Emerging Ideas Roundup


| May / June 2006

Bass pleasures
A retired mailman turned guerrilla artist has jazzed up a Toronto square with the "Kensington Bass" -- a lamppost repurposed with four strings, a muffler clamp, and two holes to amplify parkgoers' musical musings. Spacing (Winter 2006) reports that the 46-year-old artist known as RGB wanted to tap into the potential of musical instruments to make public art interactive. With everyone from kids to late-night bar patrons riffing tunes, RGB hopes to extend the prototype at Kensington Market's Bellevue Square Park to other spots in the city.

Fear Fatter
Parental anxiety won't just drive Mom and Dad nuts; it can also make the kids chubby. Science News (Jan. 14, 2006) reports on a recent study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine that indicates parents concerned about neighborhood safety tend to keep their kids indoors, where they get more food and less exercise. The parents of 768 randomly selected first-graders in 10 places across the United States were asked to rate their neighborhoods' safety based on factors like crime, police presence, and drug dealing. In a trend that held across a variety of demographic groups, 17 percent of children in neighborhoods deemed dangerous by parents were overweight, compared with 4 percent of kids in "safe" neighborhoods.