February 5, 2009

"Malaria is spread by mosquitoes. I brought some. Here, I'll let them roam around – there is no reason only poor people should be infected."

A really rich man — Bill Gates — would like to scare the bejesus out of you who are not so rich but not as in touch with the life of the poor as he is.

IN THE COMMENTS: I detect 3 themes.

Theme #1: Microsoft sucks. Examples: Jeremy says, "Releasing bugs on an unsuspecting public and leaving them vulnerable to viruses is what Gates has been doing his whole career." And Franco says: "Feeling horribly guilty about his immense wealth and distraught over his failure to prevent viruses with his Windows operating system, Bill Gates is launching his next generation operating platform, Screens, which designed for poor people who can't afford Windows."

Theme #2: Lawsuit! Example: Daryl says:
How is this so different from:

1 - saying "Rich white men don't have to worry about gun violence.

2 - pulling out a handgun

3 - pointing it at the audience

4 - firing blanks

5 - telling people: "LOL JK it was just blanks don't be a drama queen"

???

This was an intentional tort. Punitive damages. Based on his net worth. Bill Gates' net worth.

I'm touching myself just thinking about it.
Theme #3: Damned enviros and their DDT ban.

44 comments:

PatHMV said...

Bill clearly has come down with "self-important rich man's disease." He thinks that as long as he's convinced of the merits of a cause, he can ignore basic tenets of civility, politeness, and common courtesy.

When he starts living in a 3BR, 2BA house in a normal suburb, then he can lecture the rest of us about selfishness. Until then, he's become just an asshole.

fcai said...

Just?

rhhardin said...

Mrs. Gates keeps her fingers busy knitting for the Poles.

Paul Snively said...

A jar of mosquitoes? For God's good sake, if he wants to expose people to mosquitoes, just give 'em tickets to where I from from (southern Indiana) in July or August for a weekend.

Tibore said...

Dumb move. So, the 'squitos didn't have malaria. Any guarantee they weren't carrying any other infection?

Dumb. Just dumb.

----

"Paul Snively said...
A jar of mosquitoes? For God's good sake, if he wants to expose people to mosquitoes, just give 'em tickets to where I from from (southern Indiana) in July or August for a weekend."


As an aside: Just how many of us here are in Indiana? It's weird how many posters here have mentioned living in this state.

Daryl said...

Sounds like a textbook case of "assault" to me.

They should sue him--and seek punitive damages.

Especially the staff at that event who aren't million-dollar CEOs.

Make it a class action . . .

ballyfager said...

@PatHMV,

I agree with everything in your comment except the word "become" in the last sentence.

Daryl said...

"CLASS ACTION FOR BIOTERRORIST ASSAULT"
Assault - for putting them in fear of infection with Malaria
Assault - for putting them in fear of being bitten by mosquitoes
Battery - for persons actually bitten
Intentional infliction of emotional distress

How many tech company executives would voluntarily opt out of such a lawsuit? Maybe they would ignore it, and stay in.

RR Ryan said...

Has the man heard of allergies? I grew up in Florida and until I got into my teens, the first mosquito bite of the season led to an arm swollen to the size of a watermelon. And no, it wasn't malaria.

class-factotum said...

There's no reason poor people should get malaria at all. Doesn't DDT kill mosquitos?

Lem said...

I'm only sorry I didn't go... and miss out on this tort ;)

Paddy O. said...

This reminds me of one of the more unusual books in my collection:

The Making of a Tropical Disease: A Short History of Malaria

A rather interesting read, actually, that really changed my view of Malaria treatment and policy. Not least because while malaria is in fact spread by mosquitoes, there are a lot of factors that go into where mosquitoes thrive, with historical malaria outbreaks occurring in such non-tropical places like Russia and Canada.

The problem, as we see illustrated here, has a lot to do with human decisions that bring mosquitoes into places they might not have thrived without human interference.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The stunt was an attempt by Gates – who quit Microsoft last year to concentrate on his charity work - to hammer home the importance of malaria prevention.

Well, what a lame stunt for a smart man. Come on!!

How's this for a "stunt". Round up some really sick, skinny kids with crusty stuff around their noses and sunken in eyes and ribs. Send them around to all the tables, you know....like party favors. One sick kid at each table who can barely lift his head up and drool on his fillet Mignon.

All the really wealthy people who don't get any closer to dirt, sickness or poverty, other than their illegal maids and nannies, will get a good close up look at poverty before they hop into their limos and beemers. Pretentious assholes.

Now...there's a stunt. Sucker born every minute.

Lem said...

Check it out, now there is going to be more people that say they were there than could possibly fit in that place.

Henry Buck said...

At the next luncheon, Warren Buffet will teach the attendees a very special lesson about head lice.

Henry Buck said...

Given Gates's amphibian-like appearance, maybe he was just unpacking his lunch.

Franco said...

Feeling horribly guilty about his immense wealth and distraught over his failure to prevent viruses with his Windows operating system, Bill Gates is launching his next generation operating platform, Screens, which designed for poor people who can't afford Windows.

Lem said...

Actually the stunt was an attempt convince Windows consumers that he had a plan to thin out Windows. He was going to thin it like Steve Jobs. ;)

blake said...

LMAO.

Doesn't that sound like something a crazy person in a horror movie would say?

"Here, I'll let them roam around--there is no reason only poor people should be infected."

Jeremy said...

Releasing bugs on an unsuspecting public and leaving them vulnerable to viruses is what Gates has been doing his who career.

Waka waka waka.

Richard Fagin said...

Yes, class-factotum, DDT does a superb job of killing mosquitoes. It does so for extended time, even in very small amounts and when applied only to the interior walls of dwellings. When properly used in such manner it won't end up in the soil and water.

If we hadn't totally banned its manufacture and use (as contrasted with only banning clearly unsafe uses like crop dusting) malaria might already be eradicated.

class-factotum said...

Exactly, Richard. So Bill is being either disingenuous or uninformed when he says, "more money was being spent finding a cure for baldness than developing drugs to combat malaria."

We have a way to combat malaria. We just don't want to use it.

Christy said...

Where did the mosquitoes come from? If they were local, that's fine. But did he bring some back on his private jet from Africa? Would that be illegal? It should be. Gates couldn't be that dumb, could he?

There are genetic differences in mosquitoes from tropical and subtropical regions that affect their ease in spreading disease. North American mosquitoes fed on infected hamsters in one study I read, for example, didn't pass on the Rift Valley fever virus that their West African cousins do. Last thing we need are a non-native species getting a foothold in California.

Bissage said...

Jeremy: +1

dick said...

And we can thank Bill and his buddies who supported all the enviros who campaigned against DDT for all the deaths from malaria over the years. The regular people in the US were never consulted on this. It was the enviros and their buddies who got the bills passed that stopped DDT and now their current groups are complaining about malaria.

chuck b. said...

I don't think any of you lawyer types understand the geek mind. Which is probably why you weren't at the conference in the first place.

reader_iam said...

That really is outrageous.

Methadras said...

Paul Snively said...

A jar of mosquitoes? For God's good sake, if he wants to expose people to mosquitoes, just give 'em tickets to where I from from (southern Indiana) in July or August for a weekend.


The largest mosquitoes I've ever seen was when I was in Minnesota. Jesus they are huge. Huge, I tell you.

Allison said...

in CA, you can't drive into the state without passing a border crossing manned by the dept of agriculture. they will take any fresh fruit from you to prevent you brining any insects or larvae in that might damage crops or livestock.

west nile kills people and horses, a lot of horses. and the people who west nile doesn't kill end up very ill for months, sometimes years. it's devastating.

did gates break several laws bringing those squitos in? put him in jail.

Jason (the freezing commenter) said...

Even if they had malaria, it still wouldn't have been as bad as that time he released Windows Vista.

Christy said...

Correction of my earlier statement, that would be East, not West, African mosquitoes that spread Rift Valley Fever. Back to your regularly scheduled program....

Psychedelic George said...

Imagine what would happen if you went to his palac..er, home, and released some cockroaches to make some political point.

So far this year's theme is "Rich people who don't have a clue."

These here are poverty times.

Michael H said...

When he starts living in a 3BR, 2BA house in a normal suburb, then he can lecture the rest of us about selfishness.

By all accounts, the Gates Foundation has done wonderful and generous things for people around the world, especially those who suffer from preventable disease and those without safe drinking water. Mock Gates, if you will, for all things Microsoft, but to ridicule him for the work his foundation does is nonsense.

Gates's point in releasing the mosquitoes was simple and elegantly made. We take for granted the conditions in which we live, conditions not available to people in the poorest parts of the world.

And frankly, he was poking at the insane ban against using DDT to kill mosquitoes and reduce or end malaria in parts of Africa and South America because of 'envrionmentalist' activism. It's a safe bet most of those who fought for the DDT ban have never been, and never will be, in parts of the world where prevention of malaria is a way to save lives.

I'm not a Gates fan, having suffered through early versions of his software. But I bought it of my own free will when other software would have done just fine. Despite that, I greatly admire hos Gates is using his wealth to make the lives of other people better, rather than spending it on foolish and self-indulgent causes.

Jess said...

Methadras a écrit:
The largest mosquitoes I've ever seen was when I was in Minnesota. Jesus they are huge. Huge, I tell you.

-
Heh. I have a large belt buckle with a relief sculpture of a mosquito the size of a California Condor swiping some fisherman's catch. The legend on the buckle: Alaskan State Bird.

Daryl said...

How is this so different from:

1 - saying "Rich white men don't have to worry about gun violence.

2 - pulling out a handgun

3 - pointing it at the audience

4 - firing blanks

5 - telling people: "LOL JK it was just blanks don't be a drama queen"

???

This was an intentional tort. Punitive damages. Based on his net worth. Bill Gates' net worth.

I'm touching myself just thinking about it.

Donna B. said...

Franco wins this thread. Screens! LMAO!

MadisonMan said...

And people say software engineers can lack social skills!

Sort of o/t, but I find the biology of malaria absolutely fascinating. I try to imagine how plasmodium figured out how to live the way it did. And the human response (sickle cell): equally fascinating.

Patm said...

material richness totally screws the mind.

putz.

Freeman Hunt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

LOL Wussy America has definitely arrived.

"Omigod, mosquitos! AHHHH!"

Nichevo said...

I'd say that was at least a three-shoe offense.

Nichevo said...

Blogger rhhardin said...

Mrs. Gates keeps her fingers busy knitting for the Poles.
4:49 PM

is it Poles? Perhaps

PatHMV said...

Michael H.... I've got nothing against the man's company. I've been a Microsoft customer for a long time (though I think some of their practices have been monopolistic).

And I acknowledge, certainly, that the Gates Foundation has spent a lot of money trying to do good things.

But that still doesn't give a man who lives the kind of luxury and consumes the amount of resources Bill Gates consumes the right to chastise or criticize others for not sufficiently understanding the plight of poor people.

I didn't mock him for the work of his Foundation, I criticized him for his arrogance and self-righteousness.

Tibore said...

"Methadras said...
The largest mosquitoes I've ever seen was when I was in Minnesota. Jesus they are huge. Huge, I tell you."


"Jess said...
Heh. I have a large belt buckle with a relief sculpture of a mosquito the size of a California Condor swiping some fisherman's catch. The legend on the buckle: Alaskan State Bird."


I feel the need to further derail things :). I once heard a joke from a Floridian: "There are two types of mosquitos around here. Ones small enough to squeeze under a screen door, and ones big enough to open them."

LOL... nothing like the State Mosquito Hyperbole Pissing Contest to liven the day. :D