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Cosmic Sweet Tooth

December 27, 2001

Amid all the sweets eaten during the holidays comes significant news that sweetness truly is fundamental to the universe.

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Scientists have discovered a sugar-like substance in a couple of meteorites. "Sugar chemistry appears to be involved in life as far back as our records go," said one scientist quoted in a press release from the Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California.

Hmmm. Did a sugar-laden rock from outer space help early man (or woman) invent the Christmas cookie? Was the first chocolate made when a meteor hit a cacao tree? Did the first human with a sweet tooth come by that weakness after licking this heaven-sent confection?

If only we could return the favor and blast into outer space a few of the rock-like fruitcakes given out as holiday gifts.