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.


In China, Baby's Brutal Death Raises Questions For Many About Nation's Values

Mar 6, 2013
Originally published on March 6, 2013 1:08 pm

A tale of two car thefts has transfixed China, sparking a new bout of soul-searching. It's generated far more attention online than the ongoing legislative session in Beijing, despite leaked orders from the local government restricting official coverage.

In two different countries, two grey SUVs were stolen with babies still inside, while the parents popped into supermarkets. There's an uncanny similarity between the two cases, even though one happened in Changchun in northeastern China, the other in the Bronx. But how the cases played out is very different.

In the American case, which happened last month, as The New York Post puts it, "The silver Jeep was found abandoned just over an hour later with the child unharmed — after the perp phoned in the car's location to police."

In China, news of Baby Haobo's disappearance went viral online, with millions of netizens waiting anxiously for news. Monday morning, his parents had left him in their car with the engine running while they went into a supermarket they own to turn on the heating. When they came out, the car was gone with Haobo inside. The Xinhua news agency reported that 8,000 policemen took part in a manhunt, combing residential communities and parks, but in vain. Almost 36 hours after the car was stolen, a man named Zhou Xijun gave himself up at a police station. He admitted to strangling the baby and burying its body in the snow. According to the official Xinhua news agency, the baby's body hasn't yet been recovered.

The grisly fate of 2-month-old Haobo has led to an outpouring of shock and grief online. "The difference between China and the U.S. is not just the crime rate," commented a young writer named Sun Yuchen, who works for the outspoken Southern Weekly newspaper, "The fractured Chinese reality has made people lose their basic morality. We are becoming a nation with no bottom line, no humanity."

A post by a writer named Sarah Ji said: "While people mourn the dead infant and denounce the killers' lack of humanity, it's also not hard to see how bad our public security is, when someone dares to steal in a car in broad daylight. To strangle a baby and bury it in the snow for a car worth 200 thousand yuan [$32,000] shows how backwards people's lives are here."

Celebrity television host Zhu Dan, who has 5.5 million followers, said, "Child, we owe you a future."

The official media have printed photos of spontaneous mourning vigils for Haobo that were held Tuesday night, after the news of his death emerged. For many netizens, the picture of the bonny, chubby baby in his padded jacket — with his eyes pixelated — stands for much that is wrong with China's value system today.

(NPR's Louisa Lim is based in Beijing.)

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