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Microsoft Science

Bill Gates Unleashes Swarm of Mosquitoes 841

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates released a glass full of mosquitoes at an elite Technology, Entertainment, Design Conference to make a point about the deadly sting of malaria. 'Malaria is spread by mosquitoes,' Gates said while opening a jar on stage at a gathering known to attract technology kings, politicians, and Hollywood stars. 'I brought some. Here I'll let them roam around. There is no reason only poor people should be infected.'" Say what you will about the guy, that is showmanship. Well done.
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Bill Gates Unleashes Swarm of Mosquitoes

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  • Only poor people? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mi ( 197448 ) <> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @10:03AM (#26736389) Homepage Journal

    There is no reason only poor people should be infected.

    Yes, there is — the richer people can afford both the knowledge of the danger, and the means of defense.

    Other things being equal, poor people will always have it worse, than the rich. Bill Gates' trick — and the accompanying rhetoric — certainly made news already and will continue to do so &mdash as he intended. But it is just a buzz-generating trick — not unlike the naked PETA protesters.

    His main message — that having vast numbers of people suffer and die from preventable and treatable diseases (like malaria) sucks — is quite correct and on-target. But if he wants my money (or other, non-monetary, assistance) to help with it, he better dispense with the near-Socialist proclamations...

  • Malaria Truth (Score:0, Interesting)

    by WheelDweller ( 108946 ) <WheelDweller&gmail,com> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @10:34AM (#26736809)

    The 'jungles' of America are every bit as bad as the jungles of the world. Hot, wet, mosquito traps. Even though mosquitoes are *also* in the arctic circle. Funny though, how the only place they don't cause malaria is outside America.

    The reason for this is the controversial chemical DDT. When it was created, it was suggested as a completely safe spray for mosquitoes. It wasn't. It was liberally applied, killing dozens, if not hundreds of people. Yes, it killed mosquitoes, and has kept them in check (with other chemical advances behind it) ever since.

    However, Europe loves to use Africa as it's tool.

    The EU (visionaries, thinkers, makers of good pastry) has decided to tell Africa that America wants to kill it, 'dumping their chemicals' into Africa. A whole scare-campaign has been set up to convince people there the only way to protect themselves and manage the 300,000 dead each year is to keep the dangerous chemicals away, and buy French-made mosquito nets.

    They also have the notion that, though a nation who has known more poverty and pain than any other continent, they should *only* use sun and wind power. This tends to mean running the fridge for the medicine or the light, not both.

    The EU is cruel, doesn't understand the pain it's pumping out, and cares only about money.

    So go ahead, Mr Gates- not only do you have DDT on your side, but really good malaria drugs, created by capitalism....something Europe has largely left behind. That'll show'em!

  • Re:Assault ! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:15AM (#26737509)

    Only in the US of A.

    And all other countries with an English-derived system of common law.
    I'd bet that it might count in a lot of civil law countries too.

    The fun case would be whether you could sustain a battery claim via mosquito if they bit.

  • Re:What a... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @12:30PM (#26739003)

    Amazing how you can criticise someone for trying to help cure a disease affecting millions, Yet consider yourself morally superior by promoting a blanket judgement against all pregnant women, regardless of their individual situations or circumstances.
    For example what about someone who was raped? or someone who is in a medically life-threatening situation made potentially fatal by being pregnant? They're just examples off the top of my head. I'm sure there are many many even better justifications for abortion in real life, something your hopelessly narrow-minded philosophy always fails to deal with.

  • Re:Assault ! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @12:58PM (#26739459)

    Wait a minute. Are you implying that the drug trade isn't an equal opportunity employer?

  • Re:The new Gates (Score:4, Interesting)

    by herksc ( 1447137 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:08PM (#26739679)
    When you say "maximise profit", let's be clear that the "profit" is for the Foundation to then eventually give away later at 5% per year. Being a "non-profit" foundation, means that no-one can take that money (including Bill) and get personally rich from it. It's the job of the Bill Gates Investment division to make money that the Bill Gates Foundation eventually gives away. That's it. Sounds more useful than just giving away a finite sum to me.

    If you want to say that he "maintains control of his wealth", understand that means that he can control which cause gets the money, not go buy a Ferrari.

    Yes, the Foundation probably even gives money to lame causes, and has conflict of interest with the evil investments of the investment division. But ethically handling that amount of money is really difficult, even in philanthropy. Just look at the job elected governments are doing.

    And I seriously doubt Gates is worried about his tax liability. You only have to pay taxes on a single sum of earned money once.

    I'm not saying Bill is a good man, or that it's even excusable, just that I don't think his motivations were entirely selfish.

  • Re:Memento Mori (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr. Firewall ( 578517 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:26PM (#26740047) Homepage

    Yup. Same thing with freon. After the patent expired, it became an evil environmental hazard here. Good thing Dow had a convenient replacement refrigerant!

    Talk about a misinformed opinion. Let's deal with the actual facts, shall we? Please.

    1. The Freon® family of refrigerants were banned some 40-50 years after their patents expired.
    2. There were no replacement refrigerants available at the time the ban was enacted. DuPont and others had to scramble to meet the deadline.
    3. There are lots of chemicals (e.g., propane) that would make ideal refrigerants were it not for the little problem of them being either highly toxic or highly explosive. The problem was not in finding a substitute gas; the problem was in finding a lubricating oil for the compressors that would work with the replacement refrigerant.

    The insinuation that DuPont was somehow behind the ban is just plain trolling.

  • by Pinky's Brain ( 1158667 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @02:41PM (#26741515)

    Not in the way it worked for the US.

    There are too many mosquitoes who are either resistant or have latent genes which confer resistance. Any widespread eradication program will create a resistant population in no time flat.

    The opportunity has past.

  • by Chosen Reject ( 842143 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:48PM (#26743503)
    I'd love to see someone put their neck on the line and try the same stunt somewhere else. Say, in the US Capitol, and when he's arrested try to get Bill Gates to pay for his legal costs.

Loose bits sink chips.