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'A Great Wall' wins great prize

Patrick Tyler cracked a valuable fortune cookie last week as winner of the $50,000 Lionel Gelber Prize. His book, "A Great Wall: Six Presidents and China" (Public Affairs), describes the often tense relationship in the late 20th century between the world's most powerful nation and the world's most populous nation.

Based on four years of research, thousands of newly declassified documents, and hundreds of interviews with US presidents, Chinese leaders, and other key officials, "A Great Wall" presents a behind-the-scenes account of America's efforts to engage the People's Republic.

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Before moving to the Moscow bureau, Mr. Tyler was The New York Times Beijing bureau chief.

The Lionel Gelber Foundation in Canada awards the prize every year to a book about global affairs and international relations.

Slimy but smart

Slime mold, it turns out, may be smarter than anyone thought. A team of Japanese scientists has shown that the single-celled amoeba (physarum polycephalum) can quickly figure out the shortest way through a maze. The amoeba reconfigured itself to run directly between two food sources along the shortest route, implying, researchers say in the Sept. 28 issue of Nature magazine, "that cellular materials can show a primitive intelligence."

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society