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Paris Park Temporarily Allows Guests to Go Nude in Nature

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The French are famous for their love of wine, cheese, and—yes—nudity. But while the first two are enjoyed in abundance, you'll typically only see naked Parisians in museum paintings, on a beach in the French Riviera, or in the Roger Le Gall public swimming pool, where city residents can swim naked three times a week. That's set to change with a public park's newly designated "nudist zone," which, according to BBC News, will temporarily permit visitors to quite literally become one with the outdoors.

Located on the eastern edge of Paris, Bois de Vincennes is the city's largest park. There, officials have set aside a space near the bird reserve for nature lovers willing to shed their clothes and inhibitions. But just because these naturists lack garments doesn't mean they lack manners: Exhibitionism and voyeurism are verboten, all people must adhere to a special code of conduct, and signs have been erected to warn passersby of their brethren-in-the-buff.

"It's a true joy, it's one more freedom for naturists," Julien Claude-Penegry of the Paris Naturists Association told the AFP, according to the BBC. "It shows the city's broad-mindedness and will help change people's attitudes toward nudity, toward our values and our respect for nature."

Nudists in Paris have long clamored for larger spaces in which to congregate, as public nudity is banned—and punished with fines and jail time—unless it occurs in regulated areas. Not only does the city have a robust Nudist Association, "we've got 2 million nudists in France, which is doubled during the summer with visitors," city council member David Belliard said last year, according to the BBC. "For them Paris is the world's premier tourist destination, and there's no public place for them to go. We want to try out a recreational area where nudists can freely strip off."

That said, not everyone is singing the nudist zone's praises: When the initiative was first proposed in 2016, one centrist councilor called it "demented," and argued that it may be viewed as controversial in light of France's recent burkini ban.

For now, the Bois de Vincennes nudist zone is just a temporary experiment: Those wanting to frolic unclothed in the pretty urban park must schedule their visits before October 15, 2017. (They may also want to consider bringing an emergency fall sweater.)

[h/t BBC News]

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Courtesy of Gem Diamonds Ltd.
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Fifth Largest Diamond in The World Discovered in Southern Africa
Courtesy of Gem Diamonds Ltd.
Courtesy of Gem Diamonds Ltd.

The Letšeng diamond mine in the southern African nation of Lesotho is known for producing large, high-quality gems. As Bloomberg reports, a massive diamond uncovered there recently is the mine's most impressive yet. The 910-carat stone is roughly the size of two golf balls and weighs more than a billiard ball.

The diamond is thought to be the fifth largest ever discovered on Earth. Gem Diamonds Ltd., the company behind the discovery, said in a statement [PDF] that the "exceptional top quality diamond is the largest to be mined to date and highlights the unsurpassed quality of the Letšeng mine."

Beyond its size, the diamond is also remarkable for its purity. The D color Type IIa status means there are little to no nitrogen atoms muddying its color. Though Gem Diamonds hasn't revealed their price, the diamond is likely worth a huge amount: up to $40 million, analyst Ben Davis tells Bloomberg.

That's a steep price, but it's nowhere near the highest ever paid for a diamond at auction. Rare colored diamonds tend to fetch the highest bids: In 2015, the Blue Moon diamond sold for $48.5 million, and in 2017 the Pink Star was auctioned off for $71.2 million, making it the most expensive diamond of all time.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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New Largest Known Prime Number Has More Than 23 Million Digits
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Prime numbers come in all sizes: They go down to single digits and grow infinitely larger. But calculating the exact quantity of the largest prime numbers in existence takes serious time and effort. Now, thanks to help from a volunteer and his computer, the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) has identified the newest largest prime number we know of.

The prime number has 23,249,425 digits, surpassing the previous record holder by 1 million digits. It can be written as 277,232,917-1 or M77232917. Like other prime numbers, the quantity can only be divided by one and itself. But unlike some smaller primes, this one joins a special category called Mersenne primes.

Mersenne primes are found by calculating numbers to the second power and subtracting the value of one from the total. Only 50 prime numbers have been found this way, and a lot of computing power is required to uncover them.

Since 1996, GIMPS has been crowdsourcing computers to discover larger and larger prime numbers. Anyone can download their program and dedicate their unused processing power to churning out algorithms in search of the next record breaker. Volunteers whose computers successfully identify a new prime number are eligible for a cash reward of up to $3000.

The most recent winner was Jonathon Pace, a 51-year-old electrical engineer from Tennessee. His computer calculated the number M77232917 on December 26, and its prime status was independently verified by four separate computers.

GIMPS is constantly outdoing itself, with the previous largest prime announced just two years ago. If you'd like to join the effort, their prime-hunting software is free to download. But don't expect instant results: Pace was volunteering with GIMPS for 14 years before his altruism paid off. 

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