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you are stardust
WE ARE STARDUST: Sifting through data collected by Nasa’s Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have captured the explosion of a supernova for the first time. A supernova happens when a massive star collapses in on itself at the end of its life.

According to Nasa's Ames Research Center, an international team of scientists analyzed some 50 trillion stars in 500 distant galaxies over a three-year period, searching for supernovae.

Brad Tucker from the Australian National University, an author on the paper to be published in the Astrophysical Journal said, "Supernovae made the heavy elements we need to survive, such as iron, zinc and iodine, so we are really learning about how we are created."

The late Carl Sagan, author of Cosmos, put it more poetically: "The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff."

A dazzling picture-book offers a kid-friendly version of "star stuff." In You Are Stardust, writer Elin Kelsey and artist Soyeon Kim explores the natural world and connects it to children.



RELIABLE ONLINE HEALTH INFORMATION: Looking for information you can count on?

Check out the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal. The portal is part of an optimal aging initiative by McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It is designed to provide Internet users, specifically Canadians, with access to high quality material on a wide range of health and wellness issues.



BIKE PROGRAM ROLLS OUT ACROSS CANADA: A global movement to get older adults on bikes is now gaining speed in Canada.

The program began in Copenhagen with Ole Kassow, who noticed the same older man sitting outside his retirement home as he cycled to work each morning. Kassow said to himself, "Perhaps this man had enjoyed riding his bike in his young days?"

An avid cyclist, Kassow decided to rent a rickshaw and offered a spin to anyone at the home that wanted one. The residents started lining up for rides, including 99-year-old Birthle, who loved to get out and observe things.

Over the past four years, Cycling Without Age has quickly spread to countries such as Germany, Sweden, Norway, Singapore, Chile and Australia.

In Canada, the program launched in 2015 in Saint John, New Brunswick. This spring, Cycling Without Age took off in Canmore, Alberta, led by Luwanna Douce, coordinator of Family and Community Support Services in the town of Canmore.

Now plans are underway to launch the program in Toronto. Dorothea Torrico, one of the program organizers highlighted the power of Cycling Without Age to foster strong communities noting, "It's based on community relationships more than just riding a bike."



IRISH PERFORMERS STRIKE UP THE MUSIC: This May, the Blow the Dust orchestra performed at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, as part of the Bealtaine Festival for Older People.

The orchestra was launched to encourage older adults to play instruments they had abandoned years earlier. Led by conductor Joe Csibi, the 73 orchestral players in strings, woodwind, brass and percussion were joined by individual performers playing banjo, mandolin and accordion.

Writing in The Irish Times, Sylvia Thompson, spotlighted several of the players. Among them, Dennis O'Callaghan, 90, a former civil servant from Dublin, who has been playing the violin with the orchestra since it started in 2009. "My wife died eight years ago and I have taken it on intensely since then," he said. "I might have a 90-year-old body but I've a significantly younger brain. Learning new pieces of music keeps my brain active. If I wasn't doing this, I'd be moping around at home and that would slow me down."

Mary Haren, 68, played in the school orchestra, as a teenager. When she became seriously ill in the late 1990s, she promised herself that if she regained her health, she would return to music. "So when I got better I went to lessons and now I'm here. It's absolutely fantastic," she said.

Each May, communities across the Emerald Isle come alive as older persons showcase their talent through storytelling, dance, cinema and theatre. The month-long Bealtaine Festival is supported by Age & Opportunity local libraries and community groups.