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.


Why The Library Of Congress Has A Lock On Your Phone

Mar 6, 2013
Originally published on March 6, 2013 11:56 am

What it means to own something in the digital age is being re-negotiated.

Few of us own the music we listen to or the movies we watch in exactly the same way we did a decade ago. And today if you buy a smartphone from a cellphone company, what you can legally do with it — how and where you can use it — may be proscribed even if that phone is fully bought and paid for.

I keep a lot of music on my phone. I have the Stones, Janis Joplin and OK Go.

Over the past couple of years, I've bought all these albums and more from iTunes. But Max Dawson, who studies media and technology at Northwestern University, says I don't really own this music — not the way I once did.

"The concept of media ownership has changed dramatically within only the last five or 10 years," he says.

Dawson is a media dinosaur. "I've got a couple thousand vinyl records. I've still got some CDs sticking around; I've got a bunch of cassette tapes," he says.

If he gets tired of an album, he can sell it — or give it away.

If I get tired of Janis, I can delete her from my phone. But I can't walk down to the local record store and sell anything for cash. I can't even give it away.

"If I send it to a friend and then delete it off of my computer, that is nominally illegal," says Sherwin Siy, an attorney at Public Knowledge. He says to understand why this is, you have to go back 15 years to the passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

"In 1998, Congress passes this law that among a whole host of other things it makes it illegal to break digital locks that protect access to copyrighted works," Siy says.

Those locks prevent me from selling my iTunes collection. They also lock down the movies I buy on Amazon, digital books and all kinds of software I download and purchase. It wouldn't be illegal for me to sell this stuff or give it away, but I can't do that without first breaking those digital locks.

"It's as if it's illegal to pick locks, even if it's the lock to my own house," Siy says.

And he says this law and these kinds of locks are now being used to limit what consumers can do with physical stuff, too.

"Part of it is the fact that software is embedded in so many different things," Siy says. "And so, we don't think of a phone as being a copyrighted thing; we don't think of our car as being a copyrighted thing. But phones and cars now both contain copyrighted software."

It's up to the Library of Congress to decide whether these kinds of copyrights are enforceable. Last year, wireless carriers spent quite a bit of time and money convincing officials at the Library of Congress to change the rules that govern exactly what consumers can do with the software on their cellphones.

Until January, if you owned a phone and your contract expired, you could legally unlock that phone, tweak its software and use it on a different cellphone network.

But now, Siy says, "You'd have to get permission in order to do it."

In many cases it's going to be up to your phone company to tell you what you can and can't do with that phone — even after it's bought and paid for.

"I would say that unlocking your phone should still be legal, but my say-so isn't going to prevent somebody from suing you over it," Siy says.

The same kind of digital locks are now used by carmakers to force consumers into getting repairs at authorized dealers. Even garage door openers and printer cartridges have been locked down.

And, Siy argues, that forces prices up.

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