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SPACE

Meteorite with a story to tell

A meteorite that crashed to Earth in a spectacular fireball last year is providing fresh clues about the early universe. The meteorite, which was probably about the size of a van, landed near Tagish Lake in British Columbia in January 2000, shattering into fragments that were unusually well preserved in the frozen ice of the lake. The "D-type asteroid" came from the mid-to-far end of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Composed of the most primitive elements of the universe, it was the first of its kind discovered on Earth.

SCIENCE

Starfish, phone home

Murray Hill, NJ - Primitive marine creatures might hold the key to boosting the efficiency and capacity of telecommunications networks, Bell Labs said last week. The scientists at the research and development arm of Lucent Technologies found chalklike calcite crystals in the skeletons of marine creatures known as brittlestars that offer a road map to improving the transmission of light along fiber-optic networks. By designing micro-lenses based on the brittlestar model, scientists hope to compensate for the defects of lenses that distort light.

RELIGION

Faith is where the home is

The religious beliefs and practices of teens today closely reflect those of their elders, according to a new Gallup poll. Equal percentages (95 percent) of US teens (13 to 17 years old) and adults (18 and older) say they believe in God or a universal spirit. Sixty-eight percent of each age grouping claims membership in a church.

On the other hand, teens are less likely than adults to say religion is the most important influence in their lives, as well as less likely to say they rely on God in making life decisions. And more teens than adults describe themselves as "spiritual but not religious."

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