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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Pop Culture Happy Hour: Is Everything Worse Than Ever? And A Gift Guide!

Dec 14, 2012

You can't fill your end-of-the-year season with nothing but good cheer, or you'll turn into a candy cane. (That's science.) So we chose to tackle a slightly darker topic this week: Is everything worse than ever?

That may sound tongue-in-cheek, but what we're talking about is the frequently heard cultural argument that film is dead, fiction is dead, television is dead, rock and roll is dead, and basically everything has fallen apart and now it's all Elvis' hips and Honey Boo Boo. Specifically, we've been watching a debate about film culture that most recently brought a very thoughtful piece from A.O. Scott at The New York Times, who takes the position that "Film Culture Isn't Dead After All." That's in response to things like David Denby's book Do Movies Have A Future? and a piece Andrew O'Hehir wrote at Salon about whether cocktail parties are ruined. (Hey, it really is kind of what he says.)

This takes us into a broader discussion of whether culture is really worse than it's ever been and the fundamental problem that you can't really know whether culture is objectively worse, because you can't evaluate your own biases with regard to the passage of time very well at all. And that, in turn, leads to a discussion of the larger problem of critics trying to evaluate Where We Stand when we don't even stand in the same place, let alone have the skills to separate our experiences from our opinions. (And, some of us would argue, why would we want to?)

Because we enjoy turning on a dime, we next shift our attention to the giving of gifts, which a lot of people do around this time of year, and while we wish we'd done it a little sooner, there's still time to get some of your gifts on time and some of them perhaps only a little late.

Glen recommends a couple of movies, including one with a long-obscured ending you can finally see for yourself, and one starring Roddy Piper. He also notes some additions to the Criterion Collection (especially this one) and a pricey chance to see a pretty lady in pants. Trey wanted him to add this one, while we were doing recommendations.

As for Trey, he'll be giving these books, and he also encourages you to consider the gift that keeps on giving in jazz hands: theater tickets.

Stephen has already picked out a gift for himself, but he further recommends an old friend as well as some books that his kids can't get enough of.

As for me, I recommend this stunning (but pricey) set if you're looking to go big, this book (again) if you're planning to go medium-sized, and an experimental creative project if you're planning to go small.

We then talk, as we like to do, about what's making us happy this week: Glen finds another podcast, Trey finds another essay on film (which includes a reference to this), Stephen finds a year-end bundle he's enjoying, and I cannot help sending you right back to this — and to my favorite single tweet about it.

Now, as we've mentioned, what's making all of us happy is that we'll be taping a special year-end show at NPR HQ during tomorrow's day of Sale-A-Bration (woo-hoo), so if you want to swing by at 2:00 (or maybe a little before if you want a good spot to stand where you aren't getting poked by too many mugs and hats), we'll be there for you. Handing out buttons! Our first swag ever!

In the meantime, keep in touch with us — you can find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter: me, Trey, Glen, Stephen, Jess, and our producer emeritus and music director Mike.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.