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I'm not the type of person who gets fascinated easily. My view of the natural world tends to lean toward the practical: a storm cloud means water for crops, a tree is something to piss behind if I'm not near a toilet, the sun is just a moon that God accidentally set on fire while drunk. But if you take even the most boring shit and view it in a time lapse video, suddenly it becomes awesome. That's when you realize that absolutely everything is in a state of frenzied, sometimes terrifying activity -- it's just happening on a different time scale.

Trust me, speeding things up will completely change your opinion of ...

Warning: Some of these can be a bit gross and graphic.

8
Ants Eating

Warning: If swarms of insects make you feel all creepy-crawly, you'll probably want to skip this one. And maybe stop using phrases like "creepy-crawly," because it makes you sound like a child. A child who is a huge pussy and probably needs his ass spanked. If you're worried about seeing animal guts, don't be, because once the ants find the carcass, you won't see it again until it's nothing but bones:

That's a time lapse video of a dead gecko being completely devoured by a colony of ants in a matter of hours. And while even just the idea of that sounds kind of dark and fucked up, it doesn't do justice to the nightmare-inducing images of seeing it in full motion. Especially when those demonic little bastards swarm in and completely cover its body.


If you want to imagine a scenario even creepier, pretend there's no gecko under there.

Pardon me for a second, I have something I need to do real quick ... GAAAAAAH! MOTHERFUCKER! NO, FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST, NO! I CAN FEEL THEM ON ME!

Sorry about that -- what were we talking about again? Oh yeah, the GAAAAAAH! FUCK, THAT'S DISGUSTING! FUUUUUUCK! Sorry, that was the last one. I think I'm good now.

Oh, yeah, the ants. It's not just the way they devour it so quickly. Around the 26-second mark, notice how the toes start to move around as the ants push and pull them into a better eating position. Then casually saw them off with their freakish, razor-sharp ant faces and carry them away. Little toes, disappearing in time lapse, one at a time, to feed to their bastard ant babies.


Ew.

Watch the way the rest of the little lizard's body slowly moves as the flesh disappears. It almost looks like it's still alive under that writhing eating frenzy. But the end of the video is really what gets me. Even after it's been picked clean, right down to bleach-white bones, they still search for meat and tissue, going so far as to carry off some of the intact bones and moving the skull completely out of frame.

And not one of those assholes left a tip. But hey, at least it didn't happen on the sea floor. That's where the real nightmares take place.

7
A Retired Dam

This is one of my favorite videos of all time, and why wouldn't it be? It's a dam being breached with a big, controlled explosion. Now, before you make this point, allow me to make it for you: Exploding dams are exactly the opposite of mundane. I totally understand that. But what is mundane is the several hours' worth of water draining out after that. Yes, for the first 15 minutes or so, I'm sure it's mesmerizing to watch tens of thousands of gallons of water shooting out of that thing like it's the end of the goddamn world. But after that? It's just a bunch of water shooting out in a seemingly endless stream. Like a good piss after your first six beers of the night.


That's not water coming out, by the way. That's dust and smoke from the initial blast.


THAT is the water.

However, the thing that's surprising is that the time lapse recording of the "boring" stuff turned out to be the most interesting part of the whole video. It's watching that lake drain out into a free-flowing river. Seriously, watch the water behind that dam go from this:

To this:

It's incredible to see that perfectly serene body of water turn into a soupy, turdy mess that collapses in on itself. Just when you think you're looking at somewhat solid ground, the whole bed breaks loose and flows like a river of shit, and you realize that it's still like 80 percent water. That if you tried to walk on that thing, you'd be sucked down to an inescapable death.

Could you imagine being a fish caught in all of that chaos? Words couldn't adequately express the level of "WHAT THE FUCK?!" that went through your mind as you were ripped from your home and shot a thousand feet from where you were just innocently swimming and enjoying being a stupid fish. "This sure is awesome. I love the fact that I don't have to worry about much because my limited intelligence as a fish prevents me from having to d- OH JESUS CHRIST, WHAT DID I DO?!"

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6
Braces

This is a video that, judging by the incredibly stupid hair, appears to be the 1980s or early '90s. Or possibly from last month. It's an 11-year-old girl who had some fairly bad teeth problems, along the lines that they looked to be assembled by drunken gnomes. Or maybe she was the spawn of the Rock Biter from The NeverEnding Story.


"Mom, we need to get to the dentist. Bruce Campbell just tried to fight me with a shotgun and a chainsaw."

Now don't take those little jabs as me making fun of her looks. Getting braces in a case like this isn't so much a vanity thing as it is a "being able to chew my fucking food correctly" thing. The sucky part about them is that they take so long to work. They're pushing and pulling teeth into their correct spots without using surgery, so obviously it's going to take forever. If we could just yank our teeth around at a moment's notice and place them where we want, we'd have no need for braces -- and I'd have mine sticking straight out at a 90-degree angle at all times so that I'd have to chew my food by pecking at it like a bird.

But the point is that since it does take so long, you never really notice a change in the person who has them until it's time to get them taken off. It's such a gradual thing that even after they get them removed, you have to see a before-and-after shot to notice the difference. Like this:


Holy crap, it even made her hair grow!

The video itself is 18 months of ongoing correction crammed into a 30-second span. And watching those things slowly slide into place is both awesome and cringe-inducing at the same time. You can almost hear them creaking like a sumo wrestler on a hardwood floor as the back ones are pulled from a 30-degree inward slant to facing upright, the way her stupid DNA failed to do. Hey, don't worry about it, God. We got this one.

5
The Sky

Space dorks like me will instantly get a hard-on from this video. Even the women. But it's another case of being mundane based on perspective. For instance, a night sky is beautiful, and there are many people, including myself, who can stare up at it for long periods of time, just taking in the complexities and the scale of our universe. View it through a telescope, and it becomes almost frightening in its depth and majesty. But no matter how you look at it, even in real time, it just looks like a calm, serene backdrop, painted by a really, really big dude. Infinite miles of infinite stillness.

That's because the further you are from an object, the less motion you can detect. It's why storm clouds seem to just sit there until they're right on top of you, and then they kick into turbo mode, whipping past at "get your ass in the basement" speeds. And why the guy a mile and a half away from you seems to be a frozen speck on the horizon, but in your crosshairs, the little fucker won't stand still long enough to get one good shot off.

But put that same night sky on time lapse, and suddenly, you can feel it. Tell me you can't actually feel Earth's rotation when you watch that. It's almost dizzying. I'm not sure it's possible for a person to see the night sky the same after watching that video. And as long as we're on the subject of space ...

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4
Jupiter

We tend to think of Jupiter as a massive ball just sort of hanging out in space. Quiet. Peaceful. Sporting a big red birthmark on its cheek that the other planets will never bring up because, holy shit, that guy is huge and he'll dick whip us out of existence. Of course, anyone who has paid any sort of attention in basic science classes knows that Jupiter isn't a solid planet ... but it's still hard to not think of it that way, because the Great Red Spot has been around forever and it looks like a surface stain, sitting there motionless. If it was a gas, it would disperse, right?

All of that is shattered, though, when you see that time lapse from 1979, showing the original Voyager's approach to what I'm now referring to as God's Angry Testicle. Fuck you, science, you don't own it. Look at that fucking thing. Holy shit. It's a storm that's three times the size of Earth, and it's whipping around like the Tasmanian Devil, fucking up other cloud systems like it's the only thing that matters. And those other layers -- before seeing your first video of Jupiter in motion, didn't you always picture it as being at least uniform? If this is actually your first time seeing it in motion, you can't tell me you weren't taken aback when you saw those stripes spinning in opposite directions like that.

Seeing it like this makes it look almost liquid. Violent. Alive.

3
A Bowl of Fruit

That's the not-gross version. And just a fair warning, that means a gross version will be following shortly. This one, however, is just a bowl of fruit left out to rot as a camera took one picture every 40 minutes for 74 days. As you can see, right off the bat, mold really, really likes strawberries, because it annihilates that shit in like half a second. Or several days, since this is time lapse. But still, in relative scientific terms, it fucked those berries up like a bitch.


It's probably because they can produce their own wine.

Now at first, it's interesting because watching shit just dissolve like that is pretty wicked. However, what really grabbed my attention is that the mold was selective and moved in a very defined pattern. It jumped from the strawberries to the peach, because they were obviously touching. But then it skipped over the garlic, potato, avocado and dong squash, attacking the next peach. Like it ramped right over that shit and was like, "Fuck your pansy food. I'm a fuzzy navel kind of dude."

Then I watched in horror as the tomatoes erupted into some sick pimple type of bubbling, dripping, disgusting ooze that is normally reserved for a zombie movie makeup team -- then motherfucking deflated.


I can't watch it without hearing that balloon farting noise. Then again, I hear that when I watch any video at all, ever.

And as promised, here's the meat and maggot version, for those with stronger stomachs:

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2
Slime Mold

Of all the disgusting fungi we've been watching so far, none is more creepy than the slime mold. If you were to stumble across one in a forest, though, the most reaction you'd have would be to casually glance down, give an offhanded "Ew" and continue burying the body. But speed up that fucker's growth cycle, and it's like discovering alien life.

I could show you pictures of it all day, but until you watch that video and see it pulsating like a dying animal, and then pushing outward to cover everything in its path, you haven't really faced any true fears in your life. Here's another one, focusing on just the pulsating:

Gah! Look at that goddamn freak! Pulsing like it's breathing. It looks like it was stripped straight out of a horror film -- like if you were to lean down to touch it, it would leap up and coil around your arm, sucking you in and digesting you slowly as you screamed in vain. But, wait, it gets much, much creepier.

They are actually semi-intelligent. When put into a maze and food is introduced at the entrance and exit, it will find the shortest path between the two pieces and restrict its growth to use only that path. Notice how it not only figures out the path, but ignores the other possible solution because it's longer:

Sweet dreams tonight, kids!

1
Vines

This is actually the reason I started this article. I own one of these plants, and I knew that it was a climber. But I didn't know how it did it. You plant them from seeds, and they start to poke their stupid, unthinking plant faces out of the dirt, and then a few days later, they're wrapping around anything within a few feet. A few weeks after that, they've climbed 10 feet in the air, and you're left wondering how the hell they even found the stuff to latch onto.

If you watch that video, you'll see that once they get to a certain height, they bend their stalks and start swinging them around like a frat boy doing helicopter dick while lying on his back. Then when the stalk bumps into something worth grabbing onto, it twines itself around it in a tight coil like a miniature python, slowly inching its way up the support.


Which is actually how the aforementioned frat boy finds dates.

That a plant has that sort of mobility is amazing, but the mere idea that it has the ability to seek out and find something in that manner with no brain, no eyes, no central nervous system ... I think it proves that the movies that predict us becoming slaves to evolved AI technology are all overlooking a silent, organic predator just waiting for its time to attack. We'll never see it coming, because so far, their means of subterfuge has been moving at a speed undetectable outside of time lapse photography.

John has a Twitter, where he regularly invites people to fuck right off.

For more Cheese, check out 12 Things You'll Wish You'd Never Seen Under a Microscope and 5 Ways to Tell You're Getting Too Old for Video Games.

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