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.


A Dangerous World of Hackers And Ninjas

Dec 31, 2012
Originally published on December 31, 2012 1:29 pm

Nick Harkaway is the author of Angelmaker.

The moment I opened the book, I was snared by the now-iconic first line: "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel." I knew that color; the U.K. had only four TV channels and they didn't broadcast through the night. When nothing was on, the cathode ray screen was a kind of numinous anthracite, the closest thing it could manage to black. If you want to be clever about it — at the time it was a comparison way beyond me — you could call it "darkness visible." Neuromancer lives in that space: It is contradiction, bifurcation, penumbra.

The protagonist, Case, is a burnout. He was a hacker, but he crossed the wrong people, and they crippled his nervous system so that he could no longer work with cyberspace (Gibson made up the word; this book heavily influenced how people imagine data online). Case is living on his luck, and that luck is running out; he's been to the best doctors and they can't fix him, so he's a middleman now, brokering deals for drugs and illegal software.

Until Molly comes along, and her boss, Armitage, offering a deal: Make a run in cyberspace, a really major hack. He'll get cured, get paid. Sweet deal. But in the grand tradition of crime thrillers, the job is more complicated than it seems, and Case is going to be crossing some dangerous people and some very thick red lines.

Despite the breakneck urgency of the action, the hard-boiled story drips with laconic cool. I had never met that before: Hammett, Chandler and Elmore Leonard came later for me. Neuromancer introduced a demimonde of back alleys, sodium streetlamps and the kind of club where you can buy firearms with your whiskey. It whispered of transgression, of sex and booze, and license.

The other fictions that framed my world were basically benign. I'd seen Tron and loved it. I was a Star Wars fan. I liked hobbits and the Three Musketeers. But Han Solo wouldn't last 10 minutes in Night City; Frodo would be hooked on a drug with a seven-syllable name inside of an hour. This was a world between the primary color fictions I'd seen and the dangerous nuclear age reality I lived in: In the 1980s it was pretty much established that Britain would burn in the first exchanges of a war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

Inevitably, I fell for Molly, the street samurai with mirrors over her eyes and razors in her fingers. In my mind she had a husky, Lauren Bacall voice made from coffee and cigarettes — and I was right. If Bacall's character from To Have and Have Not taught English to Michelle Yeoh's martial artist from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, you'd get someone like Molly.

Even now, she's a rarity. More often than not, Molly is what's missing from contemporary stories of any sort: a woman who is complete unto herself. She didn't need a male senior partner. In fact, she was more connected and streetwise than Case, and more alert to the danger they were both in. Wherever she went, Molly was in charge. In 1985, you could look a long time without finding that anywhere else.

And in a middle-class British school, you could go even longer without hearing the name Marcus Garvey, the Pan-African and black nationalist political leader who influenced Martin Luther King, Haile Selassie and Malcolm X — and the orbit-dwelling Rastafari nation Case and the others encounter in their search for answers. A decade before Google, I had to look Garvey up in the encyclopedia.

Add that to ninjas, amphetamines, extreme body modification, catsuits, gangs, governmental misdeeds, high decadence, Strangelove-esque soldiers and psychotic computers: Neuromancer was and is a treasure house of dangerous ideas.

And yet at the same time, it is secretly a very gentle book. Amid all the grime and grim, it's not hard to know where to put your sympathy or your trust. The bad are bad, the good are good. So despite all this, it's not an unsuitable book for a kid, just a challenging and eye-opening one. And unlike so many improving and notionally educational books, it's stylish, adult, exciting and fun. It's a door to a greater world.

PG-13 is produced and edited by the team at NPR Books.

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