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.


Remembering Central Park Birder Starr Saphir: 'Time Has A Different Meaning'

Feb 7, 2013

Starr Saphir says, in the 2012 HBO documentary Birders: The Central Park Effect, that there wasn't much money in offering bird walks Central Park, as she had at that time for nearly 30 years, but she's doing something she loves. "I don't look forward to retiring," she explains. "I am enormously lucky in that I absolutely love what I do every day that I do it. It doesn't mean that it's not tedious for moments, or for hours, or the day when you have to come up with 38 birds and the birds are not cooperating, and you end up with 37. It's work. But I could keep this up for, I think, for hundreds of years. Nobody gets a chance to find that out."

Saphir, who logged sightings of 259 bird species just in Central Park (and spoke to NPR's Margot Adler for a 2012 story about birding apps, and, as The New York Times pointed out in a recent story about the film, once took Conan O'Brien around), died on Tuesday. According to her web site, she'd had breast cancer for 11 years. In the film, she spoke of her fatigue during migration season. "At the end of every walk, I can barely get myself home, and I just kind of collapse into bed." And every June, once that season ended and there weren't so many birds to look at, she said, she'd have her annual round of consultations with her oncologist.

If you watch Birders, you'll see not just the strange little world of Central Park's birds and birders, but the reasons people pick up this particular hobby. Birders tend to be patient and detail-oriented, attuned to nature and comfortable in silence. Saphir seems to be even more aware than most of the fact that in some ways, humans are honestly just visiting the birds' delicate environment. "I'd like to see it," her friend Catherine says of a specimen she's trying in vain to spy with her binoculars. "I know," Saphir tells her sympathetically. "I'm not sure it would like to be seen, though."

"Time has a different meaning for birders," she says while discussing her own situation. "You see the changes really from day to day and from week to week. In foliage, in the bird populations, and so on." She continues: "Time has a slightly different meaning for me now that I have terminal breast cancer. I have a great deal more enjoyment. It's heightened my joys in life. And I always loved what I did. But it's heightened even more because I know it's — not only is it not going to last forever, it's not going to last all that much longer."

Birders: The Central Park Effect is a relatively breezy hour long, and it will be airing on HBO this Saturday, February 9, at 6:00 AM Eastern. It's well worth setting your DVR if you have one.

The film Birders: The Central Park Effect is available on DVD, will be on HBO's regular On Demand service beginning February 13, and is now available on HBO GO, the network's streaming service. (At HBO GO, it's under "Documentaries.")

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