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.


Easy-Listening 'Muzak' Reborn As 'Mood Media'

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



From a death in the music world, now to something of a rebirth.


SIEGEL: Muzak, best known for its inoffensive, unobtrusive, ultra-bland music is changing its brand name. The company announced today that it will now be known as Mood, after Muzak's owner, Mood Media. It's chairman and CEO said in a statement that this marked the end of an iconic American brand, or as fast company put it, the musical equivalent of white bread.


JOSEPH LANZA: Muzak was all over the place.


That's Joseph Lanza, author of the book "Elevator Music: A Surreal History Of Muzak, Easy Listening and Other Moodsong." Muzak first appeared as a brand in 1934, but Lanza said the company had its biggest impact in the 1960s and '70s.

LANZA: It was in the White House at one point. LBJ even owned a franchise.

CORNISH: Yes, Muzak kept you moderately entertained in both Oval and non-Oval offices, shopping malls and waiting rooms.

LANZA: It also was used in the distant early warning places up in the north where they would watch for Soviet mischief on radar and they needed to be alert. So the music really - it didn't put people to sleep so much as it just relaxed them, yet kept them alert.

SIEGEL: Muzak even reportedly played during the Apollo 11 space mission to keep the astronauts calm.

LANZA: And I guess also, you know, the being cramped in a space capsule on your way to the moon, it would be a little tense.

SIEGEL: Of course, back here on Earth, Muzak is most well known for playing in elevators, which for some people is like being cramped in a space capsule on your way to the moon.

CORNISH: Now, over the years, Muzak could never quite shake its reputation for cheesy elevator music, but today, we remember the name Muzak and the music that perhaps we didn't realize was there in the first place. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.