Marketplace - American Public Media

Turns out, shame and fear don't fight cancer

Wed, 2014-05-21 10:01

Shame and fear – that’s the way marketers have traditionally tried to convince women to strip down in a cold room and squish their breasts between two plastic paddles.

Dr. Steve Woloshin, a professor of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, remembers one American Cancer Society ad from the 1980s that stated, "If you’re a woman over 35 and you haven’t had a mammogram, you need more than your breasts examined.”

“That was the classic persuasive message telling women if you don’t get screened, you’re crazy, you need your head examined," Woloshin says.

Scaring women about cancer is still the norm, but that could be shifting.

No Scolding Allowed

"Avoid anxiety": That's the mantra at the country’s largest breast imaging company in the country – Texas-based Solis Women’s Health.

At Solis Women’s Health centers across the U.S., employees don’t just steer clear of scaring women, they avoid talking cancer at all.

"Fear is not a motivator. It’s typically something that will cause people to procrastinate,” says Kate Maguire, president of Motivation Mechanics, a group of Philadelphia-based research and marketing strategists who worked for Solis Women’s Health.

After interviewing women about what they wanted in a mammography experience, Maguire – whose grandmother and mother had breast cancer – outlined a major marketing makeover.

The Makeover

Here are a few examples of what Solis Women’s Health changed:

Terminology: Women are referred to as visitors, instead of patients.

Clinic Layout: There are two different hallways, one for women coming in for a standard screening and another for women who have been called back for additional imaging. This helps reduce anxiety for the women who are nervous after being called back, Maguire says, because they don't see people leaving faster. 

Tagline: The old tagline at Solis was “Annual mammograms, it’s what smart women do.” That phrase, says VP of marketing Greg Scott, was a "bad girl message.”

Now, the tagline is “When you’re ready, we’ll be there for you.” 

Cost & Convenience

Breast imaging is big business. A report from Frost & Sullivan estimates revenues of $1 billion in 2011, and an expected rise to $1.4 billion in 2016.

But, from a business perspective, there are two main barriers to getting women in the door for screenings: financial and emotional. The Affordable Care Act, by making mammograms a fully-covered service, has cut the cost obstacle.

Now, there’s the psychological barrier – which companies like Solis Women’s Health are trying to counter by alleviating the fear that comes with scheduling and going through with a mammogram.

Marketing director Greg Scott says, by offering convenient, fast visits and fast results (within 24-48 hours by email if there is no additional screening required) his company is pushing past the competition.

Solis Women’s Health saw about 240,000 women in 2013, Scott says, and for the first quarter of 2014, growth was more than 10 percent in Dallas-Fort Worth and 4 percent nationwide.

Conflicting Messages

Steve Woloshin of Dartmouth says deciding whether to get a mammogram is much more complicated than any glossy brochure may suggest.

“The reason it’s controversial is the evidence supporting mammography, even though intuitively it seems like it’s got to be the right thing to do, the evidence we have isn’t so clear cut.”

Mammograms do save lives, Woloshin says, but they can also have downsides: false alarms, follow-up testing, and over-diagnosis.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association says for every 10,000 women, mammograms probably save five lives of women in their 40s, ten lives of women in their 50s, and 42 lives of women in their 60s. Meanwhile, half of women screened for ten years have a “false positive” – a suspicious mammogram that leads to a repeat test or biopsy on a healthy breast.

Ultimately, decisions on whether or not to get a mammogram, he says, should be individualized. And the decision should be based on information, rather than fear.

How much would it cost us to eliminate the penny?

Wed, 2014-05-21 09:14

I'll go on the record as saying I personally am in favor of getting rid of the penny. I've got a jarful in my office just collecting dust.

And really over the course of a year how much difference would rounding up or down to the nearest nickel really make, anyway?

As it happens, we have an answer to that question: 

Canada began phasing out its penny at the beginning of last year and a Quebec man kept track of how much he was gaining or losing over a year. Grand total? He was 89 cents ahead after 365 cash transactions.

So there you go: I say get rid of it.

Your coffee cup probably isn't recyclable… yet

Wed, 2014-05-21 07:45

Fancy drinks—your lattes, mochas and the like—have been getting fancier cups lately. Double-walled paper, compostable, recycled... you name it. As a result, the paper cup industry is on the rise, and it’s edging out the old go-to in to-go cups, polystyrene, usually known as styrofoam.

At an International Paper factory in Kenton, Ohio, 16-ounce coffee cups fly through tubes along the ceiling and land in neat stacks. The paper giant plans to spend over $60 million to expand its plant floor in central Ohio and add 125 jobs by mid-2015.

“It’s very exciting, we’re in a growth business right now, there is increased demand for our products and there has been for a number of years running,” says Michael Lenihan, director of sales for food services at IP.

The buzzword: sustainability.

“Right now, it seems like the consumer is saying, 'We want sustainably-sourced products that are made from renewable resources',” Lenihan says.

The interest in renewable resources has been bad news for foam products: lately some big names like McDonald's and Jamba Juice have tossed polystyrene cups and gone to paper, under pressure from environmental groups. In 2013, New York City banned polystyrene food packaging.

Meanwhile, demand for paper cup stock has risen to fill the gap. According to the American Forest and Paper Association, production for domestic use of cup stock rose 16 percent in the last five years. Containerboard production is also growing due to the increasing popularity of online shopping and the associated shipping. Good old-fashioned paper and newspaper have taken a hit, but International Paper is making up for it in other areas.

International Paper’s various products have a lot of green labels: The company works with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative to use certified sustainable forests for some products, and they produce compostable EcoTainer cups and 10 percent post-consumer recycled cups. All that could make you feel vaguely good about your double macchiato, to go.

But foam—the kind you’d probably know as styrofoam (which is actually a brand name trademarked to Dow, not a generic product name)—is also trying to get on that green wagon.

“Most of this is really a perception issue,” says Michael Westerfield, the head of recycling for Dart, a major foam cup producer. Polystyrene foam is known for being hard to dispose of. But Westerfield says foam is mostly air, so it actually takes less energy than paper to produce and ship. And it can be recycled in some places; Dart even runs a few recycling plants itself.

“There’s no doubt that foam has environmental attributes that are very favorable when compared to paper,” Westerfield argues. Dart recently acquired Solo, which makes paper, plastic and foam cups, and Westerfield says the company is working on recycling solutions in all areas.

How to sort through all this potential garbage? Product safety company UL is one of several companies that do independent sustainability analyses for companies, making its own business out of sorting through green claims.

“Some of these debates, like paper versus plastic or paper versus styrofoam always somewhat amuse me,” says Scot Case, director of markets development for UL Environment. He says foam has well-known issues, but paper has hidden costs—it does take a lot of water and energy to make paper. So when you look at the whole life cycle, says Case, the answer is: bring your own cup.

“A reusable mug, a reusable glass tends to trump either of those options,” Case says, even accounting for the water and energy used to manufacture and wash the reusable cup. 

With both foam and paper, there's also the matter of where all those billions of cups end up. Over at Rumpke Recycling in Dayton, marketing director David Schwendeman points at a giant pile of bottles, cans, paper—birds are picking through for food.

“We’re a middleman,” he says. “We don’t have a magical black box to take things and make ‘em into something.”

To recycle a product he needs to be able to sell it to someone, and a lot of paper cups are coated in plastic or contaminated with liquid residue. In most (but not all) U.S. Cities, they are no more recyclable than foam. In addition, compostable cups generally have to be composted in an industrial composting facility; unless you live in a city that does pick-up for a composting facility, your compostable cup is probably headed to a landfill, where it may never actually break down.

A promise by Starbucks to make all of its cups recyclable in Starbucks stores by 2015 has been delayed; Starbucks acknowledges on its website that it has “struggled to implement this single solution.”

So your coffee cup might seem greener than the next disposable thing, but here at Rumpke Recycling, it’s just clogging up the system.

“It’s probably a percentage... that end up in the mix,” says David Schwendeman, “but there’s also a percentage that end up in the landfill.”

Putting public radio on the map

Wed, 2014-05-21 07:17
Thursday, May 29, 2014 - 02:14 Dan Abendschein

A map of public radio stations that had been given licenses as of 1951.

Where did your public-radio station come from? If it acquired a license in the 1940s or 1950s, there's a good chance it was started for instructional purposes. Many stations created educational programming that was used by students in the classroom. 

As reporter Adriene Hill chronicles in her story on the roots of public radio, over-the-air education fizzled out after television came along.

The map above shows nearly 100 radio stations that had been granted a broadcasting license as of 1951. They include universities, school boards, trade schools and even a public library. The stations were required to have an educational purpose. It could be anything from teaching broadcasting,  to creating programs to be used in the classroom (some stations broadcast only during school hours), to simply playing classical music (apparently it had more to teach us than other types of music).

The red markers show stations that are now defunct; the green ones  are still broadcasting; and yellow is for stations broadcasting under different call letters.

By clicking on a marker, you can read a little more about the station's history

 In general, most stations that were run by school boards are gone. Many of the stations that were licensed to universities have become NPR member stations, and are only nominally affiliated with the institution that was granted the license.

At the college level,  there are still some student-run stations and some are still creating instructional material.  There are even a few high-school radio stations that have survived.

We know there's a lot more public-radio history that we've missed, so please fill us in.  We'd also love to hear from you if your station is not on the map, but was founded for over-the-air instruction.

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PODCAST: A cautious Fed

Wed, 2014-05-21 07:08

Chairman of the New York Fed William Dudley has spoken out saying his Federal Reserve needs to be especially careful about real estate at the dicey moment when interest rates start going up as a result of their stimulus cutbacks. To help us with this, we turn to Philip Swagel an economist at the University of Maryland who used to work at the Fed and the White House.

And from our broadcast in London this week, we visit London's Borough Market, where's there's been food for sale for an even one-thousand years.

Plus, some good news for London this week: the British capital came top in Price Waterhouse Cooper's sixth annual league table of international cities. London was rated the world's foremost "economic powerhouse and centre for culture, education and innovation." The accolade should go some way to soothe this city's wounded pride: London recently lost its number one slot in the prestigious Global Financial Centre Index.

Won't you be our neighbor?

Wed, 2014-05-21 04:36

From the Marketplace Datebook, here’s a look at what’s coming up Thursday, May 22:

The National Association of Realtors reports on April sales of existing homes.

The White House will host a ceremony for the United States Postal Service's new Harvey Milk Forever Stamp, in honor of Harvey Milk Day.

And it was indeed a beautiful day in the neighborhood. On this day in 1967, "Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood" premiered on PBS with the late Frederick McFeely Rogers.

T-Mobile and Univision pitch Latinos a phone plan

Wed, 2014-05-21 02:23

T-Mobile is offering three new cell phone plans that start at $30 a month and include 100 free minutes to some countries in Latin America. T-Mobile’s partner in the plans is Univision, the Spanish language broadcast network.  If you sign up for a new Univision Mobile plan, you’ll get access to exclusive content.

Luis Miguel Messianu, president and chief creative officer at Alma, a Hispanic and multicultural advertising firm in Miami, says the strength of Univision’s brand could help bring success.

"Why would I leave my AT&T plan and move to this new venture if it doesn’t give me additional perks?" he asked.

Messianu notes that Latino consumers want good content and prices, and that others have failed in targeting them in the past, like ESPN, J-Lo and Verizon.

T-Mobile wants Latino consumers, and it's easy to understand why. Messianu calls them "the original social network." A telecom industry analyst, Roger Entner, says Hispanics are spending more on their smart phones than the average. He notes that the market for Latino smartphone users is worth about $30 billion a year in service revenues.

But when it comes to Latinos, T-Mobile will have to overtake AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.

JPMorgan Chase investing in Detroit's community

Wed, 2014-05-21 02:21

JP Morgan Chase's $100 million dollar pledge to invest in the Detroit community follows a $15 million investment by Goldman Sachs late last year.

Robin Boyle, a professor of urban studies and planning at Wayne State University, says the investments don't necessarily signal that Detroit is the new darling of Wall Street, but the funds could help the bankrupt city focus on the future, while city managers grapple with billion dollars of debts. 

Terry Simonette, president and CEO of Capital Impact Partners, a non-profit community development financial institution that is receiving $20 million in loans and $5 million in grant money from Chase, says the group will use the money to help spur development in three Detroit neighborhoods: Northwest, Southwest and Jefferson East.  "As people re-occupy those neighborhoods they need food, bakery, they need coffee shops, they need supermarkets," says Simonette.

Whisk offers a different model for getting around town

Wed, 2014-05-21 01:00

When you think of the iconic images of New York City, certainly the yellow taxi cab comes to mind. It makes sense - NYC makes up 40 percent of the for-hire vehicle industry's business in the United States. It's why Michael Ibrahim, CEO of a startup called Whisk, thinks his business couldn't have gotten started anywhere else.

Unlike other phone apps with on-demand car services (think Uber or Lyft), Whisk doesn't deal in recruiting drivers to be part of its service. Instead, it serves as a platform for users to locate the nearest  black car or livery business vehicles. Also, unlike its competitors, users can watch their ride fare in real time on their phone, not unlike riding in a yellow taxi. 

Ibrahim says that working with multiple businesses that offer cars for hire allows Whisk to avoid a common problem found in other ride-sharing programs:

"There’s actually a predicative problem about knowing where rides are going to come from at what time and helping to deploy drivers. And what we get, because of our model, is we have all these partners that are helping us do it."

If I tweet at you, will you come?

Tue, 2014-05-20 23:12

Indulge me for a second here, while I digress, would you? (I know, I haven't really said anything to digress from, but let's not get hung up on the details, shall we?) There's a fistful of business and/or economic stories I could touch on right now: Credit Suisse and its guilty plea, AT&T buying DirecTV, Jamie Dimon and his pay raise, GM's latest recall... and so on and so on.

But the truth is, these daily stories can be a dime a dozen. You wake up, you report something, you tell people about it. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The bigger issue for me this week, honestly, has been systemic.

Largely lost in the news of Jill Abramson being fired from the top job at the New York Times was the leaking of a long and sophisticated report (by a team led by A.G. Sulzberger, the son of the man who fired Abramson, Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger) on the Times' digital future. Companies, both inside and oustide journalism, come out with "Our Digital Future" memos all the time.

The Full New York Times Innovation Report

But the Times being the Times, this one's going to resonate. As it should. It's well researched, clearly written, and insightful. I want to pull out two related but separate points:

1. "Audience Development." It used to be that we'd put a story on the radio (or a newspaper would put the story in the paper), the audience would come listen or read it, and that would be it. Distribution made simple. Catch is, of course, that it's waaaaay more complicated now. We're all so distracted and pulled at and tugged on by Twitter feeds and Facebook and all the rest that we (journalists, that is) have to figure out a way to get you to pay attention. The Sulzberger report (and many many others, to be fair) calls it 'audience development.' So here's what I want to know from you guys:

How do you want to be... developed? (Courted, if you will.) If I tweet at you, will you come? Shout-outs to our website? Are you a podcast person and are we making that available enough to you?

Lemme know – tweet me @kairyssdal or the show @marketplace. Or comments below, I guess.

2. Ummm... money. Here's the equation, in public media, anyway. Far and away our audience (and revenue) is tied to what goes on the radio. Which makes sense. That's what we've been doing and doing well for decades. It's not, however, where the future is. Mobile, digital, portable and personal is where we're going, yet the audience and the money aren't there yet. So how do we at least balance the scales?

How do we drive digital content that meets our standards but can't yet pay for itself?

What should we not do that we used to do? (So that we can start doing the things we have to do.)

Newspapers are trying to figure it out – all the way up to the New York Times – and so is public media, both APM (the company that owns Marketplace) and NPR. It is, honestly, kind of an existential question.

In other news, a couple of quick shoutouts from Marketplace coverage this week. First of all, the Morning Report team is in London for a special look at income inequality in the (other) global financial center. Mind the Gap, it's called – get it? Also not to be missed is a two-parter from David Weinberg about the rebirth of American craftsmanship, risk-taking, and a really cool motorcyle.

Is 'insourcing' enough to boost the U.S. economy?

Tue, 2014-05-20 13:59

The White House opened its doors Tuesday to executives from some big companies. The occasion? Well, the Obama Administration is touting its record on what's known as "insourcing," companies making investments and expanding in the U.S. instead of abroad. The government says its SelectUSA program has helped win $18 billion in U.S. business investments so far.

But when it comes to growing manufacturing and getting the economy back on track, is insourcing going to be enough? “Our problem is that the administration seems to be clapping for investment with just one hand,” says Shaun Donnelly, with the U.S. Council for International Business. “Somehow inward investment is good and they’re absolutely silent on outward investment.”

The White House announced a second SelectUSA summit with global business representatives will be held in the Spring of 2015.

Shocker: No one likes ISPs or cable providers

Tue, 2014-05-20 13:43

In light of the Comcast-TimeWarner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV mergers, the American Customer Satisfaction Index is out with its latest survey of the telecommunications industry.

To everyone's, ahem, surprise, internet service providers (ISPs) and cable TV services are at the bottom of the bottom. ISPs got a satisfaction score of 63 out of 100, citing complaints of "high prices, poor reliability, and declining customer service," and cable companies got a low of 65. 

They're doing surprisingly well, though - if the equivalent of a C-grade can be called "well" -- cell phone companies and wireless providers, who received scores of 78 and 72 respectively.  

Manhattan gets its first Dairy Queen

Tue, 2014-05-20 13:01

There are more than 4,000 Dairy Queens in the U.S. China has nearly 600. But out of all those stores, none is on the New York island of Manhattan. That changes next week when the Minnesota-based chain opens its first Manhattan location.  

“I like to say a Blizzard is going to hit Manhattan, and really New York City as a whole,” says John Gainor, International Dairy Queen’s president and CEO. 

The Blizzard is the chain’s signature milkshake. Gainor was in town taking a look at the soon-to-open, two-story Dairy Queen on 14th Street in Manhattan. 

But this is a city with endless options for treats, from frozen yogurt to artisanal ice cream. Dairy Queen has stiff competition. Just blocks away I found a Mister Softee truck, a New York icon.  

Ric Perez working inside didn’t feel the threat. 

“People prefer Mister Softee. Yes, it is a New York thing,” he says. 

Actually, Dairy Queen CEO Gainor says his competition is any fast food restaurant. McDonald's has a McFlurry, and this Dairy Queen serves burgers. 

And, for all the talk of chains like 7-Eleven and IHOP and now Dairy Queen invading Manhattan, this one seems different. 

“New Yorkers have been very welcoming to our brand,” Gainor says. 

That’s not just CEO-talk. Many New Yorkers aren’t from here. They have a soft spot for Dairy Queen’s soft-serve, growing up in Dairy Queen towns.

“When we were younger, we’d ride our bikes there and stuff like that,” says Adam Sansone, walking near Union Square.  

More Dairy Queens are on the way for Manhattan and the other four boroughs.

They won’t necessarily replace mom and pop shops. Retail all over New York has been expanding since 1993, thanks to drastically reduced crime and a bigger population. 

“A lot of companies probably feel that they can’t afford not to be here in New York City,” says MIchael Moynihan, chief economist at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. 

A motorcycle design for the history books

Tue, 2014-05-20 12:49

This is part two of a two-part series. Read part one here.

Jim Jacoby wants to create an American Renaissance of design. He has a plan to give blank checks to master craftsmen, and give them the freedom and the budget to build their dream project. His first commission, a groundbreaking motorcycle by renowned designer JT Nesbitt, is nearly complete. It’s sort of a patronage system loosely modeled after the Medici, the wealthy banking family that gave birth to the Italian Renaissance. This new system is designed to remove the drive for profit from the act of designing. The hope is that through this process, breakthroughs in design and engineering emerge. And those breakthroughs will lead to business opportunities.

This system is called the ADMCi, American Design and Master Craft Initiative, and its first commission is called The Bienville Legacy.

When David Lenk, an industrial design expert, first saw the Bienville Legacy, he was so moved, he cried. He says the design rivaled the great industrial designers of history, “the genes of engineering greats like Barnes Wallis along with the ascetics, the fine touch of Ettore Bugatti. I know that your eyebrows may arch linking JT with these engineering and design icons, but I will stand behind it.”

What he saw, he says, “Was a motorcycle that basically challenges many, many engineering precepts that go back 120 years. This is a guy who not only stepped back to square one, but then he stepped out of the square.”

Let’s go back to square one. The origin of the motorcycle is essentially the bicycle. “Think about the first motorcycle,” says Lenk, “it was a bicycle that they hung an engine onto.” But for The Bienville Legacy, Nesbitt started from an entirely new origin point: The bow.

“The very first man-made spring is a bow and arrow. So this technology is Paleolithic. It predates civilization,” says Newsbitt.

Imagine a bow and arrow pointed at the sky. Where your hand grips the bow is where the engine of the motorcycle is attached. At each end of the bow is a wheel. So instead of having shocks like a regular motorcycle, the entire bike is one big leaf spring. It looks like it's part beast, part machine.

“These are the sort of things you read about in history books,” says Lenk.

Lenk has spent his entire life surrounded by industrial design. His grandfather was at one point the largest producer of soldering irons in the world. Lenk went on to study at the Rhode Island School of Design. “I guess you could say I’ve been born with this bug and have nurtured it my whole life,” he said.

Today Lenk designs museum exhibits for a living. After finishing a recent job at a museum in New Orleans his employer took him to a French Quarter bar called Molly’s to celebrate. By chance, he happened to sit next to JT Nesbitt and Jim Jacoby. “It was a real Motorhead moment,” Lenk remembered. “Within two sentences we were talking about French Coachwork of the 1930s and design, and the conversation ended with an invitation to visit his C shop that Saturday. But nothing could have prepared me for what I saw.”

Nesbitt’s shop is called Bienville studios. It’s about a block from the Mississippi River on the edge of the French Quarter. When you step inside, it’s surprising just how spare it is: a small workbench, a few racks with parts, some tool boxes.

JT Nesbitt working in his studio.

Justin Jackola

But the most striking thing in JT’s shop is in the center of the room, a strange looking motorcycle, balancing on a hydraulic lift like a statue on a pedestal. It’s a prototype that Nesbitt built. He’s named it The Bienville Legacy.

“There’s no example, as far as I know, of anyone else in the world doing that. It’s completely original thought,” said motorcycle journalist Alan Cathcart. He’s written about motorcycles for over 30 years. He’s been called the kingmaker because he’s often the first person to ride and review new bikes. 

He described Nesbitt’s design as breathtaking, though to most people it simply looks strange.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a strange-looking thing because we don’t have to sell them,” said Nesbitt.

If this were a typical corporate motorcycle, the plan would be to put the bike into production and sell them for a profit. But this is not a profit-driven endeavor. “To look at this for short-term recoupment would be to undermine the overall purpose of what we're up to,” said Jim Jacoby.

He’s put up his life savings to pay for the building of three prototypes. Jacoby gave Nesbitt a blank check and told him build his dream bike without any constraints. The expectation is that by giving JT the freedom to experiment with new ideas and materials, breakthroughs in engineering and design will emerge.

When I visited Nesbitt at his shop, one of the first things Nesbitt showed me was a small box full of bolts

“This is titanium hardware,” said Nesbitt, holding up a wooden box. Nesbitt designed the bolts himself. The bolts and other hardware alone cost $30,000. Boeing's prototype shop in Seattle is manufacturing them.

Nesbitt says this motorcycle is the first to use this much titanium and carbon composite structurally. “I think that all motorcycle designers want to use those materials but they are limited by their budgets. The materials that I'm talking about are radically expensive.”

Motorcyle journalist Alan Cathcart mounts the nearly competed Bienville Legacy Prototpye.  

Scott Tudury

Nesbitt calls titanium a miracle material, “and now it’s available. Ten years ago, I couldn’t have done what I’m doing now because the military industrial complex had sucked up all the titanium. It’s just now becoming available in quantity.”

One of the byproducts of Nesbitt’s motorcycle is eight original engineering patents related to his first-of-its kind suspension system. “The outcomes for the patents might be new ways of doing suspension in automobiles,” said Jacoby.

This is one potential long term source of revenue from the bike. If the automotive industry adopts these engineering ideas, it would have to pay to license the patents. But that’s a big "if." This is one reason this project is a tough sell to investors: It’s unclear if any of Nesbitt’s radical designs will ever be adopted by the wider automotive world.

When Nesbitt was commissioned to build his motorcycle prototype, he signed over the patents and intellectual property to the American Design and Master Craft initiative, the ADMCi. In exchange, he gets his rent paid, but zero salary. If the patents do make money, he will get a percentage. But again, that’s the big if.

“I think on balance, I’m coming out way ahead,” said Nesbitt. “I’m giving everything I can to live my dream. I get to reinvent American motorcycling.”

Motorcycle journalist Alan Cathcart has been called \"The Kingmaker.\" Here he is with Nesbitt and the nearly completed Bienville Legacy.

Scott Tudury

The next step for Nesbitt and Jacoby is to prove that the motorcycle is more than just a beautifully crafted, groundbreaking design; they have to prove that it can perform. So they’re taking the bike to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, to attempt to break a world land speed record. 

“The weight advantage, for a variety of design decisions, is tremendous,” said Jacoby, “It’s probably going to net out as a 350 pound bike with a 300-350 horsepower engine which is, by any definition, a rocket.”

Jacoby has decided he wants to be the one to ride the bike across the salt. He’ll have to top 200 miles per hour to break the record in the category this bike competes in. He’s never gone anywhere near that fast on a motorcycle. He admits that this plan is completely absurd, but, he says, it’s necessary. “This is a design that needs to be proven on the field of battle. And the field of battle in this case is the Salt Flats.”

After Nesbitt finishes building the motorcycles, he will remain a part of the ADMCi. “I become one of the people who’s involved with selecting the next project.”

If the ADMCi can recoup the money spent on the three prototypes and attract patrons to fund more commissions, Nesbitt will help seek out another master craftsman to get a blank.

This time he will be the one asking the question, “What would you do if you could do anything?”

“I’m the perfect person to be a judge of character, said Nesbitt, “and when somebody asks you what you would do if you could do anything, you had better be ready with a good answer.”

CORRECTION: Barnes' Wallis' last name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story. The text has been corrected.

How much would an all-American iPhone cost?

Tue, 2014-05-20 11:02

How much would an iPhone cost if it were entirely made in the U.S.?

At the moment, the iPhone 5 costs between $650 - $850 retail.

iPhones are mostly manufactured and assembled in China, famously by the company Foxconn. And Apple pays around $5 per iPhone for labor.

"It largely costs more for people to manufacture products in the U.S. because of higher labor costs," says Carl Howe, Vice President of data sciences at the Yankee Group. "Labor costs here are somewhere in the vicinity of two to three times what they’re going to be in China."

Now our iPhone (the cheapest model) will cost $660, but labor’s not the most significant financial advantage to manufacturing the iPhone in China, where Apple has been able to create enormous iPhone-assembling villages.

"They have these special regions, like Shenzhen, which is an industrial region," explains Rene Ritchie, editor-in-chief of iMore, a publication about Apple products. "Anything you need is just a couple of buildings away, and the ability to keep everything so close together has incredible logistic advantages for Apple."

Ritchie says it would be almost impossible to re-create that in the U.S., which would mean longer assembly times, less efficient assembly and lots of micro-shipments.

"It’s an incredibly complicated process to build one of these devices and you’d have to move that entire culture of production to the U.S. in order for it to work," says Ritchie.

And then there are the parts themselves…

"For almost every component that goes into the device, there may be as many as two or three sources," says Andrew Rassweilier, Senior Director of Materials and Cost Benchmarking at IHS technology. "Then if you were to dig down another layer into some of the components, such as the display, the touch screen, the batteries. Those are also assemblies that are comprised of multiple components coming from, potentially, multiple counties."

IHS broke down the cost of the iPhone’s components and found they add up to around $190 per phone. 

The most expensive part of the phone is the display, which costs about $40. Making the display in the U.S. would roughly triple its cost, according to Rassweilier. That alone would add around $80 to the price of the iPhone

That brings our iPhone to $740.

Rassweiler says making all of the iPhone’s parts in the U.S. would push the price of the iPhone’s components from $190 to around $600.

"If the materials alone are costing $600," says Rassweilier, "it stands to reason, that same iPhone could cost, perhaps, $2,000 at retail."

That's right. $2,000 for an iPhone.

And it wouldn’t even earn political goodwill from most of its customers.

 

Screenshot: "Inequality For All"/Radius/TWC

The U.S. only brings in 6 percent of profits from iPhone sales, according to "Inequality for All". 

"Two out of three Apple customers aren’t in the USA anymore," says the Yankee Group’s Carl Howe. "That’s quite a change from many years ago when most of Apple’s customers were in the US."

 It’s just as well, says Howe. Even with overseas cost efficiencies, the iPhone is one of the costliest phones on the market.

 

Two years ago, Marketplace's Shanghai Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz was only the second reporter ever to gain access to visit the factory floor at Foxconn. He took a tour of the assembly line and the Foxconn campus to see what living and working conditions were like for the hundreds of thousands of workers there:

Divide, Google's latest buy, hardens Android security

Tue, 2014-05-20 11:02

A deal leading from Silicon Valley to Silicon Alley: Google is buying New York-based enterprise software company Divide for an undisclosed sum. Divide provides mobile device management technology—tools to keep business data separate and secure on smartphones and tablets. The company also provides productivity tools for people to work and collaborate on mobile devices.

The move is designed to drive more business for Google’s Android devices among companies concerned about security. 

Increasingly, people use their mobile devices for work and personal life interchangeably. Many employees are expected to access work data when they're at home or on the road, and people want to be able to use the mobile device of their choice, one which also holds personal email, photos, games and the like.

“If you download a tic-tac-toe game off the Google playstore,” says Tyler Shields, a mobile-security expert at Forrester Research, and it’s loaded with malware, “once you run it on your phone, it could grab all your contacts or all your calendars.” Shields says that might include some of your employer’s contacts and calendars, or confidential information like blueprints or business plans that you’ve been working on.

Technology analyst Crawford Del Prete at research firm IDC says of the acquisition of Divide: “This move by Google is to say: ‘We are hardening the Android experience. We are going to give you more control as an enterprise, to have a secure container and a secure place for your corporate data.’”

Del Prete says Google is wise to make this move, because there’s a perception in the marketplace—among IT professionals, business managers, and consumers—that competing devices and apps from Apple are more secure and less easily hacked.

How many devices (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer) did you have for work and play in 2004? 2009? Today? Tell us in the comments below, or get in touch via Twitter and Facebook.

Eating out? Leave a big tip

Tue, 2014-05-20 10:05

From the Marketplace Datebook, here’s a look at what’s coming up Wednesday, May 21:

In Washington, the United States Senate Committee on Finance Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy will hold a hearing about Strengthening Social Security to Meet the Needs of Tomorrow’s Retirees.

President Obama will welcome the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks to the White House to honor the team and their Super Bowl XLVIII victory.

Brought to you by the letters U - S and O. Sesame Street’s Elmo and Friends will roll onto Capitol Hill in their Sesame Street/USO tour bus to attend the bi-annual USO Service Project event.

Thinking about a dinner date? Keep in mind that it’s National Wait Staff Day! Win over your server and your date with a large tip!

Meet Happy! The unsettling new Happy Meal mascot

Tue, 2014-05-20 09:14

One thing that has fascinated me for a long time is how huge, multi-billion dollar companies can make really obvious mistakes, mistakes that even a child could see.

Do people lose touch with the hoi polloi when they've been enjoying the perks of the executive cafeteria for too long?

Is it a product of the 'yes man' corporate culture, where some out-of-touch CEO has a shower epiphany which rips unchecked through vice presidents, middle managers, and teams of consultants to be broadcast nationwide?

Take what happened today: I'm looking at a photo of one of the biggest, most expensive branding decisions McDonald's has made in a long time. Happy, the new mascot of the Happy Meal.

This is an updated version of the old mascot, which was a Happy Meal box with a yellow smile drawn on it. Simple. Classic. Totally solid mascot. It seems logical, obvious, even, to give that old tried-and-true mascot an update. Bring it to life: add arms, legs and a face. What could possibly go wrong?

Crazy Eyes. That's what.

Happy looks crazy. Not evil, serial killer-crazy (which would actually, I think, be better) or even evil genius crazy... it's a desperate, deeply-needy, sad kind of crazy.

Happy's eyes say: "Hi! I'm Happy! Will you be my friend? Please? I have a lot of trouble reading social cues! Oh my God, I'm so lonely!"

Happy has the kind of expression on his face that you sometimes see on an internet date or a person you are sitting next to on a transatlantic flight. The kind of expression the person in the aisle wears that makes you think, "How much time can I spend in the bathroom before it becomes rude to the point of cruelty?" Shortly before ordering the strongest possible drink as fast as you possibly can.

In its press release, McDonald's says Happy will serve as "an ambassador for balanced and wholesome eating... and will encourage kids to enjoy fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and wholesome beverages such as water or juice."

Happy accompanies a new yogurt option (alternative to french fries) in the Happy Meal. So, Happy is telling kids to eat their fruits and vegetables.

Kids.

Kids, who will take one look at Happy and know that if they sat next to Happy in the lunch room, their social life would be over until they went to college. If you thought kids hated eating their fruits and vegetables before, now those fruits and vegetables are associated with being a social outcast... which makes me think that maybe, just maybe, Happy isn't the marketing snafu it first appears to be.

Maybe Happy is ACTUALLY a piece of marketing genius.

Consider this: McDonald's serves burgers, sodas, fries, Filets-o-Fish, McRibs, Egg McMuffins and basically everything that is bad for you and can fit inside of a sesame seed bun. McDonald's might SAY it's embracing healthy eating, but it's not.

If everyone in the world started eating what their doctor told them to, McDonald's would go out of business inside of two weeks. So what does McDonald's do? It rolls out a mascot for healthy eating, to tell kids how great "fruits, vegetables and wholesome beverages" are; a mascot that is so deeply unsettling to look at, any child who sees it will probably never want to go within 100 miles of fruit, vegetables or wholesome drinks ever again.

You know what doesn't have any fruits or too many vegetables? Burgers. Fries. Filets-o-Fish. McRibs. Egg McMuffins and basically everything else McDonald's serves.

McDonald's has not rolled out a messed-up mascot, it's invented the anti-mascot. Happy is reverse-psychology marketing in action.

Children, highly impressionable children, will now forever associate "balanced and wholesome eating" with the kid who sits alone in the corner of the cafeteria and brings his cousin to the Homecoming dance.

Sure, Happy might have crazy eyes... but I would submit that they might just be crazy, like a fox. Crazy like a fox that will spend the rest of its life thinking trans-fats are what the cool kids are eating.

Well played, McDonald's.

How much help do rural schools in your state need?

Tue, 2014-05-20 08:30

The Rural School and Community Trust has released its "Why Rural Matters" report for 2013-2014, tracking the conditions of rural education in each of the 50 states. Using a combination of measurements, including student diversity, socioeconomic conditions and educational outcomes, the nonprofit organization categorizes in its report the overall need for support of rural education in each state.

In particular, the report highlighted the fact that rural schools, which serve 20 percent of U.S. schoolchildren, are experiencing higher growths in enrollment rates compared to non-rural schools. Rural schools also serve an increasingly diverse demographic and a growing percentage of students live in poverty, according to the report.

This is your brain on a phone

Tue, 2014-05-20 08:00

There is word that Britain's National Health Service has just commissioned a big study to see what mobile phones are doing — if anything — to our kids.

This is one of the biggest stories I'v seen so far while broadcasting this week from London, and yet it has received very little coverage outside of these isles.

Here is the part that stopped me in my tracks: Researchers say this is not something that has been studied much. It should be said that perhaps there are no significant health, cognitive or developmental effects of young people using cell phones the way they do. But until this new research starts bearing fruit in a few years these will remain open questions.

The study will recruit parents and children at about 160 middle and high schools around London. They have to agree to let a special app monitor the phones of children as young as 11. The app will track how the phone is used, as a speaker phone, via headphones or how often it's held up against the ear.

Researchers, coordinated by the Imperial College London, are interested in any effects of radio waves emitted by the phones but also how the regular use of mobiles might change the way kids think or remember information. It's not just the effects of phones they are interested in, but other digital devices such as tablets as well. Alarmist nonsense? It is being noted here that the World Health Organization has said there is an urgent need for this kind of research with youngsters.

It is interesting that for a while now the National Health Service over here has had guidelines urging that phones should only be used by kids for "essential purposes." If you have ever seen a kid stuck in that praying mantis pose with a phone in hand, you know that is not always the case. That is to say kids have been known to use smart phones for more than just calling home for a ride or checking if the teacher had sent an email.

The lead investigator in the new British study is quoted by the BBC saying, "As mobile phones are a new and widespread technology central to our lives, carrying out the study is important in order to provide the evidence base with which to inform policy and through which parents and their children can make informed life choices."

What I am wondering is where they are going to find kids for the study's control group: the kids who never use phones are becoming a very rare breed.

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