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.

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Ah, Wilderness! Nature Hike Could Unlock Your Imagination

Dec 13, 2012
Originally published on December 14, 2012 5:50 pm

Want to be more creative? Drop that iPad and head to the great outdoors.

That's the word from David Strayer, a cognitive neuroscientist who studies multitasking at the University of Utah. He knew that every time he went into the southern Utah desert, far from cellular service, he started to think more clearly.

But he wanted to know if others had the same experience.

To find out, he first sent students out into nature with computers, to test their attention spans. "It was an abysmal failure," Strayer says. "The students didn't want to be anywhere near the computers." Worse still, he says, "the light of the computer screen attracts moths and ants and things. People were having to fight insects."

So much for that experiment. Next he discussed the problem with a group of other cognitive neuroscientists, including Ruth Ann Atchley who studies creativity at the University of Kansas.

Before embarking on a backpacking trip in a Utah canyon, the group took a simple pencil-and-paper creativity quiz, the so-called Remote Associates Test, which asks people to identify word associations that aren't immediately obvious. Four days into the trip, they took the test again.

"I had no real expectations," Strayer told Shots. "But we got a 45 percent improvement. That's a striking effect."

Striking, but hardly scientific. The scores could have improved because the researchers had already taken the test once.

So Strayer connected with Outward Bound, and outdoor leadership program, and asked if he could use their students as test subjects. Outward Bound is notoriously strict about bringing artifacts of modern life into the wilderness. Not only are students not allowed to bring iPods or laptops, they can't even bring a book.

Half of the 56 hikers took the test before going backpacking in the wilderness, and the other half took the RAT test on the fourth day of their trip. The groups went into the wild in Alaska, Colorado, Maine and Washington.

The people who took the test four days into the wilderness did 50 percent better than those who were still immersed in modern life. The study is published in the online journal PLOS One.

What's behind the difference? Strayer thinks there are probably a few things involved.

One is exposure to nature over a number of days, which has been shown in other studies to improve thinking. Strenuous exercise probably helped, too, though all the Outward Bound participants were young and fit. Another factor may well be abandoning electronic devices.

He studies multitasking and driver distraction, and says constant texting and checking in on Facebook are not making us think more clearly.

Strayer now wants to find out what happens in the brains of those people whose creativity seems inspired by nature. He's going to bring portable EEG equipment into the wild, to measure brain activity, and other gear to measure changes in their blood.

All important work, of course. But this may be one case where there's no need to wait for definitive proof. Strayer says he finds some of his clearest thinking happens on his daily walk to work.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.