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The Stratosphere Las Vegas is a landmark tower, hotel, and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is owned by Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds, an affiliate of Goldman, Sachs and Company who purchased American Casino and Entertainment Properties which includes the Stratosphere along with three other properties. The sale closed on 21 February 2008 for $1.3 billion. The property's signature attraction is the 1,149 ft (350 m) Stratosphere Tower, the tallest free-standing observation tower in the United States and the second tallest in the Western Hemisphere, surpassed only by the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario. It is the tallest free-standing structure in Nevada, and it is the second-tallest free-standing structure west of the Mississippi River, after the Kennecott Smokestack in Magna, Utah. The hotel is a separate building with 24 stories, 2,444 rooms and an 80,000 square foot (7,000 m) casino. Following its completion in 1996 it was initially less popular than first envisioned due to its location on the extreme north end of the strip, far away from the most popular hotel casinos, but its low room prices and unique offerings eventually ensured its success. While many tourists consider its location to be inconvenient, others feel the location is an advantage since it is equidistant between the more popular strip casinos and the downtown area (which includes the Fremont Street Experience). The top of the tower has two observation decks, a fine-dining restaurant known as "Top of the World" (revolving restaurant), and three thrill rides: The Big Shot at 1,081 feet (329 m) is the highest thrill ride in the world; Insanity, opened in 2005, at 900 feet (274 m) is the second highest thrill ride in the world, it dangles riders over the edge of the tower and then spins in a circular pattern at approximately forty miles per hour; and X-scream at 866 feet (264 m) is the third highest thrill ride in the world. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



The Christmas Island red crab, Gecarcoidea natalis, is a species of terrestrial crab endemic to Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. Although restricted to a relatively small area, it is estimated that up to 120 million red crabs may live there, making it the most abundant of the 14 terrestrial crab species on Christmas Island. Christmas Island red crabs eat mostly fallen leaves and flowers, but will occasionally eat other animals, including other red crabs if the opportunity arises. The carapace is up to 116 millimetres (4.6 in) long, rounded, and encloses the gills. The claws are usually of equal size, unless one becomes injured or detached, in which case the limb will regenerate. During that time, it will be the smaller of the two. The male crabs are generally larger than the females, while adult females have a much broader abdomen and usually have smaller claws. The broader abdomen of the female Christmas Island red crab only becomes apparent in the third year of growth. Christmas red crabs live in burrows, in order to shelter from the sun. Since they still breathe through gills, the possibility of drying out is a great danger for them. They are famous for their annual migration to the sea in order to lay their eggs in the ocean. During the migration, the crabs cover the highway routes to the coast so densely that they can be seen from the air. Volunteers shovel the crabs off the roads and, although no harm is intended, some of the countless millions of crabs inevitably get injured. Early inhabitants of Christmas Island hardly ever mentioned these crabs. It is possible that their famous large population size was caused by the extinction of the endemic Maclear's Rat, Rattus macleari in 1903, which may have kept the crab's population in control. An exploding population of the yellow crazy ant, an invasive species accidentally introduced to Christmas Island and Australia from Africa, is believed to have killed 1520 million red crabs in recent years. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





The Stratosphere Las Vegas is a landmark tower, hotel, and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is owned by Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds, an affiliate of Goldman, Sachs and Company who purchased American Casino and Entertainment Properties which includes the Stratosphere along with three other properties. The sale closed on 21 February 2008 for $1.3 billion. The property's signature attraction is the 1,149 ft (350 m) Stratosphere Tower, the tallest free-standing observation tower in the United States and the second tallest in the Western Hemisphere, surpassed only by the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario. It is the tallest free-standing structure in Nevada, and it is the second-tallest free-standing structure west of the Mississippi River, after the Kennecott Smokestack in Magna, Utah. The hotel is a separate building with 24 stories, 2,444 rooms and an 80,000 square foot (7,000 m) casino. Following its completion in 1996 it was initially less popular than first envisioned due to its location on the extreme north end of the strip, far away from the most popular hotel casinos, but its low room prices and unique offerings eventually ensured its success. While many tourists consider its location to be inconvenient, others feel the location is an advantage since it is equidistant between the more popular strip casinos and the downtown area (which includes the Fremont Street Experience). The top of the tower has two observation decks, a fine-dining restaurant known as "Top of the World" (revolving restaurant), and three thrill rides: The Big Shot at 1,081 feet (329 m) is the highest thrill ride in the world; Insanity, opened in 2005, at 900 feet (274 m) is the second highest thrill ride in the world, it dangles riders over the edge of the tower and then spins in a circular pattern at approximately forty miles per hour; and X-scream at 866 feet (264 m) is the third highest thrill ride in the world. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



Nunchaku, also known as nunchucks, chucks or chain sticks, are a traditional Okinawan weapon and consists of two sticks connected at their ends with a short chain or rope. The popular belief is that the nunchaku was originally a short Southeast Asian flail used to thresh rice or soybeans (that is, separate the grain from the husk). It is possible that it was developed in response to the moratorium on edged weaponry under the Satsuma daimyo after invading Okinawa in the 17th century, and that the weapon was most likely conceived and used exclusively for that end, as the configuration of actual flails and bits are unwieldy for use as a weapon. Also, peasant farmers were forbidden conventional weaponry such as arrows or blades so they improvised using only what they had available, farm tools such as the sickle. A nunchaku is two sections of wood connected by a cord or chain, though variants may include additional sections of wood and chain. Chinese nunchaku tend to be rounded, whereas the Okinawan version has an octagonal cross-section (allowing one edge of the nunchaku to make contact on the target increasing the damage inflicted). The ideal length of each piece should be long enough to protect the forearm when held in a high grip near the top of the shaft. Both ends are usually of equal length, although asymmetrical nunchaku exist. The ideal length for the connecting rope/chain is just enough to allow the user to lay it over his or her palm, with the sticks hanging comfortably and perpendicular to the ground. Weight balance is extremely important; cheaper or gimmicky nunchaku (such as glow-in-the-dark ones) are often not properly balanced, which prevents the performer from doing the more advanced and flashier 'low-grip' moves, such as overhand twirls. Freestyle nunchaku is a modern style of performance art using the nunchaku as a visual tool rather than as a weapon. With the growing prevalence of the Internet the availability of nunchaku has increased greatly, combining this with the popularity of YouTube and other video sharing sites many people have become interested in learning how to use the weapons for freestyle displays. Freestyle is one discipline of competition held by the World Nunchaku Association. Some modern martial arts teach the use of nunchaku as it may help students improve their reflexes, hand control, and other skills. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





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