For years, it took actors Tony Reitano and Whitney Rydbeck almost an hour to don costumes that transformed them into the poster boys for seat belt safety. They were “Vince and Larry,” the crash-test dummies in TV ads in the 1980s and ’90s. Now 50-plus, the duo will see their costumes, “body parts” and props become part of a research collection on the evolution of auto safety at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington. “Re-creating a collision not only was sobering but persuaded viewers that it was extremely risky not to wear seat belts,” says associate curator Roger White.
Man on a Mission
New York educator Geoffrey Canada has made great strides in helping inner-city children stay in school with his innovative work as CEO and president of the Harlem Children’s Zone. Canada’s creative approaches will be featured in a new documentary, Waiting for “Superman,” opening in theaters nationwide in October. The movie, which received the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, examines public education in America. “There is a crisis in education,” says Canada, 58. “The documentary shows that something can be done ... and that citizens have to take action.”
Live Long and Prosper
Good genes may beat lifestyle when it comes to your chances of living to be 100. Recent findings by Boston University School of Public Health scientists, published in Science, could lead to developing a genetic test that predicts exceptional longevity. “I am particularly interested in the public health implications of this study and what we can learn from centenarians to help the general population age in a healthy way,” says lead reseacher and geneticist Paola Sebastiani.
Mike Tucker is a writer in Virginia.