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Electron Microscopes Make Normal Things Look HORRIFYING

Electron Microscopes Make Normal Things Look HORRIFYING

Last week marked the first time that humans have ever directly photographed DNA. What’s it look like? Well—basically just a grainy line. (You can see for yourself here.) The photo was made possible through the process of Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), which has brought us some unbelievable insights into worlds far too small for human eyes to ever perceive. That said, there’s a few things we’d rather have never seen that close. Open your looking-holes wide and batten down your insanity hatches, because you’ve been warned.

Blackheads are pretty disgusting to the unaided eye, so it stands to reason that looking at one really, really closely is going to be no better, but OMG it has a tail! Why does it have a tail? Does it use it for balance? Is it for communicating its moods? What if it’s not a tail at all but a wired communication system that tells the other blackheads when it’s under attack (That might explain our breakouts, actually).

Again, what’s the best you can expect for a giant maggot? As bad as we were imagining, we weren’t picturing eyestalks and fangs! Messed up looking as it is (and let’s be clear, it is thoroughly messed up looking), it’s kind of cuddly looking too. It’s like Pixar made a movie called Things That Actually Exist and Will Gladly Eat Human Flesh Story (Also, are we seeing an even tinier maggot crawling on the side of the regular maggot’s head? We must go deeper!).

What’s so scary about bone? Only the fact that the structural system that holds up our bodies is approximately 50% nothing! And keep in mind, that’s not a photo of sick bone or old bone—that’s a healthy 22 year old man (Here is old bone for comparison). So that’s as good as it gets. Keep that in mind the next time you are trying to execute a 720 reverse kick flip on your skatesmen’s board (That’s a thing, right?).

Unused Razor Blade
There’s nothing like the trust and security that comes from popping the guard off a brand new razor and knowing that thing is never going to be sharper than it is right now. That is until you see the razor magnified close enough to notice that what you thought was a perfectly smooth and clean precision tool looks more like the jagged, crud-encrusted machete of a spree killer. Have fun dragging this bit of hellscape across your face (or worse).

Dust Mite
Right, we’ve got it—little bugs look scary when they are blown up big, so why bother with the dust mite? Well, aside from the fact that this little guy is clearly the inspiration for the Half Life games’ headcrabs, we just wanted to remind you all that the density of dust mites in the average mattress is 2,500 mites per gram of dust. Sleep tight!

What would you like to see at 100,000x magnification?

Tags: science, biology, life, nasa, microscopes, dna

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