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.

Pages

Iran's Leader Embraces Facebook; Fellow Iranians Are Blocked

Feb 4, 2013
Originally published on February 5, 2013 10:29 am

When Iran's supreme leader got a Facebook page in December, Iranians sat up and blinked.

Some thought it was a fake, finding it hard to believe that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would be using a technology that his own government blocks. A U.S. State Department spokeswoman skeptically wondered how many "likes" it would attract.

But some of Khamenei's supporters quickly rallied behind the move, which first came to light in a reference on — you guessed it — the ayatollah's Twitter account.

Iran has one of the highest percentages of Internet access in the Middle East, but the number of sites Iranians can legally visit is extremely limited. The government has launched "cyberpolice units" charged with tracking those who try to visit banned Internet or social media sites.

When Khamenei turned to Facebook, Iran's millions of computer users allowed themselves to hope that it might lead to an unblocking of social media sites. Not so: They still have to pick the government's cyberlocks to access the latest thoughts from their own leader.

Of course, Facebook is not the only site Iranians want to visit, and that's what has the authorities worried. After security forces crushed massive street protests after the controversial 2009 election, activists took their dissent to the virtual world — where they now find themselves under increasingly aggressive attack.

"The fight in the online space is not over," says Reza Ghazi Nouri, an activist who fled to Turkey when he was threatened with years in prison for his support of pro-reform candidates.

Death Of A Blogger

Nouri's research into Iran's Internet and social networking communities shows the increasing ability of government cyberpolice units to learn the identities of online writers, some of whom are then arrested, interrogated and tortured.

One example came last November. A blogger named Sattar Beheshti was arrested for critical comments posted on Facebook. His death in custody after allegedly being tortured provoked international condemnation. Still, Nouri believes it had the desired chilling effect.

"Because when you torture somebody to death for blogging and writing on Facebook, you're not just killing him, you're oppressing and frightening millions of other people," he says.

Security analyst Theodore Karasik at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis says after being caught off-guard by the huge protests of 2009, the government has gotten much more savvy at stifling dissent online as well as in the streets.

"And it's not unusual for someone to get followed, or to conduct their Internet or social media sessions in another house or another location that they think is secure when in fact it really isn't," Karasik says. "Indeed, there is a crackdown ongoing, and will probably only get worse with the development of an Iran-only Internet."

A Call For Internet Freedom

Technology analysts have debated Iran's effort to seal off the country from the rest of the cyberworld. Karasik sides with those who believe it can be done, while others doubt that a hermetic cyberseal could be maintained.

There are tools, such as VPNs, or virtual private networks, that allow Iranians to disguise their computers' identity. But according to Nouri, the Iranian activist, some of the most affordable VPNs on the Iranian market are supplied by the Revolutionary Guard itself, and provide no protection whatsoever. The crucial obstacle at the moment, he says, is organizing.

"The problem is, you can have safe communications between two, three or four people, but when you try to organize an event, you have to communicate with thousands of people, so that's not working," Nouri says.

The increased pressure has caused many opposition supporters to deactivate their Facebook accounts. Still, the authorities are preparing for a spike in activism as the June presidential contest approaches. Nouri says if the international community really wants to help pro-democracy forces in Iran, it should invest in Internet freedom there.

Meanwhile, the ayatollah's Facebook page seems to be thriving. As of late January, it had racked up nearly 30,000 "likes."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Iran has one of the highest percentages of Internet access in the Middle East. But the number of sites Iranians can legally visit is extremely limited. The government has charged cyber police units with tracking those who try to visit banned Internet or social media sites. Much in that policing targets pro-democracy activists. From Istanbul, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports on Iranian dissidents' struggle to maintain their online activism.

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: When the ayatollah got a Facebook page in mid-December, Iranians sat up and blinked. Some thought it was a fake, finding it hard to believe that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei would be using a technology that his own government blocks. A State Department spokeswoman skeptically wondered how many likes it would attract. But some of Khamenei's supporters quickly rallied behind the move, which first came to light in a reference on - you guessed it - the ayatollah's Twitter account.

For a time, Iran's millions of computer users allowed themselves to hope that it might lead to an unblocking of Facebook and other social media sites. Not so. They still have to pick the government's cyber locks to access the latest thoughts from their own leader. Of course, that's not the only site Iranians want to visit, and that's what has the authorities worried. After security forces crushed massive street protests following the controversial 2009 elections, activists took their dissent to the virtual world where they now find themselves under increasingly aggressive attack.

REZA GHAZI NOURI: The fight in the online space is not over.

KENYON: Reza Ghazi Nouri is an activist who fled to Turkey when he was threatened with years in prison for his support of pro-reform candidates. His research into Iran's Internet and social networking communities shows the increasing ability of government cyber police units to learn the identities of online writers, some of whom are then arrested, interrogated and tortured. One brutal example came last November.

A blogger named Sattar Beheshti was arrested for critical comments posted on Facebook. His death in custody after allegedly being tortured provoked international condemnation. Still, Nouri believes it had the desired chilling effect.

NOURI: Because when you torture somebody to death for blogging and writing in Facebook, you're not just killing him, you're oppressing and frightening millions of other people.

KENYON: Security analyst Theodore Karasik at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis says after being caught off guard by the huge protests of 2009, the government has gotten much more savvy at stifling dissent online as well as in the streets.

THEODORE KARASIK: It's not unusual for someone to get followed or to conduct their Internet or social media sessions in another house or another location that they think is secure when in fact it really isn't. Indeed, there is a crackdown ongoing and will probably even get worse with the development of an Iran-only Internet.

KENYON: Technology analysts have debated Tehran's effort to seal off the country from the World Wide Web. Karasik sides with those who believe it can be done, while others doubt that a hermetic cyber seal could be maintained. There are tools, such as VPN's, or virtual private networks, that allow Iranians to disguise their computer's identity. But according to activist Reza Nouri, some of the cheapest VPN's on the Iranian market are supplied by the revolutionary guard itself and provide no protection whatsoever. The crucial obstacle at the moment, he says, is organizing.

NOURI: The problem is that you can have safe communications with two, three or four people. But when you try to organize an event, you have to communicate with thousands of people. So that's not working.

KENYON: The increased pressure has caused many opposition supporters to deactivate their Facebook accounts. Still, the authorities are preparing for a spike in activism as the June presidential contest approaches. Nouri says if the international community really wants to help pro-democracy forces in Iran, it should invest in internet freedom there. Meanwhile, the Ayatollah's Facebook page seems to be thriving. As of late January it had been liked nearly 30,000 times. Peter Kenyon, NPR News, Istanbul. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.