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.


Big Brother Is In Your Pocket (But You Get A Discount)

Dec 7, 2012
Originally published on October 29, 2014 12:24 pm

Customer loyalty programs have been around for years. You think nothing of giving the supermarket or pet supply store your personal information. In exchange you get a card or a key ring tag that you present at checkout to get a discount.

Now wireless carriers are taking it a step further, raising alerts from privacy advocates.

Verizon and AT&T recently launched programs allowing customers to receive rewards based on information their smartphones share with the carriers.

Verizon's program, called Verizon Selects, "will use location, web browsing and mobile application usage data, as well as other information including customer demographic and interest data, to create specific insights" about customers, Torod Neptune, vice president of corporate communications for Verizon Wireless, said on the company's website.

"Verizon Selects analyzes this information about customers to see whether they fit into certain audiences Verizon or third party marketers are trying to reach," Neptune said. "Depending on the results, participating customers will receive marketing messages or offers that may be of more interest to them than what they see or receive today."

AT&T said its program, called AT&T Alerts, will use "geo-location technology" to offer customers "discounts, rewards and offers via text message when they are near participating retailers and brands," including Gap, Staples and Zales.

GigaOM gives this example: "If you're approaching a Gap, for example, AT&T ships you [a] text message out of the blue with a link to a coupon for jeans."

Both AT&T and Verizon say the programs will work on an opt-in basis — only customers who choose to participate will do so. And they emphasize that they won't share personal information with other companies. Verizon said it will offer the program to some of its customers, in what GigaOM described as a pilot program, while AT&T has a sign-up page.

"It's important to remember that Verizon DOES NOT share information that identifies customers personally outside of Verizon," Verizon said.

On its website, AT&T said, "Your personal information will not be used outside of the AT&T Alerts program." And its terms of use point to the company's privacy policy, which says, "We do not provide Personal Information to non-AT&T companies for the marketing of their own products and services without your consent."

But privacy groups say such programs are deceptive and potentially illegal.

"Users' location data, web browsing histories, internet search terms, demographic information, and mobile device usage information are often personally identifiable," the Electronic Privacy Information Center said in an October 2011 complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding Verizon's business practices.

"Verizon Wireless's collection and disclosure of this personal information violates user expectations, diminishes user privacy, and contradicts Verizon Wireless's own representations," EPIC said in the complaint. "These business practices are Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices ..."

And the Electronic Frontier Foundation says that even the practice of aggregating personal data can violate privacy provisions. As CNET reported in October 2012:

"Hanni Fakhoury, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, said a wireless carrier that discloses information about which URLs a customer visits could run afoul of the Wiretap Act. In general, the law says, carriers may not 'divulge the contents of any communication.'

" 'I don't see any substantive difference between collecting content from one person and turning it over to someone, and collecting it from multiple people, aggregating that information and then turning the aggregated data over to someone else,' Fakhoury says. 'In the end, there is still a capturing of content from the user at some point — and that's what the potential (Wiretap Act) problem is.' "

In addition to Verizon Selects, the company offers businesses a program called Precision Market Insights, which it describes on its site:

"Our solutions capture information from the physical and digital worlds simultaneously to deliver unparalleled audience and location measurement, mobile marketing and predictive analytics based on what audiences actually do, where they actually go and what they actually like."

Verizon tells retailers the data can be used to "drive sales by enhancing customer satisfaction":

"Using location data, mobile-browsing trends and location-specific analytics, you can now determine what your customer base really looks like and how to best serve them. Our tools can help you provide a more targeted retail experience to meet consumers' wants and needs in a specific area."

h/t GigaOM

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