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.


Super Bowl Power Loss: A PSA From The Cosmos

Feb 5, 2013

It was a Super Bowl moment like no other. Thousands of fans packing a modern gladiatorial arena, millions more watching on TV screens across the nation and Beyoncé had just reminded us of why she is, well, Beyoncé. The second half play was just getting going.

And then the power failed.

You don't need me to remind you of the strangeness of it. Once we all realized that Bane was not about to stride out on the field with a stolen nuclear device ("Citizens of Gotham ... ") the absurd waiting began. With one mighty mental whoosh, the entire nation asked, "You gonna to fix this or what?"

But, in that strange moment, did anyone stop to ask what was really going on? What was the question really sitting before all of us as one of the greatest spectacles of modern life dissolved into goo?

Power. It was all about power.

Imagine asking a person in medieval Europe if they had power. They would have to think you were referring to their position in the social hierarchy. Did they have power over others? Did they have military power or land or title? What other kinds of power are there?

People did have horses to plow their fields, firewood to cook their food and water-wheels to grind to their grain. But horses where kept in barns, wood was kept in the woodpile and water-wheels were housed over by the river.

Until the last century, or so, no one "had" power circulating through their lives like blood flows through the body. It is a modern creation of modern science: physics; chemistry; metallurgy; engineering.

Building the world we live in first demanded an understanding of energy — the ability to do work — which came in the 1700 and 1800s, along with the industrial revolution. Understanding how energy can be transformed from one form to another — the flow of current to the spinning of a motor — was just as essential.

Power itself is nothing more than the flow of energy in time. That might seem a trivial definition until you recognize that everything runs down without a continuous supply of energy.

In rapid succession these ideas snowballed into the modern, wired world we live in today. It's a world where every wall has (at least one) little hole where a "magic kind of something" flows out, making the lives we are so used too possible.

That is what we were reminded of when the lights went out at the Super Bowl. We are all so used to these miracles of physics that we are essentially blind to them. We forget to think about what power — in the most essential sense of the word — really means.

Over the last 200 years we have reached into the core of the world and learned to harness some of its most fundamental forces. With that knowledge we have built a new world of brash miracles and scalding horrors. It is immense, intense, blinding, frenetic and unstoppable.

Until it stops.

Which made the power-outage the best damn ad of the whole superbowl — a public service announcement from the universe itself — was the reminder that the power circulating through our lives is a strange miracle. It was a reminder that everything we have built with it is its own kind of miracle. And, finally, it was a reminder that, for all its power, this power-drenched reality we have created is very delicate.

You can keep up with more of what Adam Frank is thinking on Facebook and on Twitter: @AdamFrank4

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