The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

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.


After The Knee Is Fixed, How Long Before The Player Returns?

Jan 14, 2013
Originally published on January 15, 2013 5:24 pm

One week after the brilliant young quarterback Robert Griffin III blew out his right knee in an NFL playoff game, fans' questions have morphed from "How could this have happened?" to "When do we get him back?"

But figuring out when an athlete with damaged knee ligaments can get back in action is an inexact art at best, because medicine has yet to come up with a solid way to fix a knee.

Even when doctors make the repairs, the fix often isn't good enough to let an athlete, whether he's a high school soccer forward or a multimillion-dollar quarterback, return in game-winning form.

It takes 11 months, on average, for an NFL player to return to play after anterior cruciate ligament surgery, according to one study. In that case, RGIII would likely miss the 2013 NFL season — a heartbreaking prospect for Redskins fans.

Another review of the skimpy literature on return to play for athletes found that just one-third are able to ever get back in the game. "It is sobering," says Brian Cole, an orthopedic surgeon and researcher at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, who conducted that review.

He's wrapping up a study on NFL, NBA and pro soccer players, looking at how long it takes the athletes to get back in the game.

So far it looks like soccer player struggle the most with ACL injuries. No ACL, no sports. The ligament that runs up the middle of the knee is the stabilizing anchor that makes it possible to flex, turn and pivot.

Too much torque on the joint can fray a knee ligament, or sever it. About 200,000 people suffer ACL injuries each year, with half of them having surgery, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. ACL damage is common in athletes of all ages, even afflicting grade-schoolers as youth sports become intensive year-round events.

To make the fix, surgeons prefer to use a healthy tendon from elsewhere in someone's body, usually from the kneecap or tendon. That can be a problem for someone like RGIII, who tore the same ACL in 2009, while playing for Baylor University. "Unfortunately, that hurts one part of the knee in order to help another," says Kevin Stone, an orthopedic surgeon at the Stone Clinic in San Francisco. "There are short-term weakness and long-term pain and arthritis consequences."

Indeed, a 2010 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that surgery was no better than physical therapy when it came to dealing with ACL injuries. Other studies report failure rates of 40 to 100 percent. One theory is that the synovial joint fluid that surrounds the ACL hampers healing there, while the lateral collateral ligament on the outside of the knee, which Griffin also injured, heals more easily.

Long recovery time is another problem, and not just for pro quarterbacks, but for high school athletes who are gunning for college scholarship, or just yearn to play.

When surgeons harvest the replacement ligament, they leave chunks of bone at each end. Those are fastened to the tibia and femur with screws. It takes two to three months for the bone to attach firmly, according to Frederick Azar, an orthopedic surgeon in Memphis who is team physician for the NBA Grizzlies.

Cadaver tissue, which is used when a person has no more ligaments to spare, attaches more slowly, which is one reason that orthopedists are experimenting with using pig ligaments instead.

Growing new nerves and blood vessels around the new ligament can take several months more. "Biology's got to happen, you've got to take time for biology to happen," Azar says. "You balance biology versus the patient being ready to move on to the next step."

Physical therapy to regain strength, stability and balance can take another four to six months, according to the orthopedists' academy. But very few studies have been done on how long it takes to recover and return to play, especially at the pro level.

That's not unlike recovery from another ligament repair common for top draft picks: Tommy John surgery to repair a pitcher's elbow. The Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg missed a good chunk of the 2012 season, including the playoffs, so as not to overtax an elbow operated on in 2010.

Will Washington's beloved RGIII suffer the same fate? Cole and other researchers are now working on standards to measure things like movement and landing skills. The goal is to know more objectively when a knee is ready to return to play, rather than depending on a player's passion for the game, or a coach's eagerness to put his star back on the field.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit