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.

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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.


'The Americans': When You're Rooting For The Bad Guy

Feb 7, 2013

The new FX show The Americans follows the Jennings family — a typical American family in Ronald Reagan's America, who happen to be Soviet spies. With Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Phillip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) at the center of the show, viewers will find themselves rooting for the couple that's secretly working for the KGB and against anyone who might blow their cover.

Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever notes that this is just the latest in a slew of TV shows that focus on deeply flawed leads.

"Throughout the history of storytelling, every hero has a flaw," Stuever tells NPR's Neal Conan on Talk of the Nation. "But the way you launch a television show now is to start off with somebody who is morally corrupt. And really, the arc, the plot, will always be about how much further can they go before it all comes crashing down."

The Americans is set in the '80s, but Stuever thinks the plot is much more suitable for TV today. "All of our heroes fall now," he says.

From The Wire to Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad to the new Netflix show House of Cards, we've been reprogrammed to root for bad guys. Stuever thinks the broadcast networks are focusing on these flawed characters so that viewers can relate. "Even the person that you're supposed to pay attention to as the hero or the heroine comes with all sorts of complications now that makes you just like them," he says.

But there can be a downside. Stuever admits the complexity of the characters stresses him out. "I watch shows like Breaking Bad and Homeland from a place of anxiety, almost where I almost wish I was prescribed some sort of medication for that part of Sunday night, where I do have to go to bed, because I think so many of us get so wrapped up in the horror of watching someone continue down a downward spiral — even the truly fictional shows like The Walking Dead." That anxiety can certainly be too much on its own. But Stuever says sometimes, people draw a line and stop watching for moral reasons that seem inconsistent. "Like, that I can't watch a show in which somebody does XYZ. But I can watch The Sopranos or Weeds."

He has a friend who loved The Sopranos but won't watch Weeds, not because of violence, but because of he can't get over the idea of a mother who deals drugs.

"It's weird how people draw their lines."

Who's the bad guy you can't help but love?

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