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Remember that ballon challenge DARPA issued back in 2009 to see how quickly a team–or even a crowd–could work together to locate ten red balloons placed randomly around the U.S.? Here’s what we wrote about it then: “Most DARPA challenges serve some sort of obvious military or intelligence purpose. But the agency has us scratching our heads over its latest competition.”

We’re scratching our heads no more, thanks to some fantastic in-depth reporting on DARPA’s new top-secret spy machine in Afghanistan courtesy of Noah Shachtman over at Danger Room. If you have time for a good long read over lunch this afternoon, we highly recommend giving it a thorough looking over, as it’s a superb bit of journalism on the future of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Who knew a state’s stability was written into the price of fruit?

Read it at Danger Room.

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