Just a few sentences. Our fellow string theorist Billy Cottrell was sentenced to 100 months (more than 8 years) for his unusual treatment of the SUVs - a topic that was discussed last year here on this blog. He should also pay $3.5 million - well, one may also call it "infinity".
The cardinals have chosen a new pope - Joseph Ratzinger (78) of Germany - one of the frontrunners of betting companies. Yes, Germans are probably not as controversial (in comparison with the Italian guys) as some pundits tried to claim because he was elected by one of the fastest conclaves in history.
He became Benedict XVI. While the previous Benedict XV (about 100 years ago) was a rather liberal Pope, Ratzinger is very conservative. He's one of the leading theologians in the Catholic Church and he's already been very powerful under John Paul II. Don't expect him to legalize gay marriage or something like that. ;-) No doubt, those who will criticize him in the future will be happy to learn that much like many other kids, Ratzinger was a member of Hitlerjugend at the age of 12 or 14. ;-)
Ratzinger looks like a rather impressive guy. As a former professor (who taught dogma), he is also an accomplished pianist (who prefers Beethoven and Mozart), speaks 10 languages, and dislikes communism, relativism, homosexuality, and other things. He will prefer a smaller but purer Church. Although I don't share most of their dogmas, his approach is appealing in many ways.