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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Another Year And I'm Still Here: A New Year's Meditation

Dec 31, 2012
Originally published on January 1, 2013 12:17 pm

Updated Jan. 1, 2013: I've added a postscript to this post. You can find it at the bottom of this page.

Look at yourself. Right now.

You are muscle,skin, bone, brain, blood, warmed by energy, and all of you, every cell, even the subsets of those cells, all trillions and trillions of them, are going to tire, waste and depart. In 10 years almost every bit of you will have been replaced by new bits.

And yet, you will still be you. You will look like you do (sort of), you will behave like you do (sort of), others will know it's you (most of the time), and though a census of your innards will say, this is a new body, a different collection of atoms, you will know it's the same old you. How come?

If you are all new on the inside, how do you persist?

What Keeps Us Whole?

Well, there's your soul. If this weren't a sciencey blog, we could stop here. Your soul, breathed into you at your conception, will hang around till it's time to go and then be off to wherever it is souls go to. But suppose you are a "materialist"? Suppose you choose to imagine this journey naked, you as just a bunch of atoms, nothing added? What holds a soulless soul together?

The answer, these days, is your brain. Your memory. It's the story you tell yourself as you grow up, the unfurling narrative that begins with faces and smells and meals and sounds, then stretches into tales about your mom, dad, siblings, your pets, your family, your friends. It deepens with loves, joys, disappointments. It is always told by you, filtered through you. You are the one who tells it, you are the one who hears it, you are the only one who knows every bit of it.

Memories Are Our Duct Tape

To a significant degree, you are the sum of the stories you tell yourself about yourself.

Take away your memories, the connective tissue of your life, and what's left? You may be breathing, but in the late stages of memory loss, you aren't really there any more. You have unraveled.

We live this life together, but we experience it alone.

And when you actually die, what is annihilated? Well, there are tens of thousands of private images in your head right now: the pigeon you once almost caught when you were 4. The sight of a particularly beautiful girl disappearing through a doorway. The brief whoosh made by a snowy owl flying low that time you were walking alone in the woods. These are things no one knows, no one ever knew, no one but you.

When you go, they go. Forever. But as long as you're here, they stay. So, to all those pigeons, those girls, those owls that live in our heads, as long as we're here — to all of you, and to us, Happy New Year!

New Year's Day Postscript: What A Happy Memory Looks Like Inside Your Brain

By ROBERT KRULWICH

I just saw a video that captures the idea of the brain as a theater populated by just one audience member — though in this case, designer Rogier Wieland has taken liberties. His theater is filled with multiple versions of the same person. (Multiple yous, perhaps? You over the years?)

All of them are viewing the same spectacle. When I saw it, I thought to myself, "This must be what my brain looks like when it's happy." The tale being told here is obviously a triumph, and this guy watching just adores himself ... except for a little part of him that's seen it too many times. That part, you'll notice, gets bored.

Created by a Dutch designer and graphic artist Rogier Wieland. He did this with paper, cardboard, wood and cut out video. He calls it "The Audience," and he probably wasn't thinking about brain science, memory or death. That's my thing. Here's his:

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