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Gates has new toilets, bug zappers and even nuclear reactors in the works

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates showed a bit of emotion when discussing his last meeting with former Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a recent interview, and even demonstrated some of his latest technologies that aim to save lives. 

Journalist Charlie Rose interviewed Gates on CBS' 60 Minutes this week, where Gates opened up about his relationship with Jobs -- who died from complications with pancreatic cancer in October 2011 -- and showed off technologies that he hopes will aid his philanthropic work. 

When Rose asked Gates about Jobs, Gates showed a rare, emotional reaction to the topic. He described a meeting with Jobs right before he died, where the two talked about issues like electronic devices helping education and even about a boat Jobs was building just for fun. 

Gates' eyes welled up slightly when talking about their lives as both friends and rivals. 

"He and I, in a sense, grew up together," said Gates. "We were within a year of the same age, and we were kind of naively optimistic and built big companies. And every fantasy we had about creating products and learning new things-- we achieved all of it. And most of it as rivals. But we always retained a certain respect and communication, including even when he was sick."

While helping to run Microsoft and competing with Apple is a large part of Gates' life, it's not his whole life. 

Gates is currently chairman of Microsoft. He stepped down as CEO in 2000 (handing off the title to Steve Ballmer) and quit day-to-day duties as the company's chief software architect in 2006. 

Now, Gates focuses on his philanthropy. Through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he aims to help what he calls the "bottom two billion" -- which is a third of the world's population (mainly in developing countries) who live on less than $2 a day. 

Gates wants to help these areas and the rest of the world by eradicating polio by 2018, tuberculosis in about six to seven years and malaria in about 20 years. He also wants to improve nutrition and agriculture. How? Through new technologies he's creating, of course.

One of these inventions is a thermos that can keep vaccines cool in developing countries, where electricity is hard to come by. Gates turned to Seattle-based company Intellectual Ventures (where he is an investor and inventor) to create the thermos, which can keep vaccines cold for 50 days on a single batch of ice. It can hold vaccines for about 200 children. 

Gates also set out to address another problem: two and half billion people in the world do not have satisfactory toilets, meaning that fecal matter and urine is often in water and right out on the streets. This leads to the spread of disease. 

Gates sought to fix this by launching a contest last year which asked participants to create a toilet without plumbing, but safely got rid of waste. There were 20 contestants with a variety of ideas ranging from burning to use of lasers. One of the winners that is being made into a prototype processes the waste inside the toilet and recycles the water throughout the system. 

In March of this year, Gates launched another interesting contest: create a condom men will actually want to use. This would help prevent the spread of HIV.

As far as malaria goes, Gates has worked on a bug zapper that uses a laser to shoot and kill malaria-infected mosquitoes. 

Finally, Gates showed off a new nuclear reactor that would burn depleted uranium, which could prove to be cleaner, safer and cheaper than traditional reactors. It has a fuel supply of 60 years, meaning it doesn't have to be opened up and refueled often. He hopes to have a prototype by 2022.

Source: CBS News

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RE: Yup
By kleinma on 5/13/2013 1:07:34 PM , Rating: 5
Key there is "has become". I am a microsoft guy and have more respect for gates than jobs, but lets be honest here. The guy was a ruthless business man who didn't care about stepping on other companies on his way to bring his company to the top. In that way, he was a lot like jobs. I also have heard stories from MS alum about gates being nearly as nasty to employees as jobs was when he thought they weren't doing a good enough job.

The difference is at some point gates decided to change his focus, and it has been for the greater good. Jobs never made that shift, and even if he had stayed healthy, i don't think he ever would have.

Gates has much less of an ego. At least external ego.

RE: Yup
By ppardee on 5/13/2013 1:44:14 PM , Rating: 2
But even in his ruthlessness, Gates improved the world to an unimaginable degree. The business practices of MS forced a unification of operating systems. There may have been better operating systems out there, but it didn't matter if no one knew how to use them.

I know I can sit down at any computer and there is a 97% chance that it will have Windows. Without Gates' and MS's 'forceful' licensing practices, that would have happened eventually, but it could have delayed PC development 5 or 10 years, but you'd probably still have some OS2 hold-outs and Linux/Unix would likely have a larger market share.

RE: Yup
By lelias2k on 5/13/2013 2:55:20 PM , Rating: 3
IMHO that has much more to do with market maturation leading to the choice of a preferred OS than Gates' being ruthless, but that's very debatable for sure.

RE: Yup
By BRB29 on 5/13/2013 3:38:12 PM , Rating: 2
You mean tablets and smartphones are not apple innovations but no one before Jobs has implemented it in a slick and useful package. Not only that, it was excellent and created a mass market demand for it. It took years until the competitor catch up.
You can say a big reason why there's a push for higher res is because apple forced it. Steve Jobs pushed quality for hardware and software package to a new level. He did not innovate or invent any of it though.

RE: Yup
By KoolAidMan1 on 5/14/2013 3:01:21 AM , Rating: 2
Debateable for sure. Windows dominance might have been inevitable, but Microsoft's coercion and fining of OEMs over Windows licenses definitely helped.

Bundling IE in the Windows was never a big deal to me, but what they did in the 90s by threatening OEMs if they carried other operating systems or sold hardware without an operating system was brutal.

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs

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