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.
Check out the mind-blowing close-up views of …

#8. Chalk

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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:

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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.

#7. Kosher Salt

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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:

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And here’s another shot.

#6. Orange Juice

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But Up Close:

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As it turns out, orange juice only contains the slightest hint of orange.

#5. Snow

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Beautiful, precious, unique specks of icy poetry, perfect to romp around in with childlike joy.

But Up Close:

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#4. Insect Anatomy

 

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But Up Close:

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  Insect body parts, as seen through a microscope, are pretty much the stuff of horror flicks.   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.

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  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:

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#3. Seawater

 

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

But Up Close:

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 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.

#2. Fly Ash

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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.

But Up Close:

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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.

#1. Shark Skin

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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:

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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.

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