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.


Resolving To Be A Better Person This Year? It'll Take More Than Good Intentions

Jan 7, 2013
Originally published on January 7, 2013 1:22 pm

It's a brand new year for 13.7 (our 4th!), and I'm pleased to kick off our 2013 return to regular posting with some thoughts on the human propensity to say (or think) one thing and do another.

The New Year is a time for resolutions, new beginnings and hope. If you're like me, the exercise of generating resolutions is both heartening ("I can change!") and humbling ("I haven't changed much since last year"). And if you're like me, one overarching resolution is to be more generous, more patient, more forgiving and more moral — in short, to become a better person.

Apparently some people are like me: a Marist poll reported by Sarah LeTrent at CNN.com found that being a better person was the third most common resolution for 2012, coming in just after losing weight and exercising more often, and tied with quitting smoking and saving more money.

But what does it mean to be a better person? Or even a good person? A moral person? And how can you become one?

Ensconced within the Ivory Tower are scholars who spend their days pondering these very questions: philosophers, our secular guides to questions of value. But if you look to them for guidance, you'd be advised to do as they say, not as they do.

In a set of clever studies, philosopher Eric Schwitzgebel and his collaborators have investigated whether ethicists (i.e., moral philosophers, people who spend a whole lot of time thinking about morality and how people ought to behave) in fact do behave any more morally than other people. At issue is the relationship between explicit thought and everyday actions: do expertise and reflection translate into better behavior?

The answer seems to be no.

Schwitzgebel first found that ethics books were more likely to go missing from academic libraries when compared to other philosophy books matched in age and popularity, suggesting that students of ethics might not be so ethical when it comes to library return policies. He also found that political scientists vote more often than other kinds of academics, while ethicists and political philosophers do not. If you take voting as a sign of civic engagement, with some moral value, this doesn't look good for ethicists.

In another study, even philosophers didn't think that their ethicist colleagues behaved any more ethically than their non-ethicist colleagues, such as the epistemologists and metaphysicians in their departments. And in studies measuring philosophers' actual behavior rather than their judgments about each other, Schwitzgebel found that ethicists were no more courteous than non-ethicists at a philosophy conference. (A more heartening finding was that people attending talks in environmental ethics did leave less trash behind in their meeting rooms.)

A final study, forthcoming in the journal Philosophical Psychology, asked ethicists, non-ethicist philosophers, and other kinds of academics to indicate their views on topics like voting, vegetarianism, organ donation and charitable giving. For some of these items the researchers were also able to get a more direct sense for people's actual behavior by — for example — asking whether they ate meat at their last evening meal or whether their driver's license identified them as an organ donor. The findings?

Ethicists expressed somewhat more stringent normative attitudes on some issues, such as vegetarianism and charitable donation. However, on no issue did ethicists show significantly better behavior than the two comparison groups.

In other words, ethicists did tend to think that people should avoid meat and give to charities more strongly than did the non-ethicists, but they weren't successfully putting their perspectives into practice.

Why the apparent hypocrisy?

To state the obvious, being a good person isn't always easy. It's one thing to decide that veganism is a better choice than vegetarianism, and another to turn down the chocolate lava cake at dinner.

There's also evidence that people keep tabs on their moral behavior, with some actions earning moral "credit" that can later be expended. "I gave money to charity, so it's okay to cut in line." Spending all day thinking about ethics could create a feeling of moral entitlement, the sense that one is licensed to make exceptions. For sophisticated moral reasoners who are used to arguing with opponents who are more aggressive than their own conscience, it may be easy to rationalize acting on temptation.

So what does this mean for the average person, those of us who aren't moral (or immoral) philosophers but are resolved to become better people this year?

The most interesting lesson from these findings — the one that motivated Schwitzgebel's research — concerns the relationship between explicit thought and one's actions. Recognizing the right thing to do isn't always enough to motivate the right behavior. (Just ask anyone who's ever tried to diet or give up an addiction.)

Help yourself this year by making sure your New Year's resolutions aren't all in your mind: pair them with some concrete plans for realization. For ideas on how to do so, I suggest you check out the American Psychological Association's advice on making your New Year's resolutions stick. I'll let you know how I'm doing in a few months!

You can keep up with more of what Tania Lombrozo is thinking on Twitter: @TaniaLombrozo

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.