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Three women defied sexist expectations to become some of the most important allies in WWII.

With the season finale of Marvel's spy show "Agent Carter" airing tonight (Feb. 24, 2015), take a look at some real badass spy women.

Three women defied sexist expectations to become some of the most important allies in WWII.

In "Agent Carter," Peggy Carter does a million awesome things, from using spy gadgets to fighting sleeper agents. Here are some of the real women she could have been based on.


1. Andreé Borrel

Like Peggy, Andreé knew her way around a parachute.

After a successful career of leading Allied troops out of occupied France via an underground railway to Spain, Burrell was one of the first women to parachute into France in September 1942 after joining the Special Operations Executive (SOE), a covert British organization. By March 1943, she had become second in command of the local network. That's badass.

2. Nancy Wake

Carter knows how to use lethal force when necessary. And so did Nancy Wake. Another member of the SOE, Nancy Wake led a spectacular life: By the time she was 30, she had run away from her home in New Zealand, lived in London and New York, had become a nurse, and finally had become a journalist. She was in Europe when the Nazis rose, witnessing and reporting on terrible things in the process.


In the war, before becoming a member of the SOE, among other things, she was a courier in the French Resistance, was the Gestapo's most wanted person for her part of the escape network, and earned the nickname "The White Mouse" for her ability to never be captured. Oh, and with her fellow resistance members, she killed 1,400 SS soldiers, NBD.

3. Virginia Hall

Could you imagine having six different identities to keep track of? Or driving a manual transmission ambulance through a war zone? Or having to take over your superior's courier duties because they were captured and the very same thing might happen to you? Could you imagine having to do that with one foot?


Virginia Hall did. After being put on the German's most wanted list, she, like Carter, went undercover. Unlike Carter, though, her undercover assignment was a lot less glamorous. She disguised herself, doing farm work in France while training resistance groups.

Badass.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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