back to article Seagoing slime-skimmer snail ships punted

University engineering profs in San Diego believe they may be on the road to solving a conundrum which has baffled the greatest researchers for decades. That is, how to build a gigantic ekranoplan style sea-skimming battlecruiser supported not by a flimsy cushion of air but one of self-generated slime. "Water snails show us …


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  1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Can't wait....

    ... for the inevitable counter - slime-seeking missiles!!! Mind you, the slime ships could just eject salesmen and politicians as decoys!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Congratulations, Mr Page.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Environmental Imapct?

    Just wondering what the chemical base for the slime would be.

    Maybe Zappa-style slime?

    Mine's the one with the forty-dollar bill in the pocket...

  4. Anonymous Coward


    Square away, lads, and make ready. We snail at dawn!

    Alright, alright, I'm going ...

  5. Bassey


    Can't help but feel that the military applications for a device that leaves an easily traceable slime-trail in it's wake are somewhat limited.

  6. Mike Richards

    A slime-dripping American invention?

    Has to be called the USS Karl Rove.

  7. Adrian

    Shocked and outraged

    That DARPA didn't think this one up

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Somewhat limited...

    ...a bit like its top speed. I can't think of a single development in naval propulsion that was adopted that meant vessels were slower than those using the original method...

  9. goggyturk

    Water walking tripods

    "the diminutive slime-trail sailors manage to grip the surface of the water rather as a foot or wheel does a solid surface"

    Doesn't this imply that the snails are using surface tension for a big part of this gig and that maybe the hydrophilic properties of the slime is aiding it? In that case it's not likely to scale up too effectively, but if it does, I'm going to paint my shoes in this slime and scare some anglers along the river beside where I live when I go for a walk.

    However, if it does, I fully expect, nay demand, the construction of water-walking tripods, a la HG Wells, based on the design of the humble pond skater. And you can throw in one of those jumbo pork-eating frikkin chemical lasers on top for good measure.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Let me be the first to say

    That I for one welcome our new pseudo gastropod overlords and hope their trail of slime doesn't lead to their untimely demise due to some new class of slime seeking missile.

  11. Chris G Silver badge

    Hunter killer slimemarine

    If ooze drive ( thanks Lewis! if any researcher needs human nasal mucous to compare to snail slime there is now about twenty or thirty cc s of it mixed with tea on my key board) should become a method of Navy propulsion, I can recommend researching the Rosy Wolf snail (Euglandia Rosea) from the South Eastern U S which is predatory on other snails, it detects and tracks them down by their slime trails .

  12. Dave The Cardboard Box

    Cresting the ocean waves

    so long as their aren't any waves. See "Donald Campbell exits from a tap in Huddersfield".

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mike Richards

    They said slime dripping and toxic to the rest of the world. Now if that slime was giving off beta and alpha ration , you would be correct. You are thinking more of Anne Coulter.

  14. Eugene Goodrich

    More angles to this

    A typical one-track article from this turrible author whose primary qualification appears to be alliteration. (Just kidding - he's brilliant. :)

    But we need to branch out here. With all the robots being made, surely this technology will "start small" and before reaching battleships be floating aquatic killbots. Imagine the humiliation of being gunned down by a snail - on a river, no less. Ugh. It would be like being beaten up by a sloth at an ice rink.

    This must be precisely how those floating white ball things in The Prisoner worked. So maybe they're up on the invention block as well.

    And cargo shipping is always keen to reduce their fuel costs. So if this lubricative slime layer helps them cross the ocean any more smoothly, they'll want in on it so they can ship things more cheaply - watching out for pirates 'round Africa, one would hope.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    @AC re: Avast

    Holy shit, my friend, that was some funny, funny stuff.

    And to Lewis - "Ooze cruisers" - you've outdone yourself yet again: described a boat and named an art-rock band all in one. Fucking fantastic.

  16. xjy
    Paris Hilton

    Slime time miracles

    Seaplane - peabrain US distress. Russia pusha -head - Dread!






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