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The Reentry: October 31

Public swimming pool in Suining, China

Halloween is hardly the scariest thing going on today.

At some point in the next couple of hours, the world’s population will top 7 billion people. The United Nations has gone out on a limb and predicted that the milestone baby will be born somewhere in India, where an average of 51 women give birth every minute.

Nearly four times as many people now inhabit the earth than did in 1930. As New England shovels its way out of the most severe October snow storm since the Civil War and the western world continues to weather the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, it’s worth asking the question: How much does overpopulation have to do with all of the very worst things affecting us today? And what does 7 billion people look like?

Residential building, Shanghai

Taipei on Oct. 29, 2009

3 LINKS TO RING IN 7 BILLION: Here you can find out where you, specifically, fit into this whole clusterfuck. Here you can learn how China’s family planning policy delayed the big milestone by five years. And here you can wince at the sobering effects that 7 billion people have on the environment.

2 REASONS WALL STREET IS CURRENTLY OCCUPIED : 1) Thomas Friedman explains that Citigroup was fined $285 million for selling “a package of toxic mortgage-backed securities to unsuspecting customers — securities that it knew were likely to go bust.” The real dick move, it turns out, was that they were shorting, or betting against, the same securities. 2) Bernie Madoff’s wife and son, the most somber man and woman on the planet, break their silence on last night’s 60 minutes.

1 MILLION PEOPLE WITHOUT POWER IN CONNECTICUT ALONE: And nearly 4 million throughout the northeast. Here’s a look at yet another head-scratchingly record-breaking storm.