Science

Microscopic images satisfy TikTok commenters' natural curiosity.

Ever wondered what an espresso looked like under a microscope? How about a pumpkin? Octopus sucker?

Thanks to pharm tech college student and TikTok star of science Justice Dodson, all of your micro-curiosities can be satisfied. And wow, it is crazy to look at our big, big world through this teeny tiny lens.

Dodson’s channel, where he takes requests for items to go under a microscope, is a unique blend of fascinating, educational and grossly pleasing. With more than a million followers, this kid gets a ton of requests. But here are some of the nanoscopic gems I found particularly interesting:

Corona virus

@justice.dodson

Reply to @user646472910474810 Corona or Corona? ##foryou ##microscope ##science ##TargetHalloween ##MakeItCinematic

♬ Pink Soldiers - 23

It’s probably no surprise that many, many, many people ask to see the coronavirus up close and personal. Although Dodson does a bit of a bait-and-switch here.

He starts the video by letting us know, “I have Corona, so I can finally show you what it looks like under a microscope”

… and then proceeds to pull out a Corona beer bottle.

This was still a teachable moment, because we learned that the virus is way too small and would need a much more powerful device to be visible. Something called an electron microscope. Sounds like something from a Marvel movie.

As one person commented, “I was excited, disappointed, and informed all in the span of 30 seconds,” and that accurately sums it all up.

Pepperoni

@justice.dodson

Reply to @that_trippy_chick22 Cow + Pig = Pepperoni ##foryou ##microscope ##velabco ##wehavethemeats ##CurameChoreo

♬ #3 - Aphex Twin

It looks like pimply skin, then a gaseous planet. Don’t watch before pizza.

Octopus sucker

@justice.dodson

Davy Jones vibes 🐙 ##foryou ##microscope ##velabco ##ocotpus ##NissanShowUp

♬ Davy Jones Theme (Pirates of the Caribbean) - Je Suis Parte

First off, an octopus is already fun to look at. But Dodson took a piece of an octopus arm (I’m guessing from a market?) and under the microscope it looks even more like an alien creature.

Bonus points for creativity, as he used the “Davy Jones Theme” from "Pirates of the Caribbean" for his audio. I giggled at that.

It’s also great to see that Dodson is inspiring other scientists-in-training, as many share their appreciation, knowledge and enthusiasm in the comments.

One person wrote, "hoping to be a medical lab scientist one day, love your videos."

Bug squishing

@justice.dodson

Reply to @defender2090 I found it like this all shriveled up :( ##foryou ##microscope ##velabco ##123PandoraME ##TakeTheDayOffChallenge

♬ The Banjo Beat, Pt. 1 - Ricky Desktop

People really, really, really like the squishing ones.

Halloween pumpkin

@justice.dodson

Reply to @user646472910474810 Happy Halloween! 🎃 ##foryou ##microscope ##pumpkin ##velabco ##science ##PUBGMOBILE

♬ Halloween Theme - John Carpenter & Cody Carpenter & Daniel Davies

Holy moly, that crazy transformation from 100x to 400x. I will never think of jack-o-lanterns the same way again.

Blood + wine

@justice.dodson

Reply to @hnnh.cstr Red wine, extra red 🩸🔬 ##velabco ##microscope ##science ##wine ##JifRapChallenge

♬ Je te laisserai des mots - Patrick Watson

In a beautiful cascade, the red blood cells meet their demise, due to the alcohol.

So yeah, in case you were considering it, don’t inject red wine!

Dollar bill

@justice.dodson

Reply to @.seanm RIP George ##foryou ##CowboyBebop ##MunchiesWithTubi ##microscope ##velabco ##science

♬ where is my mind - jewel :*

I was half hoping for some kind of hidden clue-like message that “National Treasure” always promised us. But still quite cool to see.

Especially toward the end where you see how money is a bunch of fibers seemingly sewn together. There's a metaphor for capitalism somewhere in there.

Mold … from a water bottle

@justice.dodson

##stitch with @noelmulk0 Do you have mold in your water bottle? 🔬🔬 ##foryou ##microscope ##velabco ##mold ##k18hairflip

♬ original sound - Justice Dodson

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Dodson's TikToks, it’s that nowhere is safe.

Water bear

@justice.dodson

Reply to @nikki_smiht LOOK AT THOSE LITTLE CLAWS 🥺 ##foryou ##microscope ##velabco ##MyBrawlSuper ##waterbear ##tardigrade

♬ Elf - Main Theme - Geek Music

Found inside a little puddle on moss and dirt, and with a bonus tardigrade egg!

This is one of the cuter ones, most definitely.

Espresso cream

@justice.dodson

Reply to @user646472910474810 lil bubbles ##foryou ##microscope ##CustomersMostLoved ##velabco ##DoTheJuJu

♬ original sound - джузель

It basically looks like a bubble bath, making me love coffee even more.

Banana

@justice.dodson

Bananas making bananas 🍌 ##foryou ##didyouknow ##microscope ##velabco ##SaveIt4TheEndZone ##banana ##cells

♬ Eleanor Rigby - Cody Fry

Why no, Dodson, I did not know that banana cells look just like little bananas. But I certainly can’t un-know it moving forward.

Giphy

We all have a science nerd inside, an inner curiosity that wants to know how things work, both big and small.

That’s what makes TikTok truly amazing for its bite-sized glimpses into subjects we might not otherwise be aware of.

Trust me, I did not wake up thinking I’d go down a rabbit hole like this one, but I’m so glad I did. Thanks Justice Dodson for sharing your passion and for helping us see the world in a whole new way.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.