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The Haunted Mansion is a dark ride located at Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Park in Paris (as Phantom Manor). Each incarnation of the attraction features a ride-through tour of a haunted house in Omnimover vehicles called Doom Buggies, preceded by a walk-through show in the queue. The attraction showcases a number of age-old tricks, advanced special effects, and spectral Audio-Animatronics. The attraction's roots date back to even before Disneyland was built, when Walt Disney had just hired the first of his Imagineers. The first known illustration of the park showed a main street setting, green fields, western village, and a carnival. Disney Legend Harper Goff developed a black-and-white sketch of a crooked street leading away from main street by a peaceful church and graveyard, with a run-down manor perched high on a hill that towered over main street. While not part of the original attractions when Disneyland opened in 1955, Disney assigned Imagineer Ken Anderson to make a story around the Harper Goff idea and the design of his new 'grim grinning' adventure. Plans were made to build a New Orleans-themed land in the small transition area between Frontierland and Adventureland. Weeks later, New Orleans Square appeared on the souvenir map and promised a thieves' market, a pirate wax museum, and a haunted house walk-through. After being assigned his project, Anderson studied New Orleans and old plantations to come up with a drawing of an antebellum manor overgrown with weeds, dead trees, swarms of bats, and boarded doors and windows topped by a screeching cat as a weathervane. On May 3, 2006, new changes went into effect at the Disneyland Haunted Mansion. The new show scene introduced in the attic scene during the ride follows a ghostly bride named Constance Hatchaway (portraits played by Buffy The Vampire Slayer actress Julia Lee and voiced by Kat Cressida), now described as a "black widow bride," and slowly uncovers her bloody past, which includes the murders and decapitations of all her previous husbands (named Ambrose Harper, Frank Banks, Reginald Caine, the Marquis De Doom, and George Hightower) in an attempt to gain their vast fortunes. The new effects start when visitors first enter the mansion's attic. Now, when the visitor enters the attic, the pop-up ghosts that shout "I do!" are gone. This is to make room for the current effects. As the visitor enters the attic, the first new things seen are an amber-glowing glass lamp, various treasures and china, and multiple portraits of different grooms, each with the same bride. An axe-like sound echoes from the pictures throughout the room, and in each portrait the groom's head disappears. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



The world population is the total population of humans on the planet Earth, currently estimated to be 6.91 billion by the United States Census Bureau. The world population has experienced continuous growth since the end of the Bubonic Plague around the years 1348-1350. The highest rates of growth—increases above 1.8% per year—were seen briefly during the 1950s, for a longer period during the 1960s and 1970s; the growth rate peaked at 2.2% in 1963, and declined to 1.1% by 2009. Annual births have reduced to 140 million since their peak at 173 million in the late 1990s, and are expected to remain constant, while deaths number 57 million per year and are expected to increase to 80 million per year by 2040. Current projections show a continued increase of population (but a steady decline in the population growth rate) with the population expected to reach between 7.5 and 10.5 billion in the year 2050. Regionally, the first region to hit a billion people was the Northern Hemisphere, followed shortly by the Eastern Hemisphere, not too long after the world hit a billion. Next in coming was Asia, then East Asia and South Asia, followed by China in 1980, India in 1999, Western Hemisphere in the 2000's and Africa in 2010. The next billion people milestones expected by demographers are the Americas, with a current population of around 920 million, the Southern Hemisphere and Subsaharan Africa with each around 850 million people. It is not known if the current next contenders, Europe, Southeast Asia, and North America in that order, will ever surpass 1 billion people. As for 2, 3, and 4 billion, only the Northern Hemisphere, Eastern Hemisphere, and Asia have surpassed these figures. Historically, human population control has been implemented by limiting the population's birth rate, by contraception or by government mandate, and has been undertaken as a response to factors including high or increasing levels of poverty, environmental concerns, religious reasons, and overpopulation. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



Crack cocaine, crack or rock is a solid, smokable form of cocaine. It is a freebase form of cocaine that can be made using baking soda, in a process to convert powder cocaine into freebase cocaine. In purer forms, crack rocks appear as off-white nuggets with jagged edges, with a slightly higher density than candle wax. Purer forms of crack resemble a hard brittle plastic, in crystalline form. A crack rock acts as a local anesthetic, numbing the tongue or mouth only where directly placed. When smoked, crack can leave the tongue numb where the smoke enters the mouth. Purer forms of crack will sink in water or melt at the edges when near a flame (crack vaporizes at 90 °C, 194 °F). Crack cocaine is a substance that affects the brain chemistry of the user: causing euphoria, supreme confidence, loss of appetite, insomnia, alertness, increased energy, a craving for more cocaine, and potential paranoia. Its initial effect is to release a large amount of dopamine, a brain chemical inducing feelings of euphoria. The high usually lasts from 5–10 minutes, after which time dopamine levels in the brain plummet, leaving the user feeling depressed and low. When crack is dissolved and injected, the absorption into the bloodstream is as rapid as by smoking, and similar euphoria with purer forms of crack. There has been some controversy over the disproportionate sentences mandated by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for crack cocaine (versus powder cocaine) since 1987. Whereas it is a 5-year minimum sentence for trafficking 500g of powdered cocaine, the same sentence can be imposed for mere possession of 5 grams of crack cocaine, a 100:1 ratio. There is no mandatory minimum sentence for mere possession of powder cocaine. The United States Sentencing Commission has recommended that this disparity be rectified and existing sentences reduced. Some claim that this disparity amounts to institutional racism, as crack cocaine is more common in inner-city black communities, and powder cocaine in white suburban communities. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family). It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word. Found across much of the tropics, the coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many domestic, commercial, and industrial uses of its different parts. Coconuts are part of the daily diet of many people. Its endosperm is known as the edible "flesh" of the coconut; when dried it is called copra. The oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking and frying; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is a refreshing drink and can be processed to create alcohol. The husks and leaves can be used as material to make a variety of products for furnishing and decorating. It also has cultural and religious significance in many societies that use it. Botanically the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. Like other fruits it has three layers: exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp. The exocarp and mesocarp make up the husk of the coconut. Coconuts sold in the shops of non-tropical countries often have had the exocarp (outermost layer) removed. The mesocarp is composed of fibers called coir which have many traditional and commercial uses. The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for decoration, as well as for its many culinary and non-culinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be utilized by humans in some manner. Coconuts' versatility is sometimes noted in its naming. In Sanskrit it is kalpa vriksha ("the tree which provides all the necessities of life"). In the Malay language, it is pokok seribu guna ("the tree of a thousand uses"). In the Philippines, the coconut is commonly called the "Tree of Life". Nearly all parts of the palm are useful, and it has significant economic value. The shell has three germination pores (stoma) or eyes that are clearly visible on its outside surface once the husk is removed. The coconut has spread across much of the tropics, probably aided in many cases by seafaring people. Coconut fruit in the wild is light, buoyant and highly water resistant, and evolved to disperse significant distances via marine currents. It has been collected from the sea as far north as Norway. In the Hawaiian Islands, the coconut is regarded as a Polynesian introduction, first brought to the islands by early Polynesian voyagers from their homelands in Oceania. They have been found in the Caribbean and the Atlantic coasts of Africa and South America for less than 500 years but there is evidence that their presence on the Pacific coast of South America predates Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas. In some parts of the world (Thailand and Malaysia), trained pig-tailed macaques are used to harvest coconuts. Training schools for pig-tailed macaques still exist both in southern Thailand, and in the Malaysian state of Kelantan. Competitions are held each year to find the fastest harvester. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



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