DARPA would have you believe that it's the brilliance of modern day social networks that led an MIT-based team to win its red balloon challenge this weekend, and while there's no doubt that the presence of the internet assisted in the locating of ten randomly placed floating objects, we're crediting the bright minds at the university for their strategy of soliciting team mates. The challenge was constructed in order to "see whether social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter should be seen as credible sources of information," not to mention investigate new ways to react to various threats that need instant attention. Less than nine hours after the contest began, MIT
's team had deflated the hopes of around 4,000 other teams by finding all ten, though it's hard to say exactly how many members were out looking. You see -- MIT established a website that promised hundreds, even thousands of dollars to individuals who sent in the correct coordinates of balloons, noting that the $40,000 in prize money would be graciously distributed should their efforts lead to a win. DARPA may call it a triumph of the information superhighway; we're calling it victory in numbers.