Archive for the ‘International’ Category

Ask me Anything with Bill Gates

October 15, 2013 1 comment

President Barack Obama blew up Reddit when he hosted an “Ask me anything” (AMA) on the social forum (AMA’s are a popular feature on the site). Monday afternoon (EST) into Tuesday morning Bill Gates was killing it on the website as well, but maybe with a little more laughter associated with his responses and the comments back to them.

The “I’m Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, AMA” — which we all know should read “I’m Bill Gates, richest American alive, AMA” — has some rather light-hearted questions, among serious ones, and equally hilarious comments to the responses from the inventor/business tycoon/philanthropist/second richest man in the whole world.

The top question – What is something that needs to be changed in the world, but money wont help? — received this response from Gates:

It would be nice if all governments were as rational as the Nordic governments – reaching compromise and providing services broadly. The Economist had a nice special section on this last week. Africa governments have often been weak but you can’t write a check to change that. Fortunately the average quality is going up. Mo Ibrahim tracks this in a great way. (

Interesting comments based on this response:

Ponoru: Saying something positive about Scandinavia on reddit ensures upvotes. Dr_fish: I think just being Bill Gates ensures upvotes.

Another typical questions with a Gates-ish answer: What do you do for fun? I find it hard to fathom how someone like you can just disconnect. Disconnect from the emails, calls ,the media. All of it. What would be your definition of a chill and fun day?

“I love playing tennis. I am an avid bridge player (a card game if you have not heard of it – it was more popular in the past!). I like to tour interesting things with my kids like power plants, garbage dumps, the Large Hadron Collider, Antarctica, missile Silos (Arizona),… I read a lot and watch courses (online or the Learning Company).”

Interesting comments based on this response:

Plaguarist: Casually tours the LHC. The jealousy is strong. cgillett: Most people travel to Antarctica. Bill Gates tours it. skiingbeing: ”I love bridge and garbage dumps”. You, my good man, are the wealthiest old hobo I’ve ever seen. geoken: Remember how we went to the LHC last month,well today we’re going to a garbage dump MsBananaHammock: As a child whose parents brought me to the landfill on a regular basis, I can honestly say I loved garbage dump day. I_WILL_REPLY: Garbage dump day is a very dangerous day. guy_from_sweden: “Dad, I’m booored” ”Get in the car kids, we’re going to Antarctica today!”

Although perhaps an expected question — Anything left on your bucket list? — it received a more unexpected answer. “Don’t die…”Here are just a few more of the
more light-hearted questions that give us some insight into Gates’ mindset: Q: Since becoming wealthy, what’s the cheapest thing that gives you the most pleasure? Gates: “Kids. Cheap cheeseburgers. Open Course Ware courses…” Q: Where are you acquiring these cheap kids from? Gates: The stork. Q: What type of computer are you using right now? Gates: “I am using a Perceptive Pixel display right now – huge Windows 8 touch whiteboard. These will come down in price over time and be pervasive…” Basically, this is how Gates responds to people on Twitter.

Q: Is Weezer still your favorite band? Gates: “Weezer…. Actually U2 is a favorite.. I keep waiting for Spinal Tap to go back on tour…” Q: “What do people give you for your birthday, given that you can buy anything you want?” Gates: “Free software. Just kidding. Books actually.” Q: Can you still jump over chairs? Gates: “Less than I used to. It was part of exercise for snow skiing. I still ski but I am not as hard core…” Here’s Gates jumping over a chair in the 1990s for Connie Chung:

Q: Do you guys really use Bing? I mean seriously… Gates: “Seriously Bing is the better product at this point. Try the challenge. I am biased but the work to make Bing better has been amazing.” Q: How did you feel about your portrayal in “Pirates of Silicon Valley”? Gates: “That portrayal was reasonably accurate….”

From the

Categories: General, International

President Obama Meets Mandela Family

June 29, 2013 Leave a comment

By Jeff Mason and Mark Felsenthal
JOHANNESBURG | Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:15am EDT
(Reuters) – President Barack Obama met the family of South Africa’s ailing anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela on Saturday and he praised the critically ill, retired statesman as one of history’s greatest figures.

The faltering health of Mandela, 94, a figure admired globally as a symbol of struggle against injustice and racism, is dominating Obama’s two-day visit to South Africa.

But Obama also faced protests by South Africans against U.S. foreign policy, especially American drone strikes.

Police fired stun grenades on Saturday to disperse several hundred protesters who had gathered outside the Soweto campus of the University of Johannesburg, where Obama was due to address a town hall meetingwith students.

Obama, in South Africa on the second leg of a three-nation Africa tour, met Mandela relatives to deliver a message of support instead of directly visiting the former president at the hospital where he has spent the last three weeks.

The meeting took place at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg.

Obama told reporters afterwards he also spoke by telephone with Mandela’s wife Graca Machel, who remained by her husband’s side in the hospital in Pretoria.

“I expressed my hope that Madiba draws peace and comfort from the time that he is spending with loved ones, and also expressed my heartfelt support for the entire family as they work through this difficult time,” he said, using the clan name Madiba by which Mandela is affectionately known.

Obama earlier had talks with South African President Jacob Zuma and the two held a joint news conference in which Zuma said Mandela remained in a “critical but stable condition”.

Obama’s visit to South Africa had stirred intense speculation that the first African-American president of the United States would look in on the first black president of South Africa in his hospital room.

But Mandela’s deterioration in the last week to a critical condition forced the White House to rule out the possibility of Obama and his wife seeing the frail ex-statesman.

Speaking to reporters at Pretoria’s Union Buildings, where Mandela was inaugurated as president in 1994, Obama said the prayers of millions around the world were with the Nobel Peace laureate, who lay just one km (mile) away in hospital.

Adding to his previous praise of Mandela, Obama likened him to first U.S. president George Washington because of the decision of both to step down at the peak of their power.

“What an incredible lesson that is,” Obama said, calling Mandela “one of the greatest people in history”.

Obama had said on Thursday he did not “need a photo op” with Mandela, whom he met in 2005 in Washington when he was a U.S. senator.


After holding talks with Obama, Zuma said Mandela’s critical condition was unchanged. “We hope that very soon he will be out of hospital,” he added, without giving further details.

In welcoming Obama, Zuma underscored the historical similarities between Mandela and his U.S. guest in overcoming decades of institutionalized racism and discrimination to rise to the highest political office.

“The two of you are also bound by history as the first black presidents of your respective countries,” Zuma said. “You both carry the dreams of the millions of people in Africa and the diaspora.”

On Sunday, Obama flies to Cape Town from which he will visit Robben Island, the windswept former penal colony in the frigid waters of the south Atlantic where Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in apartheid jails.

Zuma said Mandela had told him before his latest hospitalization that “when I go to sleep I will be very happy because I left South Africa going forward”.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Mark Felsenthal, and Dylan Martinez and Jon Herskovitz in Soweto; Writing by Ed Cropley; Editing by Pascal Fletcher)

Categories: International
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