There's a workshop at MSRI in a couple months on the Kervaire invariant problem that I'd really like to attend. I saw Hopkins speak about it a while back without understanding much of the talk, but I'm thinking that maybe by now I'm more prepared to see what it's all about. At least, I'd like to be able to get something out of the workshop, even if I don't understand everything that's going on. I don't know much more about the problem than the wikipedia article can tell me. So, I'm looking for:
(a) recommendations for reading to acquaint myself with the necessary background information, and
(b) a sketch of the story -- I can somewhat follow the intro to the paper itself, but seeing some of the details spelled out would help me start to actually understand what's going on.
(Or, unfortunately possibly: (c) a warning that it's probably too difficult to pick up all the material in just a few months and that it's not worth my time to try.)
By the way, wikipedia says that Kervaire used the invariant to create a 10-dimensional PL manifold with no differentiable structure, but I thought that the invariant is zero in dimension 10. What's the deal there?