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.


Making Sense Of Colors And Shapes In The Toilet

Nov 20, 2012
Originally published on November 20, 2012 5:30 pm

If you haven't heard, yesterday was World Toilet Day, and its sponsors, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and the World Toilet Organization, suggest you take a moment to consider the profound luxury of good sanitation. A mind-boggling 2.6 billion people on Earth don't have toilets, and WSSCC and WTO are among the parties set on bringing that number down.

Here at Shots, we're all for "breaking the taboo around the toilet" (see our recent posts on squatting and fake feces). And we get the sense that there's more confusion out there about what ends up in the toilet than most people would care to admit. And so for World Toilet Day, we're sharing a couple of infographics we stumbled upon recently.

Let's start with the early 16th-century urine wheel at the top of this page, which we first spotted on a Scientific American blog. The wheel was first published in 1506 in a book by Ullrich Pinder, a German physician, and describes the color, smell and taste (yes, taste!) of urine, and then links them to diseases.

Naturally, we wondered if doctors have any use for urine wheels today.

"Color is still used on a day to day basis to monitor how a patient is doing, if we're concerned about bleeding," urologist Eric Wallen at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine tells Shots.

The medieval wheel details 20 shades of pee, including orange, red, brown and even green. Wallen says urologists often describe urine using wine terms, "like a rose, Cabernet or chardonnay." Which is interesting, given that the urine wheel is somewhat reminiscent of a wine aroma wheel.

"If you eat too many vegetables, your urine can have a greenish tinge," Wallen says. "Some medicines for the bladder can also turn pee green or bright orange."

Medieval doctors used urine to diagnose diabetes: The sheer volume of liquid and a sweet taste were both tell-tale signs. And they knew that an infection makes pee cloudy and smell bad.

With the advent of the printing press, the urine wheels eventually fell into the hands of charlatans, who aggressively diagnosed and treated any ailment based on the color and smell of pee alone. Medical societies condemned them as "pisse prophets," according to a 2007 paper in Kidney International, and the backlash destroyed the credibility of urine analysis, at least for a while.

But modern medicine still relies on toilet visuals. One useful guide is the Bristol stool chart, or scale, because let's face it: Not all bowel movements are created equal. And inconsistencies can be a clue that something's not right.

Ken Heaton, a doctor at the University of Bristol in the U.K., first published the chart in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology in 1997. It classifies stool into seven types, using familiar shapes like snakes and sausages, and is used by doctors to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome. Type 4 and Type 5 are generally considered ideal forms.

For real, you might ask? Yes — even the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research recommends the chart for tracking stool consistency in irritable bowel syndrome trials.

Apparently, there's a layman market for the chart as well: You can buy Bristol stool chart mugs and business card cases should you want to refer to it on a regular basis.

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