Will Chief Justice William Renquist retire soon? We'll see, it certainly seems likely. And Judge Michael McConnell appears to be the front-runner. I can't wait for these confirmation hearing; he would make some of those extreme Democrats look pretty bad.
The Economist posted a great survey article on the state of pensions: getting grayer, and poorer too? "Populations are ageing, in rich and poor countries alike. This means big trouble for governments, who need to find some way to keep their retirees out of poverty without breaking the budget." This is really the most important economic problem we face at the moment, more important than the price of oil. Letting people invest their own social security money doesn't solve it, either. The problem is exacerbated by the ongoing decrease in household savings rates (graph at left), which means that old people have less money saved, even as they live longer and governments have less money to support them.
Okay, you knew I had to link this: the NYTimes reports Researchers Say Intelligence and Diseases May Be Linked in Ashkenazic Genes. The Economist survey of the paper is good, too. GNXP has more in a post entitled Overclocking. Ann Althouse quotes Steven Pinker: "It would be hard to overstate how politically incorrect this paper is." Ah, but is it true? If you are interested in these things, I encourage you to read the paper itself. Amazing how we are just now starting to talk about these things in public. (What's next, Unnatural Selection? :)
Howard Dean is really an embarrassment for our country, let alone for the Democratic party. And I say this as a Democrat - albeit one who continuously finds himself on the same side as Republicans, please can we move the party back toward the middle! Politicians spin a lot, and they often exaggerate the truth, but Dean's specialty is flat-out lying. Horrible.
FuturePundit compares next generation coal and nuclear plants. "For large scale expansion of base generation capacity the two realistic choices today are nuclear and coal. If you oppose one you have to be willing to support the other." Some good analysis, which leads one to support the nuclear option...
Wired reports Koreans forge ahead on cloning. "Cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-suk and his research team shocked the world a year ago by cloning a human embryo. Last month, the team at Seoul National University created the first embryonic stem cells that genetically match injured or sick patients." This genie is out of the bottle, no way to keep it in. [ via Ottmar Liebert, who notes "Nothing is going to stop stem-cell research, not the politicians, and not the religious leaders... because when people suffer and there is a potential cure it is impossible to stop the wheel from turning." ]
Apparently there will be a .XXX top-level domain. (Joi Ito has some notes.) This means porn sites will be able to use www.some-name.xxx for their domain names. It doesn't mean they must use .xxx, so there will continue to be thousands of sites your kids can "accidentally" reach by mistyping names. Not sure whether this matters.
The rumors are swirling that Apple is going to support Intel processors. Probably "support" not "switch to". I don't get it, but I don't have to... Maybe after I read enough blog posts, I'll get it. Right now it seems like a good way for Apple to commoditize (cheapen) the Mac "user experience". Stay tuned as I cogitate...