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]

You Can Buy an Extinct Volcano in Devon, England, for $60,000

People buy private islands, so why not buy a private volcano? Posbury Clump, a 250-million-year-old inactive volcano located in Devon, England, could be yours for the seemingly reasonable price of about $60,0000.

As Smithsonian reports, the volcano is 500 feet tall at its peak and surrounded by 4.9 acres of woodland (holly, oak, and ash trees), so you get sweeping views of the English countryside. The wooded outcrop and rolling hills make Posbury Clump look less like a volcano and more like a forest. Architects used the basalt stone from a former on-site quarry to build two of the area's most famous structures: Crediton Church and Medland Manor.

Because of its unique potassium-rich lava and other rare geological features, Posbury Clump has been designated a site of scientific interest, and as such has been formally marked for conservation.

Currently, only a few houses reside in the area, but Posbury—settled during the Iron Age, between about 800 BCE and AD 100—once housed convent Posbury St Francis, which was a part of the Posbury Clump estate. Those interested in possibly purchasing the volcano can contact agent Jackson-Stops. The cost is £50,000, or around $60,800, which is about what you'd pay to rent a studio apartment in New York City's Tribeca neighborhood for one year.

Just remember: If you do buy the volcano, you won't be the first person to purchase such a thing. According to Atlas Obscura, famed cartoonist-turned-oddities-collector Robert Ripley tried to purchase Parícutin (a baby volcano that suddenly sprung up from a cornfield in Mexico) in 1943, but was beaten to the punch by muralist Gerardo Murillo. Several individuals have privately owned New Zealand's active Whakaari volcano, and people privately own volcanoes in California and Oregon, too.

Reality Bites: A Humongous Tick That Chases Its Prey Has Been Found in the Netherlands

ironman100/iStock via Getty Images
ironman100/iStock via Getty Images

Humans have long been discouraged from tolerating the parasitic behavior of the tick. These pathogen-ridden arachnids latch onto their hosts for a blood buffet while transmitting a variety of diseases through their bites. Typically, ticks in infested areas wait for their hosts to stand or pass by and hope a bare leg presents itself.

But not all ticks are so passive. In the Netherlands, there have been reported sightings of Hyalomma marginatum, a kind of Andre the Giant of ticks that are twice the size of a more common species, Ixodes ricinus (sheep tick). Worse, they don’t sit idle. If they want to bite you, they’ll run after you.

The non-native species has been spotted twice in the past month. One was in Drenthe, a province in the northeastern part of the country, and the other was found in Achterhoek. They measure up to 0.2 inches but can grow to 0.7 inches when engorged with the blood of their hosts. The ticks are known to hide in brush. When they spot a potential meal, they run toward it. H. marginatum can detect a victim from up to 30 feet away and track it for 10 minutes before abandoning pursuit.

The species is typically found in northern Africa and Asia as well as parts of southern and eastern Europe. How did they get to the Netherlands? Researchers theorize they hitchhiked on migratory birds. And while their appearances have been scarce, they’re still a cause for concern. H. marginatum is known to harbor the virus that causes Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, which lists uncontrolled bleeding among its undesirable symptoms. The ticks, which were collected for analysis, tested negative for that disease but one was positive for the bacteria Rickettsia aeschlimannii, which causes spotted fever.

There have been no sightings of H. marginatum in the U.S., but native ticks remain a perpetual concern. If you’re outdoors, it’s always a good idea to monitor yourself for ticks and take steps to remove them safely.

[h/t LiveScience]

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