National News

The Epic 2,200-Mile Tour De France Is Also A Test Of Epic Eating

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 08:12

Tour de France cyclists need to eat up to 9,000 calories a day to maintain their health and weight during the race. But many teams hire chefs to elevate the meals to gourmet status.

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An Animal Makes A $10,000 Deposit, But Not At The Bank

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 08:03

A Beverly Hills auction house has an unusual fossil for sale. It's not an ancient animal. It's something an ancient animal left behind — and it's very, very long.

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Ukraine Says 2 Military Jets Shot Down Over Rebel-Held Area

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 07:52

The two jets were downed less than a week after a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people.

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States Help New Mothers Get Birth Control Through Medicaid

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 07:44

New York and five other states are helping women on Medicaid get contraception immediately after giving birth. New moms can get an IUD or long-acting implant before leaving the hospital.

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WATCH: Wreckage Of Costa Concordia Begins Its Final Voyage

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 05:47

More than two years after the luxury liner wrecked off the Italian island of Giglio, it is finally being moved to a salvage yard in the port of Genoa.

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A Plan To Untangle Our Digital Lives After We're Gone

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 05:34

In the digital age, our online accounts don't die with us. A proposed law might determine what does happen to them. But the tech industry warns the measure could threaten the privacy of the deceased.

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White House Adviser: Cease-Fire Should Include Demilitarization Of Gaza

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 04:49

In an interview with NPR, Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken endorsed Israel's demand that before the conflict ends, Gaza must be demilitarized. It's a demand Hamas is unlikely to agree to.

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Dutch Day Of Mourning, As Remains Of Some MH17 Victims Come Home

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 03:49

In its first national day of mourning in more than half a century, the Netherlands came to a standstill as two planes carrying the remains of some victims landed in Eindhoven.

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Many Kids Who Are Obese Or Overweight Don't Know It

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 03:29

A significant percentage of obese kids think their weight is just fine. But do they need to know the truth to get healthier?

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Gaza Conflict Day 16: Here's What You Need To Know

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 03:07

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon were in Israel meeting with leaders, attempting to broker a cease-fire.

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PODCAST: Netflix goes global

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-23 03:00

A round-up of the numerous companies reporting profits this week, and what it means for the economy at large. Plus, more on Netflix's strategy to expand internationally, and what challenges they may face. Also, Manchester United is stateside, playing a game against Los Angeles Galaxy. After a rough patch of losses, we look at the team's hope for a return to success, both on the field, and in their finances.

In search of better email encryption

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-23 02:00

Since the Snowden revelations, it has become clear that email as a basic internet protocol is essentially insecure, and other options -- texting, messaging apps, and the like -- are not much better. 

"If you really want to have secure communication, don't use email," says New York Times Tech Columnist Molly Wood.

There has been signifigant movement on creating simpler encryption tools -- Virtru, for example, is a browser plugin that encrypts messages for the recipient when emails are sent from a browser using the program.

However, even a potentially game-changing method like this has its issues: a third party is still being given the information. 

 

Little banks swing (and miss) at the big guys

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-23 02:00

Almost 80 percent of respondents in a recent Harris poll blame big banks for the financial crisis. The poll was commissioned by smaller banks.  

They're using it to smack the big guys by running TV ads that say, 'hey, we’re the good guys.'

But the commercials haven’t made a dent yet in big bank dominance. 

“If you go back to 1994, the community banks and credit unions had about a 70 percent market share. Today, the community banks and credit unions have less than 30,” says Gabe Krajicek, CEO of BancVue, which supplies high-tech services to small banks.

Krajicek says consumers think they can only get the latest mobile banking apps from the big banks.  

There’s another reason we stay with the megabanks, even if we hate them: convenience. 

“If you have to drive five miles to use your ATM, most people don’t like that,” says Bill Black, an economist at the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

Black says community banks are able to make a lot of small business loans, but only because the big banks won’t bother with them. 

See the infographic below to see some more stats about local banking:

(Courtesy:KASASA)

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story referenced Gabe Krajicek as CEO for Kasasa. He is the CEO of BancVue, which owns the product Kasasa. The text has been corrected.

Netflix goes global. Will it pay off?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-23 02:00

Stock in Netflix has been flirting with an all-time highs this week.

Investors are bullish about the company’s prospects overseas; Netflix plans to expand into European markets in September.

“International expansion has been a core part of Netflix strategy,” says Andy Liu, director at Standard & Poor.

But others believe the stock is overvalued.

Michael Pachter is a research analyst at Wedbush Securities. He anticipates that expanding into new international markets will be expensive.

“Each country requires separate technology spending. Each country requires a separate content deal,” says Pachter.

High cotton and southern language

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-23 01:00

Often it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.  And on a recent reporting trip to South Carolina, I was reminded that in the rural south, how you say things can be an art. A few examples from listeners:

“Frog Strangler” -  a heavy rainstorm where even a frog would have a hard time getting out of it.  (Andy Grabel, who grew up in Georgia)

“Even a blind hog can find an acorn once in a while”  -  basically means even the most incompetent of us can luck out.  (Fernando Pizzaro, who grew up all over the South)

“They’re living in high cotton,” - meaning their lives are pretty cushy and they’re doing well. Or “I’m feeling low cotton today,” meaning I’m having a bad day.   (Leslie Criss – Tupelo Mississippi)

It’s not a coincidence that nature and agriculture figure so prominently in many southern idioms. Economic realities can leave linguistic marks, and the language of the South is a window into its economic past.

“The south was much more rural than other areas,” says Walt Wolfram, professor of Linguistics at North Carolina State University and author of "Talkin' Tar Heel." “So because farming was such an important part of the culture, there are a lot of terms related to things like weather and farming and so forth.”

The phrase "stubborn as a Missouri mule" came about during a time when Missouri exported mules. The phrase "chopping in high cotton" or "living in high cotton" refers, according to some explanations, to the fact that if the cotton had grown high, the crop was abundant and a field worker would be shaded from the scorching sun. 

In southern fishing towns you get expressions incorporating the wind and the water and the fishing economy.

“It’s draped over occupations, the economy, lifestyle really,” says Gill. 

Some expressions seem to derive from the strong work ethic required for farming. It’s hard work and there’s little time or patience for slacking or whining. 

“People that want by the yard but try by the inch, should be kicked by the foot” -  If someone wants by the yard, it means “they want an enormous amount for a minimal effort, so they need to be kicked by a good foot.”   (Reggie McDaniel, Mullins South Carolina)

I would put the following phrase in the same category of work-ethic related expressions.

"When you run into someone who’s grouchy, give them a big smile and say, 'You can just get happy in the same britches you got mad in.'"  (Leslie Criss)

Perhaps otherwise put, "Snap out of it and get with the program."

Some southern expressions have made their way into broader usage. 

"Bless your heart." – Basically that means you’re too dimwitted to know any better. I think I love that one because it epitomizes the southern way of being a little bit catty but not wanting to sound too mean.  (Danelle Lane, Charlotte North Carolina)

(This famous expression may, however, actually owe its origins to the English.)

Many linguistic gems are fading.

“You don’t find these expressions nearly as much in urban areas in the South as you do in rural areas,” says Wolfram. “So the divide between the rural and urban south is in some ways becoming as sharp between the divide between northern and southern speech.”

In part it’s because more northerners are moving into Southern cities, but also some expressions just don’t seem to make it from grandparents and parents to their children as much. 

Wolfram says he hopes that southern speech – which, he adds, is quite alive and well - becomes more recognized as one of the treasures the south has to offer, and a piece of its heritage:

“There was a period in the south where some people were ashamed of talking southern, but I hope we can celebrate southern speech as part of its culture and history.”

Here are some of my favorite southern expressions and some from listeners.  Feel free to add your favorite in the comments. 

  • A long row to hoe – a difficult task
  • All hat and no cattle – all talk/show
  • Drunker than Cooter Brown – They say Cooter Brown lived on the dividing line between north and south during the Civil War. He had family on both sides and so didn’t want to fight. So he got drunk and stayed drunk for the whole Civil War so nobody would draft him.
  • Wish? Wish in one hand and pee in the other and see which one fills up first! – wishing won’t get you anywhere. The implication being you have to work for it.
  • Lord willing and the creek don’t rise – assuming everything goes right. “See you next time Grandma!” “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise!”
  • Worthless as nipples on a boar hog - useless
  • Might could – possibly, a noncommittal maybe
  • Lost as a ball in high weeds – to describe someone who is very confused, hopelessly out of the loop or doesn’t know what they’re doing.
  • I wouldn’t care to – I’d be happy to
  • Crooked as a barrel of fish hooks – an untrustworthy, corrupt person
  • Catch the Devil – to have a rough/bad time

CORRECTION: The state where Andy Grabel grew up was misidentified. The text has been corrected.

Conflicting Obamacare Rulings Set Stage For Supreme Court Face-Off

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 00:45

Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting views of the subsidies available under Obamacare. The problem is the language in one subsection of the 950-page law — boiling down to just three words.

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Airlines Cancel Service To Israel Amid Heightened Aviation Safety Concerns

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 00:45

A number of major airlines have suspended service to and from Tel Aviv as the fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza intensifies. That's leaving passengers to find other arrangements.

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U.S. Intelligence Tracking What Happened To Flight MH17

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 00:45

Senior U.S. intelligence officials say they have proof that a surface-to-air missile was launched when the airliner went down and have ID'd people in a recorded conversation implicating the culprits.

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Long GOP Primary Season Gives Democrats Time To Fill Campaign Coffers

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-23 00:45

If Democrats lose control of the Senate this fall, it likely won't be for lack of campaign money. The prominent female candidates in particular have healthy campaign accounts.

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