Brief asides


POSTED: Monday, May 18, 2009


Shark fears lose some bite

Scientists have concluded after two years of study that cage-diving tours off Oahu's North Shore do not raise the risk of shark attacks on recreational users in nearshore waters. While reassuring, that information is unlikely to quell opposition to allowing such underwater adventures elsewhere on Oahu, especially given that an apparently unenforced law already prohibits chumming the water to attract sharks. Still, it's good to see a public debate focus on scientific research, rather than on the type of raw fear and emotion that marked an earlier open meeting.



Uh, just put that one on my tab

Astronauts doing repair work on the Hubble telescope must be looking forward to getting back to Earth.

They've had their work cut out for them, with a stuck bolt and ill-fitting gyroscopes, among other things, complicating their delicate task.

Of course, good work, especially a house call like this, doesn't come cheap. NASA says the bill for the mission comes out to more than $1 billion.



Social Security sees sad future

Time was that yes, taxes and death were sure things. But just as assuredly, in between, there would be Social Security to ease the pain.

Not so anymore. Increasingly, the prospect of Social Security being there for us in our “;golden years”; is fading fast. Faster, it turns out, than originally thought. The government now says that the retirement fund will be depleted by 2037, four years sooner than previously projected. (And the Medicare trust fund, in even worse shape, is projected to become insolvent in 2017, two years earlier than expected.)

That's tough to fathom for most of us, who were born with a Social Security number attached to our ids. All these years of working, with an annual SS cut going to Uncle Sam ...

Well, Uncle had better come up with a Plan B or he can expect anarchy. From baby boomers, Gen Xers, Gen Yers — and beyond.