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

Newtown Prompts Gun Buybacks, But Do They Work?

Jan 15, 2013
Originally published on January 16, 2013 1:42 pm

In the weeks since the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., communities across the country have wanted to do something about gun control, and many have turned to an old standby: buybacks.

Cities from Baltimore to Tucson, Ariz., have held gun buybacks since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in December. Record numbers of firearms were collected in Oakland, Calif., and Camden, N.J., while officials in Los Angeles recovered a total of 2,037 unwanted weapons — including empty rocket launchers.

The White House is poised to announce a raft of proposals Wednesday to reduce gun violence, but gun buybacks aren't likely to make the list.

In fact, the effectiveness of such programs has long been in doubt, says Garen Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis. Even so, he adds, while buybacks might take no more than 1 percent or 2 percent of the guns out of a given community, they still provide a means of taking action.

"I have always said that symbolic impact is important, but now in the wake of Newtown, I think that's even more true," Wintemute says.

Guns Into Washing Machines

Gun buybacks in the U.S. date to the 1960s and most follow a pretty standard script.

"Officials set up an incentive structure — cash or gift certificates — for various kinds of weapons, and announce a day and place where the buyback will take place," Wintemute says.

Then people show up and hand over their unwanted guns to local police, most of the time no questions asked. Once the weapons are collected, police weed out the ones that were stolen or used to commit a crime.

The rest are destroyed — typically cut up into small pieces — sent to a foundry and recycled into steel coils, explains David Atherton of Freedom Metals, where the 249 guns collected in a recent buyback in New Albany, Ind., are likely to be scrapped.

Instead of swords into plowshares, it's more like guns into washing machines.

"The steel coils end up being used, among other things, to make household appliances," Atherton says. "We use big shears to slice them up into pieces about 6 inches or smaller. Then we'll ship them off to a foundry to be melted down."

Officials in New Albany deemed the town's Dec. 28 buyback — its first ever — a success, though police Maj. Keith Whitlow says they'd do it a bit differently next time.

The town offered $300 for assault rifles and $200 for shotguns, rifles or handguns. It burned though its $50,000 budget in 90 minutes. But of the total number of weapons turned in, fewer than half — 103 — were handguns and just two were assault-style weapons, the Soviet-designed AK-47 and SKS.

"One thing is that in a rural area like this, you're going to get a lot of old hunting rifles, which really aren't the problem," Whitlow says. "Anyone who owns an assault weapon, for example, isn't likely to give it up in a gun buyback."

He says if the town decides to do another buyback, it will focus on handguns, which are the firearms most often used in crimes such as robberies and break-ins.

William Woodward, director for training and technical assistance at the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado, Boulder, says New Albany appears to have learned a lesson fairly common to first-time gun buybacks.

"Getting at the weapons you really want is not easy," the former police officer says. "Years ago, when they first tried gun buybacks, they ran into the same problem. People brought in guns that were broken so they could get the cash, or they'd go out and get someone else's gun to turn in — but not the one they were planning on using.

"If you have an emotional stake in a weapon, you're not going to turn it over at any price," Woodward says.

'Working At The Margins'

A Harvard University study dating from the mid-1990s concluded that buybacks were largely ineffective in reducing gun violence because they weren't getting the right kinds of weapons off the street.

"The upshot of that study was that gun buybacks were listed in the category of what doesn't work," Woodward says. "I think people may feel more safe ... [but] the gun buyback stuff is really working at the margins."

Wintemute, who like Woodward is skeptical, nonetheless points to Australia's successful nationwide buyback in 1996, following a mass shooting that year in which 35 people were killed and 23 wounded in southeastern Tasmania.

In Australia, "it was not just a buyback, like ours, where people can turn in whatever they want," Wintemute says. "They outlawed semi-automatic firearms, basically, and then bought them back."

Even so, Woodward thinks that sort of a buyback is moot in the United States.

"I just don't think that whatever we do in this country, we're not going to have a major impact without removing the Second Amendment," he says, "and I don't think that's coming around anytime soon."

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