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In 2000 Kate Somerset left her corporate gig and launched Icky Baby, a Laguna Beach, Calif.-based company that designs and manufactures chic baby gifts and accessories. The company took off quickly, its products selling in Barneys, Nordstrom, and hundreds of boutiques. When Somerset needed some help, she turned to her husband, Tim. “He was hooked, and decided to quit his job and help me build the company,” says Somerset. On paper it looked like the perfect union. She handled marketing and design. Tim, who came from the building industry, handled the operations. (MORE: Can China’s New Leader Prevent an Economic Crisis?) In reality, it was a disaster. Tim was instrumental in growing the business – at one point it had 15 employees – but Somerset didn’t always agree with his decisions. That tension spilled into the marriage. “We didn’t know how to put the boundaries in place,” she says. “We didn’t know how to turn it off.” When it works, merging marriage and work can be a beautiful thing. Business trips double as getaways, and late nights are a shared burden rather than a source of bitterness. “It’s a lot easier to be empathetic when you really understand the dynamics of each other’s work,” says Rob Israel, who cofounded the Boulder, Colo.-based franchise Doc Popcorn with his wife, Renee, in 2003. And many couples who work together say their spouse really is the best person for the job. “Business is so much about trust, and I don’t think there’s anyone I could trust more than my wife,” says Mike Harris, who runs Orlando-based Uproar PR with his wife, Catriona. Yet even the best of marriages will likely struggle under the pressures of a shared workplace. The key to making it work appears to be careful planning — and understanding the risks. Eyes wide open As you might guess, the easiest marital mergers are those where each spouse has very different but complimentary skills. But as the Somersets learned, that is no guarantee of success. Likewise, individual personalities may not be that much of a factor.

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According to the latest jobs numbers, issued by the Labor Department on January 6, the U.S. unemployment rate has dropped to 8.5 percent, down from 10 percent in 2009. The Great Recession has claimed more than 8.5 million jobs since 2007, and even though the current trajectory of the U.S. appears to be toward recovery, Americans are still struggling to find work. Nine of the photographs below appear in The Atlantic's January/February 2012 print issue, and I've added 25 more here to round out a collection of images from these years of uncertainty -- of men and women both at work and out of work in the United States. [34 photos]

A workman steams a U.S. flag in preparation for a planned visit by President Barack Obama, on April 6, 2011, at wind turbine manufacture Gamesa Technology Corporation in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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The largest and most intense storm on Saturn observed by NASA’s Voyager or Cassini spacecraft has been captured in false color image from Cassini’s cameras (below). The storm, currently still active, encircles the giant planet, encompassing an area eight times the surface area of earth. The colors highlight clouds at different altitudes. Clouds that appear blue here are the highest, those that are yellow and bright are clouds at high altitudes, those shown green are intermediate clouds. Red and brown colors are clouds at low altitude, and the deep blue color is a thin haze with no clouds below. The base of the clouds, where lightning is generated, is probably in the water cloud layer of Saturn’s atmosphere. The image is a mosaic of 84 images taken with a narrow angle camera, over a period of about five hours, covering 33 miles per pixel.

This true-color picture (below), captured on Feb. 25, 2011, was taken about three months after the storm began. Already the clouds had formed a tail that encircled the planet. The storm’s tail, which appears as slightly blue clouds south and west (left) of the storm head, can be seen encountering the storm head in this view. Cassini’s wide angle camera looked toward the sunlit side of the rings from just above the ring plane for this image. Carolyn Porco, the Cassini Imaging Team Leader, bubbles over in her Captain’s Log on July 6th, 2011:

“One might think that after years in orbit around Saturn, we are now accustomed to great big happenings and fantastic spectacles. But far from it. It is the shock of the unexpected, the intense mind-grabbing, eye-popping, soul-stirring thrill of seeing the unseen that gets us every time. And, as all of you well know, that is what this glorious, history-making exploration of Saturn and its magnificent realm is all about.”

Scientists do not know why Saturn stores energy for decades and releases it all at once. For example, Jupiter and Earth have numerous storms going on at all times. The Cassini imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany, with the imaging operations center based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado. For more information and photography from Cassini, click here. All photography courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

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