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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New History Puts Cartographers' Art 'On The Map'

Jan 2, 2013
Originally published on January 2, 2013 12:13 pm

The fight for mapping supremacy between two tech giants blew up this fall when Apple, in revising its mobile operating system, dumped the Google Maps app overboard. To Google's delight, no doubt, Apple's own maps app wobbled badly out of the gate, and amid a consumer outcry, a public apology and quiet firings, all of us caught a glimpse of just how high the stakes are in today's mapping game.

But according to Simon Garfield's delightfully meandering new book, On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks, this is nothing new. Maps, Garfield proposes, are once again what they were in "the age of the Spanish conquistadors — guarded, proprietary and inestimably valuable as routes to further riches."

On the Map delivers a loose narrative of cartographic history, but this book is better read as a collection of marvelous anecdotes that explore the role maps have played in shaping human culture since ancient times.

The author tells us, for example, how east was often placed at the top of Medieval maps, a placement known as "orientation," and how the term "guidebook" was popularized by Lord Byron in his comic epic Don Juan. We learn that the first jigsaw puzzle was a map, and that a small pellet of lime, when burned with an oxy-hydrogen flame, produces a light bright enough for surveyors to see at a distance, even in foul weather. "And in this way," Garfield writes, "did 'limelight' enter the vocabulary."

Maps, the book reminds us, do more than help us get around. For example, the gorgeous Mappa Mundi of Hereford, England, is a 13th century "map-guide, for a largely illiterate public, to a Christian life." Sixteenth-century Venetians used maps to project "a solid and irrefutable display of governance and fiscal strength." And when Dr. John Snow used a map to track cholera deaths in 1854 London, he was able to determine that the source of the epidemic was not the city's air but its water, saving countless lives.

Garfield betrays a longing throughout On the Map for the bygone days of ragged, impossible-to-fold paper maps, but he's no Luddite. His descriptions of complex mapping technology and classic mapping problems are simple and clear. For example, if you want to feel Gerardus Mercator's pain (how do you accurately represent a sphere on a flat surface?), "take a nice furry tennis ball, draw a few shapes representing countries on it and slice it in two," Garfield writes. "Then make some more nicks on the cut sides and flatten it out."

The author also dispels several myths. Pythagoras, he reminds us, argued the world was round well before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. And that old notion about women not being able to read maps as well as men? Not true, Garfield says: Women process maps differently from men, but not worse. The problem is that most maps have been made by men for male eyes.

"They look down. But when we walk we tend to look up and around. The flat, two-dimensional, look-down approach is suited to cognitive strategies used by men, but it is one that generally puts women at a disadvantage."

Garfield explains that while blank spaces on a map were a cartographer's worst enemy, they were prime destinations for the explorers who sought to fill them in. But when Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery "recorded their daily findings it was with a tinge of disappointment, as if the truth of their voyage was dismantling one of the great American dreams."

That epic journey may have been the last time man stood face to face with something that measured up to his dreams. But for Garfield, maps continue to call us in a similar way. "It is one of the most appealing features of large maps, and world maps in particular," he writes, "that all journeys are feasible. On the Hereford map, everywhere except Paradise seems reachable in sturdy vessels, and even the fiercest beasts look biddable."

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