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.

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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.

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Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

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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.

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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.


Energy Secretary Nominee Is An Academic, Politico

Mar 4, 2013
Originally published on March 4, 2013 5:34 pm



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

An MIT physicist and Washington insider is the president's choice to run the Department of Energy. Ernest Moniz served as an undersecretary of energy for President Clinton. He now works at MIT, where his research institute publishes studies on energy that are considered required reading on Capitol Hill.

As NPR's Christopher Joyce reports, Moniz is a booster of solar and wind power but also some types of fossil fuel.

CHRISTOPHER JOYCE, BYLINE: Like the current DOE Secretary Steven Chu, Ernie Moniz is a physicist and an academic. But the similarity ends there. After coming to Washington, D.C., from California, Nobel Prize winner Chu told reporters: I feel like I've been thrown in the deep end of the pool. Moniz, however, has been swimming laps in that pool for years.

Since he left the Clinton administration, Moniz has testified often in Congress and at Washington think tanks. He's easy to spot in a dark suit, with 1960s-style shoulder-length gray hair.

Moniz says climate change dictates the future of energy and that means less carbon in our fuel, carbon that warms the atmosphere. He laid out his view recently before Washington's World Affairs Council.

ERNEST MONIZ: So the formula is, in fact, for these 10 years, demand management, gas for coal, and innovate like hell so that the zero carbon alternatives can have cost reductions and it can get driven into the marketplace earlier.

JOYCE: Demand management as in getting consumers to use energy more efficiently, replacing coal-fired power plants with more natural gas turbines, and finally making wind, solar and geothermal energy cheaper.

In the meantime, Moniz says let's burn natural gas. Hydraulic fracturing technology has made gas abundant. To fracking's critics, Moniz says, yes, fracking has environmental problems, but they can be handled with regulations. He says gas is necessary until solar and wind are more affordable.

MONIZ: Since I see the zero carbon alternatives all having 10-year or longer time frames, I will argue it's buying us time as long as it displaces coal. The caution is, buying time doesn't matter if you don't use the time.

JOYCE: Use it, for example, to make the nation's electricity grid more solar and wind-friendly. Moniz also says more nuclear power could help the climate if it's not too pricey.

MONIZ: What we are advocating is the need to establish nuclear and other essentially zero carbon options. We have to understand, what does it cost?

JOYCE: Moniz is well aware of the monkey on the back of nuclear power: 45,000 tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste from power plants. He served on a commission last year that recommended building an underground repository to finally bury that waste.

Moniz will be the target for those who say limits on oil and coal will drive up consumers' energy bills. And some environmental groups say his MIT institute is too cozy with the oil and gas industry. The institute accepts sponsorship from several oil companies but also has leading environmentalists as advisers.

People who know Washington and the energy business say Moniz is savvy. Here's Dave McCurdy, head of the American Gas Association and a former congressman from Oklahoma.

DAVE MCCURDY: Ernie Moniz understands Washington. He knows that you have to work with both sides of the political aisle. You have to build consensus. But he brings relationships to the Hill.

JOYCE: But Moniz also knows the physics. Here's Frances Beinecke, head of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

FRANCES BEINECKE: We want to be innovative and solve a lot of the energy problems that we've had and move towards a cleaner energy future. And I think having the technological background is critical too.

JOYCE: Christopher Joyce, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.