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.


Working From Home: The End Of Productivity Or The Future Of Work?

Feb 25, 2013

In its bid to reshape itself for the future, Yahoo is returning to a workplace culture of the tech industry's past. The Internet giant has reportedly notified its employees they'll no longer be allowed to work from home. According to an internal memo leaked to tech site All Things D, employees who previously enjoyed teleworking will have to start showing up at an office by June.

The move goes against a popular workplace perk among tech companies and a wider trend toward more work-from-home options across several industries. (Public media is included — NPR has a process allowing staffers to apply for remote-work arrangements.)

Technology has made collaboration easier for employees who aren't physically in the same space, and companies who back telework say it has helped cut costs and compete for wider talent pools.

"Ten years ago, it was seen more as an employee benefit. Today, businesses around the world are seeing telework as a necessity," said Ron Markezich, the corporate vice president of Microsoft's U.S. Enterprise and Partner Group. He led a 2011 Microsoft survey of more than 4,500 information workers that showed a rise in teleworking.

Having no central workplace certainly works for Automattic, the company that controls blogging behemoth WordPress. 120 employees work from their homes in 26 countries, and its leader, Matt Mullenweg, sees distributed employees as the future of work.

"I think it's difficult for a culture to transition from being reliant on in-person interactions to being just as effective in a distributed fashion — it's something you can't do halfway, and the change has to come from the very top," Mullenweg said. "Just because Yahoo can't do it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with being distributed."

Even the government sector, which isn't considered an early adopter of workplace culture change, has a star teleworking model in its ranks. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office boasts that 64 percent of employees work from home under various models.

"This has really been a very strong business strategy ... and it's a big part of our culture," said Danette Campbell, the Patent and Trademark Office's senior telework adviser.

The agency says its seen increased employee productivity and significant cost savings on real estate — and the employees love it. "This is an initiative that really is a carrot for recruiting and retaining the highest quality employees," Campbell said.

Yahoo is staying mum, saying it doesn't comment on internal matters. But the internal memo explains the company — and ostensibly, its new CEO Marissa Mayer's — decision. Yahoo's HR head Jackie Reses writes:

"To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo, and that starts with physically being together."

Part of the results from a 2012 Citrix survey of what office workers do while they "work" from home arguably support Yahoo's decision. 43 percent of workers said they've watched TV or a movie while teleworking, 35 percent have done household chores, and 28 percent copped to cooking dinner while "working." So even though working for an Internet company doesn't require physical proximity like a manufacturing or construction job would, being in an office certainly does prevent workers from doing their laundry while on the clock.

"People still face cultural resistance from their managers and teams, or find themselves as a second-tier citizen versus those in headquarters. The same often happens in "remote offices," Mullenweg blogged. The Citrix survey showed half of workers say their boss disapproves of remote working, and only 35 percent say it's tolerated.

Which side will win out in the debate over where to work? For Internet companies not called Yahoo, the so-called future may already be here. Besides Automattic, the code repository service GitHub and Web apps company 37Signals have fully embraced location agnosticism. And big companies, like Amazon, include remote leaders. Its top engineer lives on a boat that's often sailing to Hawaii.

"The center of gravity for an organization should be as close to what they make as possible," Mullenweg said. "If you make cars, you need people in the factory. If you breed horses, be in the stable. If you make the Internet, live on the Internet, and use all the freedom and power it gives you."

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