Bill Gates' second life

Bill Gates' second life

Summary: During his interview with Charlie Rose as the TechNet Innovation Summit, Bill Gates really showed how he has found a new passion that isn't about software bits and bytes. It's quite amazing that Gates and his friend Warren Buffett, whose money is flowing in the $32 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, have taken their collective wealth and applied it to improving lives around the world, taking a step toward overcoming man's inhumanity to man.

TOPICS: Government

During his interview with Charlie Rose as the TechNet Innovation Summit, Bill Gates really showed how he has found a new passion that isn't about software bits and bytes. It's quite amazing that Gates and his friend Warren Buffett, whose money is flowing in the $32 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, have taken their collective wealth and applied it to improving lives around the world, taking a step toward overcoming man's inhumanity to man.

 Photo credit: Thomas Hawk

Gates described his initiation into the world of the have-nots. "In countries where a lot of kids are dying, it's always tough when you go in and realize how bad the situation is....What really blows my mind is when you know the stats and see what it represents...a million kids dying of malaria. It grabs me, and I have to put energy into this. It's wild that the awareness isn’t there," he said.

Gates gave an example of a plane crash that kills dozens and gets all the headlines, but thousands more kids dying each day is not reported--no big visual to splash on the page like a crash site to sell papers. "The stunning thing is to be there and understand how common these situations are, and they are not receiving the benefit from technology."

Gates had something to say about governments as well. "If the government setting is wrong, there is a modest amount you can do," Gates said, pointing to the oil-rich, but corrupt Nigerian government.  Zimbabwe could have been the best example of a country emerging, but the government has driven it 15 years backwards from what it should been." 

Rose asked Gates if he were optimistic about progress that could be made in solving problems of poverty and disease. "I started out naively optimistic, and now I am more concretely optimistic," he said. 

Gates also gave a bit of 'travel' advice, "If any of you have to live on less than one dollar a day, go to Northern Thailand, but not urban Calcutta." He was giving the audience at the TechNet Summit a a sampling of life choices and conditions outside Silicon Valley or Redmond, where a dollar won't buy a cup of coffee or a lowly muffin. 

At the end of the day, there is a virtuous cycle in bringing countries out of poverty, Gates said, starting with improving agriculture, which leads to building roads, education and literacy, and then introducing non-agricultural elements into the economy. "China is going through this, and Viet Nam is just going through it now," he said. China has become a world powerhouse and is unleashing its brain power to solve its problems, such as how to handle the massive movement of the population from the countryside to urban areas, and will hopefully contribute more to solving to global problems. The U.S. government could also take a lesson from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is providing a blueprint for making the world a better place for all.

Topic: Government

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  • The real reason for Malaria is the banning of DDT

    "What really blows my mind is when you know the stats and see what it represents?a million kids dying of malaria.",2933,194332,00.html

    "The U.S. Government has finally begun to reverse policy on the insecticide DDT. Let?s hope that this policy shift represents the beginning of the end of what can only be called a crime against humanity: the decades-old withholding of the world?s most effective anti-malarial weapon from billions of adults and children at risk of dying from the disease."
    • Hyperventilating doesn't have much to do with science

      If you would like to understand EPA's view of DDT, you may want
      to read some of what they have to say about it. Try:

      It's not the business of the EPA Administrator to read
      voluminous reports and court dockets. Have you ever seen the
      docket supporting an environmental regulation? My guess is that
      the docket for the referenced DDT case came in around 400
      cubic feet of paper. That's why EPA employs scientists,
      engineers, and... lawyers. Teams of these people prepare much
      of the material in the docket and read the rest of it. They then
      brief EPA management.

      A couple of specific points:
      (1) The US has allowed targeted exemptions to the ban on DDT
      from the beginning.
      (2) Mass spraying of DDT was tried in the Third World. It didn't
      work to eliminate malaria under those conditions. It's got to be
      linked to an effective public health system.
      (3) Pesticides are part of the attack on malaria, but only a part.
      • Again, banning of DDT continues to murder millions

        You're spinning it. It is a fact that the banning of DDT is one of the biggest crimes against humanity and continues to be.

        Here's another example in Peru and Chlorine where the eco-nuts that killed people with dirty water
        "In fact, common sense, scientific fact and experience tell us that banning chlorine is not the answer. One only needs to look to the cholera epidemic in Peru that took thousands of lives in the late 1980s after the country stopped chlorinating its water out of concern over exposures to Trihalomethanes (THMs) to see that in some instances, the real dangers we face without the benefits of chlorine chemistry far outweigh any hypothetical risks of chlorinated compounds."

        And the same nuts trying to ban Chlorine here in the USA

        "SINCE THE founding of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, environmental regulations have, by the EPA's own estimate, cost the American people more than $1.4 trillion. Now environmentalist groups such as Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and the National Wildlife Federation are demanding a ban on chlorine, and President Clinton's proposal for the Clean Water Act includes this statement: 'The Administration will develop a national strategy for substituting, reducing, or prohibiting the use of chlorine and chlorinated compounds.'"

        Just wonderful. Let's trust the government regulators more so we can join Peru.

        Thank you EPA, the same people that brought us MTBE and continue to mandate it to this day.
        • Your 'facts' are opinions and you're smearing EPA with things never said

          1) I'm spinning? You're the one claiming 'crimes against humanity.'
          I also note that the ban on DDT does not include export. Even if it
          did, the US couldn't stop others in the world from manufacturing
          the substance.
          2) The rest of your post has to do with banning a substance EPA
          has no plans to ban. EPA isn't owned by the 'eco-nuts.' EPA
          regulations get sued by industy and environmental groups alike.
          • EPA tyranny

            You need to get a little more informed on the tyranny of the EPA.
            Boutique fuels, DDT bans, asinine clean air regulations, the
            whole love canal Dioxin joke. You do realize that Dioxin is
            completely non-toxic to humans, don't you? That poor schmuck
            who tried to assassinate the president of Georgia, I think it was
            by putting a 10,000 times the "lethal" dose of dioxin in his soup
            didn't. All it did was give the guy a bad case of acne.

            But, never mind that, the EPA treats Love Canal like a plague
            zone with triple fenced barbed wire perimeters while millions are
            spent per year trucking out "contaminated" soil.
          • Try a little DDT with your dioxin coctail

            The primary concern with dioxin is lifetime cancer risk, not accute toxicity.

            PS: The target of the attack was a candidate for the presidency of Ukraine.
          • Anything can be turned in to a poison at various doses

            Try and swallow a cup of salt and see what that does to you, that doesn't mean salt is dangerous.

            There are nasty toxins in honey that will kill you if you use a concentrated drop of it.

            Your argument that something is dangerous just because you can show it's deadly at higher doses is like saying 5 foot drops done 10 times will do the same damage as a single 50 foot jump.
          • George, you're 2 for 2 on taging others with arguments they didn't make

            I don't recognise what you claim to be my argument. Where do you
            think that I said that?
      • We can thank the EPA for this too,2933,194332,00.html
        "There never was any scientific evidence that DDT posed a risk to humans or wildlife. An EPA administrative law judge said as much after seven months and 9,000 pages of testimony about DDT in 1972. DDT wasn?t responsible for the decline in bald eagle populations, didn?t cause bird egg shell-thinning and didn?t cause cancer in humans, the judge determined.

        DDT was nonethless banned in the U.S. when then-EPA administrator William Ruckleshaus reversed without explanation the decision of the judge who actually heard all the DDT testimony ? Ruckleshaus heard none of it and never read any of the transcript. As it was later revealed, Ruckleshaus was a member of the Audubon Society and raised money for the Environmental Defense Fund ? the two activist groups that led the charge for the DDT ban."
        • I've already responded to this

          I read the article and responded to the text you reference here in
          my first post. Mr. Ruckleshaus, a Republican political appointee,
          had staff to read and summarize this material.
          • The question need be answered

            How smart was his staff?
            John Zern
          • And...

            ...did his staffers have an agenda of their own?

            Carl Rapson
          • Most of the staffers are smart ...

            and they do a pretty complete job of offering multiple options from multiple viewpoints. It's not like the uninformed hysteria that passes for discussion on ZDNet.
    • Wasn't DDT banned for a reason, though?

      Didn't it build up in the food chain and start [b]poisoning[/b] everything and everyone, not just the insects? If I remember what I learnt in school, anyway...
      • Junk science

        DDT was banned because of a book called Silent Spring where
        some woman whose name I forget, claimed that DDT spraying
        was softening the shells of bird eggs and would eventually cause
        all the birds in the world to go extinct.

        When the evidence was presented to the EPA, the claims were
        found to be unsubstantiated, but the director of the EPA ordered
        the product banned anyway.

        The U.S. then used it's economic and political influence to
        discourage the use of DDT around the globe, going even as far
        as to threaten economic sanctions against nations that did use

        It's a classic example of how environmentalism, if it doesn't wind
        up killing people, lowers their economic prosperity.

        But, then, environmentalism has never been about the
        environment, it's been about power to tell other people how to
        live their lives. It's the same old human lust for tyranny, simply
        wrapped in a new cloak.
        • I agree

          environmentalist have their place when a company is dumping raw sewage or trash into the rivers, but when there is no real pressing issue, they tend to create one to stay "employed".

          mouse lives on mountain
          Cat chases mouse off mountain, this is OK
          Fox chases cat off mountain to, this is OK
          Dog chases fox off mountain, this is OK
          John Zern
        • Do you have a link for this claim?

          Not surprisingly, the EPA disagrees with your analysis:

          [i]"The cancellation decision culminated three years of intensive governmental inquiries into the uses of DDT. As a result of this examination, Ruckelshaus said he was convinced that the continued massive use of DDT posed unacceptable risks to the environment and potential harm to human health."[/i]

          Three years seems a long time just to read a book...
        • [OT] Another counter-point link for you.

          This doesn't sound like the kind of stuff I would want to put in my coffee:

          [i]"DDT is a persistent chemical that becomes concentrated in animal tissues, rising in concentration in animals that are higher in the food chain. It is particularly toxic to fish, aquatic invertebrates and insects (including some that are beneficial). While not immediately toxic to birds, DDT causes long-term reproductive problems by causing eggshells to weaken and crack, threatening the survival of many bird species. Because of its chemical nature, once DDT is applied in a field or other environment, it remains in an active form for decades. People throughout the United States still carry DDT and its metabolites in their bodies, 30 years after the pesticide was banned in this country."[/i]

          • Take it with a grain of salt

            I'm not saying I'm directly taking anyone's side. But for me personally, I take all information with a grain of salt and take the other side's argument into the equation too. Regardless of how reputable some of each your sources are or appear to be, they are not infallible.

            As far as the overall doses that DDT requires in order to be harmful, that's definitely something to take into account. I remember when some people made such a big deal about artificial sweeteners being a carcinogen. Then later they found out that you needed to consume an inhumanly amount on a daily basis before it could even be harmful.
            Those who hunt Trolls