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.


Is Life A Smoother Ride If You're A Chicken?

Nov 28, 2012
Originally published on November 30, 2012 11:02 am

Here's a word. Nothing special about it. Just look at it.

Focus on the first letter, the "S."

Now shift your body, left to right, right to left.

Does the "S" shift too?

No, it doesn't. Even though you're moving, the "S" stays stable.

How'd you do that?

It's a reflex. Your eye and your brain do this automatically. When your head moves to the right, your eyes move to the left. Our eyes automatically compensate for our bobbing bodies. Physicians call it the vestibulo-ocular reflex, but we don't have to think about it. It just happens. This is why we can run, dance, jump through the world and the world doesn't spin with us. It stays stable. We have a built-in stabilized camera in our heads.

We're really good at handling bumps, drops, bounces, but wandering the web, I discovered some people think chickens do it better. Yes, chickens. One guy took a chicken for a bike ride, a walk, a drive on bumpy roads, attached a chicken-cam to its head and compared what chickens see to what we see. He thinks chickens get rid of bounces better than we do.

Then he tried to prove it.

These investigators aren't biologists, they're just chicken champions with gadgets, but I find their experiments wonderfully engaging. So let's begin with one of the finest chicken videos ever posted on YouTube: A rocket engineer from Alabama, who calls himself Destin, or "destinws2," is going to rotate a chicken — a perfectly ordinary chicken — and see if it holds its head steady. This chicken is not a genius. It's just a brilliantly typical.

Destin decided to investigate more deeply. (Destin, by the way, isn't sharing his last name. He wants to stay anonymous to protect his kids; they appear regularly on his delightful blog, Smarter Every Day) In a subsequent video, he wondered if could literally mount a camera onto a chicken and then, when rotating the bird, he would see if the chicken behaves like a Hollywood Steadicam and eliminates unnecessary movement. What happened?

His first attempt, using a frisky white bird, doesn't work very well. Then, about a minute and a half in, he switches to a big rooster (who is wearing a teeny Japanese camera attached with a rubber band), and the effect is impressive. Destin rotates the rooster, but its head and its camera stay focused on a nearby microwave oven. (Does this rooster know something?) The bird just locks in and lets its neck do the adjusting.

(Is it fixating on a specific object? Destin isn't sure. When he puts his hand up close to the bird's face, it seems to lock its gaze, but only kinda.).

Destin claims the rooster was comfortable throughout this experiment, though I'm not so sure. At the very end, the bird has his revenge.

Now we get to the bird versus man part. When a kid named Jeremiah Walken saw Destin's video he decided to take the obvious next step and do a species comparison. Jeremiah has a chicken, but no driver's license. So he put a teeny camera on his own head, another on his chicken's head and off they went, biking together, walking together, sitting in the car together (Dad drove), the question being, who is better at eliminating bounce, Jeremiah or the avian?

To me, the winner was not obvious. Jeremiah's chicken is a very curious animal, a lot more curious than Jeremiah. The bird keeps looking around, at trees, sky, trees again, so there's more herky-jerky from the bird than you'd want. Jeremiah is not as interested in tree gazing. Still, if you are comparing a boy and a chicken and you eliminate the wow-what's-that? factor, I guess you could say, as Jeremiah loudly and definitely declares, chickens are more even in their gaze. When they travel, their sensitive necks soften the impact of potholes, reduce the bounce on roads and even out the ups and downs of walking; so, I guess — based on a very small sample and only some of the time — you could say chickens are better than we are.

Or you could say the question is still open. At this point, all I will say is, when it comes to a steady gaze, chickens have my respect. That's as far as I'll go.

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