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.


Online Grades For Doctors Get An Incomplete

Jan 4, 2013

Crowdsourced review sites like Yelp can be just the trick for finding a great restaurant or avoiding a bad one.

But when it comes to finding a good doctor, there still aren't enough reviews on sites that rank doctors to make them reliable, a study of urologists' ratings suggests.

Urologists averaged just 2.4 reviews on the big online doctor rating sites like Healthgrades.com, Vitals.com and RateMDs.com. The paltry number of participants means that one cranky patient's complaint — or a rave from one doctor's relative --can skew a rating.

"You can have an angry patient go on and ruin your reputation, or you can have office staff go on and make you look like the best thing around," says Chandy Ellimoottil, a resident in urology at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill. His study was published online in The Journal of Urology.

The 500 urologists surveyed averaged 2.4 reviews on 10 physician-ranking websites, with total reviews per doctor ranging from 64 to zero. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive, at 86 percent. But the negative reviews focused more on things like office decor than whether the doctor delivered good health care.

But this study suggests that information from crowdsourced doctor-ranking sites should be taken with a grain of salt, Ellimoottil says. He became interested in the topic when he Googled a prominent surgeon for a research project. "He had a Healthgrades ranking that was 5 out of 5. The next one down was Vitals, and it was 2 out of 5. The reviews were 180 degrees different."

Another study published in early 2012 in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found some correlation between online ratings and quality of Virginia doctors. Overall, the ratings were positive. Patients were most critical about punctuality and staff. Still, like the study of urologists' ratings, this one found ratings were often based on the experience of just a few patients, about three, on average.

People may have figured this out for themselves, according to a survey coming out later this month from the Pew Internet Project. Researchers there found that while 80 percent of Internet users say they research products or services online, just 20 percent say they have used online reviews and rankings for providers of health care.

Three-quarters of Americans say they look for health information online, but surprisingly little research has been done on whether doctor-ranking sites are reliable. One 2012 study of Britain's national hospital-ranking site linked positive reviews with lower death rates. Another study from the University of California, Davis found that people who rated themselves most satisfied with their doctors had higher health costs and higher death rates. That second study didn't look at online ratings.

Most doctors are listed in online rankings, but the information there is indeed sparse. Shots checked out Ellimoottil on Healthgrades. The site gave no reviews, which makes sense, given that he's not yet running his own practice.

It also listed him as a general surgeon, rather than a urologist.That's probably because urologists spend their internship year in general surgery. "It hasn't been updated since I first started practicing," says Ellimootil, who's in his fourth year of residency.

New sites aimed at solving the problems with crowdsourced doctor rankings have cropped up, including a new doctor-rating site from Consumer Reports. The group has crunched numbers from heart-surgery records to come with rankings of bypass surgery groups.

Medicare has started collecting data on physician performance, but so far the government's Physician Compare website is useful only for finding doctors who accept Medicare for payment. That should change in the near future, as performance data mandated by the Affordable Care Act comes online.

But for now, patients may want to revert to pre-Internet traditions, asking the family doctor or friends for recommendations.

A doctor might not have gone to a fancy medical school, Ellimoottil notes, "but if they're at your bedside and they're caring for you, they're there when you need them and they give good advice, they're involved in shared decision-making, those are the qualities you want."

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