While giving a talk on malaria prevention at the TED2009 (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference in Long Beach, California, yesterday, Bill Gates apparently released a jar full of mosquitos on the audience saying, "Not only poor people should experience this." Audience members including Facebook and eBay executives Twittered the strange occurrence, and the tech blogosphere was soon abuzz. TED promises video of Gates's talk within 24 hours, but if anyone finds a clip before then, let us know.
I would compare Gates's stunt to the Davos refugee run as a misguided and somewhat tasteless attempt to make wealthy donors experience the realities of Third World poverty, except at least Richard Branson was a willing participant.
As Valleywag's Owen Thomas notes, this "doesn't do much to undo Gates's reputation, borne out of the Microsoft antitrust investigations of the 1990s, that the man considers himself above the law."
Win McNamee/Getty Images