[WATCH] Bill Gates Unleash A Swarm Of Mosquitoes Onto An Unsuspecting Crowd

Zinger Key Points
  • Bill Gates wants to eradicate malaria by 2040.
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been leading the fight against malaria for more than two decades.
[WATCH] Bill Gates Unleash A Swarm Of Mosquitoes Onto An Unsuspecting Crowd

Microsoft founder Bill Gates unleashed a jar full of mosquitoes on attendees of a TED talk on malaria prevention in 2009, saying, "There's no reason just poor people should enjoy the experience."

Unaware audience members, including former Facebook and eBay execs, tweeted about the bizarre event, sparking a flurry of activity in the tech world.

What happened: Gates made the powerful argument that even if a problem like malaria doesn't directly impact people in the U.S., citizens should still care about the global impact of the disease. He said that at the time, more money had gone into studying medications to treat hair loss because "rich men are afflicted" when it comes to baldness.

The first significant effort to eradicate malaria from the planet began in 1955, the year Gates was born. If the billionaire succeeds in his goal of eradicating malaria by the year 2040, he will be 85 years old.

The struggle that could consume Gates' entire life serves as a barometer for how difficult it will be to achieve this "zero goal."

In the most endemic nations, especially those of Central Africa, it will require a constant focus on case management. 80% of the world's malaria burden is carried by fifteen nations, 14 of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.

The best that can be done right now in such nations is to "shrink the map," or to lessen the area where malaria is prevalent. Gates discussed this idea at the TED conference.

Why it matters: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — a nonprofit focused on fighting poverty and disease — has been leading the fight against malaria for more than two decades, donating more than $400 million for the advanced development of a malaria vaccine, new drugs, and innovative mosquito control methods to help defeat malaria.

Gates successfully captivated his audience with his unforgettable demonstration by utilizing a variety of persuasive presentation techniques, such as a visual aid, engagement with the audience, and even humor.

He discussed the future of global energy in a subsequent TED talk a year later, remembering how well the 2009 audience had received his tricks. To demonstrate a "gimmicky solution" to the energy dilemma, Gates repeated the experiment, but this time using fireflies. He received a standing ovation after the audience laughed.

Photo: Courtesy of OnInnovation on flickr

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