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.

Pages

To Fight Tick-Borne Disease, Someone Has To Catch Ticks

Nov 27, 2012
Originally published on November 27, 2012 12:35 pm

Most people try to avoid ticks. But not Tom Mather.

The University of Rhode Island researcher goes out of his way to find them.

He looks for deer ticks — poppy seed-sized skin burrowers — in the woods of southern Rhode Island. These are the teeny-tiny carriers of Lyme disease, an illness that can lead to symptoms ranging from nasty rashes to memory loss.

Mather's not having much trouble finding deer ticks. In fact, he just might be the best deer tick collector in the country. He caught 15,000 of them last year.

His success is a sign of a growing problem. Adult-sized deer ticks are thriving throughout much of the Northeast and parts of the Midwest.

Mather has a trim gray beard and a runner's build. He moves through the undergrowth with precision. He goes from one plant to another, sometimes plucking off ticks five at a time.

"You know. I can hold eight to 10 in my fingers and do it that way," Mather says. "If there is more than that, usually I will sort of touch the branch to my thigh and let the ticks crawl up on my leg, and then I have a couple seconds to pick them before they start walking away."

Mather doesn't have to go into the deep woods to find ticks. A lot of times, he's practically in people's wooded backyards.

"People would be incredulous if they only knew," he says.

But most people can't spot the ticks. They're tiny. Deer ticks tend to be a little smaller than dog ticks, and they're pretty good at blending in with their surroundings, too.

Mather has spent about 30 years studying deer ticks. When he started, he didn't know the organism would become the focus of his academic life — or something that sends him into tick-infested areas for work.

"This wouldn't be the job that most people would want — walking through the brush getting pricked and latched onto by ticks at the same time," Mather says, laughing. "I think it's great."

Just down the road from these woods is Mather's lab at the University of Rhode Island campus.

"When we bring the ticks back in from the field, we just keep them in the refrigerator," he says.

Probably half of the adult deer ticks he encountered in the woods carry some sort of pathogen like the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. And most of the ticks he collects this fall will be used for research. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 24,000 people last year in the U.S. contracted Lyme disease.

"People really need to become tick literate," he says. "When not so many people got sick it seemed like less of an issue. When more people get sick ... you need to know more about the situation."

Mather had Lyme disease — once. He's fine now, but he knows plenty of people who didn't fare as well. That's one reason why he's gathering ticks to use for the development of effective vaccines to fight tick-borne diseases.

"I feel that research has to be done for a purpose," he says. "And the purpose is to protect people. In this case, protect people from being bitten and getting a disease, or several diseases."

And that's why Mather will venture back into the woods, whistling to himself as he collects thousands more ticks.

Copyright 2013 Rhode Island Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.ripr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Autumn brings cool, crisp weather and throughout much of the Northeast and parts of the Midwest, a threat. It is deer tick season. And the tiny insects can mean big problems for hikers, hunters or anyone who enjoys the outdoors. Deer ticks can transmit Lyme disease. That illness afflicts thousands of Americans every year, leading to everything from swollen joints to memory loss.

Still, despite the danger posed by these ticks, Rhode Island Public Radio's Bradley Campbell found a man who chooses to spend his days collecting them.

(SOUNDBITE OF FOOTSTEPS)

BRADLEY CAMPBELL, BYLINE: If you want to find Dr. Tom Mather in the fall, just pull over to the side of the road near some woods in Southern Rhode Island. Mather's the guy in Carhartt overalls, whistling to himself as he plucks deer ticks off greenbrier with his fingers. Mather just might be the best deer tick collector in the United States. Last year, he caught 15,000.

DR. TOM MATHER: You know, I can hold eight or 10 in my fingers, you know, and do it that way. If there's more than that usually I will sort of touch the branch to my thigh and let the ticks crawl off on my leg and then I have a few seconds to quickly pick them before they start walking away.

CAMPBELL: Mather sports a trim gray beard. He has a runner's build and moves through the undergrowth with precision. He goes from one plant to another, sometimes plucking off ticks five at a time. And it's not like we're in the deep woods. There's a home just above us.

MATHER: People would be incredulous if they only knew.

CAMPBELL: What I can't seem to understand is I don't see anything. I'm not seeing anything and all of a sudden you're just plucking them off of the brush.

MATHER: Well, they're there.

CAMPBELL: And that's the danger. People can't spot them. It takes a trained eye. Deer ticks tend to be a little smaller than dog ticks, sometimes the size of poppy seed you'd find on a bagel. Mather's spent about 30 years studying ticks. When he started, he didn't know the organism would become the focus of his academic life or something that sends him into tick-infested areas for work.

MATHER: This wouldn't be the job most people would pick, though, walking through the briar patch getting pricked and latched on by ticks at the same time.

CAMPBELL: I couldn't think of anyone that would want this.

MATHER: I think this is great.

CAMPBELL: Just down the road from these woods is Mather's lab at the University of Rhode Island.

MATHER: When we bring the ticks back in from the field we just keep them in the refrigerator.

CAMPBELL: Probably half of the adult deer ticks we encountered in the woods carried a pathogen that could cause Lyme disease. And most of the ticks he collects this fall will be used for research. The Centers for Disease Control reports that more than 24,000 people last year in the U.S. contracted Lyme disease.

MATHER: People really need to become tick literate. When not so many people got sick, it seemed like less of an issue. When more people are getting sick, then you need to know more about the situation.

CAMPBELL: Mather's had Lyme disease once. He's fine now. But he knows plenty more who didn't do OK. That's why he's gathering ticks to use for the development of a broad spectrum vaccine to fight tick-borne diseases. Nothing like that currently exists for humans. It's his holy grail.

MATHER: I feel that research has to be done for a purpose. And the purpose is to protect people. In this case, protect people from being bitten and getting a disease or several diseases.

CAMPBELL: And that purpose is why Mather will venture back into the woods, whistling to himself as he collects thousands more ticks.

For NPR News, I'm Bradley Campbell in Providence.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.