Naturalist – Naturist

These two similar words can have vastly different meanings. A naturalist is one who studies or appreciates nature. A naturist can be nearly the same thing: One who appreciates beauty in nature. However a naturist can also be one who enjoys going without clothes whenever proper opportunities come up. There can be a sexual side to naturism, but more often it is practiced as a way to be more ‘natural.’ Naturism can be a very freeing experiece for one who has spent most of life covered in cloth. Many claim health benefits, feeling a reaonable amount of sunshine over one’s entire body is more beneficial than exposing only some portions of the body to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. A growing body of evidence suggests most of us don’t get enough vitamin D. However, some scientists are now saying as much exposure as one can get to sunlight will not give us optimum vitamin D. On the other hand, too much tanning can be bad for one’s health also. Go figure!

Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Splitting the World’s Largest Diamond

The diamond cutter who had the honor of splitting the world’s largest diamond, about 5 inches long, was Jacob Ascher. On the afternoon of February 10, 1908, he cut a groove with another diamond (since only diamonds can cut diamonds) in just the right place, as carefully as he could calculate, then he laid a blade in the groove and tapped on it. The diamond broke, and Jacob immediately fainted. When he recovered, he discovered that the diamond had broken just right, exactly as he had hoped.

Whale Oil

The fine machine lubricating oil for which the sperm whales were hunted was mostly in their heads – up to 500 gallons (1,800 liters) of it in one whale. Until modern chemical technology, nothing lubricated as well as whale oil. Now there is even more valuable stuff that forms in their intestines – ambergris. This foul-smelling grayish-black stuff is used by the perfume industry, not for its smell, but because it has been found to cause other smells to last longer.