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.

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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.

"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.


How To Pick A Pope (With Latin Subtitles)

Feb 11, 2013
Originally published on February 12, 2013 9:27 am

For lovers of the lapsed language Latin, the selection of a new pope is an ecstasyfest.

The Roman Catholic Church is so steeped in centuries-old traditions, Pope Benedict XVI announced his surprise retirement on Monday the old-fashioned way — in Latin.

"Fratres carissimi," the Pope's retirement announcement began. Beloved brothers ...

And so begins a month or so of global attention on the Vatican — the epicenter of the Catholic Church — and the moribund language that is spoken behind its walls.

Following the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century and the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, Latin as a spoken language pretty much faded away.

But with the selection of a new pope in the news, long-forgotten Latin words and phrases will be returning to popular parlance for a brief period — until the pontiff is chosen. And then the Latin patter will be, once again, isset cum ventus — gone with the wind.

"To see a bit of history made in Latin today is thrilling," says Tara Welch, associate professor of classics at the University of Kansas. "The thrill is all the stronger because the pope is using the traditional language of the church to do something absolutely unprecedented" in modern memory.

She adds, "As a Roman might say, 'Mehercule!' "

If the Vatican follows tradition, NPR reports, it will bring a conclave of cardinals together in mid-March to choose a new church leader. But as the pope himself is showing us, nothing is certain anymore.

Fitting that Latin should be the official language of the church and its rituals. The more mysterious the process, it seems, the stranger the vocabulary. And earthly processes don't get much more mysterious than picking a new pope.

By focusing on the unusual verbiage, maybe we can begin to understand how it works. Here, then, is a glossary of words and phrases we may hear in the coming month.

Cardinal: The word — we're not talking about the songbird, here — comes from the Latin cardinalis, meaning "chief, essential, principal." In the Roman Catholic Church, the cardinals are higher-echelon officials in the church's governance. To begin the selection, the cardinals, led by a president known as the dean, will gather — from all over the world — in Rome. They will convene in the Sistine Chapel, where the balloting will take place.

Conclave: The word, according to American Catholic, comes from the Latin phrase cum clavis, which means "locked with the key." In this case, the cardinals are locked away in the Vatican, held hostage by their bounden duty until a new pope is chosen.

Eligo in summum pontificem: For each round of voting, cardinals are issued cards with this phrase inscribed at the top. Translation: "I elect as supreme pontiff." Each voter prints the name of his favorite candidate on the card, folds the paper once, and in order of age from oldest to youngest, walks up to the altar to cast his ballot.

Paten: The ballot is placed on a paten, which is from the Latin word for a shallow plate. It is the plate used to serve the consecrated bread — which Catholics believe is the Body of Christ — at Holy Communion. The ballot is then put into a chalice, from the Latin word for mug. It is the sacred vessel used to serve consecrated wine — which Catholics believe is the Blood of Christ — at Holy Communion. After each round, the votes are counted, then burned. Special chemicals are added to the fire so black smoke burns if there is no clear choice, and white smoke billows forth if a new pope has been chosen.

Pope: "Until recently," writes William H. Shannon, a priest and founder of the International Thomas Merton Society, in his essay "The Future of the Papacy," "a two-thirds majority plus one was required for election. After his election, Pope John Paul II changed this. Now if there is no conclusive vote after 30 ballots, an absolute majority suffices. "

If a candidate gets a majority on the first or second ballot, Shannon explains, "his supporters need only wait till 30 ballots have been cast. He will then be elected on the 31st ballot."

The mysterious process of choosing a new pope continues to change and evolve.

Shannon writes that the cardinals can choose just about anyone, as long as he is a baptized male. "There have been occasions in the past when laymen were elected," Shannon writes. "The one elected is asked if he accepts. The moment he accepts he is pope."

The cardinal dean then asks the new pope what name he chooses, according to Shannon. "Then the oldest member of the college announces the choice to the city of Rome and to the world."

Who will the new pope be? The contemporary Catholic Church is at a crossroads of traditional and progressive, says classics scholar Tara Welch. "That the Latin language is the medium of this moment is perplexing, suggestive, exciting, foreboding."

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