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

Jane Austen's 'Pride And Prejudice' At 200

Jan 28, 2013
Originally published on January 28, 2013 6:38 pm

My favorite item from the growing mountain of Pride and Prejudice bicentennial trivia comes courtesy of an article in something called Regency World Magazine, which is going gaga over the anniversary. The article, "Albert Goes Ape for Austen," describes how a 200-pound orangutan named Albert, living in the Gdansk Zoo in Poland, insists on having 50 pages a night of Pride and Prejudice read to him at bedtime by his keeper or else he refuses to go to sleep.

What does Albert the orangutan hear in Pride and Prejudice, I wonder? Maybe the same thing my students hear when I teach survey courses on the evolution of the novel. We start our voyage out with Robinson Crusoe and often go on to Samuel Richardson's Pamela and Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy — fine, weird novels that seem to hail from a civilization a million light years from our own. Then we arrive home, on Planet Austen.

The relief in the classroom is palpable; the energy of class discussion spikes. It's certainly not that my students mistake Austen's world for our own. After all, her novels revolve around the make-or-break perils of a highly ritualized marriage market. Rather, it's Austen's smart-girl voice: peppery, wry, eye rolling — that seems so close to modern consciousness. Austen could be gal pals with Tina Fey and Lena Dunham; she talks to us directly, bridging time and custom.

Pride and Prejudice, Austen's most widely read novel, was first published on Jan. 28, 1813, and has since generated musicals and computer games, operas and anime, Masterpiece Theatre costume dramas and Bollywood movies. It's been updated and reimagined as mystery fiction, sci-fi, X-rated erotica and vampire gore. We readers clearly want Austen's voice to go on and on — a voice that was silenced when she died at the age of 41 in 1817.

Though I could happily watch Bridget Jones's Diary for eternity, I mostly think the best way to revisit Austen and learn something new is through the art of criticism. Out of the slew of critical books that have been spawned by the book's bicentennial, one that particularly caught my eye is called The Real Jane Austen by Paula Byrne. Byrne has previously written about Austen and the theater; here, she takes a clever approach to scrutinizing the few facts that we know about Austen's life.

Byrne reads Austen's life through key objects, many of which would have surrounded her in her parlor and bedroom. There are familiar relics like the three vellum notebooks in which a juvenile Austen penned poems and stories, as well as the pair of gorgeous topaz crosses that Austen's sailor brother Charles bought for Jane and her sister, Cassandra.

Then there are more exotic tokens: an "East Indian shawl" belonged to Austen's Aunt Philadelphia, who sailed to India with other single girls in search of husbands; they were part of what was then derisively called "the fishing fleet." Byrne's aim is to show how these objects, many of them reproduced in her book in lush color plates, reveal a much more cosmopolitan awareness of the world than is commonly credited to Austen.

Byrne also throws in a wild card: a small Regency-era portrait sketch of a slim middle-aged woman, cap on head, pen in hand. The portrait's provenance is unknown; on its back someone wrote: "Miss Jane Austin," spelling the last name with an "I," as Austen herself did on her 1816 royalty check for her novel Emma.

If this is, indeed, an authentic portrait of Austen, she looks like you might want her to look: staring off into the distance, faintly smiling, perhaps getting a kick out of a vision of the great fuss futurity would make of the creatures of her imagination.

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