Explaining Southern California's economy

Bikini girls wash solar panels at American Apparel in Downtown L.A.


Thanks for Mark Lacter for pointing me to this one. Controversial L.A.-based clothing purveyor American Apparel powers at least some of its operations with solar panels. Those panels need washing, I guess. So the company gets young folks in bikinis to do the washing. Mostly ladies, but also some fellas.

NSFW? Not really. But watch at your own risk!

Now that's some real greenwashing! Yuck, yuck, yuck...

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Solyndragate: Picking winners will always be risky business

There's now pretty much a frenzy of Monday-morning quarterbacking going on with the Solyndra controversy. It boils down to essentially two core positions:

  • Solyndra was too risky a bet for the DOE to pony up a $535-million loan guarantee. The Atlantic's Megan McArdle has been grappling with this one, in strenuous detail, while somewhat evading the question of whether Solyndra needed to spend as much money as possible in a short period of time, to both achieve economies of scale and outrun a collapse in the price of silicon (Solyndra's solar panels didn't use this material).
  • Solyndra was a risky bet, but in the face of $30 billion in Chinese solar investment, the U.S. needs to leverage its innovation advantage to capture its share of the solar market. The government needs to subsidiize some of the risks and be willing tolerate failure in and effort to build up a new Green energy sector. I'm on this side, as is Wired's Jonah Lehrer and the New York Times' Joe Nocera.