When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

It can be hard to distinguish among the men wearing grey suits and regulation haircuts on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. But David Margolis always brought a splash of color.

It wasn't his lovably disheveled wardrobe, or his Elvis ring, but something else: the force of his flamboyant personality. Margolis, a graduate of Harvard Law School, didn't want to fit in with the crowd. He wanted to stand out.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit Montgomery-ed.org

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.


3-D Printing Is (Kind Of) A Big Deal

Jan 4, 2013
Originally published on January 4, 2013 10:15 pm

The first key to thinking about 3-D printers is this: Do not think printer. Think magic box that creates any object you can imagine.

In the box, razor-thin layers of powdered material (acrylic, nylon, silver, whatever) pile one on top of the other, and then, voila — you've got a shoe, or a cup, or a ring, or an iPhone case.

It's miraculous to see. Press a button, make anything you want. But just how important is 3-D printing? Unlike earlier big-deal technologies (like, say, the tractor) 3-D printing won't really replace what came before.

"If you're producing trash cans or stadium seats, you'll more than likely produce them the old way," says analyst Terry Wohlers.

And for consumers, the economist Tyler Cowen points out, it's still way easier to order something from Amazon than print it yourself — and that's how people will buy things for the foreseeable future.

Still, 3-D printing is amazingly powerful for personalized applications.

Right now, there are 30,000 people walking around with 3-D printed titanium hips, which are less expensive than conventionally manufactured artificial hips.

Boosters of 3-D printing dream of a day when printers can make new body parts. More prosaically, they talk about a day when every shirt, every dress, every pair of pants can be custom printed to perfectly fit each person.

Another thing to keep in mind about 3-D printing: It democratizes who gets to be in the manufacturing business. You don't need a giant factory and million-dollar machines. You just need $500 and a garage.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.


And I'm Robert Siegel. Every once in a long while, a new technology comes along and changes our economy: the steam engine, the telegraph, the personal computer. Well, some people think the next thing on that list could be the three-dimensional printer. With our Planet Money team, Zoe Chace now takes a closer look at this new technology and whether it has the potential to be an economic game-changer.

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: First the 3-D printer is the biggest misnomer ever. Do not think printer. Think magic box that creates whatever object you can imagine.

PETE WEIJMARSHAUSEN: Watch it, watch it, it will come. There it goes.

CHACE: Pete Weijmarshausen peers into one of the printers, about the size of a refrigerator. He's the CEO of Shapeways, a 3-D printing company in New York. Inside, razor-thin layers of raw material - powdered acrylic, powdered nylon, powdered silver, whatever - are deposited precisely one on top of the other. You look through the window like an oven window and see the object taking shape from the bottom up.

WEIJMARSHAUSEN: And this is how grows, layer by layer.

CHACE: Oh, I see. After a few hours, you've got stuff, all kinds of stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: So here we have a shoe.

WEIJMARSHAUSEN: Rings, bracelets, pendants, iPhone cases, lots of them, iPad cases.

CORNISH: Seeing it in front of you, it's hard not to imagine this will have a radical impact on the economy. It's miraculous-looking: press a button to make an actual thing out of raw materials. That looks like a revolution. But the industrial revolutions we're familiar with, they're very different from what I'm seeing here. Say the steam engine, those technologies centralized production, made the mass production of stuff into huge business.

CHACE: Terry Wohlers is an analyst who's been watching 3-D printing technology since its inception 20 years ago, and he says that's not the right comparison to make. The 3-D printer does not replace what came before it.

TERRY WOHLERS: If you're producing, say, trash cans or stadium seats, you'll more than likely produce them the old way: in Asia using conventional methods of manufacturing.

CHACE: What it is revolutionary, or at least innovative, is how flexible this allows manufacturing to be. Right now, you can only 3-D print out of certain materials. But soon enough, you'll be able to make stuff out of anything. That's how Weijmarshausen, the 3-D printing CEO, sees it.

WEIJMARSHAUSEN: Say you want a T-shirt that is perfect for you. Now, I think in a few years, we can print clothing, and then you can have clothing without sizes, but you have the size that fits you.

CHACE: You don't order a small, medium or large, you order like a Zoe.


CHACE: Just imagine for a second, everything you would want custom made, super cheap, and this is already happening. You fly in planes from Boeing and others with parts in them that have been 3-D printed. Right now there are 30,000 people walking around with 3-D-printed titanium hips inside, way less expensive than they used to be.

WOHLERS: And they're just getting started. The possibilities in orthopedic manufacturing really is almost limitless.

CHACE: In the future, analyst Terry Wohlers says forget about titanium or even cotton. Try human tissue.

WOHLERS: You lose a finger, you print out a new one.

CHACE: Yeah, like, actual body parts, printing out new fingers using your cells.

WOHLERS: Bones and bladders and eventually kidneys and so forth.

CHACE: There's another thing to keep in mind, though, about the arrival of 3-D printing. If the industrial revolutions that we know centralized things gave birth to enormous companies that make a massive amount of things, 3-D printing kind of reverses that process.

CHRIS ANDERSON: What's new is the fact that the most advanced, you know, machines are now as accessible to regular people as they are to the biggest companies.

CHACE: Chris Anderson is not strictly a regular guy. He's the former editor of Wired Magazine, now the CEO of a robotics company. He says the 3-D printer democratizes who gets to be in manufacturing. Anybody with a good idea can have a pretty good prototype really cheaply and then bring that product to the masses.

ANDERSON: Taking a product from one to many, taking a product through its entire cycle, from invention to creation and marketing and building a company around it, that just wasn't possible in most of the 20th century because manufacturing was just so hard and inaccessible.

CHACE: So if you want to go into business manufacturing stuff, there is a much lower barrier to entry. Soon enough, Anderson says, you might see 3-D printers showing up at Wal-Mart or Barnes & Noble, on desktops, in the office, whatever. That doesn't mean everybody will do it, but the fact that is now so easy to be the boss of your own factory, that is a pretty revolutionary idea.

ANDERSON: You know, Karl Marx's line that, you know, the power belongs to those who own the means of production. And regular people didn't own the means of production.

CHACE: And isn't it funny how it's working out? It's capitalism that's taken the means of production and turned it into a point-and-click experience for anyone. Zoe Chace, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.