“The human mouth is a disgusting place, capable of emitting awful smells,”said Rachel Becker at The Verge. Trouble is, “smelling your own breath is anatomically challenging.” But Mint, a smart mouthpiece built by a Silicon Valley–based startup called Breathometer, will do it for you, sniffing your mouth for signs of bad oral health. Users bite down on the Mint mouthpiece for 30 seconds, while it sucks in a bit of air for analysis.
The device uses electrochemical sensors to check for sulfur-containing molecules, which are associated with periodontal disease, a serious condition that can destroy bone and gum tissue and eventually lead to lost teeth. Mint, which sells for $100, connects to an app that helps users track their oral hygiene and assigns grades for oral health: An ‘A’ means all is well. “An 'F’ means make an appointment with your dentist. Like, now.”
These hot springs in Japan are
called Jigokudani, or “Hell Valley.”
Thanks to the black sulfur rivers
that flow down from the surrounding
mountains, the springs smell so
bad that the area was traditionally
thought of as a gateway to hell. Source
lachryphagy is the term used to describe the behaviour of tear drinking in nature, typically in environments - like the purvian amazon shown here - where sodium and other micronutrients are hard to find.
bees and butterflies need sodium for egg production and metabolic purposes, but their diets of nectar are low in salt. so the orange julia and sulfur yellow butterflies you see here turn to the salty tears of often stationary turtles and caiman.
and though the caiman and turtles seem to receive no reciprocal benefit from the interaction, they’re apparently happy enough to just help out. (x, x, x, x, x, x)
Known to be behind the characteristic odor of rotting eggs, sulfur is essential for all living cells. Cells make proteins that form strong chemical bonds called disulfide bridges between two adjacent sulfur atoms. These bridges give strength to our hair, outer skin, and nails. Eggs are loaded with sulfur because disulfide bridges are needed to form feathers, which explains why eggs smell on rotting. Because sulfur is easy to smell, natural gas lines–which are normally odorless–have sulfur additives to help people identify and smell a gas leak when it occurs.
photos from indonesia’s mount bromo and malaysia’s mount kinabalu. of note: the blue glow in the second last photo is a result of the combustion of volcanic sulfuric gases emanating from mount bromo. (x)