Remember Those Red Darpa Balloons? We Helped Find Three Of Them

Remember the DARPA red balloon challenge back in December? DARPA launched ten red balloons across the country and offered $40,000 to the first group of people who could identify the exact locations of all ten. All sorts of teams with different strategies participated, with the winning team coming from MIT.

Well, it turns out that TechCrunch helped find three of those balloons, more than any other source. The way the MIT team, headed by Riley Crane from the MIT Media Lab, got people across the country to tell them where the balloons were was through simple economic incentives. Anyone who found a balloon got $2,000, and anyone who recruited a person who found a balloon got $1,000. The latter was us. We created a team which ended up signing up three of the winners.

The balloon challenge was supposed to expose the best methods of self-organization on the Internet. Well, all we did was stick a link in a post. If anything it just proves that a broadcast approach is still the best way to get a message out, even on the Internet.

But now we have $3,000 which we don’t really deserve. So we’ll give it away to charity. As it turns out, today kicks off the 1billionhungry campaign where the world’s online billion are being asked to do something about the world’s hungry billion. MIT set up a similar system for the the 1billionhungrycampaign to help people visualize their social reach to get the word out that there are so many hungry people in the world. Here’s my impact map I just set up. The big thing the campaign is missing, though, is an easy way to donate money to feed people.

So what is the best charity to alleviate world hunger? Tell us in comments so we can give away our balloon winnings.