Bienville Legacy Motorcycle

Is this beautiful or what?

This is a concept prototype design of a Bienville Legacy Motorcycle. But what’s even more interesting is the story behind the design and the desire of one individual to address what he believed was a critical deficiency in America today: The decline of industrial design and craftsmanship.

This prototype was designed by JT Nesbitt of New Orleans, who in motorcycle circles, is considered one of the top designers in that space. He designed the amazingly awesome Confederate Wraith motorcycle. He had a motorcycle studio in New Orleans until it was wiped out back in 2005 when Katrina hit. Fast forward to 2012, when the aforementioned individual walked into Nesbitt’s studio and said “What would you do if you could do anything?”

And from that simple question and a blank check, Nesbitt designed the above prototype motorcycle that, according to the story, brought one man to tears.

“I think we’re at the beginning now of what could be another Renaissance,” says Jim [Jacoby]. “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.”

Not only is the bike an industrial design of unmatched beauty, it is designed to perform as well. It has a 350HP engine and only weighs 350lbs. Think about that for a second. That much power on a bike that light.

The bigger picture point here is that as everyone from coast to coast is obsessed about digital this and app that, some amazingly talented industrial designers are struggling to find the support and resources needed to drive true, game changing innovation that will have positive cascading impacts across the economy.

I know I’m not doing the story justice so take a listen to part one and two of the story on Marketplace – they are definitely worth a listen.

via Marketplace

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Where No One Lives

Really interesting map based on 2010 census that details areas of the United States where there are no people living.

A Block is the smallest area unit used by the U.S. Census Bureau for tabulating statistics. As of the 2010 census, the United States consists of 11,078,300 Census Blocks. Of them, 4,871,270 blocks totaling 4.61 million square kilometers were reported to have no population living inside them. Despite having a population of more than 310 million people, 47 percent of the USA remains unoccupied.

via mapsbynik

Bohemian Rhapsody

Clayton Patterson has lived in the Lower East Side of NYC for the past 35 years and has run his Clayton Gallery over that same period of time. He created the Tattoo Society of NYC. He was the one who recorded all the mayhem during the Tomkin’s Square Park riots of 1988 – something that was not at all commonplace in the era before mobile technology. He is the epitome of what people describe as a ‘downtown bohemian’ from the hey day of downtown NYC scene in the 1970s. He was and is an agent of the underground creative scene that made downtown NYC, well, downtown NYC. But the NYC he once knew and loved has disappeared and he has recently decided to move to (of all places) Austria:

If the notion of a New York fixture like Mr. Patterson moving to a chalet in the Alps struck some in his circle as unfathomably strange, it nonetheless possessed a certain logic. There exists in Bad Ischl (Austria), Mr. Patterson contends, a creative community of artists, writers, tattoo designers and musicians that “is very much alive.” Then, too, he happens to be big in Austria — unlike in New York. “They love me over there,” he said. “They think of me as America’s No. 1 underground photographer.”

Still, as the news of his retreat leaked out, the downtown avant-garde shuddered with amazement and despair. “Clayton is the neighborhood — or what’s left of it,” said Ron Kolm, a poet, editor and bookseller who once worked at the Strand with Patti Smith. “I guess I always figured that he’d be the last one standing, surrounded by tall buildings. This really is the end of an era.”

CBGB goes away. Grey’s Papaya goes away. The Knitting Factory goes away. The story goes on and on. Yes, nothing lasts forever but maybe it is true that the real downtown vibe of NYC has also moved to Brooklyn.

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Follow The Numbers

There has been a ton of publicity about Warren Buffet putting $1 Billion on the line for anyone who picks a perfect bracket in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Well, according to Matthew Berry of ESPN, we are only four games into this year’s NCAA Tournament and out of 11 million submitted brackets in ESPN’s Tournament Bracket Challenge, only 5.7% of them (~627,000) remain perfect.

Once again, Mr. Buffett has made a wise investment, this time in publicity, for an extremely low risk wager.


via Matthew Berry’s Facebook feed

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Rise of the Flappy Bird

David Kushner from Rolling Stone traveled half way around the world and hunted down Dong Nguyen, the reclusive creator of the popular and viral sensation game Flappy Bird:

Two weeks after the demise of Flappy, I’m taxiing past pagodas and motorbikes to the outskirts of Hanoi, a crowded, rundown metropolis filled with street vendors selling pirated goods, to meet with Nguyen, who has agreed to share with Rolling Stone his whole story for the first time. With the international press and local paparazzi searching for him, Nguyen has been in hiding – fleeing his parents’ house to stay at a friend’s apartment, where he now remains. Although dot-com millionaires have become familiar in the U.S., in Vietnam’s fledgling tech community they’re all but unheard of. When the country’s first celebrity geek, a boyish, slight guy in jeans and a gray sweater, walks hesitantly up and introduces himself, he measures his words and thoughts carefully, like placing pixels on a screen. "I was just making something fun to share with other people," he says with the help of a translator. "I couldn’t predict the success of Flappy Bird."

Apparently, Nguyen has a couple more games coming out (Kitty Jetpack and Checkonaut), slated to be released this month) on top of a game he actually released before Flappy Bird (Shuriken Block) and he even raised the prospect of re-releasing Flappy Bird. Whether Nguyen intended to or not, his move to pull Flappy Bird down at an apex of popularity may have been his most brilliant move. If Flappy Bird get’s released again, it may just break a lot of digital things and the ‘halo effect’ of Flappy Bird can only help any other games he releases now and in the future.

via Rolling Stone