Look Up! DARPA Balloon Party Tomorrow
Happy birthday, Internet!
In honor of the 40th birthday of the Internet, the birthplace of the Internet (now called the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA) has organized a huge party for the weekend. If you see people across the United States squinting with eyes peeled skyward, you'll know they've joined the celebration.
DARPA's project is called the Network Challenge. There's even a substantial cash prize of $40,000. What's the goal? To be the first person to find ten large, red weather balloons to be launched this weekend across the U.S. The balloons won't be hidden in obscure locations, but will only be airborne between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 5.
No DARPA-engineered airborne weapons, such as their Wasp UAVs, are known to be aboard, but as Orson Welles would tell you, this cannot be known with any certainty.
As reported by Information Week, the DARPA initiative is already having the intended effect of marshaling social networks to develop ways to detect and report sightings, as shown by Google Map user "Sam" (see figure).
Tweet to @Chicken_Little: Sky not falling. DARPA thinking out of box again. Way out.