Mystery barges on 2 coasts set tech world abuzz

PORTLAND, Maine — Three mysterious structures that appeared on the water in California and Maine have the tech world abuzz.

Each of the boxy structures sits atop a barge and looks like a four-story building made up of metal boxes. Little is known about them, but they appear to have been registered by someone familiar with geek speak — and with a sense of humor.

The structures are registered with a Delaware corporation as BAL0001, BAL0010, BAL0011 and BAL0100. In binary code used in computing, the numbers spell out “one,” “two,” “three” and “four.” Currently, Nos. 1 and 2 are on the water in San Francisco and No. 3 is in Portland Harbor.

Online speculation has focused on Google Inc., which has a patent for a floating data center that uses ocean water for cooling. Neither Google nor the company outfitting the vessel shed any light on the matter Tuesday.

Sharon Gaudin, a writer for Computerworld, told the Portland Press Herald that the way the vessels were named suggested a technology origin or use.

“That’s a little telling,” she said.

Also, the Delaware company to which they’re registered is called Buy and Large, a likely joking reference to “Buy N Large,” the fictional mega-corporation in the 2008 film “WALL-E.”

While the floating structures may one day have a high-tech purpose, their construction appears to be fairly low tech. They consist of shipping containers welded together and placed atop barges.

More in Local News

‘Come talk to me. Don’t jump, come talk to me’

State Patrol trooper Yaroslav Holodkov just happened to be driving by when he saw a suicidal man.

Marysville educators reach out to a newly traumatized school

Several affected by shootings in 2014 offered to talk with counterparts in Eastern Washington.

Hurry! Target will take your old car seat, but not for long

The seats will be taken apart and the various materials recycled.

Sheriff’s Office receives national recognition

Sheriff accepts award “notable achievements in the field of highway safety” over the past year.

Edmonds-Woodway High School briefly locked down

A student tried to stop a fight and a boy, 16, responded by threatening the student with a knife.

Study considers making it legal to grow marijuana at home

The Liquor and Cannabis Board is considering two scenarios for allowing a minimal number of plants.

Minutes mattered the day Pat Ward was brought back to life

The Mukilteo police and fire chaplain died at breakfast. She got a second chance thanks to a waitress.

Marysville babysitter found guilty of infant girl’s death

Medical experts differed over whether it was head trauma or illness that caused the baby to die.

Whether cheers or jeers, DeVos appearance will rouse spirits

Trump’s secretary of education is coming to Bellevue to raise money for a pro-business think tank.

Most Read