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.


Learning To Live In The Moment With 'The Dude'

Jan 17, 2013

Now, if you think The Dude — the main character in the The Big Lebowski — is no Zen Master then Bernie Glassman and Jeff Bridges would like a word with you. That's because one, a well-known Zen teacher, and the other, the guy who brought Leboswski to life, have written a new book together titled, appropriately, The Dude and the Zen Master. It's a delightful, whimsical little text with a very serious intent.

Glassman and Bridges are friends who've spent a lot of time talking about Buddhism and what it means in everyday life. Their book's gentle conceit is to use The Dude and his response to situations thrown at him in The Big Lebowski to unpack the essence of Zen's promise. With chapter titles like "The Dude Is Not In", they show us The Dude as a kind of intuitive Zen Master.

"I dig the Dude," says Bridges at one point in the book. "He is very authentic. He can be angry and upset, but he's very comfortable in his own skin. And in his inimitable way he has grace."

No matter what happens, Bridges explains, the Dude is there, getting upset and then quickly adjusting with good humor and natural kindness. He shows up and in Zen that is what really matters. Just showing up. That's because being present for whatever appears without pushing it away or demanding it be different is the only way we can act with real freedom. As Glassman writes, "Trillions of years of DNA — the flow of the entire Universe — all lead up to this moment. ... So what do you do? You just do." You remain curious, open and aware even as you act.

Bridges best insights often come when he brings his experience as an actor to bear. That's important because, in a very real sense, we are all actors waking up and putting on the mask of our personalities each day. The trick, Glassman and Bridges would say, is to learn to live in the moment and not in the character.

Having experienced my share of seven-day Zen intensives, I can vouch for the fact that a big chunk of Buddhism lies in a daily practice that can, sometimes, be intense. This book doesn't really touch on that aspect of Zen, but that's OK.

Glassman and Bridge's wonderful little volume fleshes out more than enough reason to consider the Zen perspective: finding ease in the midst chaos; finding grace in the midst of now. Glassman and Bridges are trying to show us that the real truth is that we have no other choice. We, like The Dude, must always learn to abide.

You can keep up with more of what Adam Frank is thinking on Facebook and on Twitter: @AdamFrank4

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