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.


Private Equity Firm To Take Over Dell

Jan 24, 2013
Originally published on January 24, 2013 1:19 pm



Staying in the tech world now, later today Microsoft releases its earnings for the final quarter of 2012. And no matter what the computer software giant announces, it won't mask the fact that last year was a brutal one for the personal computer industry.

Dell - one of the largest computer makers on the planet - is in talks to be taken over by a private equity firm. PC sales are declining globally.

And as NPR's Steve Henn reports, some see a technological shift in the works that could undermine the empire built by Microsoft.

STEVE HENN, BYLINE: Mobile devices like tablets and smartphones are now clearly stealing sales from the traditional personal computer industry.

Scott Weiss is a venture capitalist at Andreessen Horowitz.

SCOTT WEISS: And the only problem is, is that there's no, you know, Microsoft tablet.

HENN: Actually there is. There are lots of them. They're just not popular.

WEISS: You know, all the tablets are being shipped as either Apple or Android.

HENN: Personal computer companies that haven't moved aggressively into mobile - companies like Dell - are suffering.

WEISS: And so it puts kind of the whole WinTel thing in a pickle.

HENN: That's the technology empire Microsoft Windows and Intel created together - and now that empire is falling apart.

JEREMY REIMER: It's actually a fascinating story because it starts in - way back in 1975.

HENN: Jeremy Reimer is a writer and programmer who's studied technology life-cycles. He says personal computers took down main frames a generation ago - by being cheaper and getting just good enough to do some real work. Today he says mobile devices are doing the same thing.

REIMER: A lot of people are finding they can get by with just...

HENN: A smartphone or a tablet.

REIMER: Particularly in the developing world, a lot of people are skipping PCs entirely and just going straight to a smartphone.

HENN: The smartphone is their computer, and according to Bob O'Donnell, an analyst at IDC, these devices are now taking a bite out of traditional computer sales.

BOB O'DONNELL: In 2012, PC sales declined by a few percentage points and it's the first time we've seen negative growth.

HENN: Outside of once during a recession. And today, big American PC manufacturers - like Dell or HP - are getting crushed. IDC says Dell shipped 21 percent fewer personal computers last quarter than it did just a year ago. And even though Dell has almost $11 billion in cash and generates billions in profits each year, its stock price has collapsed. Investors just don't see a bright future - and all that's made it an attractive target for a private equity takeover, according to Weiss at Andreessen Horowitz.

WEISS: I don't think it's necessarily a capitulation.

HENN: But turning Dell around probably won't be pretty.

WEISS: I think going private, it's almost like you pull a curtain up because there are some messy things that are going to have to go on.

HENN: Think restructuring, layoffs.

WEISS: And doing that all in the, you know, under the public glare, is not easy.

HENN: Weiss's firm, Andreessen Horowitz, has done deals with Silverlake. That's the private equity firm in talks to buy Dell. Together the two firms explored buying Yahoo, and a couple years before that Andreessen Horowitz and Silverlake bought Skype; then later they sold it to Microsoft.

WEISS: You know, listen, the folks that are contemplating taking Dell private are incredibly smart.

HENN: Weiss says Silverlake and other private investors clearly believe they can continue to sell PCs profitably for years, even if their business isn't growing.

WEISS: When a platform shift happens - like it did to Blockbuster Video - and, you know, kind of the writing's on the wall, it still is amazing just how long it takes for a product line of for a company to go out of business.

HENN: Weiss says there still could be an upside for Dell. It does more than just sell PCs and...

WEISS: Microsoft has seen the success that both Apple and Google have had in making their own tablet kind of a, you know, just controlling the user experience from beginning to end.

HENN: So Weiss wasn't surprised that Microsoft is reportedly interested in buying a piece of Dell. Helping Dell survive can't hurt and perhaps Microsoft and Dell together could actually build a mobile product people want to buy.

Steve Henn, NPR News, Silicon Valley. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.