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.


Trend In Second Inaugural Addresses: They're Not Very Good

Jan 19, 2013
Originally published on January 19, 2013 7:13 am



On Monday, President Obama will join a select group of presidents who have delivered a second inaugural address...



PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: My fellow citizens...

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Members of the United States Congress.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: Members of my family and friends.

PRESIDENT DWIGHT EISENHOWER: We meet again, as upon a like moment four years ago.

SIMON: Those were Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Dwight Eisenhower. Is there any common theme in second inaugural speeches?

MARTIN MEDHURST: The only trend I see is the trend that started very early and continues, and that is that most of them are just not very good speeches.

SIMON: Martin Medhurst is a professor of rhetoric and communication at Baylor, who is considered an expert on presidential speeches. He says that at least George Washington's second inaugural speech didn't make anyone stand outside very long: It ran just 135 words. We don't have any audio of that. Richard Nixon's second inaugural address in 1973 contained a fervent hope.


PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON: Let us pledge together to make these next four years the best four years in America's history.

SIMON: But they weren't for him. President Nixon resigned in 1974. Professor Medhurst says it's a challenge for presidents to lift and inspire the second time around.

MEDHURST: In a first inaugural, it's all new. There's a sense of rebirth. And after four years, you know, all of that has sort of worn off.

SIMON: There is, of course, the exception that may prove the rule.

MEDHURST: The greatest of all was Lincoln's second inaugural, which perhaps was the greatest speech of all, much less an inaugural address.

SIMON: And we do have Daniel Day-Lewis, portraying Lincoln in the current film - a saddened president, made wiser through the war, who is horrified by the huge suffering he has seen but now glimpses triumph and healing


DANIEL DAY-LEWIS: (as President Abraham Lincoln) And until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with a sword...

SIMON: On Monday, President Obama's voice will roll across the mall to the Lincoln Memorial, where these words are carved in stone...


DAY-LEWIS: (as President Abraham Lincoln) To do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.