It's Monday, May 19th, 2014.
I'm Ariel Nunez, and from our CBS studios in New York City, welcome to The 404.
Hey, what's up everyone?
Thanks for tuning in to The 404 show.
I'm Jeff Bakalar.
I'm joined today by someone who used to frequent the show, and it's been so long.
It has been so long.
And we've been, and how many weeks and weeks, and almost what feels like months have we been trying to make this happen.
This is a true statement.
Making her triumphant return to The 404 Show.
And in this amazing studio.
Thanks for being here.
Round of applause for Katie.
Everyone very excited to have you back here.
Happy to be back.
Yeah, how have you been?
I feel like you've been to the world and back.
Oh my gosh, I've been crazy.
I have, I've been traveling a lot.
I've been working on a lot of amazing adventure pieces.
So, you were just in Africa for an extended period of time.
I was just in Africa for a few weeks.
I was doing a number of reports.
Everything from an elephant orphanage to getting to see technology changing the game in some of the most impoverished parts of the entire world.
I'd be, people always say, like, when you go to Africa it's gonna be, like, life changing.
It was seriously like a life changing trip.
So, so people say that, but why is it actually true?
It's like everything you see in your cartoon books and your coloring books when you were little.
Right, like zebras and crap.
Like, I went on a trek the first few days that I was there, and, to give you, put things into context, I was staying in the middle of the Serengeti in the national park.
And at night, you do not sleep, because they, there's just hippos, and elephants, and lions.
Oh, my God.
Running past your, I'm in a tent.
By the way.
So, the one night, I hear this like, like Jurassic Park.
You remember like the cups moving, and they're like oh, what's that?
So, like you get woken up every 15 minutes.
And, by the way, the hippos have the most maniacal growl.
So, you hear that all night.
And, you're like totally gonna die.
Yeah, that's scary.
So, the one night, everything's shaking.
The ground's shaking, and I'm like oh my gosh I'm freaking out.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I like, slowly unzip the tent, and like from me to you, there's an African elephant just like standing there.
And I can hear it eating and digesting.
And like, it's a, it's an elephant.
Like, is this happening right now?
Yeah, it's just doing its thing.
So very intense.
Wow, my, the only exposure, like, my, my only point of reference for what it's like to just hang out in Africa is like the movie Congo.
You know, so I would just imagine you have like a guy with you with a, with a automatic rifle who is just there to like shoot.
That's a true story.
If you were to leave the tent at night you had to call one of the guards.
You have to do this like, flashlight ordeal.
The guard comes over to you.
They have an AK47.
And they have to walk you to the bathroom.
So it was, it was cool.
Okay, so, so you're out there, you're researching, you're looking for stories.
So what did you find?
Well, first thing's first.
I did this amazing story with World Reader.
It's a nonprofit organization.
They actually distribute, they're whole goal is to eradicate illiteracy.
And essentially giving books to most impoverished parts of the world.
So here's the deal.
I covered this piece about three, four years ago on CNN, and I have been begging World Reader, I'm like, I just want to see it in person.
It's like one thing to report on something, I, I need to see the real deal on location.
So they gave me the green light and this is the whole reason I went over to Kenya, they gave me the green light to go.
And this was only like three weeks before the trip so I'm like.
You only have three weeks to plan for this?
Man I'd need like three years.
Dude I had to double up on shots.
I though I was gonna pass out at one point.
Oh, you have to get all these like anti vaccines
It, it was insane the amount of shots that you have to get, and right before.
So then doctor's like well that one's optional.
I'm like put it in my arm.
Yeah, yeah for sure.
I want every and any shots possible.
Don't want to take any chances.
I would have just worn like a hazmat suit the whole time while I was there.
Is that, is that bad to say, that I feel like I don't want.
But I mean, you're in another part of the world, that's not bad to say.
Your body is like, what's up?
What's going on here?
Malaria is a big deal.
You don't want that.
Malaria's a huge deal.
Where I traveled to though, this is the crazy part about it, was Tibera.
Actually had ten flights within Africa.
I was visiting a number of the schools to see how they take this technology and put it into the poorest classrooms in the world.
Were they scary flights.
yeah, there were some scary flights.
I'm not gonna lie.
Like, rickety flights?
One we landed on a dirt road.
Ugh, a dirt runway.
By the way, mid-flight the pilot, I was like the only one.
My, my friend's across from me.
We were the only ones on the flight.
I feel like you were sitting next to a chicken.
Were you sitting next to a chicken?
[LAUGH] I'm sitting next.
Like a goat.
Your ideas are just crazy.
I'm sorry but that's like.
It doesn't work like that.
That is the stupid American sort of.
Interpretation of what.
I wasn't going to say how ignorant it was.
Well it's more to be funny.
Well this, this did happen.
I look over and my friend's sleeping.
It's just us on the plane.
And I look over at the pilot.
And the chicken.
And he just decides to do some, like casual taxes.
Like he doesn't even.
He isn't even on the controls.
And I'm like dude can that like wait?
That's not okay.
Most of those planes are auto pilot anyway.
And I look down and I see like a bunch of those, like.
Animals [CROSSTALK] Elephants and like, when we go down, we go down.
Right, right, right.
So that happened.
So, crazy flights.
But in Kibera, you have to imagine this, this is the second poorest slum in the entire world.
There are just, it, its [CROSSTALK] you take for granted.
I mean people always say this too.
There's just heaps of trash everywhere.
And they live in shacks, and there's no electricity.
There's no toilets.
There's just urine all over the street.
And it, right, everything's a bathroom.
It's like, there's a lot of places like that in India too.
Where it's just super impoverished.
It, it's, it's sad.
And I'll never forget this one little girl came up to me and she's like, Katie, do you think you can come back and bring me my first toy?
And I was like.
What are you supposed to say to that?
I was like, have my wallet.
I, it was so gut wrenching and intense.
But we went into these schools, again no electricity, it's like a 105 degrees, and seeing what world readers are giving them, they're giving them e-readers, they're giving them Kindles.
And these kids for the first time
Where are they charging these things?
There is a charging station.
Again, you gotta drop the notion here of what you think of Africa.
But you just told it's the biggest slum in the world.
But Kindles actually hold a charge for two weeks if they're not on WiFi.
Right, right, right.
So they have a charging station in the school.
These kids for the first time have access to books.
And they're, they're sitting there telling me how they've given them hope to the outside.
I was like my, I felt like these kids were like being paid by PR.
It was that incredible and how powerful it was.
Right, well it's like genuine.
You know, like shock.
And they walk to school, by the way, for, like, some of them, hours at a time.
And now they don't have to carry like 12 or 13 books, they're all on the e-reader.
So I got to see this technology being used first hand and how it's, like, changing these kids' lives, and, Kindles.
I mean, we don't have Kindles in our schools, and how this one nonprofit is just doing this amazing work.
See that's what World Reader is doing.
And World Reader is doing.
So here's some of the photos.
This one's you at the school?
I was speaking at one of the schools.
The kids were awesome, they could not have been more hospitable.
Oh, that's so cool.
As you can see there, no electricity.
Everybody had their own eReader.
They were all asking me for new books.
That's the streets of Tibera.
It's just, it's, it's, trash everywhere, I mean where they were living with just, in, in the shacks.
But this is home to them, too.
I don't wanna be condescending about it by any means.
This is what they know, what they call home,
And they're happy.
They're happy kids.
This is my guard that was actually traveling with me Musa.
This guy was awesome.
He was a local boxer.
I gotta tell you, if he wasn't traveling with me on location I don't know how well I would have been received, because you're targeted there.
Yeah I think so.
In what way?
He just took care of me, he made me a part of, I felt I was a local there.
Yeah that's cool.
This is a city in Africa called Amagaro.
I walked with the kids to school.
That's little Veronica that asked me to bring her back toys.
She's like, and maybe that toy could have batteries.
Dang it, dang it!
[LAUGH] Oh my god.
That just pulls at your heart strings.
I'm telling you!
So, that was intense.
Oh my gosh.
I showed her her first iPhone.
Then she was on Instagram for like two hours.
[LAUGH] So, so, you were saying before that, that there, believe it or not there is cell phone service there.
So, when you go to these, like, parts of the world, the cell penetration is like 70 to 80%.
A lot of people don't realize this.
You know they might not have tons of technology but everybody has a cell phone.
Everybody has access, to be honest, a feature phone or also on an e-reader.
So when they have these e-readers they can actually download books instantly.
It was really neat.
There's cell towers everywhere but.
So the biggest takeaway that I had is like, people always have this idea, this ideology that sending books to Africa is like, a good deed.
It's great in theory.
It makes no sense.
I was traveling on these road for hours.
It's not safe.
And it's impossible to get from A to B. And mind you, I mean, I understand it's a good thing to send books to Africa, but the books that were in their library that had been donated, it was like the history of Idaho.
Like, come on.
What, what good is that gonna do?
It is not culturally relevant,
So, now they have access to books that they can actually read.
Wow, I, I feel like they, I can't even come close to how much good work you've done.
I can feel incredibly.
I just hope I can get the word out more, you know?
You'd see this.
I, and I'm definitely going back and I'm bringing that girl her toy.
What are you gonna bring her?
My entire luggage full of toys.
Yeah, for sure.
I mean, are you kidding me?
Well, you gotta spread the wealth a little bit, can't just be, for who Veronica?
Yeah, it can't just be her.
You gotta like, give it to her friends, too.
So, that was cool.
Alright now tell us about one of my favorite animals ever.
Your spirit animal.
My spirit animal.
Blackwell has a spirit animal, who knew?
The elephant, dude, elephants.
I don't know what is is about elephants.
I just, I know they are incredibly intelligent.
It they are, like, the baby ones are so lovable and I just feel like I want to do good things for them in some way.
Can we go right to the baby elephant video, like right to it?
So you have a baby elephant video.
Like, this is mind blowing.
Okay, I'm going to just fast forward here.
So I'm going to set up what's, what's happening here.
This is at the David shelter of wild life trust.
This is an elephant orphanage where they rescue baby elephants.
Okay, I'm going to stop talking because it's so cute.
Oh my goodness.
This is so adorable.
Oh my God.
Amber Alert here.
And what was that elephant's name?
Look it, he's just like.
He's just giving little kisses.
I can't, can't, I wanna, I wanna steal him.
He's wearing a blanket.
So there's up, I think there's upwards of 77 elephants now that they have rescued.
So a lot of them from poachers, a lot of them primarily from poachers where they're, you know, they no longer have a, a mother elephant.
Or also in scenarios where they the mom has fell, just fallen from illness.
Or in the one scenario they, she had fallen down a well and.
They basically take on and they, they transport these baby elephants back to the Trust.
I mean it's the cutest thing ever, but you can, and then they, they work primarily off of donation.
So the Trust uses donation to actually, it cost about $900 a month per elephant to take care of them.
Oh my god.
But the really cool part about it, I didn't have enough time is.
They actually work with Kenyan wildlife, the rangers.
They go out to try to stop poaching, 'cuz poaching is a huge problem.
for, obviously, for the ivory.
They actually have five planes that they actually do surveillance, and try to catch poachers with.
They actually go with armed rangers in Kenya, over the national park.
I wanted to go and see one of the, the missions.
It's very intense.
I mean, now, what the have is a helicopter that they have, for the first time.
They can actually land on the spot.
And stop the poachers.
Oh my God, yeah.
I mean, right then and there.
What do they do to like, the poachers I would imagine are violent though?
They have power of arrest and they have weapons.
But I would imagine a poacher, if a poacher is, you know, armed.
Well, before with the planes you could probably make an escape, right.
Cause it takes too long to radio back and.
Right, yeah, yeah yeah.
With the chopper it's, yeah, you're done.
So how long did you hang out here?
I went to the elephant orphanage twice.
And I like did not want to leave.
They also have some rhinoceroses they've taken under their wing.
But just really cool what they're doing.
They have three different age groups, so there is like, you saw the baby elephants, and they have like more teenage and also an adult elephant.
And they created this formula for the, for the babies.
They have to have a special milk formula.
They actually developed one there.
So they can feed the babies, which is unbelievable.
So, nothing but good on your and how long were you in Africa?
I was in Africa for a few weeks.
So, you know?
You say it's a life changing experience, but do you recommend just anyone going?
I don't know if that's in the, in the cards for me.
You have to go there with like a purpose, but also to just see the wildlife.
Governor's Camp is my highest recommendation.
I've traveled all over the world.
Governor's Camp is where I went on the like, safari trek.
Oh my gosh.
They p.s., like, talk about a, a dichotomy of, of like reporting.
So I went to Governor's first, and they are like, flying in fresh ingredients for like breakfast, lunch and dinner.
And I'm like oh.
Then you're like doing a report in the slums, you feel like a jerk.
But unbelievable experience in terms of first hand, you, you were face to face with lions.
I mean every animal that you, again from your color books as like a child, you see it there.
Face to face with a lion and all that, that's not something.
Oh my gosh, for like an hour I was sitting there watching, watched a hunt.
I don't know if I want to.
I don't know if I want.
See I'm okay with, like.
Ostriches, impalas, you name it.
I'm, I'm much cooler with seeing that on like, the Discovery Channel in, in like, 1080p and super slow-mo.
They film Big Catch there, actually, exactly where we were.
Yeah, that's, I'm much more comfortable on my couch.
No dude, you gotta, you gotta outside of your comfort zone.
Yeah, but it's also really hot in Africa.
It is really hot.
I mean, I'm not gonna lie.
I peed in a lot of holes.
Not very good at it either.
I must have like peed on myself like fix, six times.
Not very good at it.
That's all right.
You'll never have to do that again, hopefully.
But you appreciate it after the fact.
I don't know.
I don't know if anyone could really.
I don't know how much money it would take, 'cuz I'm not paying to do this.
Someone would have to pay me to go to Africa.
Or I'd have to, like, lose a very big bet.
You're missin' out.
Yeah, I don't know.
Alright, so now you're back.
And you've got some recent developments.
You're working on an app.
Oh my gosh.
Just launched an app.
With Al Roker.
With Al Roker, my BFF.
So how did that come to be?
How did, how did, how do you know Al?
How did that all happen?
I am borderline obsessed with Al Roker.
Why is that?
I'm sorry that was so blunt but why that?
I love that man.
It's an odd relationship though.
Well I've been over at the Today Show for years.
So he's really techy.
I think I knew that.
I'm kind of impressed.
So we like instantly became good friends.
He, he, I pushed him out.
Well we started having an app conversation about a year ago.
And I was like dude.
Totally app driven, like why do you not have an app yet?
He's like, you're right.
Like, is there a possibly of creating.
This is his tall order.
He wanted a weather app.
So he just goes to you and is like Katie, make this app.
Well we hang out, too.
So, like we're, we had this discussion over time, and then I had to come back to him with like, the ideas.
But this is what his request is, which is insane.
He wants a weather app, with a unique kind of gaming, 'cuz he loves gaming like Temple Run, Angry Birds, that kind of formula, Bejeweled.
And he wanted to do some of the animation too.
He's really hands on with everything he does.
So we're like yeah, will get back to you on that!
I work with this amazing designer-developer, Steve Lonny, BFF, and we create this app for him that takes, it took us one year.
I mean this was an intense process.
Anyone who thinks they have an idea for an app which is like the new idea, I have an idea for a movie.
They have no idea how much work goes into this.
Especially with a lean team.
There was an article in the New York Times which I love referencing a few months ago, and it was like by the way you can make an app now for around $500,000 like.
There's copywriters, there's directors, there's producers, it, there's a huge [UNKNOWN] app.
Absolutely, and not to mention, like, hope you know how to program.
And hope your programmer's responsive and like, a lot goes into it.
I was, one of my buddies is in is in Harvard business school right now and one of the, like, tasks his group, it's been you know, sort of been asked to do, make an app.
So he, he like calls me, hey, do you know how to make an app?
And I was just like dude, number one, like you're in Harvard.
You should know more than that.
But just because you're techy, I hate when make people make those assumptions.
They're like oh, he's, if he can fix my computer.
He can probably make an app also on the side.
It doesn't work like that.
No, it does not.
A lot of these guys farm out their development to like India and places like that, because they still will get it made for a less expensive cost than they would.
Have it here.
That is expensive too.
That is expensive and I mean, you can not really make.
Even, I mean anyone can learn a little bit of programming and put something together maybe in a couple of months but if you want it to be.
And also it's like a game, for example?
Yeah, oh forget it.
Game's not happening.
I mean, it's not happening.
So it's a big deal.
So it took you a year.
It took us a full year.
Two worlds, ten different levels.
Super fun and it just uses this whole unique kind of gameplay.
So you take these icons, they're called Rokies, after of course Al Roker, and you have to match the icon.
So it's kind of working off a Match 3 premise.
Is that like Little Al?
This is a little win screen, so you're getting a little.
I like it.
Get to see the scenario of when you win the game.
A little animation.
So what, what's the game like?
Yeah, so if you actually go to some of the gameplay too, I'll show you how.
Okay, I have to load that up here.
Because then I can walk you through it.
So is it, so now, it feels like, because I saw a lot of the screen shots and stuff, but it, it seems to have like an Angry Birds sort of like, vibe to it.
It's super addictive.
So as you progress in levels obviously it gets much harder.
So you have basically all the, these rings with these Rokies.
Now you need to shatter the Rokies to get to the middle of the alarm clock.
So the premise of the game actually riffs off the idea, so Al actually slept in and missed work for the first time in his 40 year career last year.
Which is amazing because he has a job where you don't show up, it's not like being in the cube.
Like America knows.
So he slept through the first time.
So the idea is to wake Al up in order to get him to the studio.
So you match these icons to each other.
Try to hit the alarm clock, and every single level it gets harder.
So there's super icons and, and, and just number of different challenges.
There's weather blitzes, and also it shows you your real time weather forecast at the beginning of the game.
It's kind of got like a little bit of like a Space Invaders vibe to it.
A little bit yeah.
It's gets hard.
I feel like I need to throw down the gauntlet.
And, have somebody to challenge, cause I have the third highest score.
Which I'm kinda, I'm feeling a little awesome about.
Is that okay?
Well you should.
Well, I'm not.
I mean, it took hours of work.
I'm not trying to take, I'm not trying to take anything away from it, but it is like kkinda half your app.
So, like you should be good at it.
I'm not, I'm not trying to take anything away, I'm just saying like, if I had a game, I'd beat.
But I feel like I want to beat it.
Well, I think.
Could we offer a prize?
I think so.
I think we should offer a prize.
So, what are we, what are we talking here?
I don't know.
It has to be a really good prize because I really want people to download Al's Weather Rokies.
Alright, so that's the name of the app, and it's only on iOS or is it on Andriod as well?
Al's Weather Rokies.
Just iOS right now.
So, if someone beats your high score.
Which is what?
Do you know it off hand?
And change, alright.
I mean, this is hours of work people.
Someone's gonna do it, so I wanna know what you're gonna, what you're willing to, to put up for this.
I'm willing to give a really, I'm all about prizes as you, oh my gosh by the way TV time-out.
So I brought you gifts.
Oh you shouldnt have, I feel so terrible every time Katie's here she got like a bag of joy.
I brought gifts for the whole team, so it's not just for you Backalar.
Alright fair enough.
Yeah we should pass these around.
I finally got the umbrella that I've been looking for.
That only makes sense right?
You know what, no one will ever like, not accept an umbrella.
Especially in New York, because they're like basically disposable.
It's a good quality umbrella too.
That will not break.
Umbrellas break in New York City all the time.
Is there like a tech angle to this?
Oh, it has Al's Weather Rokies on it.
And like, you know, the weather.
No, I get it.
The whole lot.
That's a tie in.
They all tie in.
Let me go through what else we have here.
More weather rokies t-shirt.
Can we give one of these bags out to like whoever.
Rings the thing.
Well we, we now I want to really like give a good prize [INAUDIBLE].
I mean what about like a big like statue or like a I don't know like a, like a toy, like a figure.
Like you some of that you can give out right.
I'm willing to give, we gotta figure this out.
I mean, you're not gonna write a check for $1,000.
No dude, that's not gonna happen.
That'd be sick though.
We could do like really cool headphones, or a bluetooth speaker.
Okay, now you're talking [CROSSTALK] now you're speaking some language.
It's a good prize.
We'll put it together and then we'll let everyone know with like a tweet or something.
Do you promise?
Oh gosh, you have my word.
You swear on those elephants?
Swear on the baby elephant.
Swear on the baby elephant.
Alright, so here's the, here, you gave us a little download code.
Yes, I gave you trading cards and stickers.
So what's really cool is, each one of the Rokies has a little personality.
So, each one of the weather characters, whether it's the sun, the cloud, or the rain, they're all like, they're funny.
And a little smarty pants.
So and who helped you develop this?
So this is a collaboration between Al, myself, and my friend whose a amazing designer Steve Lenny.
And then we also had an extra illustrator and a programmer.
So it's a very lean team in terms of you know, making an app.
Come to life over a year.
Pretty proud of it.
Alright, you can check that out right this very second.
Go download it.
And if you beat Katie's high score of 800,000 and change, we're gonna give you something.
We're gonna give you the bluetooth speaker.
A really nice one too.
Like, what are we talking?
Not like some of these knockoffs.
No, no, no.
We need like a clip sure like a Jawbone or right?
We need something good.
Can we do?
I'm just forcing you to buy that.
[LAUGH] is what I'm doing.
We want to do that?
Let's do it.
We'll do a job on speaker.
We could do.
Alright, you've heard it here first.
You have to prove that you've beaten my score, in the game center.
So right now we are sort of brainstorming the rules and sort of regulations.
That's fine it's not legally binding.
Definitely, so they have to take a screen shot.
Does that work?
Is that okay?
How are they going to prove to me in the game center.
A screen shot.
[CROSSTALK] Game Center.
Oh, you have to sign into Game Center is what we're saying.
I would imagine this is the conversation that happens with like, the legal department.
Oh my gosh, forget it!
Like behind closed doors or something like that.
It's way more intense and technical than that.
Oh, all right, cool.
Well this is the way do to it.
We're gonna do a Jam Box, though.
We're gonna do Jawbone Jam Box, your color choice.
Sick, that s a good prize.
Dude that's all you need to do.
And then, you know, you get some T-shirts and stuff too.
Alright rock and roll.
And stickers, and trading cards and an umbrella.
Done, you've heard it here first.
I'm gonna stop before I keep adding more prizes.
I know, now you've made like the package worth.
That's a good grab bag.
I think it's very nice, you know?
Well you're in this like philanthropic mode since you got back from Africa, you're just doing it for the people.
Everybody gets a car.
Yeaj that's it you're just tossing out Jam Boxes like they're going out of style.
Alright, go download the game try and beat Katie's score and then we will link to all these amazing stores in our show.
Thanks so much for being here.
You've been, a pleasure.
Thank's for everything.
You've gotta come back very soon.
I would love that.
What's next for Katie?
I am doing some.
You know what's big?
That is Fabien Cousteau, whose the grandson of Jacque Cousteau.
He is living underwater, breaking world records, for 31 days.
Your's truly will be the first reporter.
[CROSSTALK] How did that happen?
I'm a huge diver.
I'm like super into diving.
Alright I didn't know that.
Wrestling and diving.
Now I know.
WWE and diving.
If there's anyone out there that has similar qualities, that would be amazing.
So I head down to Mission 31.
It starts June 1 and it goes to I guess, the end of June.
It's a full month, 31 days.
Oh, good luck with that, dude.
But you actually, you dive down.
It's about 60 feet.
And they have to go into the underwater habitat.
So you shower real quick.
And then you have 45 minutes to do a live report.
I'm kinda worried I'm gonna have, like, a panic attack.
Well, you know, it seems.
There's just a lot of look going on.
I mean, you did sleep, you know, outside, in the, in the safari.
I will not chug a Red Bull before [INAUDIBLE].
Yeah, don't do that.
I feel like your heart need to be beating the way normal hearts beat.
Not what happens after you drink a Red Bull.
Yeah, I'm, a little worried, but you'll figure it out
I'll figure it out.
Alright, well good luck with that.
We'll check that out as well.
And then you'll come back after that?
Like to hear about that.
Can shoot us an e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tomorrow, we welcome Reggie Watts to the show.
So that'll be a lot of fun.
Tune in for that.
Thank you once again to Katie Linendoll.
Where can we find you on Twitter and all that good stuff?
Oh, yes, it's a easy one.
It's twitter.com KatieLinendoll.
There you have it.
We'll link to that in the show notes as well.
Back here tomorrow with Reggie Watts.
Until then I'm Jeff Bakalar, thanks for tuning in.
This is The 404, High Tech, Lowbrow.
We'll see you guys tomorrow.