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Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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.

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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.

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REI Executive Tapped For Interior; Geithner Joins Council On Foreign Relations

Feb 6, 2013
Originally published on February 6, 2013 2:29 pm

Update at 2:25 p.m. ET. It's Official:

Praising Sally Jewell as an executive who turned outdoors equipment retailer REI into one of the nation's most successful and environmentally conscious companies, President Obama just said he is nominating her to be his next interior secretary.

Noting that Jewell, who in a previous job worked as an engineer for Mobil, has also climbed mountains in Antarctica, the president joked about that being "just not something I think of doing."

Our original post:

Sally Jewell, CEO of the outdoors equipment retailer REI, is President Obama's choice to be the next secretary of interior, according to reports from The Associated Press and other news outlets.

She would succeed Secretary Ken Salazar, who announced last month that he would be departing.

Jewell, AP writes, joined REI in 2000. Before that she "worked in commercial banking and as an engineer for Mobil Oil Corp."

The president is expected to make the news official Wednesday afternoon at the White House.

Jewell has been to the White House before, at an event about the America's Great Outdoors initiative and at a discussion of innovative corporate approaches to health care.

In other news related to the Obama cabinet's comings and goings, the Council on Foreign Relations says that departing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is joining the organization as a senior fellow.

The president has nominated his chief of staff, Jacob "Jack" Lew, to succeed Geithner at Treasury.

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