8 Ordinary Things That Look Insanely Cool Under a Microscope

A really powerful microscope is the sort of thing nobody would buy for entertainment, yet we can't shake the feeling that if we had one, we'd use it all the time. That's because, as we've proven several times over, the most mundane crap in your house is transformed into surreal, freaky, trippy, and sometimes terrifying works of art when viewed at a microscopic level. It's like seeing into an alternate universe.

Don't know what we mean? Well, check out the mind-blowing close-up views of ...

#8. Chalk

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

At Normal Size:

For decades, chalk was used in classrooms to spread knowledge to large groups of students, and in recess to spread the myth that hopscotch was fun. It turns into powder when you use it, so up close it probably just looks like, what, sand or something? It can't be too exciting ...

But Up Close:

PLOS Biology
It kinda looks like we should be worshiping it.

Huh. Apparently, chalk is a bunch of tiny little soccer balls ... if soccer balls were made out of dead bodies, that is.

Yes, those yarmulke-looking things are actually the shells of dead microscopic organisms like foraminifera mixed with the corpses of sea algae. So the next time you see a chalk outline of a murder victim, just know that it was created with the help of about a billion teeny-weeny corpses. It's pretty much the ultimate counter to that circle-of-life crap that Disney likes to shove down our throats.

#7. Kosher Salt


At Normal Size:

Kosher salt is the slightly chunkier cousin of regular salt, so named due to its ability to soak up the blood of various meats, rendering them kosher. It's pretty much Dracula in salt form.

But Up Close:

Museum of Science, Boston
The microscopic ancient Mayans sacrificed many innocents here.

Wait, when did Dracula leave Transylvania and move to an ancient temple? Because that's exactly what a crystal of kosher salt looks like. This isn't food; this is something a tiny little Indiana Jones would invade while searching for long-lost religious artifacts that will melt Nazis' faces off.

Dr. Gary Gaugler / Science Photo Library
We'll be shocked if that thing isn't filled with wee little Predators and Aliens.

And here's another shot, lest you think the first one was just a lucky angle. Nope: Kosher salt, across the board, is made out of tiny pyramids. So the next time the office racist starts ranting and rambling about some vast Zionist conspiracy, show them these pictures as proof that, if they've ever ingested kosher salt, they now have little Illuminati pyramids floating around inside them. Then take cover, because exploding heads tend to be quite messy and sticky.

#6. Orange Juice

Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

At Normal Size:

No false advertising here: This is juice, and it is very much orange. No other juice is that straightforward. If you ever call tomato juice "red juice," for example, you're either a baby, insane, or a straw man we just created for the sake of this joke.

But Up Close:

This is what a screwdriver looks like if you replace the vodka with LSD.

As it turns out, orange juice only contains the slightest hint of orange. In fact, it looks more like Jackson Pollock's busted windshield than something you pour down your gullet whenever you're sick with the flu.

This picture is courtesy of our old friends at Bevshots, who magnify dried droplets of various drinks and then photograph the results. They tend to stick to alcoholic drinks mainly, but occasionally venture into the world of non-booze, as long as you can easily mix it with booze, as is the case here.

So now you know; enjoy a tall glass of yellow-purple-blue-green-red-pink-orange-brown-silver glass shards, liquefied into juice form and then turned solid orange somehow, in the morning. It's part of a complete breakfast.

#5. Snow

Emmanuel Boutet

At Normal Size:

Beautiful, precious, unique specks of icy poetry, perfect to romp around in with childlike joy. Or miserable little tundras that cause mass chaos at the grocery store, back up traffic for miles upon miles, and force you to waste precious hours shoveling out your driveway. Take your pick.

But Up Close:

Science Musings
That big one in the center has acne.

Oh, bullshit; no way that's real. That's one of those construction-paper deals that schoolchildren make when the teacher has a migraine or a hangover, right? Nope, it's very much an actual snowflake in all its microscopic glory.

But here's the kicker: It doesn't even look like a good snowflake. Seriously, you'd think a real snowflake, even up close, would still look the friggin' part. Instead, it looks like something little Johnny crapped out in two minutes so he could get back to eating the clay. We all know nature isn't perfect, but we're shocked that something so beautiful and crystalline would actually garner us a C-minus in art class.

U. S. Department of Agriculture
"Now, Creation, you can do better than that. No recess for you today."

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