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:

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"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.


Does Danica Patrick Have An Edge In The Daytona 500?

Feb 22, 2013

It took Danica Patrick 45.817 seconds to circle the track and win the pole position for the Daytona 500. It'll take about four hours to determine who wins the famed race that starts the Sprint Cup season at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.

By taking the No. 1 slot, Patrick made history as the first woman to win a pole in NASCAR's elite division. And she made some people wonder whether the pole position — and her light weight — might give her an advantage.

"People bring it up, but it's not really that much of a difference," USA Today motorsports reporter Jeff Gluck tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer on today's Morning Edition.

Patrick weighs far less than her competitors, in a sport that separates winners and losers by fractions of a second. Her website lists her at 100 pounds — 50 pounds lighter than Jeff Gordon, who will start in the second slot Sunday.

NASCAR accounts for variations in drivers' weight by adding what are essentially blocks of lead to Sprint Cup cars, which are required to weigh at least 3,300 pounds. For every 10 pounds under 180 pounds, an additional 10 pounds of weight is added to the car.

But NASCAR's rules only cover weights down to 140 pounds — a limit that surely must have seemed safer in the sport's more country-fried past.

"As a consequence, the combined weight of Patrick and her No. 10 Chevrolet SS represents a 40-pound advantage over almost every other driver/car combination in the field," writes Reid Spencer at

So, why isn't that an advantage? As ESPN analyst Andy Petree, a former crew chief, tells Spencer, the 40-pound difference doesn't necessarily translate into an edge at a 2.5-mile superspeedway like Daytona, except in one area: acceleration.

"Her car might get up to speed a little quicker, but once it gets there, it's not going to be any faster," Petree says. "I don't see that being an advantage (in the Daytona 500)."

NASCAR vice president Robin Pemberton agrees.

"When you are trying to race anything, there is a balance between the weight you need and whether it's a balance between left and right-side weight or overall weight," he tells "When you go to places like Daytona, it probably means very little."

He added that the weight difference might mean more at short tracks.

Driver Matt Kenseth, who will start 12th on Sunday, tells Spencer he doesn't think Patrick's weight is a big deal — "but," he added, "yes, if she keeps running that fast, then I think she should have to add a bunch of weight and mount it on the roof."

As for Patrick's other advantage Sunday — starting at the head of the pack — it's worth noting that, as they say on TV, past performance does not guarantee future results.

"The last time a pole-winner actually won the race was 2000," Gluck tells Linda, citing the victory by Dale Jarrett. "And it's only been done twice since they started restricting the engines and putting them in a pack."

Those restrictions were made for safety reasons, part of NASCAR's plan to keep race cars from reaching such high speeds that they could endanger spectators in the stands if drivers lose control.

That also means viewers of Sunday's race should expect to see large packs of cars moving around the track together, at speeds approaching 200 miles per hour. The tendency to clump together makes it hard for one driver to break away — and it also means that a slight error, or an impatient nudge, can spark an eight-car pileup that redraws the leader board.

So, if Patrick is going to win, she'll need to find the same blend of speed, talent, and luck that all drivers look for on race day.

There are signs that Patrick's driving style is well-suited for Daytona International Speedway — in addition to this year's top spot, she won the pole for a 2012 Nationwide Series race at the track.

Like her competitors, Patrick will be driving NASCAR's new "Gen 6" car for the first time under real racing conditions. She has said the car has more grip, reminding her of her days in IndyCar.

But on Sunday, Patrick might need to rely on something else: her ability to avoid crashes, a skill that allowed her to complete a record 50 consecutive races in the IndyCar series.

"It's essentially a lottery here at Daytona," Gluck says of Patrick's chances. "Although she's going to start up front, the chance that she'll finish there is anybody's guess."

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