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.

Pages

Connecting With Nature To Reclaim Our Natural 'Birthright'

Jan 20, 2013
Originally published on January 20, 2013 5:29 pm

"Contact with nature is not some magical elixir but the natural world is the substrate on which we must build our existence," writes Stephen Kellert in his new book Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World.

In it, he tells stories of the environment's effect on us, and ours on it. His writing builds on the traditions of Thoreau, John Muir and Rachel Carson. Modern society, he argues, has become adversarial in its relationship to nature, having greatly undervalued the natural world beyond its narrow utility.

Jacki Lyden spoke with Kellert, who is a professor emeritus at the Yale School of Forestry, about the book and about his own experiences with nature.


Interview Highlights

On the history of humanity in nature

"For more than 99 percent of our history as a species, we evolved in a natural — not in an artificial or human constructed or created — world, and therefore we became deeply attuned to the resident rhythms and stimuli that originate in the natural world."

On finding nature in the city

"We love cities. Eighty-two percent of us in America live in an urban environment, which is the most built and transformed of all habitats. But it's about creating good habitat for people even in our urban settings. Tree planting is part of that, but also the interior of buildings and the facades of buildings can be inspired and mimic and simulate natural patterns and processes."

On being humbled by a wolf pack in the wild

"We were out in the deep of night in northern Minnesota. Eventually we were surrounded by wolves, and I could feel the terror of being a relatively vulnerable prey species with this large predator and it was a very humbling experience, but at the same time it was an awesome experience. I came to appreciate the wolf in a way I never had before through my intellectual studies."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

Contact with nature is not some magical elixir, writes Stephen Kellert, but the natural world is the substrate on which we must build our existence. Kellert writes about the environment and its effect on us and ours on it, building on the traditions of Thoreau and John Muir and Rachel Carson.

Kellert is professor emeritus at the Yale School of Forestry and the author of many books. His newest is called "Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World." Dr. Kellert, welcome to the program.

STEPHEN KELLERT: It's nice to be here.

LYDEN: So, Stephen Kellert, you've written that our capacity, even to be human, to think and feel and communicate and create, depend on this relationship to nature. Can you elaborate on that a little and tell us how?

KELLERT: Well, it's a fairly simple concept. For more than 99 percent of our history as a species, we evolved in a natural - not in an artificial or human constructed or created - world, and therefore we became deeply attuned to the resident rhythms and stimuli that originate in the natural world. And it reveals itself in many ways.

Our attraction to nature, our inclination to find meaning and purpose in life to a relationship to the world beyond ourselves, which is another way of saying nature, and the way in which we symbolize nature and incorporate that into our ability to communicate through language and story and other ways. All these are, you know, very fundamental capacities, and they reflect our affinity for nature, but all these are basic capacities of being a human being.

LYDEN: What about a city street? Are we more likely now to recognize that we need to have at least some contact with a tree canopy, for example?

KELLERT: I think so. We love cities. Eighty-two percent of us in America live in an urban environment, which is the most built and transformed of all habitats. But it's about creating good habitat for people even in our urban settings. Tree planting is part of that, but also the interior of buildings and the facades of buildings can be inspired and mimic and simulate natural patterns and processes, and use materials that remind us of nature and have natural lighting in such a way that even the deepest interior spaces of an urban, built environment can still provoke satisfying experiences of natural patterns.

LYDEN: One of the things you talk about in this book is aversion. And in the 19th century, there was a lot of aversion for, say, wolves because they were perceived as destructive to farms, the passenger pigeon was hunted to extinction. Have we reversed that feeling?

KELLERT: Well, you know, any of these tendencies can be exaggerated to a point where they become dysfunctional. Certainly, our fear of large predators such as wolves was an example of a loathing, a hating of a particular species that went beyond a reasonable response to a threat to perhaps growing livestock or to - settlement on the wilderness. And we made this species an object of fear and loathing to the point where it became an expression of what could be called specicide. We weren't happy until we actually wiped out this creature altogether.

LYDEN: Although you do have a great example in here where you and a colleague are courting a wolf pack. And it is terrifying when you actually begin to hear them.

KELLERT: Well, absolutely. We were out in the deep of night in northern Minnesota. Eventually, we were surrounded by wolves, and I could, you know, feel the terror of being a relatively vulnerable prey species with this large predator. And it, you know, it was a very humbling experience, but at the same time it was an awesome experience. I came to appreciate the wolf in a way that I never had before through my intellectual studies by recognizing its power.

LYDEN: You have written an entire chapter here about children, and you say that a lack of exposure to the natural world really dulls our senses, if you talk about the effect of the natural world on attraction and reason and exploitation. How about children? How much time today do children spend out of doors having contact with nature?

KELLERT: Well, there has been a profound change in this regard, and the average child today spends 52 hours in an average week engaged in electronic media of one sort or another, whether it be television or computer or games. And in an average week, less than 40 minutes outside. And, you know, I'm not - this is not to say that electronic media is bad.

Again, it's a balance. And the experience of the out of doors for children is a richly stimulating one. It's the most information-rich stimulating environment that children will ever encounter and will continue to be integral to their, you know, healthy physical and mental maturation.

LYDEN: Stephen Kellert. He is professor emeritus and senior research scholar at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale and the author of his new book "Birthright: People in Nature and the Modern World." It's been a great pleasure. Thank you.

KELLERT: You're welcome, Jacki. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.