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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Who Could Be Watching You Watching Your Figure? Your Boss

Dec 26, 2012
Originally published on December 26, 2012 2:28 pm

Those of us trying to lose some pounds after overindulging this holiday season can get help from a slew of smartphone apps that count steps climbed and calories burned. Self-tracking has also become a way for companies to make money using your fitness data. And some experts worry that the data collected could be used against users in the long run.

At a recent Quantified Self Meetup in downtown San Francisco, technology lovers are testing homemade do-it-yourself devices on people eager to measure their mind and body.

Charles Wong straps a belt to me that vibrates when I slouch. Jonathan Toomim slaps a Velcro headband on me, to measure my concentration according to prefrontal cortex activity. Heather Heine pokes my finger for a blood test.

According to Forrester Research, about 3 percent of online shoppers say they already use a self-tracking device, and 17 percent express interest in one well-known brand.

Data For Profit

Tim Chang, a venture capitalist with the Mayfield Fund, is one of the money guys behind self-tracking. Chang raised $9 million for a new kind of tracker that he promises is "the world's first very accurate heart rate monitor on just a wrist watch — no chest strap, no other device."

Sensors and Bluetooth technologies have become so cheap and sophisticated, they can record more than steps taken and calories burned.

The startup Basis plans to make money by selling the heart watch. But if the company turns a big profit, Chang says, it will be from selling the data aggregated on a smartphone app and analyzing it for you, the user.

"People aren't really interested in raw data," Chang says. "If I just gave you your heart rate data, you wouldn't know how to interpret it. In fact, it might confuse you, or it might scare you and say, 'What is the spike? Why is it low? Why is it high?' "

Facebook and Google collect data on users and get advertisers to pay for access to those users. By contrast, Chang's first self-tracking company, Lumos Labs, sells data directly to hundreds of thousands of its own users. This paid subscriber base has more than doubled every year since 2007.

"The beauty of subscription business models, if you can retain your users, is they can be naturally very profitable," Chang says.

Employers Are Watching

Big data raise big privacy issues.

Two years ago, some users of a leading self-tracking brand, Fitbit, were logging their sexual activity as exercise and found the sex logs somehow popping up on Google searches.

"We've now made those privacy settings more prominent so that people are more aware of what the privacy setting are," says Woody Scal, Fitbit's chief revenue officer. "I think the area of privacy is an area that many companies like ours have learned a lot over the past couple of years."

Fitbit is entering a brave new world in privacy as it starts selling devices and data to a new market: employers. Scal says Fitbit is attempting to grow through corporate wellness programs.

"Companies can see how many of the devices they've given out have actually been activated. How many are being used? How is it actually changing employee behavior?" Scal says.

Scal explains bosses typically don't get reports on an individual employee. They get aggregated data, and the worker must consent first.

One of Fitbit's competitors, BodyMedia, says it is working with insurance companies to get its self-trackers into more workplaces. Scal says Fitbit is running an experiment with one insurer, to see if employees who use the devices go to the doctor less. This, he says, "would be the holy grail for a product like this."

"If we could make a direct connection to reduction in medical care costs, then I think the floodgates would be open," Scal says.

The Privacy Problem

"People should be asking themselves what happens with this data, what type of inferences can be drawn from this data," says Marc Goodman, chairman of Policy, Law and Ethics at technology research hub Singularity University.

Goodman says users typically don't read disclosures and warns that while health and fitness devices are personal tools for now, health insurers in the future could use incentives to pressure people to wear these devices.

"So that they could get a better perspective on how healthy or unhealthy you are. If your self-tracking health device shows that you lead a sedentary lifestyle, then maybe you will pay more for insurance," Goodman says.

He says consumers should be careful about letting any company track health data that can be used against them.

Copyright 2014 KQED Public Media. To see more, visit http://www.kqed.org.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And in today's Business Bottom Line: businesses that trade on information you wish could be kept secret and privileged. If you want to lose a few pounds after the holidays, you might download a smartphone app that counts steps climbed or calories burned.

And Aarti Shahani of member station KQED reports companies will be looking to use your fitness data to make money.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHATTER)

AARTI SHAHANI, BYLINE: Here at the Quantified Self Meetup in downtown San Francisco, technology lovers are testing homemade do-it-yourself devices on people eager to measure their mind and body. Charles Wong straps a belt to me that vibrates when I slouch.

CHARLES WONG: You should get a nice, gentle vibration that'll remind you to...

SHAHANI: Ooh, it just happened. It vibrated.

WONG: How was that for you?

SHAHANI: It felt like a massage.

Jonathan Toomim slaps a Velcro headband on me to measure my concentration according to prefrontal cortex activity.

JONATHAN TOOMIM: Your brain activity is increasing, on average, at a fairly slow rate but still substantial - until you start talking.

SHAHANI: Heather Heine pokes my finger for a blood test.

It's going to hurt, right?

HEATHER HEINE: A little bit. This is fast. This is fast.

SHAHANI: It's a needle? It's a needle in there?

HEINE: Yeah. It's a little - yeah. Ah.

SHAHANI: OK.

HEINE: OK. You did it?

SHAHANI: According to Forrester Research, about 3 percent of online shoppers say they already use a self-tracking device. Tim Chang, a venture capitalist with the Mayfield Fund, is one of the money guys behind self-tracking. Chang raised $9 million for a new kind of tracker that he promises is...

TIM CHANG: The world's first very accurate heart rate monitor on just a wrist watch - no chest strap, no other device.

SHAHANI: Sensors and Bluetooth technologies have become so cheap and sophisticated, they can record more than steps taken and calories burned. The startup Basis plans to make money by selling the heart watch. But if the company turns a big profit, Chang says, it'll be from selling the data aggregated on a smartphone app and analyzing it for you, the user.

CHANG: People aren't really interested in raw data. If I just gave you your heart rate data, you wouldn't even know how to interpret it. In fact, it might confuse you or it might scare you, and say, what is this spike? Why is it low? Why is it high?

SHAHANI: Facebook and Google collect data on users and get advertisers to pay for access to those users. By contrast, Chang's first self-tracking company, Lumos Labs, sells data directly to hundreds of thousands of its own users. This paid subscriber base has more than doubled every year since 2007.

CHANG: The beauty of subscription business models, if you can retain your users, they can be naturally very profitable.

SHAHANI: Big data raises big privacy issues. Two years ago, some users of a leading self-tracking brand Fitbit were logging their sexual activity as exercise and found the sex logs somehow pop up on Google searches.

WOODY SCAL: We've now made those privacy settings more prominent.

SHAHANI: Woody Scal is Fitbit's chief revenue officer.

SCAL: So that people are more aware of what the privacy settings are. I think the area of privacy is an area that many companies like ours have learned a lot over the last couple of years.

SHAHANI: Fitbit is entering a brave new world in privacy as they start selling devices and data to a new market: employers. Scal says Fitbit is attempting to grow through corporate wellness programs.

SCAL: Companies can see how many of the devices they've given out have actually been activated, how many are being used. How is it actually changing employee behavior?

SHAHANI: Scal explains bosses typically don't get reports on an individual employee. They get aggregated data, and the worker must consent first. One of Fitbit's competitors, Body Media, says it's working with insurance companies to get its self-trackers into more workplaces. Scal says Fitbit is running an experiment with one insurer to see if employees who use the devices go to the doctor less.

SCAL: If we could make a direct connection to reduction in medical care costs, then I think the floodgates would be open.

MARK GOODMAN: People should be asking themselves: What happens with this data? What type of inferences can be drawn from this data?

SHAHANI: Mark Goodman is chair of policy law and ethics at the technology research hub Singularity University. He says users typically don't read disclosures. And while health and fitness devices are personal tools for now, Goodman warns, health insurers in the future could use incentives to pressure people to wear these devices.

GOODMAN: So that they could get a better perspective on how healthy or unhealthy you are. If your self-tracking health device shows that you lead a sedentary lifestyle, then maybe you will pay more for insurance.

SHAHANI: Goodman says consumers should be careful about letting any company track health data that can be used against them. For NPR News, I'm Aarti Shahani, in San Francisco. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.