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A new meaning for the big apple. That's an early reaction to a story so cosmic it will obviously have to have much more reflection. We refer, of course, to the report of a revolution in research challenging the ''big bang'' theory of how the universe evolved. It was not a mammoth explosion, according to one of the new views, but an expansion from virtually nothing - a concentration of energy no larger than a single apple, says the New York Times. What's more, the resulting ''universe,'' which repeatedly doubled in size during a fraction of a second, may lie embedded in another universe that is ''far larger but totally unobservable.''

Food for thought rather bigger than an apple.

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