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.


In NFL Football, As In Hollywood, Does Anybody Know Anything?

Jan 4, 2013
Originally published on January 4, 2013 1:30 pm

Baseball: The San Francisco Giants, in winning the 2012 World Series, participated in 16 playoff games — and they'd have had more, had they not swept Detroit 4-0 in the World Series itself.

Football: The San Francisco 49ers played 16 games in their entire regular season. Three more wins would make them Super Bowl champions.

This is not to make football sound inadequately grueling, but to make a purely statistical point: The sample size for football games is much, much smaller than the sample size for baseball games. Graphing a baseball team's season gives you lots of little dots, lots of ups and downs — there's the road trip that didn't go so well, there's the good little run before the All-Star break, there's the ... well, the month of August when it seemed like nobody could remember how to pitch anymore. Graphing a football team's season is much more a series of big happenings — here's that one game where it all went wrong, that sort of thing.

On the one hand, that makes adequately attentive football fandom take up a little less of your time. But on the other hand, it really does contribute to the nagging sense that maybe, just as screenwriter William Goldman said of Hollywood in his book Adventures In The Screen Trade, nobody knows anything.

It's not really true, of course — statistics exist in football just like they do in baseball. Skills exist, strengths exist, and some people are fast and others are slow. It's as dangerous to get gooey and "intangible" about football as it is about baseball.

But consider the fact that on Monday, at the end of this regular NFL season, seven coaches and five general managers were canned. Sure, the Kansas City Chiefs, who fired Romeo Crennel, went 2-14 this season. But the Chicago Bears, who fired Lovie Smith, went 10-6. And while the Philadelphia Eagles, who fired Andy Reid, went 4-12 this season, he'd been there 14 years; they had a little more to go on than that.

And who's close to hiring Reid, according to a report on ESPN? That's right: the Kansas City Chiefs. The team that just went 2-14 and fired the coach is wooing the coach who just got fired for going 4-12. Now, to seasoned NFL watchers, this is all perfectly normal; this is how it goes, round and round, with coaches wandering hither and yon, blamed for the collapse of one team and then given the opportunity to excel with another. If you follow football at all, you see this just about every year. (Although in fairness, Smith's firing has been head-scratched over quite a bit, even within football, including by Mike Ditka, who argued that if Green Bay had beaten Minnesota, thus putting the Bears into the playoffs, Smith would have been spared despite having nothing whatsoever to do with that game.)

But think about it from a civilian perspective. Bring to bear not your football-specific savvy about this "big boys rule business," but your general common sense. Obviously, people get fired all the time despite being very good at what they do, and other businesses wisely snap them up, and that's often very, very smart. But come on. When that's your model, year in and year out, it sounds a little bit silly on somebody's part if you're not conditioned to assume it's not silly.

And considering that the coach is not actually playing in any of the games — and considering injuries, and considering that the fortunes of other teams are intimately connected with your own, and considering once again the small sample size — the entire business of folding arms across chests and insisting upon the firing of coaches for going 7-9 instead of 9-7 is not the rigorous adherence to cause and effect that it's sometimes presented to be, really.

The irony, of course, is that the ways in which nobody knows anything are some of the best things about professional football. Unlike baseball, it's economically arranged to push back against disparities that, for that reason alone, doom certain teams to eat everybody else's dust year after year. That, combined with the small sample size, means your team really can surprise you — not that it can't in baseball, but it's much, much harder. (Of course, baseball lovers would counter that the lack of a clock means that you can come back and change your fate in literally any baseball game at literally any time until the last out and you never run out of time — which is true. And then football lovers would say something else, and in a very short time, everyone would be throwing things at each other, because: sports!)

We do know this much, though, based on the reason and logic that control all analysis of sports: The Vikings and the Packers are playing Saturday night in the NFC Wild Card playoffs, and the Vikings will obviously prevail because of the inherent superiority of Minnesota over Wisconsin.

Excuse me, I have a hat with horns and braids to look for.

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