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.


Why Tragedies Alter Risk Perception

Dec 17, 2012



After the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, many parents dropping their kids off at school this morning are facing a lot of anxiety. Today in Your Health, we asked NPR's science correspondent Shankar Vedantam to come by to talk about how tragedies shape our perceptions of risk.

Shankar, good morning.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So tell us what we know from school shootings of the past. I mean, what sort of impact will this tragedy have on parents and how they think?

VEDANTAM: Well, David, if the history of these mass shootings is any guide, many parents are going to wake up this morning being fearful about sending their kids to school. You know, I was at a children's birthday party over the weekend, and many of the kids were the same age as the victims in Newtown. And I couldn't stop myself from imagining these really fearful scenarios from unfolding.

It's also likely that these fears are likely to persist for some lengths of time. After the Columbine school shootings, for example, a year later, many parents were still reporting that they felt their kids were unsafe at school. And fewer than half felt that their kids were very safe at school. So it's likely that these fears are very widespread this morning.

GREENE: At that party, I mean, could you sense the fear? I mean, or were the kids and parents just trying to move on? Or what was the situation?

VEDANTAM: Well, you know, I don't think anyone really talked about it. I certainly didn't talk to anyone about my fears there, you know, because at one level, I sort of recognized that they were out of place and they were not based on reality. But I couldn't necessarily stop myself from imaging worst-case scenarios.

GREENE: Well, how do kids usually react to a trauma like this one?

VEDANTAM: Well, I think with kids, the picture is slightly different, because kids are going to be all over the place. There's some kids who are going to know a lot about what happened on Friday, and there are other kids who are going to know very, very little. But again, if the history of these shootings is any guide, it seems likely that there are many kids who are going to be very fearful.

Again, after Columbine, about a third of American high school students said they knew someone who they thought was capable of carrying out a violent attack like this. And that's just, you know, that's an extraordinary number when you think about a scale of that. So, again, even among kids, the expectation is that the fears are likely to be widespread and probably long-lasting.

GREENE: So that's saying that there are kids who are imagining people out there in their circles, who they start thinking about I wonder if this person could do something like this.

VEDANTAM: Could do something like this. In many ways, much like the fearful scenarios that I was imagining over the weekend.

GREENE: Well, what does the research tell us? I mean, have psychiatrists, psychologists kind of dug into this to try and understand the effects of events like this?

VEDANTAM: Yes. So social scientists have known for a long time that there are dangers whose risks we underestimate, and there are dangers whose risks we overestimate. So psychologists such as Baruch Fischhoff at Carnegie Mellon University and Paul Slovic at the University of Oregon, for example, they've talk about the difference between things that we fear and things that we dread.

So we fear cancer and heart disease and traffic crashes, but psychopaths and, you know, serial killers and airplane crashes are things that we dread. So when a danger seems like it's inexplicable, when we have absolutely no control over it, when suddenly, out of the blue, it causes mass casualties, you know, this causes not fear, but dread. And when it comes to dread, that's when we tend to overestimate the risks.

So just to put the numbers in some context: In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that about five times as many children died in - as a result of unintentional injuries, rather than homicide. And those were mostly traffic crashes, and so on. And most of the homicide wasn't - you know, had nothing to do with school shootings. It was homicide that was happening outside the school.

GREENE: You overestimate the risk. I mean, this is interesting. If you are dreading, you know, the idea of someone shooting in your school, you elevate the risk in your mind. It's even more fearful, in a way, even though you're calling it dread and not fear.

VEDANTAM: Yeah, it actually - dread actually causes us to fear things even more than they're warranted. And so we end up believing that these risks are actually much more likely than they actually are.

GREENE: How should parents be talking to their kids and talking among themselves, would you say, this week?

VEDANTAM: Well, experts have several suggestions. One is to model behavior for your children, show it's possible to acknowledge your fears without necessarily being consumed by the anxiety - to be honest with children, but also to provide the context, you know. So schools are one of the safest places for kids to be. If you went by the odds alone, it would take thousands of years for any individual school to potentially be the victim of a school shooting.

You know, experts also suggest it's wise to limit the amount of television coverage you're watching of these disasters, because that's been connected with these anxieties. And it's also - the last thing is, leave the door open. Let the kids set the agenda. If there are fears they want to talk about, they should know they have someone to talk to about them.

GREENE: Shankar, thanks for coming in and talking about this.

VEDANTAM: Thank you, David.

GREENE: NPR's Shankar Vedantam regularly joins us to talk about social science research. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.