It may seem crass to make a dictators' dead pool. But given the murderous history of some of strongmen who might be on the list, it is not unreasonable to think through the means and implications of their departure.
The international community - political as well as scientific - needs to understand that without true international dialogue, the scope for environmental action is dramatically limited. But with that dialogue comes unlimited opportunity that goes far beyond the future of one species.
Kazakhstan is marking a special anniversary. Twenty years ago, the soon-to-be independent Soviet state closed the infamous Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site and provided fresh impetus to the still-incomplete campaign to ban atomic weapons.
If doctors make the worst patients, what kind of students would a group of professors and administrators make? Twelve days in Kazakhstan revealed that we actually did pretty well as the recipients of experiential learning rather than the dispensers.
It is no surprise that the leading candidate to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the IMF is another French citizen, Christine Lagarde. Yet, beyond northwestern Europe there has emerged an exceptional leader from an unlikely place: Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan's relatively quiet election process, with its extraordinarily high turnout and lack of violence, stood in sharp contrast to recent political and social unrest in parts of Russia and in the so-called "Arab Awakening."
While the U.S. should continue to encourage Kazakhstan to see the long-term benefits of developing a free media, rule of law, and political institutions that are fully publicly accountable, the U.S. needs to recognize its accomplishments as well.
While the lame duck U.S. Senate was dithering and dissembling last week over ratifying a new nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, Kazakhstan took a giant step towards preventing nuclear terrorism and making the world safer.