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.


Fake Food George Washington Could've Sunk His Fake Teeth Into

Feb 18, 2013
Originally published on February 20, 2013 3:02 pm

If you want to see what George Washington might have munched on, then Sandy Levins is your gal. All the foods she whips up look scrumptious, but if you sneak a bite, you'll get a mouthful of plaster or clay.

Levins is one of a handful of frequently overlooked artisans who craft the replica meals you see in the kitchens and dining rooms of historic houses and museums. Adding faux food to a historical site can help visitors connect to the past, she tells The Salt.

"It's something everyone immediately identifies with, because everyone eats," she says.

"It opens up all kinds of avenues," she adds, "because then you can talk about what was grown locally, what kind of market would your people have had access to, depending on their socio-economic status, who would have cooked the food and what were their stories."

Since she took up the craft over a decade ago, Levins has created displays for the Deshler-Morris House in Philadelphia, New York's Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Ga. For George Washington's Mount Vernon estate, among other dishes, she created herring drizzled with mustard sauce, modeled on a recipe from Martha Washington's copy of The Art of Cookery by Hannah Glasse.

For 2013, Levins is working with the John James Audubon house in Key West, Fla., recreating local delicacies like turtle soup, oysters on the half shell, okra, Spanish limes and a roasting pig. And Mount Vernon has commissioned her to make 70 pieces of meat —whole hams, hog jowls, middlings (bacon slabs) and pork shoulders — for its newly refurbished smokehouse. It's said that of all the food produced at Mount Vernon, Martha Washington was particularly proud of her hams.

When she gets a commission, Levins dives into the history books, researching the period, location and socio-economic background of the site's former inhabitants. She has several shelves of period cookbooks that she turns to for insight, and also finds visual inspiration in the still-life paintings of Golden Age Dutch masters – who taught the rest of the world a thing or two about making art that looks good enough to eat.

"You need a good eye for color and subtle shading if your foods are to look like the real thing," she says.

Clay, papier-mâché, and plaster of Paris can all be raw ingredients for Levins' inedible vittles, depending on the look she's going for. Strips of rubber latex work great for sauerkraut, she says. What doesn't make the cut? Organics – as in materials that could attract critters or mold.

Over the years, Levins' work has taken over the first floor of her New Jersey home — with half-sculpted roast pigs' heads looming over the family room couch. And her family knows not to go digging through the freezer, less they stumble upon one of the less-appealing real foods she uses as a model — say, a raw beef tongue.

Ironically, perhaps, for someone whose personal space is now dominated by food, Levins says she hates to cook.

But she loves history.

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