Cat Brothers Rescue Bleg – Wilmington, NC

From longtime commentor EFGoldman:

My son-in-law’s mother died suddenly this week. She had two cats, which she mistreated by overfeeding them terribly (one weighs 40 lbs!!). They need to be rescued or rehomed.

Can we put out a request for possibilities in the WILMINGTON NC area, please. I will pass them on to my son in law. Sorry, got no pix.

The cats are a bonded pair of male orange tabby brothers from the same litter, approx 8-9 years old. They are large and slow, in both senses of the word, not particularly active or vivacious but generally purring lumps, amenable to petting. They have lived in the same house since kittenhood and are as yet untried with dogs or children.

If you have room in your homes and your hearts for a couple of friendly, ambulatory hassocks — or if you have recommendations about no-kill shelters in the Wilmington area — leave a comment below. Or contact me at, and I’ll forward your message to EFG.

Pet Bleg III: The Buddy Update

Look at that face! You know you want to help that face!!!!

BL has sent along an update about Buddy. First the good stuff:

Buddy now likes to play ball. At first he was horrible at catching balls, but is getting better. His walking is also improving daily. At first he could hardly walk; now he is trotting short distances. He loves scratches and sleeps next to me as I work. He’s a really happy dog and should make someone very happy.
And now we tug your heart strings and ask you to reach deep, deep, deep!
Thanks for your help so far.  I have sent emails and phone calls to about 10 rescue groups so far, and heard back from one. That one (a lab rescue) is processing the information to see if they will accept Buddy. I think we will have better luck if I get him all his tests and vaccinations.
Buddy will spend the next few days at my daughter.
I am scheduling Buddy for vaccinations, tests and to be fixed later this week.
I estimate the initial costs for Buddy, not counting the $300-$500 that Rescue Groups ask for in donation to be $1710.
Doctor visit $52
Anasthesia Check/Fix (checked w/vet) $520
Fecal check $51
Bordatella $37
Influenza $43
Lepto $37
Lyme $43
Heartworm screen $57
Cardiologist $700
Heartworm Prev – 6 mon $60
Lyme screen $50
Tick-Flea Prev – 3 mon $60
I already paid for a rabies shot so it is not in the above costs. The estimate for the cardiologist to check his potential arrhythmia came from my daughter that has a dog with arrhythmia and recently saw a cardiologist.
I started a youcaring fundraiser, since they seem to charge the least in fees.
Here is the link.
Any assistance for BL efforts to get Buddy situated would be greatly appreciated! All lines are open. Operators are standing by.

Managing the information fire hose

How do we manage the information fire hose when critical public news breaks in an area with significant technical jargon, precedents and folk ways breaks through the barrier of interesting to vital. How do we, people who want to be reasonably well informed, differentiate between the spectrum between expertise to bullshit to active noisemaking to drown out the signal?

For health insurance and health finance, I have an advantage. At this point, I can filter information streams where some people say very little but are extremely information and value dense, to daily reads with something interesting to say where I can trust that I am not going to chase references to people with interesting things to say but have to be approached with care to active bullshit artists. Those categories are independent of political affiliation. I have liberal and conservative high density information providers, I have liberal and conservative bullshit artists that I just don’t read. This filtering was developed over years of participation in the conversation.

National security law, money laundering, counter-intelligence are all areas that I know exist and I know some people are worth tracking. David Ignatius at the Washington Post is a pipeline to the three letter agency world. Bradly Moss is an acknowledged expert on clearances. The Brookings Lawfare blog is a collection of experts who are trying very hard to write for both a professional audience and an informed lay audience. There are others, but I don’t know who they folks are.

As this issue increases in salience people emerge from the woodwork. Some of them know what they are talking about (much like some anonymous guy at an almost top-10,000 blog proved that he knew what he was talking about on health insurance) and some don’t. Yet they offer nuggets that could be very tempting to chase for confirmation bias reasons.

How do we manage the information fire hose to at least flag the actively negative contributors to net knowledge and hopefully filter out or at least minimize the noise from the occasionally interesting but often non-contributory voices.

We’re lucky here at Balloon Juice. We have two domain area experts, Adam and Cheryl, sharing with us. But as issues outside of our normal experiences dominate the political discussion, how do we find people who know what the hell they are talking about without wading through a river of nonsense?

Tech Bleg


Hey, all.  Here’s a post that substitutes fecklessness for anything even remotely resembling politics.

The sprout, a gamer, just came in to ask if we could upgrade to 330 mbps internet from RCN, from our current 155 mbps.

We got the latter on a 12 month intro price that has just expired, and we’d get the new service on a renewed promotional price, so the all-in price is only about eight bucks more per month.

What I’m wondering is if the increase in download/upload speed will make any noticeable difference to our actual web life. We use our home connection to do very conventional things:  email and the kind of online work that grown ups do (I spend a lot of time mousing around digital archives, for example, and a lot looking at online art galleries); gaming (my son) and streaming TV:  Netflix and Amazon Prime right now.

We’re getting artifacts and annoying skips and resolution loss in the latter, and it would probably be worth a few bucks a month to smooth that out.  But I have no real idea if our bottleneck lies with the download speed or if there are other bottlenecks to blame.

Any thoughts, oh more technically capable folks?

Also, any reason I shouldn’t by a DOCSIS 3.0 modem instead of renting one from RCN? Any insight on how malicious the cable companies are about obsolete-ing home gear?

Thanks to any and all.

Image:  J.W.M. Turner, Rain, Steam and Speed — The Great Western Railroad, 1844.

Programming bleg and open thread

Hi folks, this is a straight up call for a small programming job. In my laboratory we have two pieces of equipment that communicate through an improbably complex relay which includes a few obsolete pieces of expensive equipment from companies that no longer exist and a Mac desktop that only exists to receive a trigger signal and pass on a macro command to a PC. Yesterday the relay failed somewhere, and rather than troubleshoot that crap I would rather replace the whole relay with a Raspberry Pi. I need a short program, probably in Python, that can receive an analog hi/lo signal through the RasPi’s TTL input (I believe it’s 3.3v; I can do the wiring) and send a macro command to a PC through an ethernet cable. If you think you can knock this off fast for a reasonable rate, contact me at portusjacksonii at yahoo. First response takes it.

Chat about whatever!

Medical Bleg

Asking for a friend: Anybody got advice on picking a competent hernia surgeon?

And/or tips on good elective surgical programs in the Boston area, or the Northeast generally?

Stay away from Cleveland

Folks, I know how tempting it is to go to the snakes’ den and tell them what you think to their face. I have done it. It’s cathartic. It feels great. Please don’t.

From a tactical perspective the convention does not need our help to be be a complete dumpster fire. Half the people in that convention hall hate the other half with the heat of a hundred suns, while a huge faction of delegates are openly scheming to unseat the nominee, i.e., destroy the party in order to save it. We should give them space to express all these feelings at each other. A common enemy outside would just give them a reason to rally together. Trump wants chaos. He feeds on it. The crazier things get outside the more Republicans will support him. Someone else once gained (siezed) power the exact same way.

Second and more important, Cleveland will be a security nightmare. Cleveland cops are a long way from role models on a good day. Next week the Cleveland PD will be overwhelmed, scared and dressed like an invading army. They will have divisions of staties and National Guard who will almost certainly follow their lead, open carry lunatics dressed like commandos will wander around giving them heartburn, and they will have an especially short fuse for anything that might be connected with Black Lives Matter. I recognize that is not fair. They have the badges and that is the mood right now, at least among departments with a history of racial problems. Does that sound like Cleveland to you? Best case scenario, expect aggressive crowd control and ‘free speech zones’ a good mile from the convention. I would not be surprised to see kettling, violent arrests for little or no reason and a whole lot of mace. It would not surprise me to see LRADs and possibly even microwave-based active denial systems deployed. I know the last one sounds crazy, but microwave torture (“crowd control”) beams have developed to the point where police departments could theoretically deploy them, if the DoD completely lost its mind. Given the circumstances I would not 100% write it off.

Finally, I know you know this already, but Trump’s hard core are fucking nuts. They are armed, racist, angry and they don’t believe in non-violence. Ohio’s laws let people open carry any guns they want right up to whatever line the Secret Service draws on the pavement. You legally have to retreat before using deadly force in Ohio, but don’t count on Florida Man knowing that. The RSVP list already includes those neo-Nazis who had the rally in Sacramento with all the stabbings. Inside the convention horrible people will be whipping up hate and fear like a soufflé cook on a meth bender.

I understand that dissent is the beating heart of a free society, and I would never tell anyone that they can’t go and speak their mind at jerks who richly deserve it. All I am suggesting is, for this occasion anyway, maybe live tweet it instead.