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.


Democratic Senator Questions Administration's Drone Program

Feb 5, 2013
Originally published on February 5, 2013 6:36 pm



Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, is one of those 11 senators that Carrie mentioned who've demanded the administration turn over secret documents about the operation against Anwar al-Awlaki. Senator Wyden also sent a letter last month to the White House counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, the president's nominee to run the CIA. And in that letter, he asked: How much evidence does the president need to determine that a particular American can be lawfully killed?

Senator Wyden joins us now. Welcome to the program.

SENATOR RON WYDEN: Thank you for having me on.

SIEGEL: And first, are your concerns about this issue so great that you would withhold your support or even oppose confirmation of Mr. Brennan as CIA director, depending on the answer?

WYDEN: I have never been one to announce my position before there's a hearing, but I want listeners to understand what the bottom line is here. The bottom line is the administration is essentially telling the Congress and the American people: Just trust us. And I just don't think that's the standard for oversight, and that I think that there's also a public right to know here. The American people have a right to know when their government believes that they can kill an individual as part of one of these operations.

SIEGEL: In that letter to John Brennan, you wrote, and I'm quoting: "There are clearly some circumstances in which the president has the authority to use lethal force against Americans who've taken up arms against the United States." Where would you draw the line between what is and what is not defensible?

WYDEN: Well, that, of course, is what the debate is all about. The administration has not made it possible for a member of the Intelligence Committee to draw a line simply because they have essentially stonewalled myself and other members of the committee now for more than two years. And after you listen to all of the rhetoric about transparency and accountability, their answers, basically, have no there, there.

SIEGEL: Let's take the most publicized case, which was that of Awlaki. Do you think that the evidence of his active role against the U.S. on behalf of a group that has declared war on the U.S. was sufficient to justify a strike against him? Or did the fact of his U.S. citizenship make that question more complicated, in your mind?

WYDEN: A member of Congress and a member of the intelligence committee is not allowed to talk specifically about any one case. I do want to stress - along the lines of what you talked about - where you would draw the line. Unless the members of the Intelligence Committee can actually see the legal authorities that the administration is citing, then a member of Congress is really not in a position to focus on where the line would be drawn.

SIEGEL: In Carrie Johnson's report just before we came on, Notre Dame law Professor Mary Ellen O'Connell said this: This is targeted killing memo that does for targeted killing what the Bush administration tried to do with respect to torture. Do you feel that's an apt parallel, and are you disappointed in the Democratic administration?

WYDEN: I have definitely hoped for more transparency and additional openness from this administration. And in many particulars, the issues we're talking about - frankly, across a range of intelligence policy issues - the position of this administration and the position of the Bush administration have been similar, particularly in line with this principle that I call just (unintelligible).

Now, certainly there have been areas where commendable changes have been put in place, such as the president's opposition to torture. But on the question we are talking about today, legal authority with respect to a targeted killing of an American, the policy today is really pretty much the same trust us policy of the Bush administration.

SIEGEL: Senator Wyden, thank you very much for talking with us today.

WYDEN: Thanks for having me.

SIEGEL: That's Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, speaking with us from Annapolis, Maryland. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.