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The Unsupervised Kids of 'Stranger Things' Would Be a Nightmare for Today's Parents - Curbed
"These days, only kids in movies are free to explore"

"If Stranger Things feels even more eerily familiar, that’s because the show’s aesthetic is meant to evoke great ‘80s thrillers like Stand by Me, The Goonies, and E.T., in some cases, providing shot-by-shot references. As in those classic films, the kids are left at home by themselves to get spooked, then make their (sometimes gruesome) discoveries deep in the nearby woods, without an adult in sight.

It’s the bike moments of Stranger Things that really resonate. The kids ride their banana-seat and BMX bikes to school, to each others houses—even at night!—and without a single helmet. Bikes also represent a type of freedom compared to car-bound adults that works to the kids’ advantage. One of the best scenes shows the kids evading the bad guys by navigating a network of cut-throughs that slice through the culs-de-sac.

Those who grew up in the suburban US probably have similar memories. But this was in fact the real-life experience for those who grew up in Hawkins, Indiana, in 1983—or rather, the Hebron Hills neighborhood of Atlanta, where the subdivision scenes in Stranger Things were filmed.

Even the cut-throughs the characters use are actually there, says Valerie Watson, an urban designer who works for LADOT’s Active Transportation Division, whose childhood home was featured in one of the chase scenes. She rode her bike everywhere, including the creepy forest nearby where old trucks and burnt-down cabins were draped in kudzu.

Watson absolutely believes that being allowed to navigate her neighborhood on her own led her to become an active adult bicyclist and also influenced her decision to choose a career in street design. But she’s worried this might not be the case for today’s kids.

"I think our generation might have been at the turning point where society shifted on this," she says. "I remember getting the talk about what to do if a stranger approached you—’don't talk to them and ride away!’— and to move over to the side when cars were coming. Parental direction was more about ‘be polite and smart’ back then instead of ‘be afraid of everything’ like today."

And yet, statistically, kids in the US have never been safer.

This is a uniquely American problem, of course. Children in other countries are still allowed to roam unsupervised, which has inspired what’s been called the "free-range kids" movement here in the US, championed by parents who believe kids should be allowed to ride transit and walk to local parks by themselves.

The free-range kids movement even believes parental-induced paranoia might be deterring kids from biking. A recent article theorized that forcing kids to wear helmets and ride on sidewalks is scaring kids away from bikes, when in fact, American kids are far more likely to suffer brain injuries in car crashes. (Interestingly, as prop manager Lynda Reiss told Wired, the ‘80s-era bikes in Stranger Things were the hardest thing to find, thanks to the idea that older bikes are unsafe—so they ended up building replicas.)

My own suburban upbringing mirrors the setting of Stranger Things almost exactly. I, too, was allowed to wander freely—hoisting flimsy rope swings high into trees, building structurally unsound bike ramps, and wading a little too deep in the pond—as long as I came home before dark. The woods that backed up to our house served as both the innocent landscape of adventure and the horror film backdrop of my nightmares. It was often dangerous and sometimes scary. But mostly, it was awesome.

Then I look at my own daughter, whose hand I grip with white knuckles as we make our way along the incredibly busy street on our corner. The speed at which cars travel through this intersection is somehow far more frightening than anything I encountered in those woods.

I wonder at what age I’ll let her cross the street alone. Or if I’ll ever let her ride her bike to a friend’s house. I worry that the idea of letting kids explore their cities on their own is something she’ll only be able to see on TV."
alissawalker  parenting  strangerthings  2016  supervision  freedom  children  exploration  film  fear  movies  bikes  biking  goonies  et  standbyme  autonomy  mobility  helmets 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Deutsche Bank - ArtMag - 58 - feature - Walter Pichler’s Futurist Visions
"Since the 1960s, Walter Pichler has been working in the borderline area between sculpture and architecture, designing models of utopian cities and objects such as his legendary "TV Helmet." Many of Pichler's works are owned by the Deutsche Bank Collection. The 1996 exhibition "Joseph Beuys / Walter Pichler. Drawings," conceived by Deutsche Bank, juxtaposed a significant group of Beuys drawings with paper works by the 1936-born Austrian. Silke Hohmann introduces the inventor of the "Portable Living Room.""

"In the sixties, after studying at the Hochschule für Architektur in Vienna, he worked with his friend, the internationally renowned architect Hans Hollein, on a new concept of architecture. In 1963, the two exhibited together at the Galerie nächst St. Stephan under the title Architecture. Hollein and he explored utopian architectonic designs; they countered the growing subdivision of the city with a larger modernist vision made from cement, declaring architecture "freed from the constraints of building." This statement can easily be extended to the TV helmet if one were to view it not merely as a blinding device, but conversely as a free-thinking extension of space: who needs four walls when you can have the whole world?

In his media-theoretical standard work Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, which was published in Germany one year after Pichler exhibited his TV helmet, Marshall McLuhan famously declared that "the medium is the message." At first, McLuhan was interpreted in just as one-dimensional a way: the culturally pessimistic interpretation of his thesis was that the technical device is so powerful that it even functions without content. Stupidity, social and physical disorders, conformism seemed inevitable. Yet McLuhan was far more the sober observer and affirmative analyzer than a warning Cassandra.

To understand the cultural significance of Pichler's TV Helmet, it is irrelevant whether or not the work was conceived as a cynical commentary on the social isolation resulting from excessive TV viewing—even while it seems improbable that the studied architect, a perfectionist, would have been satisfied with a work motivated solely by sociological concerns. Whatever his intentions, the work—together with only a very few other works, such as Ivan Sutherland's Head mounted display of the same year—marks the quantum leap of the physical into the virtual world. It addresses less the individual psyche than it seeks to redefine space. "
art  architecture  spacesuits  walterpichler  sculpture  helmets 
december 2013 by robertogreco
How Hövding works - The invisible helmet for bicyclists
"…a bicycle helmet unlike any other currently on the market. It's ergonomic, it's practical, it complies with all the safety requirements, & it's also subtle & blends in with what else you are wearing.

…a collar for bicyclists, worn around the neck… contains a folded up airbag that you'll only see if you happen to have an accident. The airbag is shaped like a hood, surrounding and protecting the bicyclist's head. The trigger mechanism is controlled by sensors which pick up the abnormal movements of a bicyclist in an accident.

The actual collar is the visible part of the invention. It's covered by a removable shell that you can change to match your outfit, and we'll be launching new designs all the time. Hövding is a practical accessory that's easy to carry around, it's got a great-looking yet subtle design, and it will save your life."

[See also: AND ]
design  hövding  helmets  safety  biking  bikes 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Save the planet — ban cycle helmets | Adrian Short
"Here’s the safety strategy: Make it less safe and make it feel less safe. The best way to make cycling less safe is for cyclists to ride faster. Encourage this wherever possible. Forget ambling, casual, pedestrian images of cycling. Emphasise sport, fitness, competition. Measure speed. Sell speedometers and odometers. Get people to monitor their performance. Track their MPH, their heartrates, their calories, their carbon footprints. Compare with others. Compete. Idolise road racers, couriers, extreme mountain bikers, BMXers. Alleycatters. Lance Armstrong. Jump the red light. Race other cyclists. Race cars. Race the clock. Race, race. It’s not fun unless you’re taking risks. Life is one big risk, right? Cycling just got a whole lot more dangerous for the sake of a marginal shortening of the average journey. Ohh, wipeout. Nice one.

Now the perception of safety. Talk about safety, safety, safety so everyone thinks danger, danger, danger. Don’t show images of cyclists without helmets, especially not children. Never children. Sending your children out on bikes without helmets is tantamount to child abuse. Don’t you care? Don’t you care about the children? Would you send them out to their deaths? Photos of cyclists without helmets are like images of people with cigarettes. Historical documents. Anachronisms. Forbidden outside the intellectual safety of the academy. Be safe, be seen. Hi viz. Yellow jacket, yellow jersey. £100 lights that can dazzle shipping 20 miles off the coast. Lumens. Got to get more lumens. You need a bell? You need a foghorn. Radar. Missiles, if you could get them. And you need training, because it’s a war out there. Drivers hate you. Pedestrians hate you. Other cyclists hate you. The law is indifferent, the police don’t care. Every other road user will kill you if they get a chance. Unless you get trained. Unless you can stay one step ahead of them. Unless you can get them first. So you go to boot camp. You get trained. You are approved. You are a Cyclist. You feel a little bit safer in that dangerous place. Until you see the ghost bike. Don’t be a statistic like the pallid, mangled wreck chained to the lamppost at the roundabout. Don’t be a victim. Go faster. Be a winner. Beat them.

Do you smell? People shouldn’t smell. If you cycle, if you cycle fast, you’ll smell. You’ll need a shower. Does your workplace have showers? No? Don’t cycle. Does the pub have showers? No? Don’t cycle. Does the shopping centre have showers? No? Please, don’t cycle."
biking  law  transportation  bikes  safety  perception  advertising  marketing  helmets  via:migurski 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Cycle helmets - an overview
"Cycle helmets provide best protection in situations involving simple, low-speed falls with no other party involved...some doctors have expressed concern that cycle helmets might make some injuries worse by converting direct forces into rotational ones...effect of enforced helmet laws: less cycling & no effect on proportion of head injuries...effect of unenforced helmet laws: diminished respect for laws generally...In some jurisdictions, helmet laws have been enacted which are rarely enforced...often have less impact on either cycle or helmet use than enforced laws. There is no evidence they have resulted in a lower risk of head injury...unenforced laws can erode public respect for rule of law generally, & traffic laws in particular, especially amongst young people at whom most helmet laws are targeted...has been shown that safety of cycling is closely associated with # of people who cycle. Any decline in cycle use leads to increased risk for those who continue to cycle."
cycling  bikes  biking  helmets  law  health  research 
august 2010 by robertogreco - Cycle Helmets and Other Religious Symbols
"It's times like these that I look admiringly to our friends in the Netherlands. The official helmet wearing statistic is 0% and 5% for children. The best safety stats on the planet. Here in Denmark we are at 11% nationally. For every percentage point tha
bikes  safety  via:cityofsound  law  helmets 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Terrifying bike helmet filters bad air, increases fear - Engadget
"biking helmet...dubbed "Breathe Air" addition to looking like Michael Myers + a Storm Trooper + The Predator, also features filtering "shield" over the mouth and nose, which cuts particles and dust, then expels them through a plastic tube when the u
bikes  masks  urban  helmets 
july 2007 by robertogreco
On their heads be it from Guardian Unlimited: News blog
"So the implication is that while you assume wearing a helmet makes you safer on the road, the opposite may be the case."
psychology  bikes  traffic  transportation  helmets 
september 2006 by robertogreco
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Cycle helmets may raise risk of accidents
"The study of 2,500 overtaking motorists in Salisbury and Bristol found that drivers get 8cm closer to cyclists wearing helmets because they are seen as more experienced."
bikes  transportation  psychology  traffic  helmets 
september 2006 by robertogreco

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