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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What Do Aliens, Climate Change And Princess Di Have In Common?

Dec 10, 2012

HIV does not cause AIDS. Smoking does not cause lung cancer. And burning fossil fuels does not contribute to global warming.

What do these three statements have in common? They're all rejections of well-established scientific consensus, and recent findings in psychology suggest that people who believe one or more of them are also more likely to believe a number of conspiracy theories: that the New World Order is planning to take over the planet, that the Apollo moon landing was faked in a Hollywood film studio, that the death of Princess Diana was an organized assassination, that an alien spaceship in New Mexico was covered up by the United States' military, and even more.

That's right: climate-change denial, discussed in last week's post by Adam Frank, is associated with conspiratorial thinking.

The paper that reports this finding, forthcoming in the leading journal Psychological Science, has already caused a major flurry in the blogosphere, particularly among those who reject climate science. Assorted bloggers denounce the paper's "Anthropogenic warmist nonsense," suggest that the paper is "not scientific or competent," and describe it as "an ad hom[inem] argument taken to its absurd extreme," an "inane, irrelevant and completely biased rant study."

Disgruntled climate skeptics have gone beyond digs at the science to suggest "hidden motivations" for the paper — perhaps a systematic attempt by left-wing academics to discredit those who reject climate science. And in support, they've cycled through a number of hypotheses for how the results were obtained: by deliberately biased sampling, by collecting data from "warmists" posing as "skeptics," or by statistical sleight of hand, among others. This sounds awfully ... conspiratorial (a point made here and here).

Meanwhile, calls for the paper's retraction and accusations of ethics violations on the part of the researchers have come to naught. The fact is, the paper reports solid research, with all major findings now replicated in a new sample and with several specific critiques addressed in detail by the authors in a series of posts at ShapingTomorrowsWorld.com. So why the aggressive (and ironic) response?

I recently had an opportunity to chat with Stephan Lewandowsky, the paper's first author, on his visit to California for the American Geophysical Union's annual fall meeting. Lewandowsky is a Winthrop Professor in the department of psychology at the University of Western Australia, with broad research interests that include human memory, the persistence of misinformation, and more recently, the motivated rejection of science.

Lewandowsky has also written for a general audience about why people reject science, the pivotal role of perceived scientific consensus, the distortion of climate science in the media and the link between climate change denial and free market ideology, among other toothsome topics, as well as co-authoring the handy Debunking Handbook, a psychologically-informed guide to combatting misinformation.

I asked Lewandowsky about his experience as a researcher working on the psychology of science denial, and in particular his take on the blogospheric reception to his forthcoming paper. He suggested that the paper engendered such hostility because it not only "cast people who rejected climate science in a less than favorable light," but also because "it was too close to the truth." Of course, he points out, "the way the blogosphere responded was really by confirming my finding. What they basically did was spin one conspiracy theory after another, trying to invalidate the data."

"They," a number of active bloggers who are skeptical of climate science, also tried to discredit Lewandowsky and the paper by contacting the editor of Psychological Science and officials at his university, and by filing four Freedom of Information requests for all correspondence associated with the research, including ethics approvals for the use of human subjects and communications between authors. "If you talk to climate scientists," Lewandowsky noted, "you find that pretty much anyone in climate science is subject to these kinds of attacks."

When I asked if any attacks were more personal, he reassured me that he's "only had one death threat."

Finally, I asked about the paper's reception within the scientific community:

I have yet to see anyone within science who is surprised by the finding that conspiratorial thinking and science don't mix well, because anybody who knows anything about science and anybody who knows anything about conspiratorial thinking will know that the two are, you know, the opposites of each other.

As is all too common, the public perception of controversy isn't an accurate reflection of the status of particular findings or ideas within the scientific community. Lewandowsky's research on memory, for example, is arguably more controversial within psychology, where there are ongoing theoretical debates about forgetting and the role of memory interference.

When I asked, Lewandowsky confirmed: "I haven't gotten any hate mail, and I haven't got any death threats, for my research on memory." And no Freedom of Information requests, either.


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

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