http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/opinion/19brooks.html?ref=opinion: David Brooks on our meritocracy and where it's gotten us. This type of big picture topic is what Brookes does better than other columnists do. He points out that we have wider access to the elite class, and a more industrious elite; yet, elites don't exercise the same influence that they once did. Think back to the 1950's and before. Of course, Brooks recognizes that these elites were all old white guys, but given that we now enjoy more diversity, why don't they command more respect and exercise more leadership? Brooks floats some ideas. Interesting.
http://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates.html : Bill Gates on energy @ TED Talks. Bill Gates, perhaps the ultimate nerd, is now trying to make the world a better place through his charity. His work on vaccines and schools are well noted and I think quite worthwhile. However, in this informative talk, he reports that if he had one thing that he could provide the world, it would be cheap, clean, and abundant energy. Cheap energy, he suggests, makes our society. (See Thomas Homer-Dixon for confirmation of this perspective.) However, Gates says we have to get to zero CO2 growth—fast. No climate-denier he. Some amazing technologies hold promise, and he does an excellent job of getting his audience to buy into this possibility. Recommended.