8 Ordinary Things That Look Insanely Cool Under a Microscope

#4. Insect Anatomy

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

At Normal Size:


But Up Close:

Wikimedia Commons
Dear lord, someone squared a scorpion.

Let's just say that if you weren't running away from these unlikable pests beforehand, you're about to start real soon. Insect body parts, as seen through a microscope, are pretty much the stuff of horror flicks. Take the tiny fruit fly, for example. Annoying, but hardly menacing, right? But then you look at the above close-up photo of their feet and they suddenly look like they can fuck up you and everything you love with one well-timed swing.

The bugs that can hurt you are no less terrifying. Ticks spread their filthy Lyme disease by stabbing you with their mouths. The part of a tick's mouth used to stab prey is called a hypostome, and it ain't pretty.

MicroLab Gallery
"Oh yeah, like your tongues are so fun to look at."

That's the black-eyed tick, not that it matters much. A tick is a tick, and they all hate you. Now observe the mouth-knife of the deer tick:

University of Minnesota
Easily the most dangerous insect in any prison fight.

So yeah, ticks fucking stab you, in case you needed one more reason to despise them. But at least their weapon looks cool. Here's a mosquito's stinger up close:


Turns out the dreaded mosquito is content to kick our ass with a goddamn Capri Sun drinking straw. So when you manage to destroy one with a well-timed book smash, consider it a mercy kill.

#3. Seawater

Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images

At Normal Size:

It's water. Pretty much the entire planet is made out of it. It's the reason Earth isn't just some barren rock dancing lonely around a gigantic space furnace. It's the No. 1 reason you're alive today, unless you drown in it.

But Up Close:

It's not so much the water itself that's freaky; it's the inhabitants. All 247 quadrillion of them (give or take).

N. Sullivan / NOAA / Department of Commerce
So like the Bronx, but less salty.

These are diatoms, a catchall term for the various dead algae bits floating around the ocean and, almost inevitably, down your throat. Yep, if you've ever swallowed seawater, this was your dinner. And, to be fair, some of it looks delicious, especially that doughnut-looking fellow slightly above center. It looks like a chocolate-blueberry concoction that you could have for dinner while convincing your sad ass that the blueberry flavoring counts as your fruit intake for the day.

Unfortunately, the rest of it looks like old cigars and various types of industrial waste.

#2. Fly Ash

Sigma Sales Company

At Normal Size:

Fly ash is one of those things you see all the time, but probably have no idea what it does. It's basically ground-up coal that we use to reinforce concrete. So even though it just looks like a bunch of dirt, it's pretty much the only reason sidewalks, streets, and the foundation of your house are still standing. So the next time you see a pile of ash just hanging around, remember to thank it. Just don't get too close, cuz it's kind of incredibly radioactive.

But Up Close:

Did someone just shine a halogen light in our eyes?

Fly ash, underneath it all, looks exactly like a dead planet. Its surface is littered with craters and barren, rocky islands of varying shape and size, the lack of atmosphere and sunlight result in a cold, all-black surface, and any life that somehow manages to emerge is almost immediately extinguished. Either that or it's a whimsical bubble machine party ... it depends on what kind of imagination you have, we suppose.

#1. Shark Skin

Albert kok

At Normal Size:

Sharks are fascinating creatures: They die if they ever stop moving, they can smell one tiny drop of blood in a body of water the size of an Olympic pool, and babies will eat each other in the womb until only one remains. But their skin? It's just dull gray flesh, so who cares, right? Skin has to be the one and only uninteresting part of a shark.

But Up Close:

Nope. Their skin is extremely interesting. Namely because it's made out of teeth.

George Lauder
The only reason you rarely see sharks at petting zoos.

Great holy fuck. This shouldn't be part of an animal. This thing is literally nothing but teeth. Its teeth are probably covered in tiny teeth.

Those small scales, by the way, are called denticles, and they help the shark reduce drag while it swims, allowing it to move around the ocean and eat everything as smoothly as possible.

Australian Museum
If you zoom in on these close enough, you probably find more teeth.

Dustin Koski would also like to warn people of the numerous ways Breaking Bad is coming true. Evan V. Symon is a moderator in the Cracked Workshop. Here is his Facebook and his new book, The End of the Line.

For more awesome images, check out The 8 Manliest Images on the Internet and 15 Images You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped.

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