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Old 06-28-2008, 05:07 PM   #21
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I understand he attempted to run his numbers through FIRECalc but came up a few digits short...in the entry fields.
Apropos to this.

My friend was the engineering manager for Quicken. Right before a new release of Quicken Intuit's founder Scott Cook filed a bug report, that looked like something like this.

Unable to enter my Intuit stock position in Quicken. Entry field is restricted to 9,999,999 shares. Bug priority HIGH.

My friends (rather diplomatic response) was we will file this as a bug, but priority will drop to low, because not many customers with 10 million shares of stock use Quicken.
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Old 06-28-2008, 05:18 PM   #22
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I find these comments to be very interesting as I was unaware of any problems with the Gates Foundation.
Note that you are still unaware of any problems with the Gates Foundation. You are only aware of T-Al's and ERD50's problems with the Gates Foundation. You may also have noticed that their two criticisms cancel each other out. Mr. T is worried that Gates will cure too many Africans, thus increasing the demographic problems is Africa. ERD50, on the other hand is worried that Gates is not curing enough Africans because he using his resources inefficiently.

I believe it is certain that when these two gentlemen put their minds and fortunes to the problem, somehow they will solve it in a way that satisfies both of their concerns.

Ha
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Old 06-28-2008, 05:24 PM   #23
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This was pretty funny thread... until T-Al came in

But thanks, T-Al - I didn't want to be the first to post anything negative on this subject. But in all serious, and with no malice intended, I have heard/read from several on-the-ground sources (a Science Friday podcast was one) that the work of the Gates Foundation in Africa is doing more harm than good. I truly believe that Bill & Melinda have nothing but good intentions (even though I do have issues with Bill's business practices), but they really do need to address the concerns.

The main issue is, they are throwing money at the problem by supplying relatively expensive drugs. Sounds good, until the unintended consequences come into play. Workers are jumping on this gravy train, and basic needs, such as clean water, are getting short shrift. And even more people are dying for lack of clean water than before. As I understand it - it is a net negative in terms of human lives. More people could be helped with every $1M spent on clean water (that money goes a long, long way), than can be helped with $1M worth of AIDS treatments. It is sad, but it actually is doing more harm than good.

While one could argue that we should be doing both, you need to prioritize and get the most bang for the buck. Even with billions available, there is some 'robbing from Peter to pay Paul' going on.

Hopefully now, with his full attention on the foundation, he will look at how to make the money do the most good for the most people. I wish him well in this endeavor.

-ERD50
Interesting because what I've read is pretty much exactly the opposite. That BMG foundation is focus on solving long range problems In particular things like a malaria vaccines, and vaccines that don't need refrigeration. It appears that most recent criticism comes from the Lancet, which given it pass history of dubious studies I don't take too seriously.

The outgoing Patti S outgoing CEO of the foundation did agree that clean water is an area the BMG hasn't done much.
Quote:
ake water, for instance. More than a billion people today lack access to clean water. It's a problem linked to many illnesses and is clearly one of the world's greatest needs. The Gates Foundation, despite years of studying the problem, has yet to fund any major water improvement project.
"Water's really tough," Melinda Gates said. It might sound like a simple problem easily solved by digging wells or laying pipe, she said, but getting clean water to the truly neediest people -- many of them living in slums -- is a complex maze involving multiple government agencies, conflicting demands and massive investment.
"We're still trying to figure out if we can make a difference," said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, director of the Global Development Program at the Gates Foundation. Mathews Burwell, who held several top positions in the Clinton administration, said the foundation has learned the hard way it can't simply identify a good cause and jump on it.
Still I am willing to make bet that within 15 years BMG will have saved more 3rd world lives than than UN and the US AID program combined.
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Old 06-28-2008, 06:38 PM   #24
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Note that you are still unaware of any problems with the Gates Foundation. Ha
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Interesting because what I've read is pretty much exactly the opposite. .
Valid points - I'll try to get some credible links after dinner. I'd be happy to find out I'm wrong, but the SciFri podcast seemed to be credible comments from credible sources, was not reeking of sensationalism.

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I believe it is certain that when these two gentlemen put their minds and fortunes to the problem, somehow they will solve it in a way that satisfies both of their concerns.

Ha
If the problem I heard about is real, I hope they (and Melinda!) get it resolved also.

-ERD50
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Old 06-28-2008, 09:21 PM   #25
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OK, got some dinner and found some links. Searching SciFri podcasts is tough, wish they had transcripts.

The Changing Face of AIDS, 25 Years Later : NPR

At 31:00, a caller who was working in the field in Africa relates the problems of AIDS money ( 'too much money' he says ) pulling resources for water & sanitation.

Laurie Garret of the Council for Foreign Relations echos this. What good is giving drugs to someone who has no water, or cholera infected water, or has to walk 20kM for water? She refers to the 'skewing' of resources away from 'unglamorous' issues like cholera, dysentery, and clean water. She says that these efforts may be causing an overall increase in mortality rates.

A long article from her:

Foreign Affairs - The Challenge of Global Health - Laurie Garrett

The Council for Foreign Relations does not sound some like fly-by-night organization, they've been around since 1921, a long list of high profile members, even some Dems on there Even the section on 'controversy' seems to mainly be about concerns that they promote a one-world government.

Council on Foreign Relations - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That podcast is from June 2006, so I was hopeful that the Gates Foundation has made progress in turning this around since then. But this article from the LA Times on the subject from DEC 2007 does not make me feel too warm&fuzzy:

Unintended victims of Gates Foundation generosity - Los Angeles Times


Quote:
* By pouring most contributions into the fight against such high-profile killers as AIDS, Gates grantees have increased the demand for specially trained, higher-paid clinicians, diverting staff from basic care. The resulting staff shortages have abandoned many children of AIDS survivors to more common killers: birth sepsis, diarrhea and asphyxia.

....

Bill and Melinda Gates referred questions to Dr. Tadataka Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation's global health program. Yamada, a leading gastroenterologist and former research director at the drug company GlaxoSmithKline, said African nations themselves must do more to improve public health. They should spend less on weapons and more on doctors before they demand increased assistance, he said.

"We're a catalyzer. What we can't do is fill the gaps in government budgets," Yamada said. "It's not sustainable."
That response sounds like a rather terse 'not my problem'. In a way, that's their right - but since they are being made aware that their current approach may be causing more harm than good, they seem to have an obligation to try to remedy it. That statement from last December does not convey that message to me. the quote that clifp provided seems to say they acknowledge the problem, this one doesn't seem like they're ready to do much about it though.

"Water's really tough," Melinda Gates said.

OK, no one is saying these problems are easy to fix. But you have a lot of resources, and have got a lot of press for good intentions, time to do the tough work, even if it is not glamorous.

I am hopeful that they really want to do the right thing, and will figure out how to do it, and that this foundation is not just vanity window-dressing. If anyone has recent info that shows they are turning this around, please share. I would welcome some good news on the subject.

-ERD50
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Old 06-28-2008, 09:25 PM   #26
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Ah, but the good doctor is right. Fix the governments of Africa, and the other problems become more solvable.
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Old 06-28-2008, 09:33 PM   #27
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Ah, but the good doctor is right. Fix the governments of Africa, and the other problems become more solvable.
No question about it.

But if the infusion of cash in a narrow field (AIDS) is actually making life worse overall - don't you think that the BMG Foundation should make adjustments? They are getting AIDS medicine into these countries with governmental problems, why not concentrate on the 'unglamorous' basic health care needs instead?


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Old 06-28-2008, 09:37 PM   #28
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Works for me...
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Old 06-29-2008, 10:30 AM   #29
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Rereading my post, I see that I wasn't at all clear. When I said: "Bill Gates has caused more anguish and depression than all the terrorists. " I was referring to Windows, and the literally millions of people who have lost data, spent days trying to solve OS problems, etc. It was partly tongue-in-cheek, and meant to be provocative. But I do believe that the world's richest man made his fortune by creating an amazingly poor product.

As to the second point, I'm a strong believer is treating problems and not symptoms. I agree that illness should be addressed in Africa, but without also addressing population issues, perhaps any gains will be overwhelmed. African families average six children, and the population is expected to double in 25 years. This is partly due to lack of availability and ignorance concerning birth control, partly due to the perceived high status value of large families. A little education on family planning (in Africa and in the U.S.) could make a big difference.

I'm in favor of reducing fertility rates everywhere, especially in the U.S.

This is the top population related organization (Formerly ZPG):

Population Connection

and I don't think they are racist.
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