It’s back, baby! The Large Hadron Collider sees its first low-energy collisions after restarting.

A government laboratory found a way to listen to recordings on fragile wax cylinders inside dolls made by Thomas Edison in 1890. The overall effect is, well, kinda creepy. But cool.

Ben Lillie reflects on Mauna Kea, and the problems when scientists think they’re disconnected from culture and history.

The Skinny On Skin — what makes skin so tough? “collagen, the most abundant protein in skin, moves to absorb stress and prevent the skin from tearing.”

Tensor Networks Redux: Does Spacetime Emerge from Quantum Information? A new approach to quantum gravity. “What if the right strategy is not ‘finding the right theory of gravity and quantizing it,’ but ‘finding a quantum theory out of which gravity emerges’?”

There Is Growing Evidence that Our Universe Is a Giant Hologram. Related: The Universe is a Game: Here’s How to Play. “In terms of reality’s gameplay experience, it seems pretty clear that we’re in an open world multiplayer RPG like World of Warcraft, with the difficulty settings set to ‘insanity.’”

Spiders Ingest Nanotubes, Then Weave Silk Reinforced with Carbon. Spiders sprayed with water containing carbon nanotubes and graphene flakes have produced the toughest fibers ever measured, say materials scientists.

Credit: University of Florida, Florida Institute of Technology, and Southwest Research Institute

Scientists Capture an Acoustic Image of Thunder for the First Time With the Help of Rocket-Triggered Lightning. “Researchers from the Southwest Research Institute have used the University of Florida’s ECE Lightning Research Laboratory to get the first images of the boom after the flash.”

The Data That Threatened to Break Physics: What does a rational scientist do with an impossible result? A look back at the OPERA debacle.

Why did mid-17th century pies take on such fantastical shapes? SCIENCE! Tom Nealon at HiLoBrow investigates.

A new study shows that the recently developed Compact Light Source (CLS) – a commercial X-ray source with roots in research and development efforts at SLAC – enables computer tomography scans that reveal more detail than routine scans performed at hospitals today.

Einstein’s Election Riddle: are you in the two per cent that can solve it? Nicola lives in the tartan house, but who owns the fish?

House panel holds hearing on ‘politically driven science’–sans scientists. “The lone witness called by the panel’s Democrats was science historian Naomi Oreskes of Harvard University, best known for her studies of how the tobacco and energy industries have attempted to sow doubt about health and climate research that poses a potential threat to their interests. Her take on the hearing: It ‘wasn’t really about the science at all,’ but broader disagreements over environmental policy and the role of government.”

How did ancient Egyptians move massive pyramid stones without modern technology? Wet sand could have reduced friction enough to do so.

Fired Up: The Science of Flames. “Two fears you have as a race car driver: one is being on fire and two is being T-boned in the driver door – everything else you sort of accept.” -Elliott Sadler

Should You Get a Tesla Home Battery? Let Physics Explain.

Acoustic Levitation is Even Cooler When it Explodes Stuff.

Physicists create a self-testing quantum random number generator that can report on the quality of its randomness.

Watch The Shock Waves Made By Different Guns, courtesy of Schlieren photography (h/t: io9):

How Gamblers Try – And Fail – To Beat The System. Human tendency to seek patterns leads to misperception of randomness.

Einstein, G?del, and Our Strange Experience of Time: Rebecca Goldstein on How Relativity Rattled the Flow of Existence.

Scientists X-ray chocolate to figure out how to get rid of that weird white stuff (a.k.a. “fat blooms”).

A Font to Write like Albert Einstein. German typographer Harald Geisler “spent six months studying the scientist’s handwriting in his papers.”

The Science of the Rings! What Is The Gas Composition Of Middle Earth’s Atmosphere?

Transcendence: Einstein and the controversy surrounding the Nobel Prize in Physics take center stage in new play, while Franz Kafka steals the show.

Gold-plated onion shows its strength as artificial muscle. New artificial muscle made by applying a voltage across gold-plated onion cells.

Who is the Mailer-Daemon? “According to Project MAC’s Fernando J. Corbato, the term for this new type of computing was inspired by Maxwell’s daemon of physics and thermodynamics.”

Why It’s So Hard (and So Important) to Track the Trash We Leave in Space.

Celebrating Halley’s Eclipse On Its 300th Anniversary — a coup for Newtonian prediction. “300 years ago, on the 3rd of May 1715, a rare solar eclipse occurred over England. It was an opportunity too good to miss for those promoting new astronomical theories – and their own careers.”

Robert Hooke and the Dog’s Lung: Animal Experimentation in History.

Isaac Newton’s War With A 17th Century Counterfeiter Should Be A Movie (and until that happens, you should all read Tom Levenson’s book, Newton and the Counterfeiter).

Credit: Enrico Sacchetti,

Photographs of Giant Science Facilities That Look Straight Out of Science Fiction: “Scientists around the world create massive and elaborate facilities for carrying out groundbreaking research. Photographer Enrico Sacchetti is a guy who specializes in capturing them on camera.”

Relativity’s Long String of Successful Predictions: Six examples of how Einstein’s general theory of relativity has stood the test of (space-)time.

Testing modified gravity with black hole shadows.

“An Object at Rest,” An Animated Short Film Telling the Story of a Stone Over Geological Eras.

‘Dark Sky’ is the Open Source Dark Matter Simulator.

An Animated Explanation of the Fermi Paradox and Why Humans Have Yet to Discover Alien Life.

Radiation from long Mars journey could damage astronauts’ brains. Related: The difference between detectable, legal and dangerous exposures to radiation.

Icy Europa Does Battle With Solar System’s Most Hellish Moon.

The splashing of a drop upon impact is a remarkably complicated phenomenon.

String Theory, Black Holes, and Reality: Can the world’s most fantastic and speculative “theory of everything” candidate shed light on the Universe’s most invisible objects? Related: The Admiral of the String Theory Wars: After a decade, Peter Woit still thinks string theory is a gory mess.

What Happens When You Fall Into a Black Hole? Quanta introduces its new “In Theory” video series, featuring David Kaplan, physicist and director of the acclaimed documentary Particle Fever.

Soap films provide a simple and convenient method for flow visualization.

Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Reveals Health Benefits Of Coffee.

Why Scientific American‘s Predictions from 10 Years Ago Were So Wrong. “The daily churn of science news tends toward optimism…. Science is a not a linear march forward, as headlines seem to imply. Science is a long slow slog, and often a twisty one at that.” And former SciAm editor John Rennie responds.

“Popper Versus Bacon” or Theory vs Observation – the huge divide in science in the age of abundant data.

The last light in the Universe: Can failed stars, or stellar corpses, give light to the Universe once again?

The most bizarre drawings in actual patents, e.g. a “wearable table.”

In Mathematics, Mistakes Aren’t What They Used To Be. Computers can’t invent, but they’re changing the field anyway.

The number glitch that can lead to catastrophe. Why is the number 2,147,483,647 important? Anything larger confuses many computers.

Thermodynamics in drug discovery: A Faustian bargain cooked in a devil’s stew?

The Truth is Out There: Eerie ‘X-Files’ Sounds Recorded From the Edge of Space. …

We’ve Just Developed a Portable Cloaking Device. “In principle, such technology has only been demonstrated for very tiny objects, but now, a group of researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology say they’ve developed a scaled-up system that can be ported around and used for classroom demonstrations.”

Magnetically Levitating Elevators Could Reshape Skylines: they go up,down and all around.

Quasicrystals Are Nature’s Impossible Matter.

A lonely red chair at CERN. Credit: Rebeca Gonzalez Suarez,

Over the past year, the “Lonely Chairs at CERN” photography blog has let the chairs do the talking. “he blog showcases an older, perhaps grittier side of the laboratory”

High School Scientist Discovers Pulsar With Widest Orbit Ever Detected

Quit saying “I’m just not a math person.” Seriously, just quit it.

The simple math that will change the way you hire forever. “Comparing your numbers against the divide by four benchmark–actually doing that math–can help you spot where your process may be breaking down or running ineffectively.”

George Price wrote a famous equation to show that altruism doesn’t exist. Then he cut his throat with nail clippers.

Graphene spintronics – from science to technology.

Check out these GLOW-IN-THE-DARK, hand-painted space-themed shoes by Chiana Tracy. Now you can literally light up the dance floor.

A Wooden Coffee Table Contains a ‘Playable’ Labyrinth with Moveable Figures via magnetic knobs.

A chat with Andy Weir, author of megahit The Martian, soon to be boffo movie from Ridley Scott and Matt Damon.

Why birds don’t crash: They use just two postures to avoid obstacles during flight, study finds.

If it flew 100 years ago, it will fly again: the 1916 warplane built from drawings. A 93-year-old is among 13 volunteers constructing a replica of the pioneering 1 1/2 Strutter, which they hope will be airborne next year to mark its centenary.

Sci-Fest L.A. gives one-act science-fiction plays a spotlight. Nearly 700 plays were submitted. 10 made the cut.

Pitch Perfect 2 and the Science of Creating the Perfect Sound in Music. “When British scientist Sally Le Page explores the science behind creating the perfect sound in music, she discovers that music resonates with people on many levels. While the perfect sound may exist, it’s the emotional connection that matters.”