Pentagon puts up $40,000 prize for online scavenger hunt

When you think of scavenger hunts, the Pentagon probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, the New York Times reports that the Pentagon’s research agency Darpa is offering a $40,000 prize to anyone who can decipher the location of 10 red balloons placed throughout the United States on Saturday, Dec. 5.

Of course, Darpa isn’t just doing this for fun – the scavenger hunt is part of an experiment to “learn more about social behavior in computer networks and how large computer-connected teams use their resources and connections to compete.”

Dr. Peter Lee, one of the Darpa scientists putting on the scavenger hunt, said that he expects teams to use a variety of tactics to attempt to find the 10 balloons, which will be plainly visible from public roadways. Some “teams” are creating software programs to help with tracking the balloons, while Dr. Lee said that he expects others to use subterfuge and spreading of false information.

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