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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The End Of The World, My Way

Dec 20, 2012
Originally published on December 21, 2012 11:06 am

The Mayans being before my time, I'm too young for their End of the World.

Theirs comes from an ancient calendar that says "the fourteenth baktun" — a new era --will commence on Dec. 21, 2012.

Mine's newer. It comes from Mrs. Elkin, my second grade teacher, who told us how to hide during an atomic bomb attack. None of us had much confidence that sitting under our desks would work, which is why my End of the World makes no reference to calendars. Instead, it comes with a mushroom cloud.

For most of my young life, this is how I thought about The End, and with all due respect to the Mayans, there is something grand, even colossal, about an atomic finish, and here's my proof.

Historian Alex Wellerstein once posted an old video, produced, I presume, by the U.S. military, around 1952. It shows an atomic bomb exploding on the Nevada desert.

Like most bomb blast images, you can see it from a respectful distance, a long stem with a mushroom cloud on top — but this video is different. It includes shots from the ground up, from an ordinary soldier's point of view and on this particular day, there were soldiers there, standing in trenches, watching.

As they look, they get hit by a shock wave...

After which, they are told to leave their trenches and head toward the explosion, which is at that moment rising to the sky directly in front of them. I have never seen — and Alex says these are very rare — an atomic bomb with people so exposed and so close.

Here they are even closer. That's the bottom of the mushroom cloud which now towers above them. "I suddenly get a sense for how big the cloud is," Alex writes, "even though it must be many miles away."

In the video there's a tracking shot that takes you from these soldiers up the column of smoke, higher and higher — it just goes on and on and on — until we reach the cloud on top. As atomic bombs go, this wasn't a big one. So this is a rare look at the immensity of these weapons.

What you can't see, of course, is the horror they cause, the damage this bomb is doing to these soldiers, the damage it could do to homes, cities, animals, people. But oddly, a sense of scale has been missing from most images of an atomic Armageddon. This video is the closest I can get to imagining the immensity of my End of the World.

I don't know what the Mayans imagined for their finish — I'm not expecting to find out on Friday — but this was the nightmare I grew up with. I'm very glad that over the years The End I feared is getting a little less likely — at least I hope it is. (Are you listening Mr. Obama? Mr. Putin? Mr. Netanyahu? Mr.Mukherjee? M. Hollande? Mr. Kim? Mr. Ashraf? Mr. Cameron? Hmm. The list keeps getting longer...)

Here's the video:


Thanks to Alex Wellerstein, historian at the at the American Institute of Physics, whose cold war tales are regularly posted on his Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog. That's where I go when I'm looking to be (metaphorically only), blown away.

And that's where I found this video and his accompanying essay. He called it "In Search of a Sense of Scale."

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