Business & Technology

from the marketplace of (terrible) ideas

Libertarian answer to oil spill: Privatize the ocean

Industrial disasters create cleanup jobs. See, the system works!If there’s one thing the leaking gash in the Gulf of Mexico seems to make clear, it’s that private companies shouldn’t be left unwatched to meddle with the messy innards of our planet. They shouldn’t be allowed to open a hole they can’t close, as William Saletan puts it. The disaster makes a rather obvious case for powerful, independent, competent safety regulators that improve on the worthless oversight we got from the Minerals Management Service. But if your ideological persuasion is that government can never be the answer, that requires more creative …

Sol focus

Tiny desert town goes solar in a big way

Nipton, Calif. solar arrayGrist’s Dave Roberts sent out a Tweet to his Tweeps today asking which city has installed the most solar. I’ve got an answer for you, Dave: Nipton, California. The desert micropolis — population 38 — announced Thursday that it had installed a solar array that will provide 85 percent of the town’s electricity. (The population of this outpost on the edge of Mojave National Preserve spikes to 250 or so during tourist season.) The solar system is ground- rather than on rooftop-mounted, and only generates 82 kilowatts. But what is notable is the technology developed by Skyline …

what's the goal here?

World Cup: Should U.S. team wear “BP sucks” shirts vs. England?

Original photo: g55 via Flickr, Lame Photoshopping: the author Since the U.S. and Britain are totally BFF’s and the British Petroleum oil spill is definitely not a sore point between the two nations, we’re happy to see these tender feelings of friendship manifested in the international sports arena as the U.S. gears up to take on England in the World Cup this Saturday. Especially touching is film director Spike Lee’s suggestion that the U.S. soccer team sport undershirts reading “BP sucks” under their jerseys and flash them when they score on England. Such delightful displays of fraternity and sportsmanship, no? …

Choice nuggets

Florida’s poisoned farmworkers, chefs schooled, Big Food’s raking it in

When my info-larder gets too packed, it’s time to serve up some choice nuggets from around the Web. Get ‘em while they’re hot.  The fruits of industrial agricultureIn the Atlantic, Barry Estabrook has a great, infuriating short piece showing an instance in which agribusiness has shown “utter disregard for the environment and for the welfare of workers.” It’s not pretty. It involves a tract of drained swampland at the edge of a lake in Florida, “almost in the shadow of Disney’s Magic Kingdom.” For decades, it was the site of chemical-intensive vegetable production, and workers and the lake were subjected …

notable quotable

BP: We don’t know why our stock is falling

“BP notes the fall in its share price in US trading last night. The company is not aware of any reason which justifies this share price movement.” –June 10 company statement on its falling stock value.

I've got Kevin Costner on the phone. He'll know what to do

The BP coffee spill [VIDEO] [AWESOME]

“Don’t worry … it’s a small spill on a very large table.” From the Upright Citizens Brigade: Find all the coverage we’ve spilled on the Gulf of Mexico spill here. Looking for more laughs? Check out: 1962 oil ad: Oil — enough energy to melt glaciers! [PHOTO] The BP oil spill reenacted by cats in 89 seconds [VIDEO] 12 things you should never put in your mouth [PHOTOS] ——————————————————————————————————————————————– Like what you see? Sign up to receive The Grist List, our email roundup of pun-usual green news just like this, sent out every Friday.

I'm Audi 5000

A pedestrian test-drives Audi’s ‘clean-diesel’ luxury ride

Photo: Ashley BraunI’m a reluctant driver. I’ll be the first to admit it. I do have a Zipcar subscription, mainly for the late-night runs to the airport to pick up my long-distance boyfriend when he sweeps through town. But I haven’t owned a car in nearly three years, instead opting to untangle the labyrinthine routes of Seattle’s city bus system, which often results in embarrassing sprints after the bus as it’s rumbling down the street. That said, I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity to test drive the Audi A3 TDI, made famous by the Super Bowl “green police” …

Sunny forecast

Report: New York solar bill could generate 22,000 jobs

Legislation pending in New York that would require the state to install 5,000 megawatts of solar power by 2025 could generate 22,198 jobs and boost the economy by $20 billion, according to a report released by Vote Solar on Wednesday. The cost to consumers would be just a 39-cent a month hike on their utility bills, the report found. Vote Solar, a San Francisco non-profit that is backing the bills in the New York legislature along with the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups, commissioned the study conducted by Crossborder Energy. Described as an independent consultant, Crossborder relied …

Reading the signs

Why urban businesses have better advertising

It’s no secret that there are lots of chain businesses in sprawling areas and relatively more independent businesses in urban cores. The blog Discover Urbanism has a fascinating explanation of how the built environment determines the kinds of businesses — and the types of marketing — that succeed in a given place: The urban and the sprawl environment lead to very different ways of doing business. For example, take the standard retail or food service operation. If you’ve set up shop in sprawl, you have a matter of seconds to make your potential customer want to stop and come in. …

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