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

As Cruise Industry Grows, So Have Its Problems

Feb 15, 2013

It's been a rough voyage for the cruise-line industry in the past few years.

The engine room fire, power outage and ensuing problems aboard the stricken Carnival Triumph in recent days are far from the first recent major problem aboard a cruise ship. In 2010, for example, a similar fire, with a similar outcome, occurred aboard the Carnival Splendor. A year ago, there was the Costa Concordia disaster. And just this week, a lifeboat accident aboard a Thomson Cruises ship killed five crew members and caused the company to cancel the cruise and fly the passengers back home.

Ross Klein, a professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland who tracks cruise-line mishaps on his website CruiseJunkie.com, makes a direct connection between the growth of the cruise industry and the spate of problems. "I think we are seeing more incidents because there are more ships," he says.

Maximum Capacity

Ships run by the Carnival Corp. have had a number of the problems in recent years, a fact that Mike Driscoll, editor at Cruise Week, notes is likely due to the company's "near oligopoly" in the industry — besides flagship brand Carnival, it also owns Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises, Holland America, Cunard and P&O, among others.

But Driscoll says another issue could be the sheer size of the vessels. They've become much bigger since the first of the "floating playground" style luxury ships made their appearance circa 1970.

"I think there is a general feeling that these ships have reached about the maximum size," he says.

Take the 1971-built Pacific Princess, made famous on television as the "Love Boat." It was just over 500 feet long and 20,000 gross tons. Compare that with the 1,187-foot, 225,000-ton Allure of the Seas, launched three years ago by Royal Caribbean International.

"Allure of the Seas and [sister ship] Oasis of the Seas, I think that's about the biggest you're going to get," Driscoll says. "I think that safety is an issue. There are so many passengers on these floating cities. What happens when things go wrong?"

Sizing Up Safety

Jay Herring, a former senior officer at Carnival and author of the book The Truth about Cruise Ships, told NPR's Greg Allen that with more than 3,000 passengers — many of them children and elderly — unless the ship is sinking, evacuating them over open water is just not possible.

"So imagine you have this little bitty boat, bobbing up and down, and you're trying to transfer passengers from a ship that's essentially stationary, walking across a gangway. It's just so dangerous," he says.

In short, with bigger ships come bigger and more expensive potential safety headaches. Driscoll says the wreck of the Costa Concordia off Tuscany in January 2012 — in which getting passengers off the ship was part of the problem — was a key event that "drove up" the cost of protection and indemnity insurance, though the industry won't say by how much.

Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill said this week that the company's priority was to ensure the safety of its guests. Bud Darr, vice president of technical and regulatory affairs at the Cruise Line Industry Association, says "the industry has no bigger commitment than to safety."

A Shift In The Wind?

Still, Driscoll is quick to note that the incident with the Carnival Triumph is likely to be just a blip on the radar for an industry that has seen phenomenal growth over the years.

"It always seems in the first week that people say, 'Oh my gosh,' but then they think, 'But this won't happen to me' and the normal patterns resume," he says.

Carolyn Spencer-Brown, editor-in-chief of the website Cruise Critic, disagrees.

Spencer-Brown, who spoke with NPR's Allen, says the site's forums have been getting a lot of traffic about the Triumph incident. "People are saying, 'I just don't have confidence in Carnival anymore,' " she says. "It has nothing to do with reality, but it has a lot to do with perceptions."

Former Carnival officer Walt Nadolny says one of the cruise line's problems this week has been the extensive media coverage, which he thinks at times has verged on hysteria.

"Everybody thinks they're going to die on the ship and I'm just shaking my head," he tells Allen.

"Agreed that they are in discomfort, [that] they don't have air conditioning. It's hot," he says, but it's made worse by the media "then grabbing that bone and saying, 'Let's blow it out of proportion.' "

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