Bill Gates gives $10 billion for vaccines!

By Phil Plait | February 1, 2010 2:02 pm

Have no doubt, I’m a Mac guy. I don’t drink the Kool Aid, but my time with using PCs is well behind me. But y’know, Bill Gates is still my kinda guy: he and his wife are investing ten billion dollars to get vaccines to kids who need them.

That’s $10,000,000,000. Holy Haleakala. They think this can save nearly 9 million lives, and I think that’s pretty cool:

“Vaccines are a miracle,” added Melinda Gates. “With just a few doses, they can prevent deadly diseases for a lifetime. We’ve made vaccines our priority at the Gates Foundation because we’ve seen firsthand their incredible impact on children’s lives.”

Good on them. Very, very good. This is not only something desperately needed, but the publicity is, haha, a shot in the arm as well.

And if I may disagree ever-so-slightly with Ms. Gates, I’ll add that vaccines are not a miracle: they are the result of science, of clever people, of medical advances. That fact is lost on a lot of folks, including the antivaxxers. On top of this incredibly generous move, I’d love to see Mr. and Ms. Gates donate some money and effort to a good ad campaign that promotes vaccination and specifically targets the claims of the pro-disease antivax crowd, so that their work will have even more of a sustainable impact. I’m so thrilled they’re doing this, but we also need a national campaign to show people that the antivaxxers are wrong and doing significant damage to the public health.

Still and all: my congrats to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and my very sincere and hearty thanks.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Alt-Med, Antiscience, Cool stuff

Comments (82)

  1. I don’t much care for Microsoft, either, but Gates himself seems like a really awesome dude. Thanks, Bill!

  2. The anti-vax crowd has already commented on this, pairing their denunciation of Bill Gates being wrong about vaccines with his error about people never needing more than 8MB of memory.

    For my part, great that the Gateses are doing this. And I agree, sponsorship of a good ad campaign would be stellar.

  3. JoeSmithCA

    You take her usage of miracle too literally.;) Oh and thank you for not unfriendicating me on FaceBook ;)

  4. $10 billion can save 9 million lives?

    What vaccines cost $1,100 per dose?

  5. Doug (#5),

    That figure is based on how many people actually DIE each year from totally preventable diseases. That’s not meaning that only 9 million vaccines will be given. Many, many more vaccines will be given. And they will need to be delivered, and have doctors with them to administer them, and go through customs, and a bajillion other little details that most people don’t ever give a second thought to.

    And just for good measure: http://factsnotfantasy.com/vaccines.html

  6. bigjohn756

    Gosh, I wish I had enough money to buy a Mac. I hate Microsoft. I use Linux a lot to compensate.
    It’s about time Billy used his money for something really good.

  7. JoeSmithCA

    @BigJohn756

    Alas Mr. Bill Gates may not be able to shake his invention from his name like Mr. Nobel.

  8. Joey Joe Joe

    “There’s nothing nice about Steve Jobs and there’s nothing evil about Bill Gates” – Chuck Peddle, father of the MOS 6502.

  9. @Todd W. (#3),
    The quote is: “640K ought to be enough for anybody”. But it’s not even a real quote. See http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Bill_Gates#Misattributed

  10. Richard

    The comments on that CNN article make me want to go on a rampage with a clue x 4″.

  11. Charlie Young

    Ya know, Windows 7 is actually not horrible and Bill Gates has been out of Microsoft for about a year now. I guess that was his parting shot. But I digress. The Gates Foundation is trying to make inroads to getting more of the Third World healthy. They realize the rift between developed nations and underdeveloped is huge. Health care needs to be addressed to allow the people to live better lives. It looks like the $10B was put forth to try to goad other world leaders to step up to the plate and address the huge health issue of underdeveloped nations. It will hopefully get more resources on the ground where they are needed. It doesn’t look like much of the money will go toward education in developed countries. That is up to those nations to step up and make that happen.

  12. That just proves that vaccines are evil. Microsoft is a giant evil company. Anything that that its founder supports must, by default, also be evil. And if the vaccines work as well as the first release of windows XP, we’ll see the children with the blue screen of death across their face. People don’t you see how far the rabbit hole goes? It’s Big Computa in league with Big Pharma. It’s all about injecting faulty microchips in people to make them forget that their water has memory! Before people go off and tell me I am crazy, because of some facts you may have read about, don’t forget that books are evil too. Andrew Carnegie was the Bill Gates of his time and he supported libraries.

  13. Larian, thanks for the link. I am by no means an anti-vaxxer. But I am puzzled by the implication in Phil’s post that $10 billion in vaccines will only be enough $$$ to save 9 million people. Even at a total cost of $100 per shot, the Gates’ gift should be enough to inoculate 100 million people. I think this is due to a confusion of terms of reference in Phil’s post.

  14. <nerd level=”high”>
    Bill Gates can’t be anti-vax — too much of what made VAXen (or at least VMS) run found its way into Windows. :-)
    <nerd>

    Seriously, though, as annoying as I find Microsoft, I really do miss the days when Gates was the Big Bad — we were so naive then….

  15. Doug (#14)

    The link wasn’t directed at you, just an addendum for all the anti-vax pro-disease nutters that will descend on this page in 3, 2, 1…

    And if you read Dr. Plait’s post, he said, “They think this can save nearly 9 million lives,” Meaning that he’s quoting the foundation. And as I said in my earlier post, those are how many they expect to be able to reach with the program that won’t die out of the many millions who DO die. It’s all very fuzzy math to be sure. And like I said, even more than 100 million will GET the shot, but that doesn’t mean that anyonw who got the shot was automatically at risk of dying in the first place. But they are at least preventing them from getting sick, or just spreading the sickness.

    Hopefully that clears things up a little. :)

  16. Lawrence

    Very much like Cornellius Vanderbilt and many of the great philanthropic robber barons. he’s doing a heck of a lot of good with all that money of his. Good for him & good for us.

  17. Charles

    Contemptuous as I am about Gates’s business practices, he’s set his sights on malaria (among others), for which there is no vaccine. So a big chunk of that is probably going to have to go toward developing the vaccine. Add production, distribution, etc.

  18. Brian

    Phil,

    Instead of just posting about how you would like see the Foundation create an ad campaign, perhaps we could start a petition. I’m sure some folks at the Hive Overmind have the connections to get it onto Bill and Melinda’s desk.

  19. ethinethin
  20. @Doug Watts: That’s lives “saved” but not number of people that recieved the vaccine. Remember that these are vaccines, not a cure you get *after* getting a disease.

  21. DavidHW

    Truly amazing gift, but that donation-to-lives/saved ratio *has* to be wrong. $1000/life? Not that they wouldn’t be worth it, don’t misunderstand. But that seems highly cost ineffective.

  22. So there was a radio commentator the other day talking about this, and he said that this is all well and good, but who is going to pay for the infrastructure to support the 9 million people added to the population of these poor countries, and, at that, their children, and their children’s children?

    I thought it was a fair question that likely has a good answer. Anyone know the answer?

  23. I love what the foundation is doing, and I wish them luck and if it were a charity, I’d add it to the list of charities I would like to donate to regularly when I have a reliable income stream. (Ah, the life of a student.) I’m glad Bill Gates is putting his considerable wealth to good use. Of course, leave it to the conspiracy nuts to assume this is a profit-driven effort to aid the Freemasons in the takeover of the world through vaccines that are full of horrible toxins and diseases and will sateal candy from our baybeees and inhibit our ability to think clearly and *BREATHES* destroy our ability to reproduce and soon we’ll only be able to reproduce by oligarchic fiat and biotechnology so eugenics will of course be part of the bargain while population expands to keep labor cheap and everyone poor while the walthy classes laugh and treat us like slave in a neo-feudalist world where natsi-like policies are everwhere and Hitler is worshipped and *BREATHES AGAIN* so Bill Gates is a bad man for doing this.

    @bigjohn756

    Not saying this to disparage Mac-users, I would like nothing more than to migrate to the White-Fruit Wonderland that is Apple, but price is a major factor for most people who want to own an Apple. Part of this is simply that Apple markets its products as status symbols. Why else have white earbuds that scream, “APPLE OWNER, RIGHT HERE!” unless it’s about deliberately excluding all non-Apple people from the larger fraternity. You may think this is ridiculous, but marketing people are a shrewd bunch, and I prefer to give them credit for thinking this through. (And yes, I own an iPod, and use the earbuds that came with it. I do prefer over-the-ear models though.)

    Linux is great! I used it for the longest time, but even though they simplified the installation processes via various commands like “yum” it’s still a pain to get certain things (especially peripherals) to work. In the end, it’s nice to have on a second computer, but it’s a lifestyle that requires far too much time and effort on my part. Ideally, I’d have one of each system.

  24. Whatever one may think of Microsoft, Bill Gates has proved to be one of the world’s notable humanitarians, which I think is somehow a more enduring legacy to the world.

    There’s a new(ish) blog piece by him over here where he explains more about why he supports vaccines, maybe that would be a place to reach him with a petition.

    http://www.thegatesnotes.com/Thinking/article.aspx?id=110

  25. Cheyenne

    That is fantastic! I remember years ago when the Gates foundation was created Bill said something like (this is badly paraphrased from memory) “We don’t know what we’re going to spend the money on yet. I do know we are going to meet with the experts in the various fields, find out where we can make the most difference, and focus on that”. Eventually they decided that dollar for dollar vaccines are the best investment and they got there by listening to the experts. Awesome.

    BTW – They have a very cool website. It’s worth taking a glance at. gatesfoundation.org

  26. @DavidHW (#22): Well. The thing about this diseases is that anyone could get sick and any of those could die. You can never really focus on some idividuals that are likely to die. So the only solutions with vaccines is to give it to everyone. You can focus on the poorest people sure but that is a very broad and inaccurate focusing.

    @Christopher (#23): It’s not a popular question to ask but it is a fair one really. Over population is a fact and is becoming a bigger problem each year. That being said I just cannot make my self utter the words that it would be better for the human race if more children die. It may be correct scientificly but it is not correct morally.

    So… It is very likely that in the future that the whole world will need to implement a “one child per family” policy. Propably not forced but at least it will have to be asked of people to please do that. And I think we will see this sooner than any of us dared to think. Can’t wait to see the response from the religious fundementalists on that one.

  27. I only wish that he wouldn’t give to the lying cretins at the Discovery institute (who haven’t discovered a damn thing, and can only be called an institute in the same way a hospital housing the mentaly insane is called an institute). Although, with as much money as he IS giving away, I’m sure that was an oversight, aberration, or someone came to the foundation with LIES and propeganda in order to ge tmoney. Given the record od DI, I can see the latter bing what really happened!

  28. Derek

    I don’t know if you’re a Family Guy fan, but it appears they took a shot at your favorite anti-vaxer last night. I will assume the shot at Jenny and her man (Jim) was with regards to anti-vax but I can’t be sure. In case you missed it, Jenny was compared with those crazy women who hook up with even crazier prison inmates.

  29. It’s nice to know that all the money I have spent over the years trying to get software that actually works, is going to a good cause.
    At least, that’s the way I will think of it.

    Good onya Bill

  30. Charlie Young

    Well, here ya go. From Bill Gates blog. http://bit.ly/bxeXTM Although it looks like someone else has posted (Grania S)

  31. NewEnglandBob

    #13 Holytape must be a Poe. No one can be that ignorant.

  32. JT

    @Christopher (23)

    You’re right that it’s a fair question. After all, what good is saving 9 million lives from disease only to condemn 9 million others to die of starvation? Of course, emotionally I could never bring myself to deny medical care for such a cold, calculated reason. That said, even from a cold, calculated standpoint I think this is the right thing to do.

    The reason for that should be apparent if you look at the birth rate difference between third and first world countries. In many first world countries population growth is mostly due to immigration, with birth rates being only just above, or even below, replacement. When people are educated, contraception is widely available, and people don’t have to have to worry about having “extra” children to compensate for the inevitability of some of them not reaching adulthood, they tend to have fewer kids. That being the case, improving the health of people in the third world may well reduce overpopulation problems in the long run.

  33. Why does saying anything nice about Windows or Bill Gates require a disclaimer?

    “I’m a Mac guy.”

    I wish people would quit all this BS operating systems war. it’s just a marketing invention. Unix systems are great for a lot of applications, Windows systems are great for many, and Mac OS is great for many. It all depends on what you’re trying to do. As consumers who now use computers mostly for “the internet” or “blogging” then one operating system is just as good as the other. Pretending we are “better” or “smarter” for using any flavor of the rainbow is bloated arrogance. You’d think once we got out of high school or junior high and stopped arguing about what shoe brand was the most awesome we’d just admit that they’re all nice shoes and we are more than the brand of shoes we wear.

  34. Personally, I don’t care for the Mac vs PC BS. Seriously. I like Mac’s, but they’re overpriced. Windows is fine, too, for the most part and Linux is cool, too. What I use doesn’t have a lot to do with preference from one to another, but rather a host of other factors. Presently mostly Windows, but I’d happily use a Mac or a Linux machine.

    That said, I’m happy that the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation is doing this. They give a lot of money for educational purposes, too, which I think is very cool. I read about the vaccine gift the other day and was quite happy they are donating so much. Go them!

  35. Rob

    @DavidHW, vaccines aren’t cheap, for example a run through the HPV vaccine is $120 a dose and 3 doses are required. But look at it this way, the money has to be spent to save those lives, regardless of where it comes from. If we didn’t invest in vaccines, it simply wouldn’t happen and more would continue to die of disease. It’s an investment in the future too, if we can work towards wiping out more diseases, it’ll make the future of humanity nicer. There’s also the added improvement that it’ll prevent millions of illnesses as well.

    Plus, it’s cheap compared to some things, we’ve spent $700b on a war to help 27 million from their evil dictator in Iraq. Plenty think that is money well spent.

    @Christopher Ambler, the people themselves can do it. While overpopulation is a problem in parts of the world, in sub-saharan africa where a lot of these deaths occur, it isn’t. Better government and management is the problem. More healthy people can’t hurt.

  36. @FrauTech #34

    I came here to write the exact same thing. I knew even before I read the comments that there would be some MS-Apple flame war crap going on. Can’t we just once celebrate something about Bill Gates without having to remind everybody that they hate Microsoft?

  37. Christopher Ambler beat me to the point I was going to raise. I seem to remember reading a study to that effect not too long ago, but couldn’t find it in 5 minutes of Googling. I think it’s great that the Gates foundation is providing this funding for vaccines, but I think that it needs to go hand in hand with funding for birth control/sex ed (not to mention better education, infrastructure, and all the other things people need).

  38. I’m with FrauTech – let’s get past the stupid, fanboyish platform wars bull (re that link: language warning). It sucks the fun out of gaming, it sucks the fun out of computing, and it just plain sucks.

  39. Lawrence

    We are a better species for having people like the Gates’ around.

  40. Forget Mac and Windows. Linux is the way to go.

  41. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE

    Computers are like cats — it does not matter whether it’s black or white, as long as it does its job and catches mice!

    Funny Cat

  42. Joey Joe Joe

    @IVAN3MAN (#42)

    Pffft… Dogs are way better than cats. ;)

  43. @Joey Joe Joe

    C’mon now, neither are as cool as ferrets!

  44. @ioresult

    Yeah, I suspected as much. I was just reporting what the antivaxers were saying.

  45. I just cannot wait for the first ant-vac commenter to claim Gates is a PharmaShill.

    That would be so much fun….

  46. Phil, the phrase “drinking the kool-aid” has jumped the shark and should be thrown under the bus.

  47. Bunsen

    Phil:

    I agree and disagree with JoeSmithCA – the problem is you aren’t using the word “miracle” literally enough. It’s time to reclaim the word from the woo-jobs. In its original meaning, miracle simply meant “an object or occurrence inspiring awe.” I certainly think vaccines qualify. Vaccines are a miracle, they just aren’t miraculous.

    For the especially nerdy, miracle comes from the Latin miraculum, literally meaning “object of wonder.”

  48. CJ

    On a good note. That insane Dr. in London who said vaccines cause autism has been ruled Unethical..

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599195765600

  49. Ci

    So donating 10 billion for vaccines isn’t enough for Phil, he still has to bash other people’s spiritual beliefs in nearly every single post he makes, even when it’s irrelevant to the topic at hand.

    Phil, please get some perspective before you do your typing. For you to go on some tirade about the word Melinda used is ridiculously petty and not doing you any favours. To insinuate Melinda isn’t aware of how these vaccines are produced is just insulting.

    Get it together man.

  50. I’ve always been of two minds about philanthropy. On the one hand, it does a lot of good. On the other hand, it’s a fraction of some guy’s vast fortune that he amassed by a mixture of economic predation and blind luck. Still being rich, he’s still a sinner. he will only have atoned for his sins when his philanthropy fully depletes his reserves.

    As Andrew Carnegie famously said “A man who dies thus rich dies disgraced”

    Vaccination is a good cause. Macs suck.

  51. Ci (#50): I’m not the one who has to get it together. I didn’t bash what she said, I used it as a jumping off point to denigrate the antivaxxers. I have no clue what Ms. Gates beliefs are, nor did I belittle them — in fact, I was assuming she was using the word “miracle” as most people do in that context, as a figure of speech. Nor do I assume she doesn’t know how they are made. In fact, I assume she is well-informed on the subject if she’s going to give ten gigabucks for them.

    Shorter version: Don’t read your own prejudices into what I write.

    And seriously, you think that’s a “tirade”? Wow.

  52. Charlie Young

    #51 @JediBear Bill Gates has stated he will only pass on 2% of his fortune to his heirs, the rest will go to philanthropy. Blind luck, maybe, economic predation, huh? That’s a pretty cynical outlook on capitalism. Let’s just let the gov’t run it all so no one can have a chance at making something more for themselves, their families and supply the jobs for those who want the 9-5. Bleah…

  53. @53 I do have a pretty cynical outlook on capitalism. It comes from having studied the thing.

    You don’t get rich by playing nice. You get rich by selling things for more than they’re worth to people who don’t know better or don’t have a better option. That’s predatory, and it’s in the nature of all capitalist interactions.

    Not that anything else I’ve studied or considered is any better.

  54. Don Gisselbeck

    Bill (like other capitalists) figured out a way to snag a decent chunk of money from very many people. This is possible only of there are very many people and stable governments. Alone in the woods these masters of the universe would not be rich but dead. It is not in any moral or rational sense “their” money.

  55. Charlie Young

    @JediBear you make a valid point, but there is a small subset in the capitalist world who do seek to make this world better for all. Andrew Carnegie and Bill Gates both fit the mold there. I guess we have to strive to make a good mark for future generations.

  56. A wholesome well done to Mr. And Mrs Gates.

    Having said that, let’s up the ante further. Can captains of capitalism embrace sustainability and be a global role model.

    For example, can we stop buying yachts, mansions and Maseratis? How about Teslas for change, full solar powered roofs with 5000sq vs 500,000sq feet monstrosities with tennis courts, swimming pools and jakuzis.

    No doubt they’ve earned it, and we highly respect them for that.

    However I bet my bottom dollar that the carbon footprint of Ellison, Gates and Jobs combined will probably rival a major city in a 3rd world country.

  57. Adam English

    They have spent an incredulous amount of money on these things and have most likely spent more than most of us make in a year easily on other Earth-friendly donations. There are a lot of very rich people out there ranging from those in hollywood to those in the governments who make a LOT and probably take it in the opposite direction than Bill.

  58. Astrofiend

    Awesome. I wish I could say I had been directly responsible for saving 9 *10^6 lives. That is a really big friggin number when it comes to human lives. Hopefully people are inspired by this to give according to their own means for similar causes. Doctors Without Borders for example. Imagine buying a surgical kit or vax kit for them, and being partly responsible for saving a Human Being’s very life! It may not be 9 million, but it IS significant.

  59. kathi w

    Christopher @23. Oh brother. Better health care for women and children all over the world, please. Women who have access to family planning, education and health care for themselves and their children are a LESSER burden on their governments and society. C’mon buddy, where you been? On top of that, throw in the ability to borrow money and start their own small businesses is a HUGE benefit to third world countries. I’ve seen the stories on PBS so you can look for yourself.

    Reading your post really pissed me off.

  60. slw

    I am puzzled as to why you use a Mac. I would have thought a science-minded person like yourself would either support the open effort that is Linux or support the company which has a lot of basic research coming out of their labs, which is Microsoft. You don’t seem to really hate technology either, which is usually the reason people choose a mac.
    Sure, Microsoft is evil, however Apple is a whole lot more evil. While Microsoft is putting at least some of their money into advancing human knowledge(and via Gates foundation also the health of the less fortunate), Apple seems to spend all of their money on converting more disciples for themselves.

  61. Zekke

    Corporate-wise, the techniques (FUD, etc) employed by Microsoft are “pure evil”, and this associated its CEO with the devil himself. Nowadays the only company with a more closed mentality is Apple (mainly the AppStore with its arbitrary ban of software and 30% fee). But since leaving Microsoft Bill Gates have been doing a remarkable work as a philantropist. The number I have is that he donated $28 billion through his foundation, to many causes in the Third World.

  62. MadScientist

    I’m a PC guy (not that Macs aren’t PCs) because Macs cost too damn much for what they are – however I had been Microsoft-Free for 6 years. Unfortunately some clients demanded that I write software for that MS operating system so I’d been plagued by WinXP for the past year. I said “I think using that system is a recipe for failure but hey, it’s *your* money, I’m only the expert being paid to do the job and to provide my opinion.” Call me old fashioned, but I like things that just work; I have remote instruments in the field that have run for over 2 years now without a single glitch – now that’s how I expect software (and hardware) to behave.

    Oh, and as for pro-vaccine ads. Please don’t get Jerry Seinfeld to do an ad … Just (don’t) Do It.

    @CJ #49: In London? I’m afraid not. He’s been in Texas for a number of years now. There are far more potential victims in the USA than in the UK; besides, the folks in the UK have been making him feel insecure at least since 2004. (Or am I just imagining he must be there because he’s a big part of the ‘Thoughtful House’ scam).

  63. Frank Rossi

    HOLY SH_T! I can’t get my head around that number of numbers. As for Bill’s reasoning, he’s free to do anything he wants with his money. If overpopulation is a concern, another ten billion could provide 1,000 bucks to 10,000,000 people who volunteer to be sterilized. (Then I could afford to thread on a computer instead of my phone..)

    Antivaxxers may well kill off 10,000,000 people for free, so overpopulation shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

  64. sophia8

    Larian LeQuella @28: The Gates Foundation gave money to the Cascadia Center . OK, it’s an offshoot of the Discovery Institute but it’s all about developing and improving transport in the Pacific North-West.
    I have absolutely no idea why the religious crazies at the Discovery Institute would want to improve transport anywhere (after all, enabling people to get around faster and more easily invariably leads to all sorts of undesirable things – dancing f or instance!) but Cascadia isn’t doing anything to promote Creationism, religion or anti-science.

  65. Rob

    “On top of this incredibly generous move, I’d love to see Mr. and Ms. Gates donate some money and effort to a good ad campaign that promotes vaccination and specifically targets the claims of the pro-disease antivax crowd, so that their work will have even more of a sustainable impact. I’m so thrilled they’re doing this, but we also need a national campaign to show people that the antivaxxers are wrong and doing significant damage to the public health.”

    Thanks for the $10 billion… but what have you done for us lately?

    Maybe the powers that be in the “pro-vax” movement could use some of the $10 billion they just got for an ad campaign?

  66. Teshi

    Say what you will about Microsoft, but I’ve been running Windows 2000 since, well, it came out. And it still works!

    (sorta)

    As for donating to to vaccination directly, I suspect that they were thinking along the lines of, “well, I can save x many people who have no access to vaccines at all, let’s work on that first.” Although it does indirectly, perhaps, doom some innocent children in the western world, the vaccines are available in the western world and so is medicine at a level that is better at saving people who are sick (not that that is okay, just that it’s something.)

    This may be a flawed argument.

  67. Ray

    Yay! 10 billion for vaccines. Great move. But would it kill the guy to spend a penny on a decent haircut and some nice clothes?

  68. Hopefully the Gates will be known more for their humanitarian actions than for their computers – doubtful, but you can always hope.

    Also – @Mac users:

    Be careful of what you say about Bill – without him, Macs wouldn’t exist anymore, he made a $150 million investment in the company in 97, after all.

  69. Lawrence

    Microsoft only makes the operating system – Macs run Windows too now (along with OSX+) if you want.

  70. Pieter Kok

    Re: operating systems:
    “It all depends on what you’re trying to do.”
    I’m trying to get through the day without too much swearing. So it’s a Mac for me.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist. :P

    “However I bet my bottom dollar that the carbon footprint of Ellison, Gates and Jobs combined will probably rival a major city in a 3rd world country.”
    You obviously haven’t been to any major 3rd world city lately. :)

  71. R2K

    Phil, you may be shocked to learn that apple computers ARE now PCs: they use the exact same hardware. The only difference is the OS that apple bundles with their hardware, the way it looks really fancy on the outside, and the fact that commercials selling apple products have people dancing and acting really stylish. That and they cost about twice as much.

    But all those years trying to prove that PC hardware (intel processors for example) was inferior leave them in a strange situation because now they use the same hardware. Their solution to this problem was elegant; just ignore the past and all the propaganda.

    This is way off topic, but when logical people swoon for apples because “they are faster” or “they don’t get viruses”, it is pretty sad. And for the record, Bill Gates has almost nothing to do with PCs… One is hardware one is software.

    To finish with a demonstration, a very smart co-worker of mine just this morning told me about this great new apple software feature called “time machine” (time capsule) that lets you flip back your apple to previous OS states. It looks cool, and most apple people would assume that it was invented by apple.

    But this feature was common and free among PC computers in the 1990s, and became software standard in the early 2000′s.

    The take home point? Consider resisting the urge to say “but my time with using PCs is well behind me.” Because if you use any computer today, you use a PC.

  72. Y’know, I think that the OS wars have turned into something of a religion, here: no one except a few old, bearded guys (rms, anyone?) knew what actually started the whole debate, but as soon as you bring it up, *whoomph!* There goes 100 comments back and forth, peppered with the occasional “I use Linux.” If you just increase the numbers/change the name of the wild big cat, it’s the same debate for the past 26 years. Further proof that geeks are creatures of habit.

  73. ND

    You guys do know that OSX is unix based right? All that purdy gui is not worth much if it’s not running on some hard, stable and fast foundations.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XNU

  74. Ryan

    Speaking of vaccines

    – Medical journal Lancet fully retracts 1998 study linking MMR vaccine to autism, citing “incorrect” elements of research.

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/02/02/lancet.retraction.autism/index.html?hpt=T2

  75. M D J

    Holy crap, BIG NEWS: Taken from CNN breaking news headline – Medical journal Lancet fully retracts 1998 study linking MMR vaccine to autism, citing “incorrect” elements of research. Now the antivaxxers have one less quiver in their set of stupidity arrows.

  76. t-storm

    there’s an article on cnn today about the lancet journal retracting the 1998 article linking mmr vaccine to autism. seems like a win, any thoughts?

  77. The anti-vaxers will likely still cite Wakefield’s study as proof of their position (lack of replication hasn’t stopped ‘em, so why should retraction?). I predict they will also, if they haven’t already, claim that this is just another bit of evidence showing how “brave maverick doctors” are being silenced by Big PharmaTM and how peer reviewed journals are, therefore, meaningless.

    So far, AoA just has an announcement up about the retraction, but no opinion on it, yet.

  78. Lawrence

    Todd – per the comments, that’s exactly what is happening. This is (to them) just further proof that “Big Pharma” is trying silence him.

    They sound more and more delusional every time.

  79. Leon

    Well, I’m impressed. I almost feel bad about ditching Windows myself about a year ago for Linux. Maybe I can feel a little better next time I have to pay a licensing fee to Microsoft.

  80. Peter B

    JediBear @ #54 said: “You don’t get rich by playing nice. You get rich by selling things for more than they’re worth to people who don’t know better or don’t have a better option. That’s predatory, and it’s in the nature of all capitalist interactions.”

    Yes, that’s one way to get rich. I know plenty of people who’ve become rich by being willing to work long hours at jobs others don’t want to do, or can’t do. That’s another way.

    “Not that anything else I’ve studied or considered is any better.”

    A bit stuck then, aren’t you. ;-)

  81. Gary Ansorge

    54. JediBear:

    ” You get rich by selling things for more than they’re worth to people who don’t know better or don’t have a better option. That’s predatory, and it’s in the nature of all capitalist interactions.”

    1) There’s no such thing as “selling things for more than they are worth”, since something is only worth what people are WILLING to pay. Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. HAving said that, if I had the last loaf of bread in the world and you had all the money,,,you’d starve.

    2) Capitalist is defined as “One who makes their living off their capital(ie, money)”. As opposed to a craftsman, laborer, etc, who make their living off what they DO. Unfortunately, we’d have very little ability to produce anything if it was not for innovative capitalists, investing their capital in productive endeavors(airplanes, bridges, roads, autos, farm equipment, etc.). The only PREDATORY capitalists
    I’ve ever heard of are those scammers like Bernie Maddof, who produce nothing but hot air.

    Gary 7

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