Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Something Hideously Expensive

I'm getting married in nine days. And so I've been thinking a lot about weddings and marriages. Admittedly, most of my time the past few months has been wasted accomplishing the little tasks inherent to a 450-guest wedding. But now and again, I've found myself researching the wider world of weddings. Here's what I've learned:

My all-time favorite marriage certificate comes from this apparently true story: Amidst a thunderstorm, Swift had sought refuge under a large tree. A man and his pregnant fiancee showed up soon thereafter, and Swift (who was, besides being the best satirist ever, a priest) offered to marry them quick before the baby popped out illegitimate. He then wrote them a marriage certificate:
"Under an oak, in stormy weather,
I joined this rogue and whore together;
And none but He who rules the thunder
Can put this rogue and whore asunder."

Long-standing rumor has it that Nobel laureate George Bernard Shaw's 45-year marriage to Charlotte Shaw (nee Payne-Townsend) was never consummated.

And finally: Did you know that today in America, the average wedding dress costs more than a space shuttle?

Original image
Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
Can’t See the Eclipse in Person? Watch NASA’s 360° Live Stream
Original image
Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Depending on where you live, the historic eclipse on August 21 might not look all that impressive from your vantage point. You may be far away from the path of totality, or stuck with heartbreakingly cloudy weather. Maybe you forgot to get your eclipse glasses before they sold out, or can't get away from your desk in the middle of the day.

But fear not. NASA has you covered. The space agency is live streaming a spectacular 4K-resolution 360° live video of the celestial phenomenon on Facebook. The livestream started at 12 p.m. Eastern Time and includes commentary from NASA experts based in South Carolina. It will run until about 4:15 ET.

You can watch it below, on NASA's Facebook page, or on the Facebook video app.

Cephalopod Fossil Sketch in Australia Can Be Seen From Space

Australia is home to some of the most singular creatures alive today, but a new piece of outdoor art pays homage to an organism that last inhabited the continent 65 million years ago. As the Townsville Bulletin reports, an etching of a prehistoric ammonite has appeared in a barren field in Queensland.

Ammonites are the ancestors of the cephalopods that currently populate the world’s oceans. They had sharp beaks, dexterous tentacles, and spiraling shells that could grow more than 3 feet in diameter. The inland sea where the ammonites once thrived has since dried up, leaving only fossils as evidence of their existence. The newly plowed dirt mural acts as a larger-than-life reminder of the ancient animals.

To make a drawing big enough to be seen from space, mathematician David Kennedy plotted the image into a path consisting of more than 600 “way points.” Then, using a former War World II airfield as his canvas, the property’s owner Rob Ievers plowed the massive 1230-foot-by-820-foot artwork into the ground with his tractor.

The project was funded by Soil Science Australia, an organization that uses soil art to raise awareness of the importance of farming. The sketch doubles as a paleotourist attraction for the local area, which is home to Australia's "dinosaur trail" of museums and other fossil-related attractions. But to see the craftsmanship in all its glory, visitors will need to find a way to view it from above.

[h/t Townsville Bulletin]


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