12. A farcical day.

“You cannot flatter an honest man. Nor can you insult him.”

1. Steve Maxwell was absent without leave today.  This is the first time Steve has not appeared since the last time he didn’t appear, but we are assured he will be here this coming Sunday.

Meanwhile, Spring Chicken Tony Boyce celebrated his 81st birthday today at the Domain by ignoring all references to his birthday. I guess that’s one way to celebrate it.

Mirko disgraced himself. Every two minutes during the meeting Mirko had a question about the topic . . . about something vaguely related to the topic, and that was fine. Mr B dutifully took his questions. Unfortunately, Mirko took Mr B’s keen interest as an invitation to interrupt loudly on countless other occasions. Eventually Mr B revoked his invitation for Mirko to have a turn on the Ladder of Knowledge, and then Mirko did his block. He did his lolly. He threw out every toy in the cot. And, he promised to never come here again.

See you this coming Sunday, Mirko.

They’re both as old as Stonehenge, but lack its Joie de vivre.

2. We briefly gave Stephen Hawking a minute’s silence. It’s not true that Stephen’s main claim to fame was to inspire an action figure. He did more than that.

3. Farce Number 1: The speed of light is the same for all observers. Imagine a giant observer so big he could fit our observable universe into his laundry. If a new star appeared 100 light years away from Earth, from our Earthling point of view that star’s light would take 100 years to reach us. But from the giant observer’s point of view, looking at our universe in his laundry, the distance between the Earth and the star would be less than a centimetre. And, with the speed of light the same for all observers, then to the giant, the star’s light would reach Earth seemingly instantaneously. How can this be?

That was Mr B’s silly question, and didn’t he cop heaps for it!

4. Farce Number 2: Mr B spoke about regulated hunting in Africa and the U.S.A., and about canned hunting (raising animals in cages to release and shoot). He told us how much each hunter is charged (a hunter is charged US$80,000 to kill one elephant). He asked us why Winter is a good time to hunt mountain lions.* He told us that African nations raise hundreds of millions of dollars with regulated hunting, and how much of that money is spent on the conservation of those animals and on anti-poaching measures.

Why did he speak of all this, and more? Because he figured his grasshoppers would find it interesting.

He was wrong. They didn’t.

That’s when it got ugly.

It wasn’t Mr B’s day.

* Did you figure out why hunters like hunting mountain lions in the winter? It’s because the lions leave tracks in the snow. The lion doesn’t stand a chance.

5. Yet again, Mr B bravely revealed his boundless ignorance. But this time, the invaluable Uncle Pete helped out.

Well, he helped out everyone else. Mr B is still confused.

What was Mr B’s naive question?

In Eintein’s formula . . . (actually, it’s our formula now, not Einstein’s. He’s dead, and has lost all property rights.) Anyway, in our formula E = mc2, Mr B understood that the ‘E’ stands for Energy, the ‘m’ stands for Mass, and the ‘C’ stands for the Cpeed of light. (Einstein was a poor speller.) Mr B wanted to know, how can we square the speed of light? We can square a number, but we can’t square a ‘speed’ or a ‘weight’ or ‘an area’. For example, the square of the number 299,792,458 (metres per second) will give one answer; the square of the number 186,ooo (miles per second) will give another answer. And so on. We could square the number of chains or furlongs too, and each time, the result would be different. For that matter, why per second? Why not per half minute?  All this variability would bugger up the formula, wouldn’t it? So, what’s going on? Mr B wanted to know.

More next week. Hopefully.

These horses are not running furlongs at the speed of light. Not the one I backed, anyway.

6. Steve Maxwell has done it again. Years ago he had the presence of mind to keep six issues of a magazine edited by ex-speaker and anarchist, Warren Buckland, President of the ‘Muggers, Bashers and Robbers Union’. It is with pleasure I present to you ‘The Federalist‘.

7. The ‘Something Nice’ segment, to charm some and irritate others.

8. Other subjects discussed:

– A young German fellow by the name of Flack (sp?) spoke  on the Ladder of Knowledge to express his concern about the far-right political party AfD (Alternative for Deutchland) in Germany. He said that many people are mocking the party’s supporters, but their use of satire isn’t helping. Flack would like more people to sit down with AfD followers and listen to their concerns. Only then might the Germans avoid the pain to come.

– John August spoke about the blight of ever-present advertising.

– Whispering Ben spoke briefly about Bruce Pascoe’s astounding book, “Dark Emu”. He says it should be required reading for all school children.

– Helmut explained why God is infinite light.

Helmut, is this God taking a nap?

9. We have a Facebook page and its formula is   F = tw2.   (‘F’ stands for Facebook, ‘t’ stands for Time, and ‘w’ stands for ‘Wasted’.)

Asian palm civet