Explaining Southern California's economy

Electric car revenge in Pasadena

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Bryan Mitchell, Getty Images

The Nissan Leaf prototype electric car on display during the press preview for the world automotive media North American International Auto Show in 2010.

At KPCC's Crawford Family Forum tonight, I'll be moderating a panel discussion on electric cars, right after a screening of director Chris Paine's "Revenge of the Electric Car" — the follow-up to his hit documentary, "Who Killed the Electric Car?"

Joining Chris and myself on the panel will be Geoff Wardle, the Director of Advanced Mobility Research at Art Center College of Design and a veteran of the global auto industry; and Brandy Schaffels, Senior Editor and Content Manager at TrueCar.com, a Santa Monica-based startup that provides consumers with transparent auto-buying information and industry analysis.

I'm looking forward to this event, as I used to cover the global auto industry, for Slate and CBS.com. Where the electric car is headed, now that they seem to be here to stay, is a question I think our panelists will be able to answer in lively, interesting ways.

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The Wall Street financial crisis, perfectly visualized at Art Center in California

Leave it to a designer educated in California to create what might be the best explanation of the Wall Street financial crisis. Jonathan Jarvis graduated from Art Center College of Design in 2009 and got hired by Google. He was recently asked back to the prestigious art and design school — perhaps best known for schooling car designers — to elaborate on his experiences at Art Center and beyond and accept an award, but also to talk about "The Crisis of Credit Visualized."

It's a superb piece of information delivery. If you want to understand why everything went horribly, horribly wrong in 2008, just watch it (the entire animation lasts about 11 minutes — a miracle of concision). What's truly impressive is that Jarvis says that he knew nothing about finance before undertaking the project. 

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