I'm here in Long Beach, CA, at TED2009, a wonderful gathering of people sharing extraordinary ideas. Bill Gates is speaking.
He's applying his awesome brain power and sizable foundation funding to eradicating childhood disease and improving education. He and his foundation are studying malaria. 200 million people are suffering from it, but more money is put into baldness drugs than malaria. Obviously, that's because malaria affects poor people.
He's funny! Releases mosquitoes into auditorium: "No reason poor people are the the only ones who should experience it."
He says half-hearted attempts to remove malaria makes problem worse. We need to totally focus in local areas to eradicate it from area.
Road map to eradicating malaria involves many things — communicators to keep funding high, social scientists to get 90% of people to use bed nets, and scientists, drug companies, and government aid. "As the elements come together I'm quite optimistic we will be able to eradicate malaria."
He's also studying education. He says, if you are low income in the United States, you have a better chance of going to jail than graduating from a four year college.
Now he's talking about economy with TED producer Chris Anderson. "No doubt you've got 3-4 years here that are going to be very tough, we'll get past it." Because of innovation. "I hope aid for poorest doesn't get cut, but now that we have a broader constituency I don't think that's going to happen this time."
Read Bill Gates' annual letter here.