edited by Ed Finn & Kathryn Cramer Hieroglyph is a publication, collective conversation and incubator for the “moonshot ecosystem” bringing together writers, scientists, engineers, technologists, industrialists and other creative, synoptic thinkers to collaborate on bold ideas in a protected space for creative play, science, and imagination.
Mapping for the masses : Nature Commentary: Mapping disaster zones
Google Earth software proved effective during relief efforts in New Orleans and Pakistan, say Illah Nourbakhsh and colleagues. Is there more to be gained than lost from opening up disaster operations to the wider public?
This morning we filed adoption papers wit the North Country SPCA for Ambrose, a cat we have fostered on and off since July. He is a wonderful charismatic cat who came to the shelter as a kitten rescued from an Adirondack cat colony. All of his siblings got adopted. But not Ambrose (whose shelter name was "Bro").
He had persistent respiratory issues that were resistant to treatment. He lived for more than a year in the shelter before we first fostered him. It seemed that maybe the issue was allergies, but he didn't respond to cortisone shots either. My husband, David, was for obvious reasons reluctant to adopt a chronically ill cat.
Finally, after much patient trying, the cat's health finally seems to be stable, and he has also become a treasured member of the family. He likes to sit in the middle of cross-sections so he knows where everyone is. He reminds of of Kathy & Jim Morrow's late border collie Pooka; perhaps Ambrose was a border collie in a past life.
After fostering him for a month, I wanted to adopt him, but my husband says no, and so I returned him to the shelter on Friday, pending our return to Pleasantville for the beginning of the school year. Bro's allergy symptoms improved a lot over the course of the month he was with us, but were not gone.
I find myself quite grief-stricken at having to take him back to the shelter. It is a good shelter full of mostly perfectly good housecats fallen on hard times, and of the shelter cats I got to know this summer, he was my favorite.
He is a smart, friendly, socially oriented and organized cat who gets on well with kids and other cats and would probably do well with dogs. Because he spent his kittenhood in the shelter, he is satisfied to be an indoor cat and would probably adapt well to apartment life as well. Within reason, I am willing to provide transportation for the cat to a good home. He is currently back at the North Country SPCA, a no-kill shelter.
He's a real teddybear of a cat whom I found very pleasant to have around. Surely , someone I know needs to have this cat in his or her life.
And for those who need a dog on their life, here are a few of my favorites at that shelter. Great family dogs: a chow chow mix named "Ozzie" who really likes to run with kids; "Lennie": a young beagle; and "Baby" a small and very sweet older beagle who likes to go for walks and adores children but would also be a good office dog (she'd not listed on the shelter website). They also have a couple of good younger beagles that came in with Baby who may be her sons that are not listed on the website. (One thing I learned this summer is that I really like beagles.) A good dog for adults: "Teddy", an older chihuahua mix, is another of my favorite dogs at the shelter; I found him really pleasant to walk.
UPDATE, 9/15/08: Bro now has a great new home and has been renamed "Darth." Happy ending!
This summer, my kids and I have been occasional volunteers for the North Country SPCA in Westport, NY, which is a couple of blocks from our Westport house. My motivation, other than just our family love of animals, is that I am preparing for the possibility of a dog, so once a week or so, I walk three or four dogs.
The pets we already have include two cats, a tortoise named Flower, a frog, a hermit crab, and a Madagascar hissing cockroach, all of who are up here is Westport for the summer.
The shelter has a sign up calling for volunteers to foster cats. Two weeks ago, on whim, I volunteered to foster my favorite of their cats, a solid black short-hair cat they'd named "Bro." He's about a year old.
He's a very social people-friendly and cat-friendly cat who was left over from a batch of kittens the shelter had, the rest of whom have already been adopted. He had the sniffles in the shelter, seemingly because of allergies, and so didn't get adopted. Usually when one speaks of "cat allergies" the referent is people who are allergic to cats, but in this case it seems that the cat is allergic. His respiratory issues are a lot better since coming to our house, though his occasional heavy breathing has earned him the nickname of "Darth" after a houseguest remarked that she'd dreamed about Darth Vader when he'd sat on her chest while she was sleeping.
Bro is a charismatic cat who gets along with both cats and people (we haven't tried him with dogs), and at times has seemed to be trying really hard to learn the household rules. He has the British short-hair body type; he's heavy-boned and seems likely to grow up to be a very big cat.
We think our current limit is two cats both because of the need to shuttle all the pets between Pleasantville and Westport, and because of my hopes for a dog in the next year or so. I am very much hoping to find a good home for Bro by the end of August. Westport -- which is in the Adirondack park -- is 2 hours south of Montreal and fairly easily accessible from the Burlington, VT area via ferry.
Let me know if you think this cat is for you. Veterinary records should be available via the North Country SPCA. I can give Bro an excellent character reference.
UPDATE, 9/15/08: Bro now has a great new home and has been renamed "Darth." Happy ending!
Left to his own devices, my husband David Hartwell tends to create workspaces resembling those of the Wizard Merlin: towering, teetering piles of interesting things with narrow paths to walk through. His piles are legendary, though the really epic ones precede me: in the olden days when helping David clean up, at the bottom of one of his piles one might find a Medieval codex, or a first edition of Henry James's The Golden Bowl, or an uncashed $7,000 check. (I mostly run a tighter ship than that.)
I long since gave up on the idea of sharing an office space with him. My own Mission-Control/multiplex home office is in the dining room.
A few years back, David's mother was considering moving into an assisted living facility and we tried to convince her to come stay with us for an extended period of time. We put a bed in David's office, which is across the hall from the bathroom, and cleaned it almost all the way up. She died of a stroke that fall, but the bed remained in David's office, mostly unused, though I think someone slept there for one night thereafter.
Predictably, over time David gave that bed the Merlin treatment and so eventually it became hard to see that there was a bed there at all. I let him have his own space and he kept the cats out, and in the mean time we have edited another six or seven anthologies, and the materials involved in their production are still in his office.
So this afternoon, I was prowling through his office in search of something-or-other when I noticed little piles of cat food peeking out from beneath the books and papers. Mice. I investigated further and discovered the bed in the cat-free space of his office had become the scene of a Mouse Festival.
I peeled away the layers of books, papers, magazines, and discovered in the midst of the major mouse nest -- as though laid out for mousy bedtime reading -- a copy of our friend Susan Palwick's book The Fate of Mice; it has a cat on the cover. Apparently, the fate of certain mice in our household was to have their own utopia, well-stocked with catfood and breadcrusts, in their own bed in their own room, in David's offices where the cats are not allowed.
The mouse utopia is currently a pile of bedding out on the screened porch which I shall shake out in the morning. But mouse lives are short, and it appears that a few generations lead a very good life.
Our last cat died in December following complications from cancer surgery.
It is now nearly April and so we are really for one or more new cats. Our Best Cat Ever (who died of a stroke) in 2001 seemed to be a Maine Coon, so we have a mild preference for that breed because of disposition. Also we have a mild preference for fluffy cats with soft fur, since that's what we had for 15 years. Since it is easier to integrate a kitten into a household and modify its behavior, we have a preference for kittens.
We have two kids in the house, one 9, one 4, both of whom have been raised with cats and love cats. Our cats have traditionally been indoor/outdoor cats, since we live away from main roads in an area with 1 acre+ zoning and lots of trees.
Yesterday, August 30th, partly inspired and coordinated by my blog post New Orleans Levee Break(s) Before and After, a group of us, most of whom don't know each other and have never met, struggled to create a visual understanding of what was happening to New Orleans, using the tools to hand.