Explaining Southern California's economy

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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The Tiger Woods theory of the economy

Frys.com Open - Round One

Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Tiger Woods' halting comeback mirrors the struggles of the U.S. economy.

There's a remarkable spectacle happening in Northern California right now: Tiger Woods is playing a regular PGA Tour event in the month of October.

But wait, you say, he's a golfer — isn't he supposed to play golf? Well, sure. But he failed to qualify for the season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs, and because he's been variously injured and working on changes to his golf swing, he hasn't played much in 2011. But he is on the Presidents Cup team, so he needs to get himself into competitive shape for the event in November.

Woods' is a member of a professional golf elite that has won so often that it doesn't need to grind out a schedule like the rank-and-file. That's why he's been absent from Tour events at this time of year for a decade.

He's not playing particularly well, but he's drawing plenty of scrutiny. His performance reminds me of the economy. Both have been mired in a ditch on the comeback trail for what seems like an eternity. 

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