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.


Eerie Echoes From The First State Of The Union

Feb 10, 2013

Guns, immigration, support for diplomats abroad, and the nation's financial situation.

These are key issues facing President Obama as he delivers the first State of the Union address of his second term on Tuesday night, Feb. 12.

Surprisingly, these were also key issues facing President George Washington some 223 years ago, when he gave the very first state of the union speech.

It was January, 1790. Washington, the first president of the newly united states of America, offered up a PowerPoint-ish report to the combined houses of Congress at Federal Hall in New York City.

The mood of the country was cautious optimism, says Edward Lengel, editor-in-chief of the George Washington Papers at the University of Virginia. "Washington appeared steady at the helm, and government appeared to be working with reasonable efficiency."

There was uncertainty, however, and it was too early to tell whether the new form of government would endure. "There was serious Native American unrest on the frontier, and the French Revolution created a sense of instability overseas, and possible war," Lengel says. Still, "the country had entered a period of relative economic prosperity ... and the question remained: What to do next to ensure that prosperity continued?"

And, Lengel says, "there were early signs of division within the government."

'From Time To Time'

The Constitution requires that the president "shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."

So Washington — who had only been in office for less than nine months — presented his First Annual Address, a four-page speech of 1,100 words or so. The whole thing could not have taken more than about 10 minutes to deliver, says Stuart Leibiger, a George Washington specialist at La Salle University. "Washington was not much of an orator, and so he literally read the speech."

In the address, the former military general acknowledged certain national problems, such as defending the new country, taking care of diplomats abroad, paying off the Revolutionary War debt and handling noncitizens.

Focusing Congress

Donna Hoffman, a political scientist at the University of Northern Iowa and co-author of Addressing the State of the Union: The Evolution and Impact of the President's Big Speech, says that Washington "generally sought to focus Congress' attention on various legislative matters, without offering specific recommendations — unlike what we typically see in today's speech."

Analyzed today against the backdrop of 21st century America, Washington's speech is still rousing, revolutionary and relevant. And full of surprising echoes of our own time. Here are a few:

* Be Armed. "A free people," Washington warned, "ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies." Washington meant that the Congress needed to provide for national security, says Leibiger, "by enacting a tariff to promote industries vital to defense, and by creating a peacetime military establishment. Washington was trying to overcome traditional fears of standing armies during peacetime."

* Be Open. "Various considerations also render it expedient, that the terms on which foreigners may be admitted to the rights of Citizens should be speedily ascertained by a uniform rule of naturalization," Washington said. The United States, says Lengel, had to wrestle with "the meaning of citizenship in a post-colonial world. This meant the political and social integration — or exclusion where deemed necessary — in some form of German settlers, ex-Hessian soldiers, ex-Tories and British merchants, French and Spanish traders and the like."

* Be International. Washington recommended that Congress provide adequate funding for the country's foreign relations corps. "The interests of the United States," Washington said, "require that our intercourse with other nations should be facilitated by such provisions as will enable me to fulfill my duty in that respect in the manner which circumstances may render most conducive to the public good." In addition, he asked Congress to pay diplomats and to set aside enough money "for defraying the expenses incident to the conduct of foreign affairs."

* Be Fiscally Responsible. Praising Congress, Washington said, "I saw with peculiar pleasure at the close of the last session the resolution entered into by you expressive of your opinion that an adequate provision for the support of the public credit is a matter of high importance to the national honor and prosperity. In this sentiment I entirely concur." The speech calls on Congress to address the national debt — created by financing the Revolutionary War — so that the nation's credit rating would not suffer, Leibiger explains.

The 1790 speech also suggests that Congress develop the transportation infrastructure and provide for education — two more issues relevant to then and now, Leibiger says.

Bonus: Be Cool. Working to solve the national problems, Washington also reminded Congress, calls for "the cool and deliberate exertion of your patriotism, firmness and wisdom."

President Obama could do worse than to echo those words — and tell Congress to stay cool — when he speaks Tuesday night.


Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit