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.

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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.

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Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

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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.

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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.


Rubio's Water Bottle And The Authenticity Craving

Feb 13, 2013

Part of the reason Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's water grab during his response to the State of the Union on Tuesday night made such a splash was surely political. For people who disagree with him, seeing him stumble in the middle of a speech was probably a little thrill in the same way it's a thrill if the quarterback on the opposing team trips over his shoelaces on the way to the bench.

But even a lot of people who would freely admit that grabbing a water bottle has less than nothing to do with governing and nothing to do with anything of consequence pounced on the water-bottle moment with the feverish madness that only social media can bring, and they might have done so for a different reason entirely: It wasn't on the program.

Both the State of the Union address and the response to it are exhaustively choreographed and calculated, and that's true no matter what party holds what office. Many of us assume that everything we see from the moment a political figure appears, from clothing to handshakes to inflection to props to lights to podiums, has been cleared by a room full of consultants, so that nothing has been left to chance. Cultivated, hard-earned cynicism tells many of us that what we are seeing has been exsanguinated by experts, and we're really just looking at a bunch of marionettes.

And then what happens? In the critical moment: dry mouth. And because you're not supposed to need a drink of water, it certainly seemed like there weren't preparations for Rubio to get one, which resulted in what seemed like a furtive dart in the direction of the bottle, done as quickly as possible with as little loss of eye contact as possible, which wound up looking ... funnier, probably, than it would have if they'd realized they should have left it a little closer just in case.

It was awkward and weird, but it was also genuine and obviously unplanned, and that's what made it so addictively shareable, jokeable, watchable, animated-gif-able.

It's the same thing that happened with the blackout at the Super Bowl. In both cases, you're watching something that's been so heavily handled by so many people that it's been drained of anything natural (the State of the Union itself is the same way) and all of a sudden, you see the unmistakable mark of human frailty. In the case of the Super Bowl, you instantly think about your own power outages, who's getting yelled at, which manager is freaking out, and where Beyonce is right now. In Rubio's case, you briefly see a guy, a real guy, a guy who's having an experience you have had, where in the middle of a job interview or a presentation or asking someone out, the spit is gone. THE SPIT IS ALL GONE, and the water is waaaaay over there. In that moment, there may be a measure of politically fueled schadenfreude for some, but for many more, it's just, "Oh, oh no, oh no no, that was so uncomfortable, oh ... no." Maybe even a little, "Oh, honey." Maybe even, "Bless your heart."

There's something refreshing about a moment that was so obviously not supposed to happen — it's why blooper reels exist. It's why debates are spent waiting for someone to say the wrong thing, even by people who don't particularly care about the outcome. When things go awry — even in a tiny, tiny moment — the bottom drops out and the foreheads get clammy and all of a sudden, it's interesting. It's alive. It's: We interrupt this impeccably produced presentation to bring you a little story we call "Humans: What Are You Gonna Do?"

In all honesty, the water gulp was just about the only part of that evening you couldn't have known was going to happen 24 hours earlier. Just like the blackout, it was the major plot development (minor as it was) that felt like a collapse of the narrative, and the truth is, people like collapsed narratives. They feel, to use a nonword, real-er, truer, simpler, and more reflective of our experiences. And the fact that he rallied shortly thereafter with a post to his own Twitter feed making light of it made him seem like he could roll with a collapsed narrative, and that may well have left him better off with at least some people than he was before.

You could talk to 100 people about all the statements made in the State of the Union and all the statements made in the response, and they'd give you 100 different answers about the motivations and what was true and what was false and who did what to whom, but if you ask 100 people what it was like to be Marco Rubio at that moment, and if they all search their souls and they're all honest, they're going to say the same thing: "Not great."

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