Forget buses, Google's using ferry boats to shuttle workers

With Google buses being the focus of protests in San Francisco, it appears the tech giant is looking for other means to shuttle workers to its Silicon Valley campus: catamarans.

Google made a deal with a private firm to begin transporting its employees on high-speed ferries on a trial basis, according to CBS San Francisco. The catamaran to do the job, dubbed "The Triumphant," carries up to 149 passengers and will run four trips a day -- two in the morning and two in the evening. The service started on Monday.

Google confirmed the pilot program in a … Read more

Oarfish necropsy: Washed-up sea serpents reveal secrets

Two different oarfish, massive eel-like fish from the deep, have washed up near the California coast over the last two weeks. Considering the scarcity of sightings, it's been a veritable plague of oarfish. It has also been an unexpected gift for researchers.

Parasitologists at the University of California at Santa Barbara got their hands on pieces of the longer of the two fish, the 18-footer that appeared near Catalina Island. They took the opportunity to dissect samples from the fairly intact sea beast. Inside, they found a host of parasites.… Read more

One nightmarish sea creature is fun, but is two an invasion?

I can see the movie now.

"Revenge of the Giant Oarfish" will star Kevin Costner as the grizzled old fisherman tasked to save America from ugly, angry sea creatures that not only appear on our shores, but somehow manage to squeeze their way into our sewage systems and bathroom sinks.

Pre-production seems inevitable after a second oarfish washed up on a Southern California shore.

After the discovery of an 18-foot specimen off Catalina Island last week, what were the chances that another one, this time 14 feet long, would turn up Friday in nearby Oceanside?

Yet, as CBS News reported, … Read more

Nightmarish sea creature found on California coast

The ocean coughs up some odd things on occasion. You might find a message in a bottle, a giant octopus, or a massive overgrown eel of a fish that wants to take up residence in the deepest, darkest realms of your psyche and scare the bejeezus out of you.

Fortunately, I didn't personally stumble across this very creature. Marine science teacher Jasmine Santana found the 18-foot-long oarfish while snorkeling off the coast of Catalina Island in Southern California. Rather than scream like a girl, as I would have, Santana bravely dragged the carcass toward shore where 15 people helped pull it onto dry land.… Read more

7-foot crab robot may be future of underwater exploration

Move over, BigDog. DARPA's canine-like quadruped has a new animal kingdom automaton to contend with: the Crabster, a six-legged underwater robot that's sure to cause at least a few nightmares. So if you happen to suffer from kabourophobia -- yes, there's a fear of crabs -- turn back now.

Designed at the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) with help from five South Korean universities, the Crabster CR200 as its officially known was aimed at overcoming the challenges posed by strong tidal currents in shallow waters. Propellor-equipped ROVs and automatous underwater vehicles are adept at swift movements and deep diving, but the technology doesn't bode well in rough conditions. Current tidal strengths of 1.5 meters per second are enough to rip the scuba mask off a human explorer, explains Jason Falconer for IEEE Spectrum. … Read more

XCOM shooter rebranded as The Bureau, arrives in August

We first got a taste of the XCOM shooter back in 2010 and even got to see it in action at E3 2011. Unfortunately, the game got delayed numerous times and eventually went dark. In fact, it got lapped by XCOM: Enemy Unknown -- its turn-based-strategy counterpart -- which turned out to be one of 2012's best titles of the year.

2K Games is ready to lift the curtain on XCOM once again, complete with a live-action trailer, a trio of screenshots, and best of all a release date. Newly titled and packaged, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is set … Read more

DARPA's latest footage of LS3 robodog astounds

If you've never seen DARPA's version of Boston Dynamics' semi-autonomous LS3 (Legged Squad Support System) robot in action, now's a good time.

The government agency released a video yesterday that highlights one of LS3's most powerful skills: the ability to follow a leader by using computer-aided vision and GPS. In the four-minute clip, you can watch the dog-like robot following an instructor over some rough terrain -- with great ease -- in a wooded area near Fort Pickett, Va. … Read more

EnergySail promises wind-solar combo for cleaner shipping

Many shipping companies are experimenting with adding sails to cargo vessels. Here's a design in which the sails are also solar panels.

EnergySail is a concept by Japan's Eco Marine Power that harnesses and stores wind and solar power to reduce fuel costs and pollution. It would work as an additional source of power to a ship's main engines.

The devices would be fitted on anything from large bulk ore carriers to cable-laying ships, ferries, and coast guard patrol vessels, according to the company. An automatic control system would orient the sails and panels to catch the … Read more

Oorah! Marines to get hybrid power generators for the field

U.S. Marines may have a reputation for persevering in primitive conditions and dealing with whatever comes their way, but they like their electricity just like everyone else.

Yet bringing fuel-guzzling generators with them when on forward deployment is inefficient work, requiring carting around heavy loads of diesel and taking a toll on the local environment.

But not for much longer. Today, the Office of Naval Research awarded Raytheon a contract to develop a hybrid power generator for the Marines, a system that when completed should help Marines in the field consume as much as 40 percent less fuel than … Read more

The 404 Show Special: Jay Chandrasekhar and Kevin Heffernan

The 404's Jeff Bakalar had a chance to sit down with Jay Chandrasekhar and Kevin Heffernan, two of the members of the comedy group Broken Lizard (Super Troopers, Beerfest). The duo has a new film out called "The Babymakers" in select theaters, iTunes, and on-demand August 3rd.

In addition to a discussion about "The Babymakers," Jay and Kevin talk to Jeff about a sequel to "Super Troopers," getting "Potfest" off the ground, and what else is in store for Broken Lizard.… Read more