From Scientific American — The Universe’s Oldest Stars Were Late Bloomers

It took me a second to decipher the title.

The oldest stars were late bloomers?

Okay. I get it now. The first stars formed later than expected; to us, they are younger than expected. Hooray!

I think life in the universe is a precious thing no matter how expansive the universe is. Life that is conscious of the universe, as humans are, is especially precious. But the first stars formed — well, let’s put it this way:

Age of the universe: 13.798 billion years old.

First stars formed 560 million years after that.

First stars formed 13.238 billion years ago.

We’ve been around (so far) as humans, for about 100,000 years.

That’s 1/132,380-nth the age of the universe since stars formed. And without Googling anything, I’m going to say that stars are necessary for any kind of life we could relate to. If aliens existed in the primordial glow of the big bang, then more power to them.

As far as life we might label alien, let’s assume we need stars to exist in the universe.

We’ve been around for .00076% of the time. Around 8 ten-thousandths of a percent.

How long does any given intelligent species typically survive in this crazy universe of ours before it goes extinct? What’s the average life expectancy of an intelligent species, I guess. I’d like to know.

Because if intelligent life is out there, but we don’t overlap in time enough to make contact, then will we ever find each other? I hope so.

This is an article about the age of the first stars, but a beautiful narrative about the growth of our universe as well.

From Scientific American. By Lee Billings.

The Universe’s Oldest Stars Were Late Bloomers

Watch SpaceX’s Autonomous Rocket Blow Up During Landing [Video] | Popular Science

Watch SpaceX’s Autonomous Rocket Blow Up During Landing [Video] | Popular Science.

UPDATE SPACE EXPLORATION HEADQUARTERS

SPACEX KINDA SORTA LANDS ROCKET ON BARGE

Check out the video at the end of the article. That says it all. From the pictures, you’d think this thing hit head-on like a missile, but oh no. They guided it down, but it hit kinda hard. They’re going to try again later.

It’s all an effort to make space travel more affordable and efficient by re-using spent rockets. This one recently made a trip to the space station.

Anything to bring us closer to the stars sooner is alright by me.

Why Flu Shots Fail — from The Washington Post

The flu is a devious little bug. Always changing. Always trying to survive. Evolving faster than we can stop it, sometimes. Vaccines are based on the most likely strains of influenza that will target the U.S. A group of scientists gets together and tries to figure out which ones they’ll be, then they’ll tell the vaccine companies.

It’s an educated guess, for sure, that includes data about which strains have dominated in recent years and which are picking up in the Southern Hemisphere and likely to migrate north.

It’s a tough choice. They might guess wrong, or more karmically, they could guess right but then the strain will mutate, rendering the vaccine less effective. The head of the committee said of the decision-making process:

…he suspects he’ll leave feeling the way he so often has in the past — head hanging, discouraged, wishing there was a more reliable way to protect people from the yearly scourge of the flu.

This thing is alive, and it’s going to fight to stay that way. But that’s life for you sometimes; it can be kind of hard to predict.

http://tablet.washingtonpost.com/top/from-an-uncertain-process-of-guesses-and-science-each-years-flu-vaccines-emerge/2015/01/10/efc6e010-9744-11e4-aabd-d0b93ff613d5_story.html?tid=kindle-app from The Washington Post

First new antibiotic in 30 years — via The Telegraph

This is the kind of breakthrough news I love to see come out of science. Researchers have found a new type of antibiotic. With antibiotic resistance and MRSA creeping around, this is great news. This new strain could provide protection for an entire generation before another resistance builds up. Science editor Sarah Knapton reports:

Crucially, the scientists believe that bacteria will not become resistant to Teixobactin for at least 30 years because of its multiple methods of attack.

WOOT!

Shout out to the scientists.

Teixobactin 4EVR!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11331174/First-new-antibiotic-in-30-years-discovered-in-major-breakthrough.html from The Telegraph