Watch a blind man drive to Taco Bell with a little help from Google’s robot cars

Self-driving cars are one of the projects that remind you of the good old days of Google, when the company was more focused on quirky “twenty-percent-time” projects than playing catch up in the social networking space. While the cars are still far from a legal reality in most states, Google has released a new video showing Steve Mahan, who is legally blind, enjoying a ride in one of its robo-cars.

5 trends in oil & gas technology, and why you should care

Oil is in the news again. Last week, oil prices touched all-time highs due to Iranian export declines; the chief economist of the International Energy Agency said that high oil prices could cause an international recession. And whereas it looked like the State Department had put the breaks on the Keystone pipeline in November, President Obama announced last week that he was going to fast-track the construction of the southernmost portion of the project.

Kip Katsarelis on designing the next SimCity (interview)

Kip Katsarelis is lead producer for the new SimCity game Electronic Arts’ Maxis studio is developing. We recently made the trek to Emeryville, Calif., to get a look at the PC game, which is due out in 2013. The new SimCity is aimed at reviving a franchise that began in 1989. EA hasn’t released a major title in the franchise since SimCity Societies in 2007. And even then, its last full version of the game was SimCity 4, released in 2003.

The wild wild web: top U.S. cyber-cop says we’re losing the war against computer criminals

The outgoing executive assistant director of the F.B.I., Shawn Henry, is not leaving on an optimistic note. “We’re not winning,” the nation’s top cyber-cop told the Wall Street Journal. “I don’t see how we ever come out of this without changes in technology or changes in behavior, because with the status quo, it’s an unsustainable model. Unsustainable in that you never get ahead, never become secure, never have a reasonable expectation of privacy or security.”