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.


It's Time To End The Turkey-Tofurky Thanksgiving Food Fight

Nov 26, 2012
Originally published on April 8, 2013 11:46 am

Thanksgiving is a traditional time for American families to come together and share a festive meal. But if my family is any indication, they aren't always sharing the same food. I had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with assorted omnivores, an aunt who doesn't eat red meat, a pescatarian, a vegetarian toddler and a mostly-vegan Australian. (I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out which of these food categories also describes me.)

For a holiday that's putatively about breaking bread to break cultural barriers — Native Americans and pilgrims happily sitting down to a pumpkin pie, or was it a lowfat pumpkin cheesecake? — Thanksgiving can also be the source of serious food-borne tension. Who eats what isn't just a personal preference anymore, it can be a health choice, a moral commitment, an environmental statement and a marker of one's identity.

So it's no surprise that last Thursday, as we coordinated oven times for turkeys and Tofurkys, I found myself thinking back to one of Barbara King's posts on vegetarianism, a post in which she asked: Do vegetarians and vegans think they are better than everyone else?

Vegetarianism is a blossoming field of study, with research in psychology and other disciplines exploring the characteristics of vegetarians and omnivores, as well as people's perceptions of vegetarians and omnivores. So there are a few morsels of recent data that speak to Barbara's question, and the answer is: sort of.

In one study, vegetarians did rate a fictional person who most often ate "tofu, vegetable tempura, salad, whole-wheat bread and lentils" as more virtuous (i.e., more tolerant of others, kind-hearted, considerate, concerned and virtuous) than a fictional person who most often ate "lamb, lean beef, salad, whole-wheat bread and chicken burgers." But omnivores also judged the tofu-eater more virtuous than the lamb-eater, if to a lesser degree — a difference of .5 points for omnivores versus 1.3 points for vegetarians on an 8-point scale.

The fact that vegetarians showed a greater "vegetarian-advantage" should come as no great surprise: many vegetarians transition away from omnivory precisely because they find meat-consumption morally problematic. The bigger surprise is that omnivores judged vegetarians more virtuous despite the mismatch between vegetarianism and their own dietary choices.

But if that's the whole story, it's hard to explain the cultural resonance of something like the clever New Yorker cartoon that has one woman explain to her dinner companion, "I started my vegetarianism for health reasons, then it became a moral choice, and now it's just to annoy people." Why the perception that vegetarians are judgmental and annoying?

Barbara had it exactly right when she wrote:

Those individuals who publicly tout eating no meat, especially when their stated reason has to do with caring about animals, are thought to be telegraphing a message of superiority: My dietary choices make me a better person than you.

Vegetarians aren't just perceived as thinking that their food choices are better, but as actively judging and condemning their omnivorous peers. This prompts a phenomenon known as "do-gooder derogation": to deal with the threat of anticipated reproach, people will trivialize or otherwise derogate do-gooders and their behavior.

In a study of this phenomenon, omnivores again judged vegetarians more moral than their omnivorous peers, but expected that vegetarians would perceive this gap as nearly 10 times as big — that is, that vegetarians would rate the difference in morality between meat-eaters and vegetarians as nearly 10 times greater than the omnivorous participants believed it actually to be. A follow-up study confirmed that omnivores inaccurately overestimated how harshly vegetarians truly judged them.

But it seems to be precisely this perceived threat of moral reproach that triggers derogation: the omnivorous participants who believed vegetarians would judge them most harshly were also most likely to associate vegetarians with negative words, such as "uptight," "preachy," "self-righteous," "crazy" or "weird."

So do vegetarians and vegans think they're more moral than everyone else? Or better people in general? And does this belief translate into the self-righteous and annoying behavior that might justify the t-shirt slogan, "nobody likes a vegetarian"?

Well, the research only really addresses the first question. But here's my take. People who are vegetarian or vegan for moral reasons do think their dietary choice is morally superior to that of omnivores. That's why they're vegetarian or vegan. But this only translates into annoying self-righteousness in a small (but vocal) minority of this dietary minority, and people belonging to that minority might have been annoying and self-righteous even if they weren't vegetarian or vegan. Some people are just self-righteous and annoying.

Unfortunately, the psychological research suggests a vicious cycle. If omnivores overestimate the extent to which vegetarians are judging them or their diets, they might respond with some form of derogation. If vegetarians feel they are being unfairly characterized or belittled, they might respond with actions or arguments that can seem self-righteous and annoying. And so it continues.

Can't we all just get along, like the Native Americans and the pilgrims? OK, bad example; but there are some valuable lessons here for turkey- and Tofurky-eaters alike.

For the turkey-eaters: vegetarians probably aren't judging you as harshly as you think they are. For the Tofurky-eaters: making meat-eaters feel judged is no way to win converts. And for the turkeys: better luck next year; I'm on your side.

You can keep up with more of what Tania Lombrozo is thinking on Twitter: @TaniaLombrozo

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