ThinkFast: October 30, 2006

$7 trillion: The price the world will pay if it does not address global warming within the decade, according to a new report commissioned by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer “underlining how failure to act would trigger a catastrophic global recession.”

“The U.S. military on Monday announced the death of the 100th servicemember killed in Iraq this month.” October is the fourth deadliest month for American troops since the war began.

“Despite significant gains in minority undergraduate and graduate enrollments at the nation’s colleges and universities,” an American Council on Education report finds “the rate at which black and Hispanic students attend college continues to trail that of white students.”

Returning to Baghdad after a year’s absence, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Anthony Shadid found the city “now is convulsed by hatred, paralyzed by suspicion; fear has forced many to leave. Carnage its rhythm and despair its mantra, the capital, it seems, no longer embraces life.” Shadid writes, civil war is “perhaps too easy a term, a little too tidy.”

“State Department career diplomats are in an uproar” over the recent appointment of Diane Zeleney, a mid-level civil servant, to a top job running the new Public Diplomacy Rapid Response office in Brussels. Zeleny lacks the usual veteran experience, but is married to Reuel Marc Gerecht, a neocon author who was an early participant in the Project for the New American Century.

“Safety experts for BP PLC warned their bosses of the potential for a ‘major site incident’ 2 1/2 years before an explosion at the company’s Texas City refinery killed 15 people.” “This place is set up for a catastrophic failure,” wrote one worker.

The challenge of limiting carbon dioxide emissions is “all the more daunting because research into energy technologies by both government and industry has not been rising, but rather falling.” U.S. federal spending on energy R&D; — currently $3 billion a year — is “less than half what it was a quarter-century ago.”

“The American military has not properly tracked hundreds of thousands of weapons intended for Iraqi security forces and has failed to provide spare parts, maintenance personnel or even repair manuals for most of the weapons given to the Iraqis,” according to a new report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

A senior aide to House Speaker Hastert (R-IL), Ted Van Der Meid, reportedly blocked an investigation into “mismanagement of a secret security office and…allegations of bid-rigging and kickbacks from contractors to a Defense Department employee.”

And finally: For those of you with time on your hands at work, play the “match the sexually suggestive scene with the politician who wrote it” game at Slate. Find the answers here.

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.