Issue number one hundred and twentyfour (April 2011) in a series of Signposts from the WorldU3A Service, sent once a month to U3A members anywhere in the world.

Please send snippets of possible interest to the editor, Tom Holloway.
Feel free to copy any or all of this information in your newsletters.

A campaign is urging the six million older people in the UK who have never been online to get connected as a way to help stave off loneliness.

The charity Age UK - - is calling on net-savvy friends and relatives to help the older generation take their first steps in the digital world. A survey suggests that less than half of the UK's over-55s use the internet. By contrast, 58% of older citizens in Norway and Luxembourg are online. The statistics, collated by Eurostat, show that 43% of UK citizens aged 55-74 are web users. The average across Europe is 28%.

This 'local democracy' project has been set up to spread better understanding about open data and transparency in local public services. It can be found at

It will show how information obtained from public authorities such as the police, NHS, and local councils can be used by citizens to raise issues, campaign and otherwise influence things that affect local communities.

It will share knowledge about how individuals and organisations can obtain such information, and show how Government policy is encouraging greater transparency and openness by public authorities. (Thank you Jeanette Morgan, U3A Windsor UK).

Sci/Tech Groups: A guide to resources, support and contacts relevant to all secondary school and college age groups and linked to the national curricula and post-16 specifications.

It also encourages public participation through its 'Outreach Programme'. For details see Examples include:

Borrow The Moon - Details of the Lunar Samples and Meteorites Loan Scheme.
Learning Resources - Offering a range of free resources for schools and colleges.

Sci/Tech Groups: Scientists at the Met Office and Royal Meteorological Society are asking everyone in the country to take part in the OPAL Climate Survey - which can be seen at

The OPAL survey is open to people of all ages and aims to provide scientists with data which will help them investigate ways in which we affect the climate and how the climate may affect us.

Global climate change is predicted to give milder winters and hotter summers across the UK, with more frequent heatwaves. By discovering how hot or cold people feel should help us judge how adaptable we might be to future climate change.

Dr Mark McCarthy, Climate Research Scientist at the Met Office, said: "Climate change poses many challenges for both the natural environment and human populations worldwide. The new insights from the OPAL climate survey will complement and build on our existing research looking at the potential impacts of climate change through the 21st Century."

There are four simple things to do in the survey and the results will be analysed by Met Office scientists.

Anyone can take part. The more people that get involved the more valuable the research becomes. The results from all four activities will be published on the OPAL website, where you can see how your findings compare to others across the country.

(Thank you again Jeanette Morgan, U3A Windsor).
Another project by the Citizen Science Alliance - see Help scientists recover worldwide weather observations made by ships around the time of World War I. These transcriptions contribute to climate model projections and improve a database of weather extremes. Historians will use your work to track past ship movements and the stories of the people on board. (Thank you Ron Atkinson - Stockton U3A).

RESEARCH GEMS from Rick Swindell of U3A Online

o Tai Chi Beats Back Depression in the Elderly, Study Shows
o Keys to Long Life? Not What You Might Expect
o Mediterranean Diet: A Heart-Healthy Plan for Life
o High Levels of 'Good' Cholesterol May Cut Bowel Cancer Risk
o Rehabilitation Within a Day of Knee Replacement Pays Off
o Load Up on Fiber Now, Avoid Heart Disease Later
o Physical Activity Decreases Salt's Effect on Blood Pressure
o Health Benefits of Eating Tomatoes Emerge
o Not So Sweet: Increased Added Sugars Intake Parallels Trends in Weight Gain
o Message to Postmenopausal Women: 'Increase Yearly Dental Checkups,'
o Cruise Ship Norovirus Outbreak Highlights How Infections Spread
o UK Doctors Consistently Oppose Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

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