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.


In Immigration Debate, 'Undocumented' vs. 'Illegal' Is More Than Just Semantics

Jan 30, 2013
Originally published on January 30, 2013 6:12 pm

On Monday, we pointed to how the bipartisan Gang of Eight senators mostly avoided the term "illegal immigrant" in the language of their immigration reform plan.

It looks like President Obama did the same in his address on the issue the next day.

The news website Colorlines took a look at the text from the president's speech and found that Obama used the term just once, but used the term "undocumented immigrants" four times.

The language used in the debate over immigration has itself become the subject of fierce contention. Advocates for immigration reform (like Colorlines) say the term "illegal immigrant" is dehumanizing and racialized. They point to a 2005 memo by Frank Luntz, a Republican consultant, that called on the party to use that term in public statements to push for tighter immigration enforcement.

The term has become so loaded that it prompted the Hispanic Leadership Network, a conservative group, to issue a memo to Republicans on Tuesday calling for Republicans to stop using "illegal immigrant," too.

"When talking about immigrants: Do use 'undocumented immigrant' when referring to those here without documentation," the organization wrote. "Please consider these tonally sensitive messaging points as you discuss immigration, regardless of your position."

The memo comes as Republicans are trying to repair their image among Latino voters, who voted overwhelmingly for President Obama in November. A poll by Fox News Latino found that 46 percent of Latino voters think "illegal immigrants" is offensive while a little over a third said they thought it was accurate.

But the term "undocumented immigrant" is not without its own political connotations. It's been the term of choice for activists in favor of reform; Obama's choice to use it seems to signal that he's on their side in the debate.

Jonathan Rosa, a linguistic anthropologist at the University of Massachusetts, told NPR that both phrases muddle the conversation about immigration reform.

" 'Undocumented' and 'illegal' seem to be signaling one's stance when it comes to immigration reform than it is about characterizing the situation in a precise way," Rosa said. He said the State Department's definition of immigrant explicitly refers to lawful status, making the term "illegal immigrant" a contradiction. But undocumented immigrant doesn't quite fit either because the term "makes it seem as though there's [just been] an administrative mistake, as if a document wasn't issued."

Rosa said the fight over the terminology isn't trivial, since the ways people use language can have social consequences. "It's not simply a way of describing the world or representing the world; it's a way of taking action in the world," he said.

And in case you were wondering: Rosa says he uses the term "unauthorized migrant" in his academic writing. "A 'migrant" is just someone who is moving across national borders," he said. "It doesn't make any presumptions about the legal status of people."

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