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.


Some Political Lessons From The Violence Against Women Act Vote

Feb 28, 2013
Originally published on February 28, 2013 7:22 pm

The fight over reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act is now behind us. But like much of what happens in Washington, the process wasn't pretty.

In the debate leading up to Thursday's House vote, you had Democrats accusing Republicans of continuing a "war on women," and Republicans accusing Democrats of crass political pandering.

Some background: The Democratic-led Senate passed a bipartisan reauthorization in the last Congress, which the GOP-controlled House failed to act on. After the current Congress began in January, the Senate once again passed a reauthorization bill.

The Senate reauthorization contained elements some Republicans opposed. For instance, it allowed non-Native Americans accused of committing violent acts against women on tribal lands to be tried in tribal courts. Some Republicans said that was unconstitutional.

It also brought LGBT victims and illegal immigrants under the law's ambit, two other aspects many Republicans criticized. House Republicans offered as an amendment an alternative that lacked the Senate bill's features. That alternative failed to pass in the House before the Senate bill was approved Thursday

So with that, what are some takeaways from the 286-to-138 House vote that sent the measure to President Obama for his signature?

1. As much as the two sides of the aisle in the House often can't seem to stand each other, they remain lashed together when it comes to issues like VAWA that divide House Republicans but unite Democrats.

And, boy, were Democrats ever united; 199 of the 200 House Democrats voted for VAWA. One didn't vote. Meanwhile, only 87 of 232 Republicans voted for the bill in the House.

As in the votes for Hurricane Sandy emergency aid and for the "fiscal cliff" agreement before that, House Republican leaders had to rely on Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her Democrats to put the legislation over the top.

2. Despite being on the wrong end of the gender gap in recent elections, many House Republicans remain willing to risk a stance that lets Democrats frame them as hostile to women's concerns.

Why? The main worry for some House Republicans remains a primary challenge from their political right, not from a moderate Democrat in the general election.

The failed GOP VAWA alternative was about giving House Republicans the ability to say they voted for a better, conservative alternative. And by allowing a vote on the Senate bill, Republican leaders ensured that House Republicans couldn't be accused of defeating VAWA during the 2014 midterm elections.

3. Whether or not you accept House Republican arguments that the Senate bill was flawed, it wasn't just GOP lawmakers who questioned whether the legislation was operating as intended.

As Time recently reported, critics of the law far removed from the corridors of Congress criticized the legislation for various reasons, including the possibility that requiring the arrest of accused abusers has caused some victims not to report violence against them.

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