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.


Animal Magnetism: How Salmon Find Their Way Back Home

Feb 7, 2013
Originally published on February 8, 2013 2:50 pm

Before they end up filleted and sautéed on your dinner plate, salmon lead some pretty extraordinary, globe-trotting lives.

After hatching in a freshwater stream, young salmon make a break for the ocean, where they hang out for years, covering thousands of miles before deciding its time to settle down and lay eggs in their natal stream.

So how do these fish find their way back to their home river?

According to one theory, it's all about magnetism. When salmon are young, the theory goes, they imprint on the pattern of the Earth's magnetic field at the mouth of their native river. Years later, when the salmon head back home to spawn, they home in on that pattern. In a study published Thursday in Current Biology, the scientists behind that theory now say they have evidence that's exactly how the fish are navigating.

Magnetic detection "is one part of their toolkit for being really efficient navigators," says the study's lead author, Nathan Putman, a postdoctoral researcher at Oregon State University in Corvallis. The fish also use their sense of smell to help them locate the exact stream of their birth.

The finding could be helpful for fishery managers who'd like to predict where their fish will be and how their populations might change due to climate change and fishing pressures, Putman says.

Around the world, many salmon stocks are on the decline, and scientists would like to explain odd events, like why millions of wild sockeye salmon didn't return to Canada's Fraser River in 2009. It's possible a glitch in the salmon's navigational abilities played a role.

An even bigger concern is whether being raised in hatcheries somehow alters salmon's "internal GPS." Spawned in tanks, these salmon are released into streams and rivers and account for a large amount of the "wild" salmon that swim in the ocean and end up on your dinner plate.

Putnam worries that something about their hatchery upbringing could throw off how these salmon perceive magnetic fields. Because the Earth's magnetic field is relatively weak and can be overpowered by man-made objects, it's possible that something as simple as the iron reinforcements in the fish tanks, or nearby electrical cables, could throw off the salmon's magnetic imprinting.

"Then they might not be very good at navigating, and that could cause problems," he says.

If salmon born in hatcheries get lost on the way back home, they could end up in the wrong stream and interbreed with wild salmon populations. That's a problem, because studies suggest that hatchery-raised salmon aren't nearly as good at surviving outside captivity as their wild counterparts — and when they mate, the wild stock ends up genetically weaker.

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