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.


Between A Rumba And A Roll: Dissecting A Bartender's Beat

Jan 11, 2013
Originally published on January 14, 2013 2:36 pm

When you walk into a crowded bar, the sound may not be apparent at first. But before long, your ears will pick up the rhythm of an unmistakable beat.

It's a bartender's shake.

"Some people think I'm listening to a rumba when I'm shaking," says D.C. bartender Eddie Kim. "I don't think it matters what the background music is as long as you keep a rhythm."

Another Beltway bartender, J.P. Fetherston, agrees, adding that the spectacle helps him keep his audience captivated.

"You can see the faces on the other side of the bar. Everybody loves to hear that shookuh-shookuh-shookuh," says Fetherston imitating the rolling, rhythmic sound of his cocktail shake. "If it has a little bit of flair to it, you can see people getting into it. They even start doing a little conga dance sometimes. It sort of helps the whole show."

Whether a bartender's rhythm reminds you of a dance beat or a train whistle, these bartenders say, it's fundamental to creating a well-crafted cocktail. Unless you prefer your cocktail stirred, in which case, see our Bond martini report.

Function Meets Rhythm

The shake makes a drink cold and distributes its contents evenly. But some experts say there are some factors that may affect the perfect blend. For starters, not all ice is created equal. And that can affect how long and how hard you should shake.

Edward Korry, who heads up Johnson and Wales University's beverage and dining services program in Providence, R.I., says most cocktails reach their prime at 15 to 20 seconds of shaking, but the timing can also depend on the quality of the ice.

"The worst kind of ice is hollow ice. We tell our students if the recipe calls for a 15-second shake and you're going out to the field and you've got hollow ice, well, you're going to have to reduce that to a five- to seven-second shake because of the water dilution," Korry says. "The ice just starts to disintegrate really, really fast."

Fetherston, bar manager at D.C.'s Rappahannock Oyster Bar, also says that ice is key. He prefers large, dense cubes that won't break apart.

"If the machine is not working at full capacity, they'll be a little more brittle and you can hear that in the shaker. You can hear that ice is breaking apart very easily," says Fetherston. "Whereas if it does what it normally does, they stay in big pieces much longer. You can really shake it a lot harder."

Fetherston, who often shakes his drinks directly in front of him instead of over the shoulder, says his shaking style has been influenced by other bartenders, like his former employer, Derek Brown, who owns The Columbia Room, a reservations-only D.C. cocktail bar, and Japanese bartender, Kazuo Uyeda, who's known for developing the "hard shake."

Uyeda describes his methods in his book Cocktail Techniques: "I introduced a more forceful three-point shake in order to thoroughly mix the ingredients. To create a more complex motion, I introduced a snap and then a twist while I held the shaker diagonally. And that's how the hard shake was born."

Does Style Matter?

While Uyeda is influential, not everyone believes that his shake creates the best cocktails. In fact, not everyone agrees that maintaining a rhythm in your shake or using perfect ice creates a better drink.

The challenge with the bartender's shake is that while everyone has an opinion, there's not really much definitive data. Back in 2009, a trio of New York cocktail friends — Dave Arnold; Alex Day, a partner at the Manhattan bar Death and Company; and Eben Klemm, a molecular biologist turned bartender — unveiled the findings of their own experiment, which found that neither the style of shaking nor the type of ice had an impact on the temperature or dilution of the cocktail. At 20 to 25 shakes, they say, everything reaches equilibrium, no matter what.

Arnold, who is the host of the online radio show Cooking Issues, says they even conducted what he calls a "crazy monkey shake" — tossing the shaker around haphazardly — and they still got the same results.

So, why not just have a machine or a monkey stand in for a bartender? Even Arnold says it wouldn't be the same. "I think the theater of the bar is important. It's one of the reasons that you're not drinking at home."

See our video above to meet some of these bartenders and hear their shaking philosophies in their own words.

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.