Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bill Gates: Philanthropist or Madman?

Once upon a time there was a young nerd from Seattle who went to Harvard but dropped out so that he could run the largest software empire ever to exist in the history of the world. This nerd ruled his company with an iron fist and violated a couple of anti-trust laws along the way to becoming the richest man in the world.

Then, for some inexplicable reason, his icy heart began to soften. He looked around at his trillions and trillions of dollars and decided that life wasn't about ruthlessly dominating the technology industry and that he would never be fully content with stomping out any and all opposition.

So he turned to stomping out disease.

He and his wife (nerd + money = great husband) turned their attentions to bettering humankind and various other altruistic causes.

Apparently, though, the ruthless habits die hard, as evidenced by an episode at the recent Technology, Entertainment and Design conference when billionaire Bill Gates unleashed a jar full of mosquitoes upon his audience during a speech about malaria.

"Here, I'll let them roam around," he shouted wildly,* "There is no reason only poor people should be infected!"

You might say he was just trying to get the audience's attention, but isn't releasing presumably infected insects on a room full of trapped people the kind of thing a mad scientist or a lunatic does? Shitty movies are made about that kind of thing. Of course the mosquitoes turned out to be harmless - well, I should say uninfected as I'm sure they bit a couple people and that's always irritating - thus turning a potentially evil moment into just a regular old fashioned dick move, but still. There have to be other ways of convincing people that malaria is bad (because I'm sure everyone need to be told that malaria is bad).

This guy invented PowerPoint, for chrissake.

I wonder what he has lined up for next week's conference on syphilis?

*I can't back up the "wildly" part as this is probably third or fourth hand information. But that's the great thing about blogging on the interwebs: spreading unsubstantiated lies about famous people.


Hutch said...

Yeah, I found out about this from my Ted RSS feed. All of the Ted ( lectures are happening right now. I agree that this was pretty weird, but I'm sure he was just trying to keep them awake... "Billions of dollars, blah blah blah... MOSQUITOES!!!"

Ken Robertson said...

Bill was disappointed to find out the mosquitoes didn't have friggin' laser beams attached to their heads.

And he's collecting a jar full of underage Thai prostitutes handy for that syphillis talk.

Unknown said...

How big of a jar would that have to be?

Ken Robertson said...

Only slightly bigger than the mosquito jar. Thai prostitutes are much smaller than they look on the brochures.