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.


Will U.S.-Made Mac Computers Start A Trend?

Dec 10, 2012
Originally published on December 10, 2012 6:56 am



It's been years since Apple computers were made in this country, but last week, the company's CEO, Tim Cook, announced that was about to change. He said Apple is spending about $100 million to begin manufacturing a line of Macs in the U.S. NPR's Steven Henn reports it's a tiny investment for Apple, but it could be the beginning of a trend by makers of other products.

STEVE HENN, BYLINE: To understand where U.S. manufacturing might be headed, I wanted to introduce you to Baxter. Baxter's a little over six feet tall. He has an expressive face, long red arms and a circuit board for a brain. He's also kind of shy.

JIM DALY: If you get into its workspace, it will turn red. His face will turn red, like it's blushing.

HENN: You probably realized Baxter's a robot. Jim Daly is vice president of manufacturing at Rethink Robotics. He says Baxter's completely different from industrial robots common in huge factories. First off, you don't have to be a computer programmer to teach Baxter what to do.

DALY: You teach it the same way you teach a person or a child to do something. You hold his hand. So if you wanted to pick up an object, you show Baxter, by grabbing his hand, where the object is. It has cameras and sensors, and you pick that object up and you move it and put it down where you want it to put it down. And Baxter will remember that.

HENN: Baxter's designed to replace unskilled labor on the factory floor, and he's cheap: less than $30,000.

DALY: Baxter will help U.S. manufacturers not have to offshore their product, because they'll be more competitive.

HENN: Over the past 25 years, U.S. manufacturers were lured to China by the promise of cheap, plentiful labor. But Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford University, believes technologies like Baxter - which use artificial intelligence to create easily programmable, flexible robots - are undercutting that advantage.

VIVEK WADHWA: Five to 10 years from now, you're going to find that most manufacturing begins to move back to the United States.

HENN: Wadhwa says more and more executives are realizing that manufacturing in China has high hidden costs, from public relations problems to piracy to transportation and logistics.

WADHWA: It's not practical to be manufacturing in China, and this is what companies are realizing, that it makes a lot more sense to bring it back to the United States.

HENN: Still, there are barriers to bringing large scale, high-tech manufacturing home to the U.S. They just aren't what you would expect. When NBC's Brian Williams asked Apple's CEO Tim Cook what an iPhone would cost if it were built here, Cook replied price really wasn't the problem.


TIM COOK: It's about the skills, et cetera. Over time, there are skills that are associated with manufacturing that have left the U.S. - not necessarily people, but the education system's not producing them.

HENN: Manufacturing experts say rebuilding those skills and bringing supply chains back to the U.S. will take time, but every high-tech project helps. When Jim Daly at Rethink Robotics was deciding where to build Baxter, he looked all around the world.

DALY: We decided, for lots of reasons, including intellectual property protection, including cost, that we'd like to look here in the U.S. And, frankly, I was quite pleased - having not spent a lot of time looking at manufacturing in the U.S. for many years - how competitive it had gotten.

HENN: In the 1990s, Daly helped Apple set up a factory to build Macintosh computers in California. Now, with Baxter, he's back in the U.S. Steve Henn, NPR News, Silicon Valley. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.