I spent a few hours yesterday assembling a fun KITTENS VIDEO to go on this “Feral Cats Project“ crowdfunding campaign. Made some final changes to the campaign description, the goal, the layout etc. I’ve done my market testing to be sure I have a few friends that want to contribute. (Hey, we even received an actual donation to the campaign already!) And I’ve been expecting to throw the switch and launch this 7-day campaign on our local Goshen Funded crowdfunding site some time this evening.
In the meantime, a funny thing has happened…
There was only one kitten hanging out on the back porch yesterday morning. By noon the kitten was gone. The whole cat family has up and left, and we don’t know where they have gone. Mama and Papa cat, who we have seen every day for the past three weeks, were nowhere to be seen yesterday. They did not return yesterday evening. They did not retreat to the back porch during the rain last night. There are no cats in our backyard this morning. They’ve up and moved. So with the disappearance of our star performers, the campaign is on hold, at least until we can discover where they’ve gone to.
Mother cats do predictably move their kittens around. At three to four weeks, the kittens are out and about, beginning to eat solid food, and are probably outgrowing their “nest.” In our case, after about three weeks the kittens had pretty well explored every part of our backyard. Most mother cats will move their litter at least once. First-time mamas will move them more frequently.
Too much attention may cause a move. We had a couple friends at our house on Friday, and there was quite a bit of doting over the adorable kittens. Cats are generally quiet, private creatures and don’t like too much attention. So that may have been what triggered this abrupt move.
Will we see these cats again? Our guess is they haven’t gone too far. We were not feeding the cats, but perhaps someone else in the neighborhood took pity on the mama and was feeding her regularly. She may have wanted the whole family to get a piece of the action.
As for the papa cat, no surprise that we have not seen him either because he adored that tortie. He practically worshiped her. He was gentle with the kittens too, but clearly it was the mama he was most devoted to. In all likelihood he followed her wherever she has gone.
Where will I be tonight? In my backyard, watching for that Russian ISS resupply cargo ship that went into an uncontrolled spin shortly after launch on April 28th. It is due to crash down somewhere on Earth tonight, and will be spiraling in like a fireball. It’s course is very erratic, but it will be traveling generally West to East. Flying at 17,000km per hour, it’s circuit around the globe takes just 90 minutes. Of course it’s speed will be slowed significantly once it enters Earth atmosphere. And once that happens it will light up like a meteor. Could be an awesome sight to see.
What’s coming down? A few tons of metal, fuel & cargo. A Russian resupply ship is spiraling in for crashdown tonight. pic.twitter.com/irVdjYu4pZ
— Tame Bear (@TameBear) May 7, 2015
Here are a couple stories about the event…
The Guardian – What Are Your Chances of Being Hit by Falling Debris?
Duncan Steel – Orbital Path of Russian Spacecraft Progress 59
(with animations showing the likely path to crashdown)
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I’ve been slowly working my way through “Capital in the 21st Century“ by Thomas Piketty. It is fascinating! Some of the earliest data for his research comes from novels that described economics in the 18th and 19th centuries — like Jane Austen’s “Pride and Predjudice,” and “Sense and Sensibility.” Capital in those days was LAND. Those who had it were the “landed gentry,” les rentiers, and everyone else rented and worked the land to eke out a living. The landowners did sometimes have to work, but for the most part they received an income in the form of rents on the land.
TRANSITION FROM LAND TO FINANCIAL SECURITIES
These days, capital is more often in the form of financial securities — stocks, bonds, index and mutual funds, and other “financial instruments.” The top 10% of the population typically owns 50% to 70% or more of available capital. The top 1% owns 40% or more.
Much of this capital is passed on from generation to generation through inheritance. But in the 21st century we have seen a rise in the “supermanager class” of corporate CEOs and top executives who are able to earn incomes far in excess of any productivity value that can be attached to their actual work. It is this new class of supermanagers that is threatening to tip the (im)balance of capital even more towards the top elite. Here in America the top 10% are coming to own close to 80% of available capital, which gives us some understanding of what the “99 percent” are facing.
THE ROLE OF INHERITANCE
I don’t know where exactly I fall on the scale between that top 10% and the vast majority of people who are living paycheck to paycheck with no opportunity to save, invest, and have a chance at improving their lot in life. But the fact that I can receive “an income” from my investments even as they keep growing is little short of amazing, isn’t it?
“Capital in the 21st Century“ has also made me more aware of the culture that forms the backdrop of the PBS Masterpiece series, “Downton Abbey,” which takes place between the two world wars in the early 20th century. It was a transitional time when workers could come to own their own property, when land was giving way to securities, and when les rentiers began to wonder how long they would continue to be able to live the priviledged life, or hold on to their grand estates. Next time you watch Downton, pay attention to the economics!