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.


Saying No To The Inauguration

Jan 16, 2013
Originally published on January 16, 2013 3:22 pm

As supporters of President Obama prepare for his toned-down but glammed-up second inauguration over the long weekend of Jan. 19-21, the president's detractors are making other plans.

Across the country, disenchanted Americans are engaging in forms of protest — some public, some private — to signal their displeasure with November's election outcome.

How do they NOT love Obama? Let us count the ways.

In varying degrees, Obama's critics do NOT want the president imposing tighter gun-control laws. They do NOT believe he is a U.S. citizen. They do NOT have faith in his health care plan. Or his fiscal policies. Or his international strategy. Or his Cabinet nominations. They say he is arrogant and unqualified, and he should be impeached, and the list goes on.

"I will definitely NOT be celebrating Obama's inauguration," says Yvonne Welz, who lives in Phoenix and is publisher of The Horse's Hoof magazine. "Our American way of life appears to be in danger right now. We are headed full-force toward greater debt, more government control and less individual freedom."

She says, "Every time I think common sense will prevail, something even crazier happens. I am just holding my breath, hoping we can all survive the next four years."

Welz is not alone in her criticism of Obama's first term. But she says she keeps her distaste to herself on Inauguration Day. She will not be gathering with others in Phoenix for some sort of anti-inauguration event.

"I think that's the big problem for conservative people like me," Welz says. "We're too 'normal' for stuff like that. We don't tend to do extreme things."


Meanwhile, a handful of pro-gun groups — including Revolution PAC and the Second Amendment Foundation — are organizing Gun Appreciation Day to compete head-on with Obama's inauguration

Obama is calling Jan. 19 "A Day of Service." For many gun lovers, however, it might as well be called "A Day of Service Revolvers."

Lawrence A. Hunter, chairman of the pro-guns Revolution PAC, is an organizer of Gun Appreciation Day. The website encourages Americans: "On 01.19.13 go to your local gun store, gun range or gun show with your Constitution, American flags and your 'Hands off my Guns' sign to send a loud and clear message to Congress and President Obama."

It is no coincidence that Gun Appreciation Day falls during Obama's inauguration festivities, Hunter says. He and other gun advocates plan "to use the heightened public focus on Washington, D.C., during the week to draw attention to the event."

After all, says Hunter — a White House policy adviser under Ronald Reagan — the inauguration "is a pivot point, and certainly we all understand that the minute Obama takes the oath of office, he will be off and running in a second term, and he, better than anyone else, recognizes the fact that a second-term president very soon becomes a lame duck. So, if he wants to accomplish something big and controversial, it has to happen quickly."

The daylong event is sponsored by more than 90 organizations, including the Second Amendment Firearms Emporium in Brunswick, Ga.; Trigger Happy Guns and Ammo of Belpre, Ohio, and Ole Boy Outdoors shooting range in Bakersfield, Calif.


Take a look around the country, and you will find other dissenters planning to protest. Various sites, such as the Tea Party Tribune and Free Republic, are promoting a "Massive Anti-Obama Rally on Obama's Inauguration Day."

The notion, according to the announcement, is to have scads of anti-Obama activists gather on the National Mall on the morning of the public swearing-in.

There are anti-Obama Facebook pages. And anti-Obama websites maintained by outspoken detractors that hope to stop the inauguration or set into motion the wheels of impeachment.

And then there are folks like Cathy Bilsky, owner of the Crystals, Miracles & Joy shop in Honokaa, Hawaii.

Bilsky does not think Obama should have signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the government to keep suspected terrorists in custody indefinitely. "Indefinite detention is not the sign of a good president," Bilsky says, "but a man who wants to be a king."

She is not a believer in Obamacare, "which is making me buy health care insurance that will not cover my alternative methods."

On Monday, she hopes to meet up with some other anti-inauguration people in Hilo. But if that doesn't work out, she says she will definitely post a sign in the front window of her shop that says: "The only hope we have is to pray for some enlightenment to descend around Obama."

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