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RELIGION Recognizing muslim holidays

paterson, n.j. - A decision by school-district officials in Paterson, N.J., to recognize two major Islamic holidays is the first of its kind in the United States, community leaders say. Paterson's schools will close next year on Jan. 7 for Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, and on March 17 for Eid al-Adha.

"We have a growing Muslim presence in Paterson, and this was a way to recognize that," school-board president William McKoy told the Bergen Record. Nationally, Muslims are seeking the right to observe their religion as they see fit.

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SCIENCE

E=mc2 I presume

Imagine sitting down at your desk to study a theory of Albert Einstein's and having the white-haired genius explain it to you. A new CD-ROM tutorial program will let you do this - by having virtual conversations with an Einstein avatar software robot. The Einstein cyber look-alike has a knowledge base of more than 20,000 items, and responds to questions asked in natural language.

The avatar generates thousands of answers to questions about Einstein's life, theories, and political activities, and comes with more than 100 historical photographs, said Eberhard Schoeneburg, head of Artificial Life Inc., creator of the Albert Einstein ALife. It will be available in July, initially only in German.

Jumping Jupiter, what storms!

New observations of Jupiter show that winds of molecular hydrogen ions are speeding around poles at thousands of miles an hour. A team of researchers using a NASA infrared telescope reported the existence of ion winds known as electrojets. The researchers, writing in the journal Nature, reported the average speed of the ions was more than 6,000 miles an hour. They noted that friction between these winds and the rest of Jupiter's atmosphere may explain why the temperature of the upper atmosphere is several hundred degrees higher than would be explained by sunlight's effect alone.

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