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

Geography, Not Gerrymandering, May Explain GOP's Hold On House

Nov 15, 2012
Originally published on November 15, 2012 6:10 pm

Some Democrats complain that Republicans in recent decades have had the edge in House races because GOP state legislatures have been better at the gerrymandering game. Except that may not be true.

Some political experts believe there's an easier explanation, and perhaps a tougher one for Democrats to overcome: Voters supporting Republican House candidates, they say, are spread over more congressional districts than those who support Democrats. It's that simple. It's merely a matter of geography.

Democratic voters tend to be concentrated in fewer areas on the map relative to Republicans, according to these experts.

"What's so striking to me is that nonwhite voters are sufficient to allow Democrats to win statewide races increasingly. And we elect both the Senate and president on statewide races. But nonwhite voters are so clustered in so few congressional districts around the country that Republicans have a built-in advantage to win the House," said David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report, in a post-election panel discussion at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

"It's not an accident, it's not random, that the presidency and the Senate stayed in Democratic control and the House stayed so strongly Republican," said Wasserman.

While Democrats held a House majority as recently as 2010, the geography-favors-Republicans theory sets up the prospect of divided government for the foreseeable future (assuming Democrats can retain control of the presidency and/or Senate).

Democrats entered Election Day with 193 House seats and needing 25 to reach the 218 to retake control of the chamber. They fell short of that goal, though they fared better than many analysts expected, now holding 195 seats to the Republicans' 233 with seven races still too close to call more than a week after the election.

So it was a moral victory for Democrats of the sort that they might have to get used to, if Wasserman is correct.

One piece of evidence: Democrats aren't necessarily winning seats even in states that have adopted nonpartisan commissions to redraw congressional lines.

This is an important point. Those redistricting commissions have been part of a reform movement based on the notion that partisan redistricting is at the root of the problem.

In a post on the political science blog called The Monkey Cage, guest blogger Nicholas Goedert, a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, writes (emphasis in the original):

"States that are heavily urbanized (such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania) are more distorted against Democrats than more rural states (such as Minnesota and Wisconsin). Indeed, urbanization has a negative and significant effect on the difference between seats won by Democrats and expected seats, even after controlling for the party in control of redistricting.

"Of course, this analysis does not imply that Democrats are doomed to the minority for the foreseeable future, or even the next decade. The Pennsylvania map includes five Republican seats won by Obama in 2008, suggesting that a wave of sufficient strength could reverse the delegation's majority. But because of unequal concentrations of vote share in most states, not just those with Republican gerrymanders, a Democratic majority will be more difficult than it should be. And this difficulty persists even when both parties agree to the maps.

"Changing our redistricting institutions alone will not assure national proportionality."

Actually, it's difficult to envision how Democrats can tackle the issue of voter geography. The only people who typically relocate for voting reasons are politicians themselves, and even that's not always true.

Interestingly, the focus on Republican advantages in the House come amid lots of discussion about how changing demographics give Democrats certain advantages in the competition for the Electoral College and the presidency.

There does appear to be a glimmer of hope for Democrats when it comes to the House, and, once again, it has to do with Latino voters.

According to Goedert's analysis, in states with large Hispanic populations, Democrats did about as well if not better than he calculated they would do based on their share of the popular vote. For some reason, Latinos tilted the balance back toward Democrats.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.