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.


Today: First Key Votes On Gun Laws Since Newtown Shootings

Mar 7, 2013
Originally published on March 7, 2013 12:52 pm

Update at 12:45 p.m. ET. One Measure Approved So Far:

"The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Thursday making gun trafficking a federal crime as lawmakers cast the first vote in Congress to curb firearms since December's horrific shootings at a Connecticut elementary school," The Associated Press writes.

The wire service adds that "the panel was also debating bills banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines, requiring background checks for nearly all gun purchases, and providing more money for schools to buy video cameras and other safety equipment."

The trafficking bill was sent on to the full Senate by a 11-7 vote, with Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa as the only Republican to support the measure.

As we wrote earlier, the committee is considering four pieces of legislation today — and they all face uncertain fates on the floor of the Senate and in the House.

Our original post continues:

The most aggressive attempts to change federal gun law since 1994, when Congress passed a ban on assault-style weapons, come up for key votes Thursday on Capitol Hill, as Morning Edition reports.

CBS News sums up the story this way: "Senate lawmakers today are beginning what appears to be their final push to pass gun control legislation in response to the deadly massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school in December."

The action will be at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing set to start at 10 a.m. ET. Due to be voted on:

-- The "assault weapons ban of 2013," sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

-- The "stop illegal trafficking in firearms" act put forward by Committee Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt.

-- New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer's "protecting responsible gun sellers act of 2013," which would expand background checks for gun buyers.

-- The "school safety enhancements act of 2013" from Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

The Democratic-controlled committee is expected to vote in favor of all four bills, meaning they would then be considered by the full Senate. As for the bills' prospects after that, The Hill writes that:

"The decision to stage separate votes, rather than bundle the measures together, is significant, as it will allow centrist Democrats wary of Obama's gun-control strategy to hand-pick which elements (if any) they want to support. It also ensures that the assault weapons ban – the most radioactive of the measures – is not automatically included in the package, thereby threatening the less controversial reforms. ...

"The [Newtown] massacre led Obama to launch a package of anti-gun-violence proposals, and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have already met twice this year to consider them — the first time Congress has publicly examined the nation's gun laws in many years.

"Many of Obama's proposals, however, have a difficult road ahead. Although Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has vowed to bring to the floor whatever Leahy can move through his committee, Reid is also a long-time opponent of tougher gun laws, including Obama's push for a ban on assault weapons. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are also uniting against most of Obama's gun-reform proposals.

"Given those political dynamics, gun-control supporters are focusing on one element of Obama's package they see as low-hanging fruit: an expansion of the criminal background check system for gun purchases."

The bills would also face uphill battles in the Republican-controlled House.

We'll update with news about the committee votes after they happen.

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