43. The infinite lottery.

“What do you learn at school, Hans Thomas?” Dad asked.
“To sit still,” I replied. “It’s so difficult that we spend years learning to do it.”
Jostein Gaarder, from ‘The Solitaire Mystery’.

1. Helmut, Ray, Steve, Mirko and Mr B kept their groundlings/grasshoppers informed today, if the word ‘informed’ can include misinformation.

Our aim to make Speakers’ Corner one of Sydney’s biggest tourist attractions has hit a speed hump: we have the inability to consistently get big crowds. Once we have solved that minor problem it will be full steam ahead.

Why not come along soon and avoid the rush?

2. The Infinite Lottery. If you bought one ticket in a lottery that had an infinite number of tickets, would you have zero chance of winning or an infinitely small chance of winning?

But how could an infinite number of lottery tickets exist? They would fill the infinite universe and all the space in between, and yet there would still be more. Adolf Grunbaum solved that problem with his hypothetical Pi machine: it can list all the lottery numbers on the first line of one page. Each number is half the font size of the preceding one, and it’s printed in half the time each time. That means: infinitely long numbers, in infinitely small print, are printed in an infinitely short period of time. Result: all the numbers are printed in the first line of a page.

Or are they?

And what’s the lottery’s prize, anyway? How much do the tickets cost? Is it a fundraiser? When will it be drawn? Mr B neglected to tell us the details.

3. Speaking of tickets, Mr B wanted to know why people pay good money for tickets to see a stand-up comic, and make all the effort to get there and find parking, while knowing they can see the same show a few weeks later on television?
Mr B’s insightful grasshoppers helped him out.

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

5. In light of the recent massacre in Las Vegas, two helpful grasshoppers assisted Mr B by reading aloud the words of a US gun dealer.

If it’s still that easy to buy weapons in the US . . .

6. Jean is 87 and her husband Albert is 92. Jean told us how she was recently asked by her grandchildren (early twenties) if she and Albert still had sex! Without missing a beat Jean told them. “Yes, of course.”
(Surprised) “How often?!”
“Last night and again this morning.”
This prompted laughter and amazement from her grandkids, and they let her be. But a week later they asked again. “Grandma, was it true?”
Jean told them, “Yes. And last night too, and again this morning.”
The kids ran off again, delighted and amazed.

Let’s hope the grandkids don’t ask for a video.

 7. The words on a pamphlet prompted Mr B to take umbrage:  “When we open our hearts, when we truly welcome people seeking asylum, we open the door to a new life.’

Mr B claims that the pamphlet self-righteously suggests that a large percentage of the population have not opened their hearts. “That’s a cheap shot,” he says. (That’s fine, coming from the king of the cheap shots!) He argues that almost 100% of Australians welcome refugees; they only differ on how many of the 50 million refugees Australia should accept.

8. Other subjects discussed:
– One way to help reduce Americans’ dependency on guns is to make voting compulsory, claimed Mr B, giving his reasons.

– The grasshoppers were told fable about two men and a horse. The horse wasn’t lame, but the fable was.

– Mr B recounted his experience working for the Insurance and Superannuation Commission, about twenty years ago. With barely any training, and no knowledge of superannuation, his job was to answer people’s questions about superannuation when they rang the Commission’s Superannuation Hotline.
Those poor people. It’s hard enough to get straight answers from Mr B on topics he DOES know something about.

–  “Frank doesn’t want Muslims emigrating to Australia because he doesn’t like the way they indoctrinate their children with religious teachings, and he doesn’t approve of arranged marriages.” The question is: “Is Frank Islamophobic?”
The answers were varied and thoughtful.

–  Should Australia have nuclear weapons? Peter The Younger says yes, while Mr B says no. Both gave their reasons.
Peter also gave us a history of the Korean war (1950 – 53) which helped us to understand the goings on of today. Thank you, Peter!

9. Our efforts to purchase the Facebook company have failed again. As a result, our Facebook page continues to struggle for subscribers.