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.


Increased Humidity From Climate Change Could Make It Harder To Tolerate Summers

Feb 25, 2013
Originally published on February 25, 2013 7:23 pm



Now, a story about heat, the sweaty, miserable kind. Heat plus humidity. Working outdoors or playing sports on a hot, muggy day can be dangerous, even deadly. And as the climate continues to warm, being outside will become even more challenging. Those are the findings of a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

NPR's Richard Harris tells us more.

RICHARD HARRIS, BYLINE: The one-two punch of heat and humidity is so serious, the military keeps a close eye on it and calls off physical activity when it gets too bad. Similar rules govern some outdoor workers as well. Howard Frumkin at the University of Washington School of Public Health says there's good reason for that.

HOWARD FRUMKIN: First, you get relatively mild reactions, such as a heat rash. Then, you can get heat cramps, then heat exhaustion and then more severely, if people keep on pushing through, heat stroke and possibly death.

HARRIS: Scientists measure this heat and humidity combination with a thermometer they swath in a wet cloth and then swing around their heads. This is called a wet bulb globe temperature. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's lab at Princeton decided to forecast what will happen to these measurements worldwide as the planet warms.

John Dunne says the answer is a lot.

JOHN DUNNE: Heat stress itself affects more people as climate warms and affects the people that it already affected more severely.

HARRIS: To put a number on this, Dunne and his colleagues measured something called labor capacity. In essence, it asks how much time people have to rest when working outside during the hottest months of the year. Right now, globally, people can work 90 percent of the time and have to take a break 10 percent of the time. But that will change a lot by 2050.

DUNNE: The labor capacity will reduce from 90 percent down to 80 percent during peak months.

HARRIS: And as temperatures rise, that will get worse and worse. By the end of the century, it's quite possible the planet will have heated up 3 degrees Celsius, about 5 degrees Fahrenheit. That will make hot and sticky places truly miserable.

DUNNE: The lower Mississippi Valley would see decreases in the ability for people to work outside safely down to about 30 percent during peak months.

HARRIS: And some time in the subsequent century, unless warming is brought under control, New York City would become as hot and humid as the Middle Eastern country of Bahrain is today. Dunne says the impact on human beings is much more serious when you look at it this way as opposed to just thinking about average temperature increases.

DUNNE: The potential seems frightening. But, you know, I have great hope in the ability of humanity to adapt.

HARRIS: The change will happen gradually, he says, and technologies like air conditioning can help, at least among people who now work in open air factories. But Howard Frumkin worries that this effect will hit hardest among the world's poor people who barely make it by today working in farm fields or sweat shops.

FRUMKIN: Especially in times of economic desperation or in places where people really need to work to provide food to their families. I think there's a real danger that people will try to power through and endanger themselves.

HARRIS: And Frumkin says the new research probably underestimates the effect because it doesn't take into account that cities are hot and home now to half the planet's population.

FRUMKIN: Cities will be far hotter places than the countryside and we can expect the diminished work capacity to hit especially hard in cities.

HARRIS: And while air conditioning can help, it also requires electricity, which is often generated by burning fossil fuels, which adds to global warming. Richard Harris, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.