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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Gravity Never Sleeps, And Other Lessons Nations Learn From Space Programs

Dec 13, 2012
Originally published on December 13, 2012 4:51 pm

Sputnik 1 just beeped. China's first satellite, launched more than a decade later, simply radioed a communist anthem back to Earth. So far, North Korea's first satellite appears to be less accomplished.

And that shouldn't be a surprise.

Given the history of first orbital space shots, North Korea's apparent struggle with its mission is fairly typical, says David Akin, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Maryland.

"You generally don't have high aspirations for either the longevity or the scientific return of a first satellite," he says.

There are conflicting reports about whether the satellite, launched Wednesday, is safely circling Earth. U.S. officials have been quoted as saying Kwangmyongsong-3 is "tumbling out of control," while South Korea's Defense Ministry says it's too soon to tell if the craft is functioning properly.

Glenn Lightsey, a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Texas, says if the satellite is in fact tumbling as it orbits, then it's not going to be very useful for anything other than propaganda points.

"They may not be able to point the radio antenna in a direction where they can communicate with the satellite," he says.

Akin says that like a lot of small satellites, North Korea's probably doesn't have an attitude control system — either in the form of rocket thrusters or other devices that use either electromagnets or gyroscopes.

Not being able to control the satellite in orbit is just one of many things that can go wrong, says Akin.

Just getting into orbit is a precise maneuver. "The problem with launching a satellite is that you have to get to the right altitude, going at the right speed and in the right direction," he says. "If you miss any one of those, you're not going to be in the orbit you want to be in."

And if North Korean mission control can't stop the satellite from tumbling, its low-Earth orbit could decay in weeks or months, says Lightsey.

"It depends on a lot of things — how high the orbit is and the [atmospheric] drag on the satellite, which will depend on its size and mass and the shape of its orbit," he says.

By all accounts, the satellite is small, says Akin, and "a lightweight satellite, kind of like a shuttlecock, is going to fall back into the atmosphere a lot sooner than a bowling ball."

Not every nation's first satellite suffers the apparent fate of the North Korean mission. One example: the U.S. Explorer 1, launched in 1958 just months after Sputnik 1.

Explorer reached a fairly high orbit and had a radiation detector aboard. It made an important discovery — the Van Allen radiation belt that surrounds the Earth and had previously been unknown.

"That was sort of the jackpot, but it was kind of happy circumstance," Akin says.

Sooner or later, the North Korean satellite may suffer a fiery re-entry into Earth's atmosphere. Small objects that plunge from space generally are destroyed long before reaching the surface. But when it's a big one, such as NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) that came down last year, some debris survives.

Statistically, about two-thirds of the time, this plunge occurs over water. That's what happened to UARS, which crashed harmlessly into the Pacific Ocean.

But hitting land can mean problems. In 1978, Soviet spy satellite Kosmos 954 came down over northern Canada, spreading radioactive debris from its nuclear reactor over a large swath of wilderness tundra.

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