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.


Speaking Out About Women And Power

Feb 4, 2013
Originally published on February 4, 2013 5:20 pm

Last week Hillary Clinton stepped down from her position as secretary of state amidst speculation about whether she'll consider a 2016 bid for the presidency. For decades Clinton has embodied the conflicted status of women in power, with very public roles as a wife, mother and first lady, two terms in the Senate and four years as secretary of state.

On the one hand, Clinton's career highlights how far women have come. Just 20 years ago, there were only three women in the Senate (versus 20 today) and there had never been a woman secretary of state. On the other hand, a glance at the proportion of women in public positions of power — whether it's Senate seats (20 percent women) or board seats at Fortune 500 companies (16.6 percent women) — reveals that we have a long way to go.

Last month, a symposium at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology considered "when and why women step back from status," focusing on the subtle social pressures that reinforce traditional gender roles and cast women as nurturers rather than leaders. This research sheds light on why women may be less likely to pursue public positions of power and why they face extra challenges when they do.

One set of studies, by professors Melissa Williams at Emory University and my colleague Serena Chen at UC Berkeley, found that women who saw themselves as "leaders" at home were on average less ambitious about career advancement, with no comparable effect for men. In other words, power inside the home seemed to compensate for power outside the home, but only for women. (You can read a summary of this research in a post by Chad Brooks over at the Huffington Post.)

Chen shared some thoughts with me on the findings and their implications. "We should be cautious about using language that invokes power and status when describing women's activities at home," she suggested. For example, "when well-intentioned male partners defer to their wives' clothing choices, or let the kids know that 'mom's the boss' of the household, these seemingly flattering interactions may carry the implication that the woman in question is not the boss outside the home, or lacks expertise in areas other than fashion."

Another speaker at the symposium, Victoria Brescoll, an assistant professor at Yale's School of Management, studied the interplay between power and gender on the Senate floor: she measured the amount of time that male and female members of the Senate spent talking. Is speaking a privilege of power, and if so, do women exercise it?

Brescoll found that there was a fairly strong and positive association for men between speaking time and political power (as quantified by tenure, committee assignments and other metrics): the more powerful the man, the more time he tended to spend speaking. But for women there was a much weaker, and statistically insignificant, association.

To better understand why powerful women didn't spend more time speaking, Brescoll conducted two experiments. In one, men and women were asked to think of themselves as either the most powerful or the least powerful member of a team. Replicating the Senate-floor findings, men in the "powerful" condition reported that they would talk more than men in the "powerless" condition did, with no effect of power on talking for women. Women's reticence was driven mainly by a fear of backlash: they worried that they would be negatively perceived if they acted in stereotypically "powerful" ways, such as dominating discussion.

Brescoll's final experiment revealed that this worry was — unfortunately — warranted.

A new group of men and women was asked to evaluate a hypothetical CEO who was either male or female and described as either offering opinions as much as possible or tending to withhold opinions. Female CEOs who offered their opinions were judged less competent and less suited to leadership than female CEOs who withheld their opinions, with the opposite pattern for males.

Two aspects of this final experiment are worth emphasizing. First, women were judged more harshly for voicing opinions too ardently, but men faced a complementary danger: of being perceived as poor leaders if they didn't voice their opinions. Members of both sexes were penalized for failing to conform to traditional gender stereotypes.

Second, female participants showed these gendered patterns of judgment just as strongly as males. A general lesson from studies of implicit bias in psychology is that women aren't immune from perpetuating the very same judgments and behaviors that can hold them back.

The final two projects presented in the symposium considered the importance of female role models in science and differing assumptions about what motivates men and women; both good topics for future posts!

Hillary Clinton was an unwitting participant in Brescoll's Senate study. Data for the study was collected from C-SPAN footage during her Senate tenure. While Brescoll doesn't reveal individual senators' talking time, it seems from Clinton's subsequent success that she's mastered both the complex political art of knowing what to say and when not to say it.

You can keep up with more of what Tania Lombrozo is thinking on Twitter: @TaniaLombrozo

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