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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Fruit Fly Nose Says Steer Clear Of Deadly Food; Human Nose Not So Reliable

Dec 6, 2012
Originally published on December 6, 2012 4:10 pm

The earthy smell of a fresh beet may spark delicious thoughts for us, but for a fruit fly, that smell screams danger.

Geosmin, a naturally occurring chemical that gives beets, fresh soil and corked wine their distinctive smell, is also cranked out by bacteria deadly to fruit flies. And it turns out that the tiny flies have a direct pathway from nose to brain made just to detect that smell — and avoid the toxic microbes that produce it.

When Bill Hansson, a professor at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, and his crew blocked the geosmin-detecting pathway in flies, they ate contaminated food and died. With the pathway intact, they steered clear. The fact that the tiny fly is devoting precious neuronal real estate to this shows how important it has been for survival to be able to detect the smell of spoiled food.

"They have one line for their whole nervous system just telling about this," Hansson tells The Salt. "On their nose they have cells only detecting this. We tested 3,000 compounds and only got a response to geosmin. That's an amazing specificity." His article was published in the journal Cell.

This is the first evidence of a special dedicated pathway for food odor, Hansson says. Animals are also very sensitive to smells that are sexual signals. But those are blends of pheromones, rather than a single smell. Check out Hansson and a colleague explain the study in this video.

People don't have a dedicated pathway to detect geosmin. That may be because those microbes don't pose a threat to us. Also, humans have many times more smell receptors than fruit flies. And we eat a much broader range of foods. Some of us even like beets.

In fact, geosmin can be a pleasant smell: Think about a farmer's field being plowed in the spring, or the garden just after it rains. But it's also responsible for the funky smell that sometimes troubles municipal water systems. (Supertasters may be able to smell germs in their sinuses, according to a recent study, but most of us don't have that talent.)

But the poor grad student who worked with the flies picked up a moldy geosmin stink that followed him around the laboratory. "It really doesn't smell nice," Hansson said. "You can smell him down the corridor."

There's no question that humans and other mammals react strongly to the smell of spoiled food. Just opening the office refrigerator is usually enough to prompt an "ugh!" or sometimes worse. But unfortunately, people don't have the ability to recognize the smell of dangerous bugs like E. coli or salmonella.

Still, this research could prove useful to humans. If dedicated smell pathways like the fruit fly's geosmin detector could be found in insects that pose a threat to humans — mosquitoes, say, or agricultural pests like the corn borer — Hansson thinks they could be used to develop repellents that would be safer than pesticides.

What smell screams danger to Hansson? Not geosmin, but the smell of vomit. Hansson remembers a long car trip in his native Sweden. His young son threw up in the back seat. Hansson found the hours spent smelling even the faintest remains of that smell to be excruciating. "It's such a strong stimulus. And it's one we don't adapt to. It's telling us someone has eaten something that made them sick. That's an important evolutionary signal."

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