10. Mr B asks the questions.

“. . . Coca-Cola, Amazon, Baidu and the government are all racing to hack you. Not your smartphone, not your computer, and not your bank account – they are in a race to hack you and your organic operating system. You might have heard that we are living in the era of hacking computers, but that’s hardly half the truth. In fact, we are living in the era of hacking humans.
  The algorithms are watching you right now. They are watching where you go, what you buy, who you meet. Soon they will monitor all your steps, all your breaths, all your heartbeats. They are relying on Big Data and machine learning to get to know you better and better. And once these algorithms know you better than you know yourself, they could control and manipulate you, and you won’t be able to do much about it. You will live in the matrix.  . . if the algorithms indeed understand what’s happening within you better than you understand it, authority will shift to them.
  When Coca-Cola, Baidu, Amazon and the government knows how to pull the strings of your heart and press the buttons of your brain, could you still tell the difference between your self and their marketing experts?”
Yuval Noah Harari in his book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

1. Next Sunday (March 17th) will be special. Yes, it’s normally special because Mr Bashful speaks, but on Sunday, in preparation for the upcoming NSW State election, twelve representatives from twelve minor parties will be speaking, one after the other. Two of the parties represented will be The Shooters and Fishers Partyand theAnimal Justice Party.

Both Left and Right will be represented. And hopefully, the Middle.

Come along and enjoy the fun. Bring a question with you.

2. Someone playing the bagpipes approached Steve Maxwell (who was talking about the upcoming election) and kindly gave him a musical accompaniment. Steve appreciated it, but the fellow didn’t stay long.

This scribe will spare you the bagpipe jokes. Call that ‘State of the Art blogging’, folks. Any other writer would jump at the chance to use a bagpipe joke.

Besides, Bon Scott made this scribe appreciate the bagpipes.

3. Another fundraiser was kicked off today. Mr B wants a tailor-made stepladder. It needs to be at least six metres wide and he estimates that to have it made will cost nearly $2,000. He explained that he feels too constricted on the current Ladder of Knowledge. He needs to be able to strut back and forth like Benito Mussolini.

Your thoughtful scribe agrees. It’s a good idea. Please give generously.

Meanwhile, Mr B will use a bigger ladder, like this fellow below.

A Ukranian soapbox orator dealing with troublesome hecklers.

4. Why didn’t the Australian Aborigines use bows and arrows? Mr B gave seven possible reasons, despite earnest assistance from Peter the Younger.

5. Mr B has been changing the lives of his grasshoppers in a robust and meaningful way for six years, and figures it’s time they began to return the favour and help him out a little. He hoped they would answer a few questions he has been pondering. (Yes, high expectations, but to his credit the benevolent Mr B can see possibilities in his grasshoppers where few others can.)

He asked three questions today and will be asking more over the coming weeks. His thirst for knowledge is unquenchable.

Unfortunately, but as you would expect, his poor benighted grasshoppers had trouble even understanding some of his questions.

Here they are:

1. Mr B wanted to know, “If confident people find it easier to attract partners (and thus find it easier to pass on their genes) why haven’t we evolved to be more confident when meeting a potential partner? Why do so many of us become shy when we meet someone we are attracted to, when a confident approach would more likely be successful?”
His grasshoppers helped him out to a tiny degree.

2. “Air and water are ubiquitous and we need them daily, in large quantities. Sunlight is also ubiquitous for at least 12 hours. Why didn’t we evolve to need it in larger quantities? Why do we need only 10 minutes of sunlight a day? (We need 10 minutes to help our body produce Vitamin D if it’s not in our food.)
This is the question his poor grasshoppers had trouble understanding, so you can imagine just how bizarre their pitiful attempts to answer his question were. I guess it’s questions like this one that win great minds the Nobel Prize.

3. The humble Mr B also wanted to know, “What’s the thing about Julie Bishop and her red shoes?” One grasshopper said it was the outrageous price Julie had paid for them; another suggested Julie wore them to acknowledge that she had been in a fantasy land, like Dorothy.
Mr B told me privately he is not convinced of either explanation, but if the second explanation is correct, that would explain why so many politicians wear brown shoes.

6. Other topics discussed:
– Mark the Grinner explained why it was foolish of the Australian governments to sacrifice some of our manufacturers in favour of weapons manufacture.

–  Mark the Grinner also had a few words to say about the upcoming elections. He begged us to believe everything the politicians tell us. He gave that advice a few times, just in case we missed it. Had sarcasm been a liquid we would have drowned.

– A passer-by asked Mr B’s thoughts on the modernisation of Sydney, and Mr B had a few choice words to say about that.

– Ray looked dashing today as he attempted to save a few souls.

– Mirko said something today that one grasshopper thought was insightful and accurate. Your scribe hadn’t been listening, and nearly fell over when he heard that. It was like I had had a nap and woken up to find I had missed seeing Halley’s Comet.

– The topic of epigenetics came up. Mr B put forth the Dutch Famineexample.

If you smoke and lose your feet, your daughter will be born without feet, and her daughter will also be born without feet. That’s epigenetics.

7. This week we present to you the Takin, or Gnu Goat, found in the Eastern Himalayas. It wants to be on our Facebook page. Its wish is granted.