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.


Poetry In Motion: Why I'll Be Watching The Super Bowl

Feb 1, 2013

I don't blame professional footballers for suing the NFL for supposedly having failed adequately to protect them from head injury.

That's the way we do things in our society. We see a problem and start suing; it's our way of trying to figure out what changes need to be made and whose insurance companies are going to pay for them.

What I don't buy, not for a second, is that we didn't all already know that playing football, the way they play it in the NFL, is very dangerous. (Although we have surely learned a good deal about the far-reaching consequences of head injury! See this technical article; it was cited in Barbara King's provocative discussion here at 13.7 on Thursday.)

A great many sports are dangerous, to one degree or another.

Athletes get hurt. Badly. They're like gladiators. They get beat up, knocked around, and they live with pain. Surgery, to repair damage done and to extend a career, is normal.

They say taking steroids and other performance enhancing drugs is bad for your health. One reason to ban PEDs, it is said, is to protect athletes from these dangers.

That reasoning reminds me of a joke: a man stands before the firing squad; he is offered a last cigarette. "No thank you," he says. "I'm trying to quit."

If you want safety and good health, steroids are not the problem. It's sports themselves.

But my aim today is to praise sport, though, not to bury it.

I will be watching the Super Bowl this weekend. And I recommend it to you.

Forget the dangers. Forget the use of banned drugs. Forget the commercialism.

The value of sports — the value of spectator sports — outstrips all that.

Sports is a field of love.

We love sports. We love these athletes.

And we value being spectators because it gives us an opportunity to love and adore them.

We admire them, in the original sense of this word: we feel wonder in the face of all that these athletes accomplish. We are awed by their strength and speed, extraordinary skill, drive and determination, their fight.

But above all, we value the physical courage that enables these players to play to win. We applaud them for their willingness to leap and jump and twist and slam and take the hit.

I won't allow my boys to play tackle football in high school. That's not the life I want for them.

But I will be watching the Super Bowl this weekend to celebrate and adore these most unusually accomplished and beautiful people!

We may forget that poetry in Europe begins with the celebration of athletic achievment in the Odes of Pindar. The spectacle of sports carries on and it remains a fitting subject for celebration.

You can keep up with more of what Alva Noë is thinking on Facebook and on Twitter: @alvanoe

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