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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Welcoming Climate Skeptics Back To Science

Dec 4, 2012
Originally published on December 6, 2012 5:47 pm

It was a revolution in the deepest sense of the word. A new science, quantum mechanics, was sweeping across physics. Its advocates were piling up impressive explanations for new phenomena while its detractors stood on the sidelines complaining bitterly that none of it made sense. Surveying the progress and the carnage one of the new science's founders, Max Planck, penned these now famous words:

A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

Planck's words bear a harsh truth in the wake of Hurricane Sandy a month ago. For those who call themselves "climate skeptics" (but often take a position that is more appropriately referred to as denial) the storm marks a turning point. There are two paths forward and only one them embraces the reality of science, its methods and its ethics. Ironically that path is exactly what allows these skeptics to once again embrace science if, in fact, science and not politics was their true interest from the start.

Being wrong in science is not only a good thing; it's to be expected. The trick is to keep a scientific stand from becoming a personal one.

I have been wrong a number of times in my scientific career. In my younger years I was a fierce advocate for an idea about how the super fast beams of plasma called "astrophysical jets" are formed. These jets are everywhere in astronomy, from new born stars to black holes. I had a theory that dense gas in the environment was all you needed to "collimate" a spherical streams of gas into a jet. The prevailing opinion said no, magnetic fields were the jet-making agents.

More data was gathered, more theory was explored and, it turned out, I was wrong.

Did my colleagues call me nasty names? Did they scribble insults on the department's bathroom walls? Nope (at least not as far as I know). We all understood the game. The data had had its say and now I had to back down.

That's the way the scientific cookie crumbles.

Hurricane Sandy put a frighteningly real and expensive face on what seemed to be a never-ending academic argument about "hockey sticks" and parts per million of CO2. When combined with this summer's extraordinary (and ongoing) drought, Sandy pushed millions of folks over the edge in terms of the simple question "What does climate change mean?" And while a real bipartisan political discussion on what to do about a changing climate remains, the reality that the climate is changing is finally sinking in.

Faced with this new reality climate skeptics face a simple choice. On the one hand they can stick to the script. They dig in and argue that a single storm has nothing to do with climate change. As I have discussed before, it's true that laying blame on single events poses its challenges. But the new field of attribution science is changing that uncertainty, making it clear that climate change will, inevitably, mean more "weather on steroids." As more extreme droughts, heat waves and storm surges pile up, skeptics hiding behind "How do you know that was climate change?" are going to start sounding pretty hollow.

The other choice the climate skeptics face is the time-honored and scientifically honorable choice. Acknowledge the weight of data and acknowledge the weight of its interpretation. Honor the process and, finally, honor the beauty and power of science.

There is no shame in having taken a position that proves to be wrong. There is also still room for honest scientific skepticism that engages with the current state of the field and seeks to better its understanding. But remain stubborn in your adherence to sweeping rejections of an entire field in spite of the data and you suffer the worst of all fates in scientific inquiry: irrelevance. The field, and the world, just move on. It's that dichotomy that cleanly sums up the difference between skepticism and denial.


You can keep up with more of what Adam Frank is thinking on Facebook and on Twitter: @AdamFrank4

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