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Bill Gates Answers Questions From Redditors 154

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First time accepted submitter rroman writes "Bill Gates is answering questions on reddit. He talks about the work that is being done by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, about his life and about his opinions on various topics." Jump right to the answers.
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Bill Gates Answers Questions From Redditors

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  • Looking forward (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DeathFromSomewhere (940915) on Monday February 11, 2013 @08:55PM (#42867221)
    Looking forward to watching the usual mental gymnastics from you guys trying to make him out to be evil or something. Bonus points for not reading a word he says.
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:02PM (#42867279)

    Not as much as I would like to. I write some C, C# and some Basic. I am surprised new languages have not made more progress in simplifying programming. It would be great if most high school kids were exposed to programming...

    Does Gates not know about Python? Python IMO is a whole lot easier to learn than BASIC ever was and you can do a lot more with it. And Python is much easier than C/C#/C++ to learn and is much, much, much cleaner than Java.

    Slap on a few libraries and you can do just about anything in Python in less lines of code. AND you can actually read it when you're done :)

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:13PM (#42867353)

    Well, at least he actually knows how to program. Take a look at the CEOs of HP, IBM, Oracle, Dell, SAP, Cisco, . . . etc.

    Most of them probably can't even manage to program themselves out of a paper bag.

    Now, what programming languages does Steve Ballmer know . . . ?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @02:13AM (#42868779)

    Bill Gates supports circumcision as a way to fight HIV. That really is not an effective way to fight HIV, since many Americans are circumcised and still get HIV. Also, many European men are not circumcised and they don't get HIV as frequently as Americans. Using a condom is really the most effective way to protect yourself from HIV, and if you're going to use a condom, then there's no need to get circumcised.

    Not to mention the fact that babies aren't even capable of having sex, so there's no need to circumcise a baby. When he's an adult, let him decide for himself whether he wants to permanently remove a body part that offers sexual benefits. And in 15-20 years there may be a REAL cure for HIV.

    Saying that we should circumcise babies to protect them from HIV makes as much sense as saying we should give mastectomies to all young women to protect them from breast cancer.

  • Re:Looking forward (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @02:43AM (#42868879)

    If you are young and briliant you have a choice, help the world or help yourself and become filthy rich

    False dilemma. Profit seeking capitalists have done far more good for the world than philanthropists.

  • Re:Looking forward (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @03:22AM (#42869011)

    Profit seeking capitalists have also caused wide-spread social devestation, supported genocides, engaged in corruption and dismembered the middle-class through eroding union support with massive PR campaigns for the past 50 years.

    Standards of living were increasing in slave societies. You may feel that this legitimizes the keeping of slaves. I do not.

    You are wrong and, in my opinion, show clear psychopathic tendencies when you do this type of devil's arithmetic.

  • by mrxak (727974) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @04:24AM (#42869175)

    Everyone in my class learned Logo in 3rd grade. In middle school they taught everyone HTML. In high school we were using Scheme in several math classes.

    I also learned C++ and Java in high school, though admittedly that was not everyone, and it was AP level classwork.

    I think the earlier you teach kids computer languages, the better, and the quicker they'll pick it up. I don't think OOP is something terribly scary. After all, objects is kind of what people have to deal with every day in the real world. You explain it as nouns and verbs, and it's not that hard to understand.

  • Saying that we should circumcise babies to protect them from HIV makes as much sense as saying we should give mastectomies to all young women to protect them from breast cancer.

    This is EXACTLY what I say to people who support sexual mutilations of babies. They usually mumble something about not being the same and quickly change the subject. I don't have mod points but this needs a '+5 insightful'.

  • Re:Looking forward (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PerMolestiasEruditio (1118269) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @10:17AM (#42870749)

    Historically large differences in relative wealth (gini coefficients) are strongly correlelated with the breakdown of society and revolutions etc. The US is already pretty high in OECD terms, and has pretty appalling stats in access to health care incarceration rates, crime, educational outcomes for poor kids etc that tend to go along with having a high gini coefficient. You have a huge and growing pool of americans who have little to no real hope of being able to get their kids into even the middle class.

    The Trust Fund Kids of the Walton family (Walmart) have a net worth equal to the poorest 90 million US Americans. (That absolutely staggers me). []
    Now assume for a moment that they have little or no interest, aptitude, or industriousness in using that capital in an efficient manner to grow further enterprises (ie improve the country) but simply want to live as emperors - I don't know if that is actually true, but in some cases it may be. Such colossally rich individuals who have not created that wealth themselves but have simply chosen their parents carefully are in effect a useless nouveau aristocracy.

    That equity would be far better in the hands of hard working people further down the chain who could use it to start businesses, improve infrastructure, develop technology, educate their kids etc, but given the size of their money pile and the relatively small birth rates of today, there is a strong possiblity that their dynasty could maintain or even with minimal effort grow their total holdings as a proportion of GDP over the coming decades/centuries.

    I have no problem with entrepreneurs getting rich, but that wealth needs to be returned to the rest society within a couple of generations if you want to have a dynamic society based upon egality, fraternity and liberty (that is what the French revolution was all about) and not a world of gated communities and violent ghettos. How you go about constructing a society that achieves that is left as an exercise for the reader, but massive inheritance taxes (above some level) seem like a pretty useful component.

  • Re:Looking forward (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Glothar (53068) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @10:59AM (#42871235)

    ...and he still pushes Microsoft products, even when he's being "charitable".

    He wants to help other countries, but that help often includes Microsoft products, even when there are cheaper alternatives that meet all the requirements. He says he wants to help schools, but that help often comes with the expectation to buy Microsoft products in exclusion of other solutions. He wants to help scientific research, but you're less likely to get that help if you're labs are currently based on Apple or Linux systems.

    Is he evil? No. Is he doing this all in the the Greater Good? No. He's a benevolent door-to-door Windows salesman. I like some of the things he does (fighting idiotic vaccine people), strongly dislike some of the things he does (improving schools so they can better address the plight of the rich, white children), and find the rest to largely look like a rich guy throwing his money around at causes he likes. I'm not saying that it should be outlawed. I'm just saying that in the end, he's still no saint. Carnegie did it right. Gates.... is no Carnegie.

  • Re:Looking forward (Score:3, Insightful)

    by T.E.D. (34228) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @12:33PM (#42872333)

    False dilemma. Profit seeking capitalists have done far more good for the world than philanthropists

    Precisely. Ask yourself, who has contributed more to making the world a better place: Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr., or Bill Gates and Sam Walton?

    (honestly curious how this gets modded)

I took a fish head to the movies and I didn't have to pay. -- Fish Heads, Saturday Night Live, 1977.