Google donates $6.8 million to San Francisco youth bus rides

It appears Google is looking to temper some of the backlash it's experienced over its high-tech commuter buses in San Francisco.

The Web giant has donated $6.8 million to the city to fund the Free Muni for Low Income Youth program for two years. This program, which launched last year, provides low- and moderate-income students free rides on San Francisco's public buses. Since it began, the program has assisted more than 31,000 students.

Google's donation is one of the largest private contributions toward direct city services that San Francisco has ever received, according to the … Read more

Cute Tokyo Metro posters remind commuters to behave

Many commuters loathe riding on public transportation because of the rude and rowdy behavior of other passengers who treat the confined spaces as their own private living rooms. Blaring music too loudly through headphones, talking loudly on cell phones, eating smelly foods, and falling asleep on the shoulders of strangers have become common occurrences on every train, bus, and subway in the United States.

Commuter etiquette is something of an art form in Japan, however, if anything can be deduced from these delightful posters designed for the Tokyo Metro. … Read more

Inmotion R1EX rolls out a budget Segway-like transporter

LAS VEGAS -- "One foot first," the Inmotion rep tells me. I step up on the tread of the machine and a blue light turns on next to my foot. My other foot follows. I'm riding the Inmotion SCV R1EX, the closest I will probably ever get to a Segway. I didn't need any training drills, I just got on and went.

The racing-yellow color and small size of the machine make me feel agile and sporty. Perhaps best of all, it's easy to use. Lean forward, lean backward. Shift the steering column from side to side to make swooping or tight turns. I already have a desire to go zipping around my neighborhood (at a maximum of 9 miles per hour) on this thing.… Read more

Uber picks up PayPal to drive member numbers

Uber users can now pay for on-demand car service with PayPal, kicking off a partnership that lends PayPal some mobile cred while potentially driving new users to Uber's services.

Uber is releasing new versions of its Android and iOS app Monday night in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the US. Both apps will have PayPal built in as a new form of payment. To promote the partnership, the companies are giving Uber users $15 off rides paid for with PayPal until November 28.

While it may seem like a small change for US users -- Uber currently takes … Read more

Man in Tesla Model S fire: 'I'd buy another one'

Car brands enjoy testimonials from happy drivers.

But there's something a little more powerful, when the testimonial is from a driver whose car just caught fire.

In a blog post on Tesla Web site, Juris Shibayama, an MD from Tennessee, explains what happened when his Model S caught fire last Wednesday.

He ends his explanation with a line that not everyone would expect: "I would buy another one in a heartbeat."

Shibayama said that he struck a three-pronged trailer hitch in the middle lane of the interstate. He continued:

About 30-45 seconds later, there was a warning … Read more

'Star Trek' transporter set is cosplay for bathrooms

People shouldn't have all the fun when it comes to "Star Trek" cosplay. Your bathroom deserves a classic sci-fi makeover, too. The easiest way to get it done is with a $50 transporter shower mat and curtain.

The ThinkGeek exclusive set uses the transporter room look from the original series. The mat matches the floor while the curtain acts like a backdrop, filling out the rest of the room. In a perfect world, this would be a working set, so that every time you stepped into the shower, you ended up transported down to the surface of an alien world. It would be fascinating. Naked, but fascinating.… Read more

Rail-mad Japanese marry aboard Tokyo commuter train

Do you have a dream location to exchange wedding vows with your beloved? A romantic beach, place of worship, or maybe a Las Vegas chapel?

How about one of the world's busiest commuter trains?

That's what a Japanese couple did recently when they took the plunge aboard the Yamanote Line, a loop railway that carries more than 3 million passengers around central Tokyo every day. … Read more

Uber offering rides back in time with DeLorean promotion

Uber may occasionally fit the Silicon Valley stereotypes of unnecessary excess, what with its helicopter rides on the 4th of July and boat service during the BART strike. But how can you knock the company when it gives its customers a chance to step back in time, through glorious gull-wing doors, into a simpler era of Chuck Berry covers and puffy vest-and-flannel combos?

So for the truly diehard "Back to the Future" fans already dusting off their limited edition pair of Nike Air MAGs, Uber is offering free DeLorean rides to San Francisco users thanks to a partnership … Read more

Hyperloop: Why can't we believe in the big ideas?

I heart the Hyperloop. When I heard that Elon Musk planned to hold a press call to unveil his design and the science behind a radical new form of technology -- a pneumatic-like tube that could shoot passengers at speeds of up to 800 miles per hour between San Francisco and Los Angeles -- I was thrilled.

And I remain thrilled, despite all the Debbie Downer arguments that there are no plans to build the Hyperloop anytime soon, that no company currently exists to build such a thing, and that the usual toxic combination of politics, money, and monopoly will … Read more

Electric road charges buses while they drive

The challenge with electric vehicles -- well, one of them -- is that to actually, you know, go anywhere, they have to be stationary for significant blocks of time so they can charge. Some measures have been proposed, such as solar panels that can provide energy while the car drives, and even electric highways that can provide power wirelessly.

South Korea is the first to deploy such a road: the Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV), developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

Two electric buses will travel between Gumi train station and the In-Dong district, a 15-mile round trip, with power supplied via a technology called Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance, developed by KAIST.… Read more