Molars, Monsters and Other Amazing Images Of This Week

These images have got some teeth.

An Opulent Microbial Struggle

On a trip to Death Valley, California, chemist Michael P. Zach collected just a simple salt sample. Once back in the lab, he added a drop of water and put the sample in front of a microscope. The result astonished him: dozens of microbes sprung to life as the crystal dissolved. The bacteria (the dark-colored splotches) must inhibit the expansion of the salt crystal (the rainbow prism), or be locked in the crystal until it gets wet again. That's why Zach titled his photograph, "Microbe vs. Mineral - A Life and Death Struggle in the Desert."Michael P. Zach, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point via NSF

Teeth To Spare

This week, doctors in Mumbai, India operated on 17-year-old Ashik Gavai. Over the course of seven hours, the doctors removed 232 extra teeth from Gavai's mouth, sometimes using a chisel and hammer. The culprit behind this cornucopia of teeth is a complex compound odontoma, which is similar to the bump that grows when someone has an unerupted tooth. Except this one was way, way bigger. "It's a sort of benign tumor," the doctors told the BBC, where one gum creates many teeth.BBC

The Map That Changed The World

This map — or one like it — was what brought Christopher Columbus to America. German cartographer Henricus Martellus designed it in 1489, and he made a bit of an error. By relying on faulty estimates for the Earth's circumference, Martellus exaggerated Asia's dimensions -- an error that Columbus figured out the hard way. Only two of Martellus' maps remain.Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University via Mental Floss

I Wonder What Those Are For

No, this isn't a new model of vacuum cleaner. It's a sea lamprey, a nightmarish type of creature that's been around for about 300 million years. There are lots of species of lampreys, and not all are parasitic, but this one is particularly vicious/awesome: once it attaches to a victim, the lamprey uses its central, tongue-like structure to gouge a hole in its victim's flesh. Then it uses its teeth to rasp its way through the various layers of flesh, sometimes making its way all the way through the victim's body. Once it starts, it's virtually unstoppable.R. Duran/Getty via Wired

Golden Gate Out Of The Blue

This beautiful photo, taken above San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, was taken at the "blue hour". The phrase refers to the periods of twilight before sunrise and after sunset in which the sun is far below the horizon. Only the short-wavelength blue light is scattered in the atmosphere (and thus visible to us), while the red light just passes into space.Frank Schulenburg via Twisted Sifter

A Watched Pot That Boils

Thomas Povoy, a rocket scientist at England's Oxford University, went on a camping trip with his family. He was dismayed at how slowly the water boiled for them to cook their meal, so he decided to do something about it. A few years later, he's used physics to make a series of better indoor pots that require less energy for cooking. More surface area around the bottom of the pot improves the efficiency of heat transfer, so you can literally watch your pot boil water.FastCo Exist

A New Species Already Endangered

This is the Javan blue-banded kingfisher, a new bird species. While it wasn't immediately obvious that it was different from its relative, the Malay blue-banded kingfisher, it is clear that the new kingfisher is endangered. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature recently identified 361 new bird species, most of which are non-passerines, or not songbirds. The organization estimates that a quarter of the new bird species are threatened.Agus Nurza via New Scientist

A Chair, In the Flesh

Gigi Barker, a designer based in London, has spent two years perfecting the look and feel of human skin for this Skin chair. The chair is covered in leather and has a scented silicone base that reminds the sitter of "lounging in the fleshy, comforting folds of a man’s belly." The smell is inspired by "the aftershave of the anonymous man whose form the chair is modeled on." And it can be yours for a mere £1,500 ($2,545).Gigi Barker via Quartz
As part of Princeton University's Art of Science exhibition, several graduate students submitted this stunning photo and won in the "People's Choice" category. The photo depicts a cross-section of the fruit fly's 10 ovarioles, or assembly lines through which eggs (at the lines' fatter ends), develop from stem cells at the image's center.Y. Goyal / B. Lim / M. Osterfield / S. Shvartsman / Princeton Art of Science via NBC

Wearable Stars and Cities

Ever wanted to wear a galaxy around your neck? Well, thanks to New York-based design company Slow Factory, now you can. They've used NASA images of galaxies and cities at night and printed them on translucent scarves. Science-y fashion will cost you, though; the ones on sale in the Colossal shop run between $95 and $295.Slow Factor via Colossal