes both ends and the middle, but I haven't devised a way to solve this riddle. I have google wave but don't think that will help much in locating the balloons.

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i have contacts in Oklahoma and iowa and texas... the gaps are getting smaller. anyone wanna make predictions for which cities these things will show up in...

 

my guesses,

 

san fransisco

dallas

seattle

jersey

san diego

vegas

denver

austin

 

i thought i read somewhere that Groundspeak was gonna make an effort... any links?

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so after pondering this one for a little while it seems to be more of a communication issue. how do you create a large area of coverage with as few people as possible. to me its simple, you dont, you go grand scale, you get this information out to as many people as possible, and then problem is solved quickly... but, thats not how people are thinking about this. my head is spinning with so many ways of solving this and how to interfere with others solving it.

 

2 almost foolproof ways of getting a good large result...

 

get @aplusk 's ( ashton kutcher ) 5 million followers in on it.

get it on the front page of Reddit.com.

Edited by drain13
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i have contacts in Oklahoma and iowa and texas... the gaps are getting smaller. anyone wanna make predictions for which cities these things will show up in...

 

my guesses,

 

san fransisco

dallas

seattle

jersey

san diego

vegas

denver

austin

 

i thought i read somewhere that Groundspeak was gonna make an effort... any links?

 

I got Jersey covered for you! :D

 

Jeremy posted a note on FB about Groundspeak getting on the fun.

 

Speaking of, FB, is there a Geocaching "Task Force" communicating elsewhere on The Net?

 

Is GC cool with these forums being used for this?

 

Feel free to look me up on Twitter or FB (search for Nik Cap), I'll try to keep the Mafia Wars' updates to a minimum! :):)

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Stay connected to as many media outlets as possible. There will be millions of people who don't have any clue about the challenge. All sorts of blogs, tweets, and other outlets will be posting "Strange Red Balloon" type stories. Keep google working and there is a good chance that you might get lucky.

Edited by delphic
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Does anybody know where I can buy some helium-filled red balloons, about a meter in diameter?

 

I need them by Saturday. :)

8 feet is closer to 3 meters

I already have a bunch of 36-48 inch balloons, but that's half as big as the one's mebtioned.

 

On a side note...for this experiment to be sucessful, DARPA will need to delve into the computers and online activity of anyone involved in correctly solving the problem, or they will not be able to determine the method used to reach the solution...I'm staying clear of this one.

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ok so theres officially two of us interested in this deal, how do we find more.

 

im on twitter and google wave , im in LA you're in NY , only a lil strip in between us to worry about.. :)

I'm in Texas so that makes both ends and the middle, but I haven't devised a way to solve this riddle. I have google wave but don't think that will help much in locating the balloons.

This problem is not about location the balloons...it's about how the winner(s) will gather all 10 locations, and what tools they use, and how the group communicates. and maybe in observing the battles that take place, fighting over who gets how much share, and who attacks what other groups(virtually), to impede their competition. The winning group will likely be the one who has protected themselves best against hackers, of has created themselves out of thge public view. This is indeed a facinating project

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so after pondering this one for a little while it seems to be more of a communication issue. how do you create a large area of coverage with as few people as possible. to me its simple, you dont, you go grand scale, you get this information out to as many people as possible, and then problem is solved quickly... but, thats not how people are thinking about this. my head is spinning with so many ways of solving this and how to interfere with others solving it.

 

2 almost foolproof ways of getting a good large result...

 

get @aplusk 's ( ashton kutcher ) 5 million followers in on it.

get it on the front page of Reddit.com.

I think the one person who can write a program that will scour all possible locations of the information will be the winner. Groups that are going for this will need to protect their info.

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Stay connected to as many media outlets as possible. There will be millions of people who don't have any clue about the challenge. All sorts of blogs, tweets, and other outlets will be posting "Strange Red Balloon" type stories. Keep google working and there is a good chance that you might get lucky.

Write a program that can do all this. The same program could probably find Bin Laden

Edited by WRITE SHOP ROBERT
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Jeremy (President of Groundspeak) has launched a site called 10 Balloonies detailing how you (our beloved geocachers) can get involved in Groundspeak's quest to win the DARPA challenge.

 

If we do win the $40,000, Groundspeak will be adding another $10,000 and donating it all to charity through donorschoose.org. The money will help fund geocaching projects for disadvantaged children in schools across the U.S.

 

We need you to help us win this. Keep your eyes out for the big red balloons!

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I'm confused... what does this have to do with geocaching, aside from the minor point raised in another thread that DARPA mentioned geocachers as one of many internet social networks (I will admit that I have not read the link)

The language of location.

 

That simple sentance is the big picture. It's why virtuals are caches, why webcams were fun, why locationless caches have a place and why Waymarking, and benchmarking have fans.

 

Think of as FTF only cache, which is what it is.

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I'm confused... what does this have to do with geocaching, aside from the minor point raised in another thread that DARPA mentioned geocachers as one of many internet social networks (I will admit that I have not read the link)

The language of location.

 

That simple sentance is the big picture. It's why virtuals are caches, why webcams were fun, why locationless caches have a place and why Waymarking, and benchmarking have fans.

 

Think of as FTF only cache, which is what it is.

 

Nicely put!

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so after pondering this one for a little while it seems to be more of a communication issue. how do you create a large area of coverage with as few people as possible. to me its simple, you dont, you go grand scale, you get this information out to as many people as possible, and then problem is solved quickly... but, thats not how people are thinking about this. my head is spinning with so many ways of solving this and how to interfere with others solving it.

 

2 almost foolproof ways of getting a good large result...

 

get @aplusk 's ( ashton kutcher ) 5 million followers in on it.

get it on the front page of Reddit.com.

 

Seems like a "BallonBoy" Incident may need to be incited. That's a sure way to get on every front page.

The sample pictures of the balloons show one of them moored in a public park with a number underneath it. https://networkchallenge.darpa.mil/gallery.aspx

Photos posted (12/2/09)

I'm not on Facebook or Twitter, any clues coming from there?

Edited by twisted76017
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write shop robert has the right kind of paranoia , i was thinking along the same lines, they dont wanna know if you found them , but how you found them and how you kept others from gaining that information. gotta play offence and defence.

 

im not a big fan of teams but ill play along... even if i do provide a few errant clues... as you should do too...

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im not a big fan of teams but ill play along... even if i do provide a few errant clues... as you should do too...

Why would you do that? Do you move caches to try to mess up someone's game?

 

Groundspeak is trying to do some good here by offering the $40,000 prize plus $10,000 of their own to help a charity - they don't need "a few errant clues"!

 

Please either help them win or stay out of the way. :)

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The DARPA Network Challenge will award $40,000 to the first person who can identify the latitudes and longitudes of 10 red weather balloons positioned at different parts of the sky across the continental United States.

I agree that this sounds like fun, and I hate to be a pooper, but I am completely against this.

 

This is not an appropriate use of taxpayer funds.

 

This forty thousand dollar purse is money that was taken, by force, from individual citizens – citizens who worked hard to earn it. The government, via DARPA, has no ethical right to make such a frivolous contest out of giving away other people’s money like this. If this really is the best possible use the government could have come up with for this particular $40,000, then this money clearly should have been left in the pockets of those to whom it rightly belongs.

 

The fact that the money will likely go to charity is irrelevant. Should the money go to charity? The people who earned the money should decide that question, not the government.

 

The folks who were forced to give over this money could have instead spent it on food, could have used it for clothes, could have saved it for college, could have chosen their own charity, or could have spent it on any number of other individual needs. Instead, the all-wise DARPA has decided that its birthday contest is more important than any of those needs, more important that letting individual earners decide for themselves how their own money should be spent. DARPA is abusing the confiscatory power of government to enforce this frivolous activity.

 

Government abuse isn’t just getting out of hand – it has been way out of hand for way too long. This contest is far from being one of the more ridiculous examples, and it is but a tiny expenditure in the big picture. But that doesn’t make it any less wrong.

 

Some of you reading this post are rolling your eyes. To you I say: Imagine if you were the one who had to explain this contest to the fellow taxpayer from whom this money was taken. Imagine how you would sell this idea to the parent who was that close to getting their child into a decent school, or to the business owner who was that close to hiring one more employee, or to the worker who was that close to being able to afford time off from work to be with her dying parent.

 

What words, exactly, would you use convince any of those people that DARPA’s desire to give their money away via this government-agency-birthday-party-balloon-sighting contest outweighs their lesser-deserving personal needs? How could you even look them in the eye?

 

Not that those are the only deserving taxpayers. Nobody should ever have to impress anybody with the nobility of their spending habits just to be allowed to keep their own money; it’s just that those kinds of examples drive home the point the loudest.

 

For some of you reading this thread, $40,000 comes close to equaling your entire federal tax bill for the year. For others of you it may represent several years’ worth of taxes paid. To any of you I ask: Is this contest really the best possible way your hard-earned money could have been spent? Don’t you think the government should be more responsible in the way it uses its power to tax?

 

Sorry to rain on this parade, but I am tired of this kind of waste. It makes me sick. I am completely against this.

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Why would you do that? Do you move caches to try to mess up someone's game

 

Please either help them win or stay out of the way. :laughing:

 

its a game man, you move someones cache everytime you open an ammo box, everytime you pic up an altoids tin, every time you retrieve a bison tube. Chances are it isnt in the exact same position as before, but its close enuff, game on. people aren't perfect and everyone has a different way of playing the game. chances are there will tons of wrong information reported accidentally, be it reporting bad info or someone just interpreting clues the wrong way. Im not the one in charge of decifering the information, im just a worker drone reporting back the possible location of the nectar. As long as the goal is the same lets find the prize.

 

and like it or not, there are teams and people working against you , so you just have to deal with it. :blink:

 

im surprised nobody else had any guesses as to where they might place these things.

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TheAlabamaRambler pointed out some of the benefits we see from DARPA projects. He's right on every point.

 

Sometimes it's hard to see the benefit of some of these projects until they become more fully developed. This one explores the use of social networking for gathering and reporting information over a large area.

 

A terrorist attack could be geographically spread out. 9-11 was. A project like this can help us improve our ability to respond to threats-- saving infrastructure, lives, economic damage, even our very way of life.

 

The 9-11 attacks are estimated to have done damage in the billions of dollars, not to mention the lives lost. I find it hard to begrudge DARPA a five-figure sum to help prevent another such attack.

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This is not an appropriate use of taxpayer funds.

This forty thousand dollar purse is money that was taken, by force, from individual citizens –...

Sorry to rain on this parade, but I am tired of this kind of waste. It makes me sick. I am completely against this.

No doubt if you look back in print media 40 years ago when DARPA started a ridiculous boondoggle which would eventually become some foolishness called "the internet" some folks said the same thing.

 

No good will ever come of it. :blink:

 

Can you imagine the uproar it would cause if our tax dollars went to maintain something called a Global Positioning Satellite system? Heck, people might use it for such silly things as finding Tupperware in the woods!

 

I'm glad taxpayer dollars aren't wasted on silly things like an Interstate Highway system. It's not like our country will ever be attacked, we won't need to move troops and materials around quickly (which is why the Interstate system was built).

 

And men on the moon? Come on, what a waste of taxpayer dollars! Ignoring, of course, all the invention and innovation that came from that program (such as the computer that you are reading this on) it's taxpayer dollars much better spent on feeding the homeless addicts and alcoholics.

You missed my point completely.

 

Firstly: All the public works projects you listed provide substantial practical value. I did not state any objection to public works projects which provide substantial practical value. My objection was to a balloon-finding contest which gives away large sums of taxpayer money (and which presumably incurs other costs) while providing ZERO practical value.

 

Taxpayer dollars are not wasted when they are efficiently spent on things like the Interstate Highway system, the GPS System or the space program. Taxpayer dollars ARE wasted, however, when they are spent on a glorified Easter egg hunt.

 

And secondly: I did not say the money should be redirected toward any government redistribution program, noble-minded or otherwise. What I said is that the money should have been left in the pockets of those who earned it.

 

The point is that we here in the 21st century western world seem to have forgotten that the power to tax is a deadly bludgeon which needs to be taken very, very seriously. Taxes are collected by force. (Anyone who believes otherwise should try saying a polite "no thank you" to the tax man when collection comes around.) When a government uses its police power to lift cash directly out of the pockets of it citizens, it had better first make dadgum sure it is doing so for a very good, and very justifiable, purpose. Anything short of that is morally wrong because it is an abuse of power, and economically wrong because it is counterproductive.

 

Consider:

 

Would you rob money from your next-door neighbor at gunpoint if you knew that doing so would be the only way to stop another neighbor’s house, which is on fire, from burning down? I know I would. That’s a no-brainer. Sometimes the public good overrides individual rights.

 

Would you rob money from your next-door neighbor at gunpoint if you knew that doing so would feed another neighbor who has left himself desperately hungry via poor decision-making? That one is certainly debatable. Maybe you could convince the robbery victim of the nobility of your cause; if so, then I congratulate you.

 

Now here’s the big one: Would you rob money from your next-door neighbor at gunpoint if you knew that doing so would help enhance the decorations and entertainment at a birthday party for the local water department? Maybe you could convince the robbery victim that the need for festivity and excitement at the birthday party outranks whatever other use he was planning for his own money; if so, then I’d be very interested to hear how you would go about persuading him.

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TheAlabamaRambler pointed out some of the benefits we see from DARPA projects. He's right on every point.

 

Sometimes it's hard to see the benefit of some of these projects until they become more fully developed. This one explores the use of social networking for gathering and reporting information over a large area.

 

A terrorist attack could be geographically spread out. 9-11 was. A project like this can help us improve our ability to respond to threats-- saving infrastructure, lives, economic damage, even our very way of life.

 

The 9-11 attacks are estimated to have done damage in the billions of dollars, not to mention the lives lost. I find it hard to begrudge DARPA a five-figure sum to help prevent another such attack.

So how, exactly, does the awarding of prize money to the finders of weather balloons save lives?

 

If you can convincingly explain that to me, then it might persuade me to reconsider my objection. I am not blindly anti-government. I am a big fan of the Apollo moon program. I use – and happily pay for – interstate highways. I think the National Do Not Call list is worth ten times whatever it cost.

 

Having read the description of this balloon thing, however, I don’t see it as a life-or-death Manhattan Project-style defense mission. I see it as a government-hosted birthday party for the Internet, with taxpayers being soaked for the bill.

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Let's get back to the topic of winning the contest. Complaints of government waste can be taken to off topic or a different website.

 

Complaints of the forum moderators stifling your freedom of speech can go there to.

 

Now let's get back to having fun.

 

Thank you.

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Jeremy (President of Groundspeak) has launched a site called 10 Balloonies detailing how you (our beloved geocachers) can get involved in Groundspeak's quest to win the DARPA challenge.

 

I have posted that info to the Maryland Geocaching Society site, we'll be looking!

I think its a great idea for all geocachers to help Jeremy locate all 10 balloons, we have a large enough group and have a pretty good shot of achieving a win.

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