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.


Get Your Nerd On: Desire, Passion And The Scientific Bookstore

Jan 16, 2013
Originally published on January 17, 2013 4:09 pm

It never seemed to be in the same place twice. After stumbling on to it by accident during my undergrad days, I seemed to lose its location time and time again. But it was easy to lose, just a door on 19th Street (or was it 17th?) between 5th and 6th Avenue. The door led to a cramped hallway and locked stairwells. Then came an ancient, cranky elevator that took you up to the 3rd floor (or was it the 4th?) and spilled out onto an empty, poorly lit hallway. It always felt creepy, like I was there for a drug deal. But in a way that is exactly why I, or anyone else, was there.

We all came to get our fix. We came to get some science books. And not just any kind of science book, mind you. We wanted the hardcore stuff and for that you needed a technical bookstore. Technical bookstores are the domain of the ultra-geek. They are places of such rapturous beauty, such all-encompassing delight that, today, I must to sing a pean to their glory.

I hope, perhaps, you will know what I mean. While I write specifically of the scientific bookstore, the same joy can be found in a cookbook store for the epicurean, the record store for the audiophile (vinyl!), the craftbook store for the knitting junkie and the comic bookstore for the hardcore fan. The word of the day is passion and it can be found in any place that stokes your inner fire.

You weren't going to find Cosmos, A Brief History of Time or The Elegant Universe on the shelves of my hidden Manhattan technical bookstore. Its cramped aisles held the kinds of volumes nobody reads unless they are a serious junky. Titles like Non-linear Differential Equations for Population Biology stood next to Vector and Tensor Analysis for Relativity which propped up Matrix Methods for Quantum Physics.

I was just beginning my training in math and physics when I found the store. As I ran my hand across the pages of those books they seemed to contain magic spells — the equations and the diagrams were a secret language I longed to read. The entire store seemed like a kind of forbidden library full of expensive, elusive and impossible knowledge (most books were over a hundred bucks, even back then). It was thrilling. Remarkably, it still is. As I learned to read those incantations, my sojourns to amongst the shelves in my favorite technical bookstores became even more intoxicating.

The pleasure of the technical/scientific bookstore is a rare and elusive thing. It's like spending your life in a foreign country, only to find a store full of books written in a native tongue that you never knew about. To find a new store can be the highlight of a trip. Over the years my friends and I have exchanged stories and the addresses of our favorite bookstore finds around the world.

There is Powell's Technical Books in Portland, Reiter's Books in D.C. and, back in the day, there was Stacey's in San Francisco. Every one of these places is (or was) magic if you are a nerd of a particular passion. The time spent camped out on the floor with an out of print version of Zel'dovich & Raizer's The Physics of Shock Waves was time spent freed from the weary concerns of the day to day. There was liberation on those bookshelves and that is where the technical bookstore has everything in common with all the other kinds of geekdom, nerdisms and obsession which can and should unite us all.

The brutal truth is we just find ourselves in this life and, worse, we find it full of sorrow and hardship. Taken on its own, that fact might crush us. But along with the love of others we can also find enthusiasm. We can find passion. That passion might be for science. It might be for 1920s Blues recordings, great detective novels or mastering the subtle art of woodworking. In all its diverse forms we can take the bounty of the world around us and make something of it for ourselves. We can throw our time and attention into some small corner of the Universe's infinite mansions. Once there, and with help of others who share our passion, we can enter the palace of the dorks and, without guile or shame or irony, we can become little kids again, delighting in the world and delighting in delight!

Last spring my son and daughter, both budding dorks themselves, introduced me to Ada's technical bookstore in Seattle. In an era, when the technical bookstore seems like an anachronism, here was the idea reborn. A comfortable, hipper version of the concept, mixing comics, sci-fi and computer-language manuals. Together we spent an hour in the store drooling over all the titles we wanted. When we finally left the store it was with a bag full of books and the anticipation of hours of delight ahead of us.

You can keep up with more of what Adam Frank is thinking on Facebook and on Twitter: @AdamFrank4

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit