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.


Google Street View Takes A Hike. So?

Jan 31, 2013

A few months back, Google released a few of its engineers into the wild with a camera called the Google Trekker. Their mission was (and is) to capture America's wilder landscapes for Google Maps — starting with the Grand Canyon's Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibob Trail, and other scenic overlooks like the Colorado River.

With 15 lenses and twin GPS receivers, the soccer ball-shaped camera captures a 360-degree panorama — just like the Google Street View camera. And some of the images from the first Google treks were released Thursday. Here are a few examples of what you'll see:

What's the point? Google has an official blog post about it.

"The goal is that we want to be able to map the entire world and everyone be able to ... virtually visit," Google's Deanna Yick tells me on the phone. "What it really provides is the ability to go where none of our cars have been able to go before: the narrow canals of Venice, the steps of ancient ruins ... other trails in national parks."

And what's the point of that? Our original story sparked a mini-debate in the comments about this very question. Some readers contend that technology has no place in the wilderness.

Non tech asks: "Do we really want to live in a world where there is not a single place we can go, not even into the depths of the Grand Canyon, to just get away from it all?"

Likewise, Sid Murthy writes: "If a person can just 'walk' the trail on his computer, why would he want to walk it in person?"

Betty Hillman offers one reason: "For the many handicapped people in the world ... this feature will allow a virtual experience that they otherwise would not have."

And Sandra Chapin agrees: "I look forward to seeing these places through someone else's eyes."

Others express concern that inexperienced hikers might rely too heavily on information (i.e., trail conditions) that can change as readily as the temperature.

Grateful Head: "I just hope that people realize that the views from these cameras are only good for the time they were taken. ... It's unreal how many people just trek out into the woods with little experience. ... Then they look to technology for help and surprise, surprise it doesn't work."

And one anonymous writer proposes that perhaps this is more a tool for conservation than for navigation: "Even though many would like to keep technology out of wilderness and remote places, I think it's what will help people better appreciate those places."

We've already seen a Mount Everest climb live-blogged. And now Google is off-roading into America's backwoods. What do you think? Good, bad or both?

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