DARPA challenge update? December 2, 2009 4:38 PM   Subscribe

Did Metafilter register a team for the DARPA balloon challenge?

The balloons will be released on their tethers this Saturday. The deadline to register a team was December 1st. There was talk here of MetaFilter taking part. Details would of course be confidential by nature of the competition, but is there a MeFi team in the game, and if so, will there be any way to follow its progress?
posted by longsleeves to MetaFilter-Related at 4:38 PM (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

There's a MeTa thread about it, but I think they went 'underground' pretty quick
posted by Think_Long at 5:25 PM on December 2, 2009


Embarrassingly, I'm not sure if anyone registered. There was talk that cortex would be our official submitter, but I haven't heard whether he signed up.
posted by odinsdream at 6:59 PM on December 2, 2009


I'm signed up, I hope I am not the only one.
posted by bh at 7:05 PM on December 2, 2009


bh - you are our saviour.
posted by odinsdream at 7:30 PM on December 2, 2009


Great. My life can only go downhill from here.
posted by bh at 7:41 PM on December 2, 2009


Can someone MeMail me a link to the DARPA forum? I seem to have lost the URL. :(
posted by youcancallmeal at 7:45 PM on December 2, 2009


I only registered tonight. As far as I can tell, registrations are still open.
posted by bh at 7:49 PM on December 2, 2009


Thanks so much, bh. Also, could we get a new post in the blue? I think we need more eyes on the forum, and the light posting in this thread makes me think we've exhausted the supply of grey-visiting mefites. Mods, what say ye? New post to the blue? Something else? Sidebarring?
posted by tarheelcoxn at 9:56 PM on December 2, 2009


FWIW, I never managed to get in contact with whatever shadowy mefite organization was forming to take on the challenge. Or if I did, they didn't get back to me.
posted by hattifattener at 10:47 PM on December 2, 2009


FWIW, I never managed to get in contact with whatever shadowy mefite organization was forming to take on the challenge. Or if I did, they didn't get back to me.

Ditto for me, I guess I did not meet their shadowy unspoken sneaky hiddenness criteria.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:57 AM on December 3, 2009


I never heard back either.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:34 AM on December 3, 2009


Meatbomb and goodnewsfortheinsane: You both have registered and activated accounts on the alternate forum. I'm not sure what you mean.
posted by odinsdream at 6:20 AM on December 3, 2009


Also, yes, we definitely need a public announcement on the blue if we want Mefi to have a chance of winning. This is a non-typical use of the front page, so I definitely suggest a mod make the post if that's what needs to happen.
posted by odinsdream at 6:22 AM on December 3, 2009


After being helpfully poked, I've signed up with DARPA, so if there was any concern about making sure I was an official entrant, that's resolved.

I'll drop by the site again today and get caught up.

We can certainly sidebar the DARPA thing on the blue, yeah. I'm not sure a new post on the blue is really appropriate—a new post over here, sidebarred, is much more the way this sort of thing should probably happen. If someone wants to make the "This Is How You Can Help metatalk", I'll happily sidebar that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:05 AM on December 3, 2009


I was contacted by the shadowy underground organization, but the site they sent me never worked (I think tarheelsomethingsomething set it up). I doubt I'll be much help anyways, but it was fun to think about for 10 minutes.
posted by slogger at 9:37 AM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Seems to me there are 2 distinct levels of participation: a) the shadowy cabal who will accumulate and verify information, submit results to DARPA and perhaps engage in a little sporting deception and b) Jr. Spotters like me.

If I spot one who/how do I notify?
posted by vapidave at 11:57 AM on December 3, 2009


slogger: You also have an account at the forum.

Log in with slogger and whatever password you set up. I sent you the link in Mefi Mail.
posted by odinsdream at 12:01 PM on December 3, 2009


Thanks odinsdream. It worked this time.

Weeeee! I got MeMail!
posted by slogger at 1:11 PM on December 3, 2009


Meatbomb and goodnewsfortheinsane: You both have registered and activated accounts on the alternate forum. I'm not sure what you mean.

Ah... when I joined it said "wait for an approval email from the moderator" and that never happened. I guess I just didn't think to try logging in without it.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:37 PM on December 3, 2009


Argh, I lost the link too. Would like to log in and catch up!
posted by functionequalsform at 8:08 PM on December 3, 2009


The email I just got:

Dear Entrant:

Thank you for registering to participate in the DARPA Network Challenge. This promises to be a tremendously interesting experiment and will demonstrate the power of one of the Internet's most intriguing aspects, social networking. When the Challenge is completed, we look forward to hearing about your experiences and the approach your team took to piecing together a winning solution.

All balloons will be visible from public roadways, so remember to drive carefully! Please do not engage in activities that endanger yourself or others, such as pulling over unsafely, texting while driving, or rubbernecking. In addition, safe online practices should be used, including updating virus software, exercising caution when opening email attachments, and monitoring of younger participants. Please relay these cautions to everyone with whom you are collaborating to assure a safe and fun event.

Plan on entering all answers through the DARPA Network Challenge website - the link will be active when the balloons launch on Saturday, December 5. Email submission is reserved for backup only. Your registration entitles you to 25 submissions, so you are welcome to submit balloon locations as you find them. Also, do not leave the submission page open for long periods of time as you search for answers - the page will time-out after 30 minutes and data that hasn't been submitted will be lost.

After you submit what you believe is a winning entry, please be patient. It will take time to verify results, so there may be a delay before you are contacted and the results announced.

Good Luck!

Norm Whitaker
DARPA Network Challenge

posted by cortex (staff) at 12:29 PM on December 4, 2009




At first I was disappointed by this news. Simply offering cash for information seemed a bit like cheating to me. Thinking about it more though, I reckon this was very well implemented. And I guess the clever bit was spotting the true information fed to it by the informers amongst the spam/misdirection.

How were you were able to verify the responses from people who sent you the coordinates of the balloons?
Crane: That's the only thing we can't discuss at this point. I can tell you that we received a lot of spam and had indirect, private communications with one of the other teams who was happy they had been so successful at spamming us. We received a lot of Photoshopped images of balloons in different places in the U.S. It was a very exciting Saturday for us in our lab up here in the Human Dynamics group. But as for the actual way we did it, we'll discuss in a forthcoming release.

posted by jonesor at 11:34 AM on December 9, 2009


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