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Within a life of banditry, a pearl

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Pearl Hart (1871-1956*), aka The Lady Bandit of Arizona, acquired her legend as the last bandit to rob a stagecoach (though she wasn't--Ben Kuhl was), the only woman ever caught robbing one (also not true, there was Jane Kirkham), and maybe the only person in history to attempt suicide by ingesting talcum powder (this I can't refute). Though Pearl was raised in a well-off, conservative Canadian family, she had a weakness for bad boys and at seventeen became the spunky appendage to an abusive gambler and his afflicted ilk. In her new surroundings, she became a lively, crossdressing saloon singer who dreamed of moving West.

When a series of disappointments conspired to grant her this wish, it wasn't quite so sanguine. While working in a coal mine, Pearl met a miner named Boot who agreed to help execute the robbery--her first and last--so that she might be able to cover medical expenses for her ailing mother. dThe two were caught and Pearl was sentenced to five years in jail (she only ended up serving eighteen months) but not before retorting to the judge that "'I shall not consent to be tried under a law in which my sex had no voice in making.'" When the first jury came back with an acquittal, the judge demanded a new--and all male--jury, and this one capitulated with a sentence.

Pearl's hardly the first female criminal to possess charm and attract supporters. My question to you is: have you ever empathized with a female criminal? Maybe you didn't go as far as pleading for a stay of execution--or hey, maybe you did--but maybe you've just secretly felt bad for this person. Or maybe you just liked Charlize Theron's portrayal of Aileen Wuornos (Nick Broomfield's two documentaries on her are good chasers).

*Various reports claim she either died in obscurity in San Francisco, or that she married a happy rancher and became Pearl Bywater.

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