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My Favorite Fanatics of 2016

When I was in my 20s and early 30s, I was fanatical about software. By “fanatical” I mean that I was so focused on my vision of putting a computer on every desk and in every home that I gave up a normal existence. I didn’t take vacations or weekends off. I wasn’t interested in getting married. (Obviously, that changed when I met Melinda!) My colleagues and I at Microsoft took tremendous pride in being the first to arrive at work and the last to leave. It was an incredibly fun chapter of my life.
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Bill Gates: Why Does Hunger Still Exist in Africa?

When I first started traveling to Africa, I would often meet children in the villages I was visiting and try to guess their ages. I was shocked to find out how often I guessed wrong. Kids I thought were 7 or 8 years old based on how tall they were – would tell me that they were actually 12 or 13 years old....
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President Obama: We Have a Moral Obligation to Support Africa’s Progress

Here’s a quick quiz. Which statement describes Africa today? ...
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Water Crisis An Open Letter to the International Community

With a myriad of dramatic crises from Gaza to the Ukraine vying for our attention it is little wonder that certain issues fail to register either in the media or in our list of priorities. Drought and famine by their very nature tend to be incremental and thus invariably lack the impact factor until things are almost too late. The absence of rain and the scarcity of water whilst lacking the immediate drama of all out conflict or a downed passenger airliner are just as deadly. At present whole swathes of the Horn of Africa are in grave peril due to a paucity of rain, not just this year, but for a number of years. Countries that are already politically or economically fragile are now facing a situation that will take them to the very brink of the Abyss. Whilst no one disputes that there are countless calls on precious resources, what is beginning to unfold is a situation that is fast moving towards a disaster, one that directly or indirectly will impact upon us all....
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2.2 billion People are Poor or Near-poor, Warns 2014 Human Development Report on Vulnerability & Resilience

Persistent vulnerability threatens human development, and unless it is systematically tackled by policies and social norms, progress will be neither equitable nor sustainable. This is the core premise of the 2014 Human Development Report, launched here today by Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark and Director of the Human Development Report Office Khalid Malik....
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3 Billionaires Op-ed “Break the Immigration Impasse”

Three of the richest Americans Bill Gates worth $79 Billion, Warren Buffet worth $58 Billion and Sheldon Adelson worth $37 billion recently wrote an op-ed saying, “Signs of a more productive attitude in Washington — which passage of a well-designed immigration bill would provide — might well lift spirits and thereby stimulate the economy. It’s time for 535 of America’s citizens to remember what they owe to the 318 million who employ them.” Will the 100 Senators and 435 House of Representative referenced lift the spirits and stimulate the economy? Will an immigration bill pass or will this be the main issue on the ballot 2014?...
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Sanitation & Water for All

Top international development experts and government finance ministers from nearly 50 developing countries endorsed today a set of commitments designed to speed up access for the 2.5 billlion people lacking improved sanitation and the 748 million people without improved drinking water....
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Why I High-Fived a Colleague in Paris

I don’t generally do a lot of high-fives. But as I climbed into the car after meeting with President Hollande in Paris this week, I held up my hand and slapped palms with one of my fellow passengers....
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The “Wager of the Decade” and Its Unfortunate Legacy

The year 1981 was a big one in my business life. It was the year Paul Allen and I incorporated Microsoft in our home state of Washington. As it turns out, 1981 also had big implications for my current work in health, development, and the environment. Right when Paul and I were pulling all-nighters to get ready for the release of the MS-DOS operating system for the brand new IBM-PC, two rival professors with radically divergent perspectives were sealing a bet that the Chronicle of Higher Education called “the scholarly wager of the decade.”...
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