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.


Being Obese Can Weigh On Employees' Insurance

Feb 20, 2013
Originally published on February 20, 2013 9:41 am



As Yuki just reported, employers are looking very closely at using carrots and sticks to get workers to change their unhealthy ways. Let's learn more now about that provision in the health care law which allows employers to put in place wellness programs aimed at improving health and managing health care costs. Morgan Downey is an advocate for people with obesity. He's also the editor of the Downey Obesity Report.

Thanks for joining us.

MORGAN DOWNEY: Not at all. It's my pleasure.

MONTAGNE: What exactly is a wellness program?

DOWNEY: Well, wellness programs come in two varieties: voluntary, participatory programs, where the employer may provide classes on smoking cessation or diet or lifestyle, maybe a membership in a gym - totally voluntary. And the rewards there are usually, you know, a baseball cap or tickets to a movie or a baseball game or something like that.

The other type of program is a mandatory program where employees take a biometric, it's called - like blood pressure for hypertension, like body mass index for obesity - and set a target for what change they want to see. And if the employee meets the target, the employee would receive a benefit, an incentive. But if he or she doesn't, then they could be charged, in effect, up to 30 percent of their health insurance premium.

MONTAGNE: So - but what's the downside to that? That would seem to be quite a powerful incentive.

DOWNEY: Well, my concern is if you look at the literature - and there's now a lot of studies that have been done - the results are very, very modest. Some have improvements, like in diet or physical activity, but no improvement - significant improvement - in weight.

MONTAGNE: Well, then, wait. Your concern is that these programs that you know of and might be used do not work, and therefore are unfair.

DOWNEY: That's right. It's also not that they don't work, but, remember, the whole point of the Affordable Care Act - or Obamacare - was not to penalize people for preexisting conditions. And under this formulation, individuals could end up paying an additional $1,500. If it's a family coverage, it could be an additional $5,000. So it's a very significant penalty, and the whole purpose of the law was not to go in this direction.

MONTAGNE: But you're saying that employers could, in effect, mandate these programs that don't work, or have never been proved to work, and then that would end up having the employees carry a heavier burden of the cost of their own insurance or being penalized in some way. Is that something that you think could really happen widely, or...

DOWNEY: Sure. We know that employers are adding these wellness programs at a very high rate. I think something on the order of 80 percent of large employers have them. And the ones that have, in effect, a penalty provision is growing very rapidly.

MONTAGNE: But, you know, it does seem reasonable - and, obviously, it was reasonable enough to get into the Affordable Care Act - to ask employees in some way and motivate them to be healthier. Could you give us an example - one example of a big wellness program that an employer might use?

DOWNEY: Here's the problem: Some employers have been using programs which are designed to encourage physical activity or to improve the nutritional quality of the employees' food. Fine. They're great. Provide them support and encouragement when motivation starts to wane. And I think those can make differences, but we know that that doesn't always mean there's going to be a difference in body weight.

MONTAGNE: Thank you very much for joining us.

DOWNEY: My pleasure.

MONTAGNE: Morgan Downey is the editor of the blog the Downey Obesity Report.


MONTAGNE: You're listening to MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.