National / International News

Sandwich Monday: The White Castle Waffle Breakfast Sandwich

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-19 10:52

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try the latest bewaffled breakfast item: the White Castle Waffle Breakfast Sandwich.

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Occupy Wall Street Activist Gets 90 Days For Assaulting Officer

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-19 10:48

Cecily McMillan was convicted earlier this month of elbowing a police officer during her arrest at an OWS rally in March 2012.

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Buyout plan to save oil refinery

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-19 10:42
A management buyout is planned in a bid to save a closure-threatened oil refinery in Milford Haven.

Two obsessed guys and a radical motorcycle design

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-19 10:24

Ten years ago JT Nesbitt was one of the top motorcycle designers in the world. His picture graced the cover of magazines. Celebrities sought out his extravagantly expensive machines. But in 2005, while he was visiting a prince in the Middle East, hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and destroyed Confederate Motorcycles, the company that built Nesbitt’s bikes. Seven years later, his career hadn’t recovered. He was about to take a job waiting tables in the French Quarter, when a stranger showed up on his doorstep and turned his life upside down.

The stranger was a fan of Nesbitt’s work. He wanted to see his latest motorcycle projects. But, Nesbitt explained, he hadn’t designed a bike in seven years, and he was broke. The stranger looked around the shop and offered to buy Nesbitt a drink. So the two of them took a walk down Decatur street, to a French Quarter bar called Molly’s .

They took a seat at a table and ordered beers. And then the stranger asked Nesbitt a question.  “He says, 'What would you do if you could do anything?'”

The stranger says he asked the question on a whim, “I just honestly wanted to know, and [Nesbitt] was momentarily dumbfounded because nobody had asked him that. But strangely, as if it were rehearsed, he had his notebook with him.”

Nesbitt always carries his sketchbook with him.  And so he pulled it out. But before opening it, he made the stranger swear on his grandmother’s eyeballs that he wouldn’t tell anyone about what he was about to show him. The Stranger agreed. So Nesbitt opened up his sketchbook.

Courtesy of JT Nesbitt

The "Stranger’s" name turned out to be Jim Jacoby and in many ways, JT Nesbitt and Jim Jacoby are opposites. Jacoby loves technology; he thinks it can be used to better mankind. Nesbitt shuns most modern conveniences. He doesn’t have phones that can text. Jacoby is soft-spoken, an introvert. “Even having a conversation like this is outside of what I would find comfortable,” he said in a recent interview. Nesbitt can be blunt and abrasive. “Dude, that’s a stupid question,” he once responded to a question I asked.

But one trait they both share is obsessiveness. “This is the only thing that I think about,” said Nesbitt referring to his design project, “and the only thing I’ve thought about for the last eight years.”

Jacoby says he asked to see Nesbitt’s sketchbook simply out of curiosity. What he saw were the drawings of a bizarre looking motorcycle. But the more he thought about them, the more began to see the motorcycle as a solution to a much bigger problem: The decline of industrial design and craftsmanship in America.

“It's unacceptable,” said Jacoby, “that somebody like JT would be sitting here waiting, unable to do what he’s capable of doing. And if we don’t capture this in people like JT and many other incredibly talented people who work with their hands first and then transfer things to computer, we’ll have lost something incredibly valuable.”

Jacoby is a successful entrepreneur who started a company in 2001 called Manifest Digital. It builds websites and does social marketing for large corporations like McDonalds. He built it from nothing and had 140 employees working for him. But he was starting to have doubts about the life he had built around his company.

“A company that needed to be profit driven and hit certain numbers... and I was trying to [save] the world... those two things are hard to square,” said Jim.

The meeting with Nesbitt pushed him over the edge. He made the decision to quit the company he founded.

And then he took his life savings and handed them over to Nesbitt to fund the building of three prototypes of this unusual machine. But the motorcycle commission is just one part of something bigger.

“The goal is to separate the drive for profit from the act of designing,” explained Jacoby. He wants to remove the corporate constraints that normally hinder industrial designers like Nesbitt.  Nesbitt doesn't have to worry about things like keeping the cost of materials down or designing for mass appeal.

One of the reasons Nesbitt was on the verge of going back to being a waiter is that he is unwilling to compromise.

“If Jim hadn't shown up I would be serving you lunch,” said Nesbitt, “and that’s OK. There’s honor in that. I’d rather be the guy serving you lunch than a guy who is building a compromised motorcycle for mass consumption.”

Jacoby has not given Nesbitt any design restrictions for this motorcycle. Nesbitt has complete and total freedom. “So I don’t have to worry about 'Will people like this or that?', which frees me up to do pure design, pure art.”

JT and Jim are trying to create a new type of patronage system. They compare it to the Medici’s, the wealthy banking family that birthed the Italian Renaissance. They call this system the ADMCi, short for "The American Design and Master Craft Initiative".

“I think we're at the beginning now of what could be another Renaissance,” says Jim. “You have more money sitting on the sidelines through private equity and venture capital and in business profits than has ever existed. My goal is to lead through example and inspiration, and say, 'Let’s believe in great craftsmen first, and put that money to work with them.' And the byproduct will create all kinds of other business opportunities.”

The ADMCi is made up of three entities. One of them is a nonprofit called The Master Practitioner Foundation. This entity will apply for grants, and most importantly seek out wealthy donors, or patrons. JT is building three prototypes. When they are finished, JT and Jim will likely sell them for about $250,000 each. But whoever buys one won’t own it outright. They will be more like stewards of the motorcycle. In the same way an art collector might purchase a painting to be on display to the public, the motorcycle may be part of a traveling museum exhibit.

 

JT Nesbitt and Jim Jacoby.

Scott Tudury

David Lenk is an industrial design expert who also designs museum exhibits for a living. Lenk thinks the ADMCi could help reverse the decline of industrial design and manufacturing in America, which, he says, peaked in the mid 1950s: “You can walk through any flea market aisle today and find a Sunbeam blender or an Emerson fan or Bakelite Xenith radio from the late '40s to early '50s and, not only do they look good, they probably still work.”

But, said Lenk, things started to change in the mid-50s. “The Harvard MBA grads started fanning out with their evangelizing of planned obsolescence, and finance became more important than corporate traditions of design or quality. And by the mid 60s it was all gone. It’s just junk.”

Lenk believes that if the ADMCi’s first commission is a big enough success, if it makes a big enough splash, it could be a model for a new way to fund innovation and design, an alternative to traditional profit-driven investment models. It’s part of a decentralization that’s occurring, he said, “sort of an anti-corporate, structures that are like virtual teams of suppliers that come together to support efforts that will allow individuals with ideas such as JT Nesbitt to produce.”

Jason Cormier

Lenk’s involvement in this project happened entirely by chance. Nearly two years after JT first showed Jim his sketchbook at Molly’s, the two of them were back at the bar in their usual spot when Lenk happened to sit next to them. “It was a real motorhead moment. Within two sentences we were talking about French Coach work of the 1930s.”

And then JT told David about his motorcycle prototype which by this point was nearly complete. It was in his shop just a few blocks away.  The conversation ended, said Lenk, with an invitation to visit JT’s shop that Saturday, “but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw.”

Man admits rape and sex attacks

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-19 10:14
Four teenage girls were raped or sexually abused by the same man in a "horrifying" series of attacks in just over an hour, it is revealed.

Hacking won't scare U.S. companies out of China

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-19 10:11

The Department of Justice announced today that five Chinese military officers have been indicted for allegedly hacking trade secrets from U.S companies.

It’s the first time that the U.S. has charged specific foreign officials with cyber espionage, but as Marketplace's China correspondent Rob Schmitz tells us, it’s actually sort of old news.

“A little more than a year ago we learned that the People’s Liberation Army hacked into dozens of U.S. companies, stealing reams of intellectual property,” says Schmitz. “But this news and its implications were cut short: Right after it was discovered, Edward Snowden released what amounted to a nuclear bomb on the U.S. intelligence community by exposing the NSA’s spying operation.”

Schmitz says China probably wants the trade secrets to help build up its infrastructure. The hacking allegedly took place three or four years ago, when China had just announced plans to build dozens of nuclear power plants across the country.

“Of course the United States has a lot of experience building nuclear power plants. So it could be reasonably assumed that China was cutting and copying the U.S.”

Schmitz says hacking is a growing problem for U.S. companies, but that doesn’t mean they’ll abandon their operations in China.

“The companies that were hacked last year were too scared to complain about having their technology stolen by the Chinese, because they were afraid of upsetting one of their most important global markets. Unless U.S. companies stand up for themselves and start publicly complaining about this, I think the hacking will go on for quite a while.”

Hate crime PSNI phone line launched

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-19 10:00
The Police Service of Northern Ireland introduces a new dedicated phone line for reporting racist hate crime.

Broader history A-level planned

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-19 09:52
The rise of Islam and pre-colonial African kingdoms are among topics on offer in a draft new history A-level, due to be introduced next year.

'He added a whole lot to this beautiful sport'

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-19 09:40
A thinker, a poor drinker, an intense, wacky character - Jonny Wilkinson's team-mates reveal the man behind the myth.

No Russia border pullout, says Nato

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-19 09:37
Nato and the US say they have seen no sign of a withdrawal of Russian troops from areas bordering Ukraine, despite a Kremlin announcement.

Cats, video games, funerals: All with video on demand

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-19 09:31

According to Variety, Google is in talks to buy Twitch, a live video game streaming service, for close to $1 billion. Yup, a website that lets you watch other people play video games may be worth $1 billion. Fans don't even have to fire up their own version of "Call of Duty." The reported deal illustrates the growth of live streaming technology. For example:

Streams that make us go Squee! Streaming service provider UStream says the market for live streaming is growing. Right now it says it gets about 77 million unique global views a month -- a year ago at this time it got just 55 million. The company says it broadcasts everything from church services, to content broadcast by citizen journalists to disc jockey lessons. Animal cams, it notes, are always popular:

1. French bull dog puppies!

2. Baby Hummingbirds!

3. Kitty rescue center cam!

Life event live streams

1. Graduations
In case you can't get enough tickets for grandma, grandpa, and grandma and grandpa.

2. Weddings

You may not catch the bouquet, but you also don’t have to shell out for plane tickets.

3. Funerals

Mark Krause of Krause Funeral Homes says he started offering a streaming service in 2009, charging consumers about $195 on top of  regular costs. While Krause notes that the stream wasn’t meant to replace the ceremony itself, he says it was  helpful for family members who weren’t able to physically attend. Unfortunately Krause notes that just a few years ago, the technology was too unstable to provide a seamless experience for consumers: "It's more on the bloody edge, than the cutting edge," he says. "I'm always about trying innovating things but funeral directors won't provide it if they can’t rely on it."

Other

1. 2014 Rope Skipping National Championships

BrightRoll, a tech platform that powers video advertising on the web says sports make up a massive, disproportionate share of streamed video. Tim Avila, Senior Vice President of Marketing Operations at BrightRoll says there was a 176% increase in live video ad views between 2013 and 2014.
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/sctv18

2. Bigfoot cam.

Do you believe? Watch this stream and maybe you'll finally spy proof for your theories.

3. London Bridge

Like bridges? Like London? You will love this.

New design to turn light into matter

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-19 09:28
Physicists design a new photon collider from existing technology, paving a way to show that light can be converted into matter in the lab.

E. Coli Fears Spark Recall Of 1.8 Million Pounds Of Beef

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-19 09:28

Investigators say at least 11 people have been made ill by products that were recalled in Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio.

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VIDEO: Chocolate room offers taste of art

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-19 09:19
An artist has created an entire room made from chocolate which visitors are allowed to touch and even taste.

In pictures: Flooding sweeps Balkans

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-19 09:14
Months of rain falls in a few days

Ancient mummies 'brought to life'

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-19 09:11
The British Museum carries out scans on eight Egyptian mummies that reveal unprecedented details about these people, and how they lived and died.

Andrews dies after NW 200 crash

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-19 09:07
English motorcyclist Simon Andrews dies following his crash at Saturday's North West 200 meeting in Northern Ireland.

VIDEO: Scanners unravel mummies' secrets

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-19 09:06
The British Museum has carried out scans on eight Egyptian mummies, revealing unprecedented details about these people, how they lived and how they died.

'Troll sent rape threats to MP'

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-19 08:57
A Twitter "troll" bombarded a Labour MP with abusive messages after she supported a feminist campaign, Westminster Magistrates' Court hears.

Couple tied up by armed intruders

BBC - Mon, 2014-05-19 08:53
A man and woman are assaulted and tied up by an armed gang in their home in east Belfast.

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