11 more billionaires agree to give money away – read their pledge letters

From The Wall Street Journal:

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have persuaded 11 more of their billionaire peers to promise to give away half of their wealth, including tech luminaries Gordon Moore (co-founder Intel) and Reed Hastings (co-founder Netflix).

The new 11 will join the Giving Pledge, a campaign Gates and Buffett launched in 2010 to try to kick-start a new era of American philanthropy.

From The Giving Pledge website:

The Giving Pledge is an effort to invite the wealthiest individuals and families in America to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations.

Each person who chooses to pledge will make this statement publicly, along with a letter explaining their decision to pledge.

 

Read the pledge letters of the existing 81 members (pdf) and the new 11 (pdf). Among the names on the list: George Lucas, Ted Turner, Diane Von Furstenberg, Elon Musk, Steve Case, Dustin Moskovitz, Michael Milken, and Michael Bloomberg.

More from the organization:

At an annual event, those who take the pledge will come together to share ideas and learn from each other.

 

The first annual meeting was held in Tucson, AZ, on Cinco de Mayo – May 5, 2011, and the second was held in Santa Barbara on May 9, 2012.

 

A timeline of the pledges:

The Millennium Development Goals – wiping out disease, famine, and poverty on Earth

By Bill Gates

People sometimes say that the United Nations doesn’t do enough to solve the big problems of the world. I’ve never really agreed with that point of view, but if anyone is looking for evidence of the UN’s impact, a good place to start is the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

They were agreed to in 2000 by all 193 UN member countries and 23 international organizations. Creating that kind of consensus is—by itself—a significant achievement.

The great thing about the MDGs is that they provide clear targets and indicators of progress in key areas, including:

  • Ending poverty and hunger
  • Universal education
  • Gender equality
  • Child and maternal health
  • Combatting HIV/AIDS
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Global development

Although a number of countries won’t be able to achieve all of the goals by the target date of 2015, the MDGs have been helpful in getting everyone to really think about their part, the progress they’re making, and what they can learn from others. The goals have focused political attention in developing countries, encouraged UN groups to work together, and inspired wealthy and fast-growing donor countries to coordinate their efforts.

In February, the World Bank announced that the MDG goal of cutting extreme poverty by half had been achieved five years early. A week later, UNICEF and the World Health Organization announced that the goal of halving the number of people without access to safer drinking water was also reached five years early.
Source: The Gates Notes – A Report Card on Helping the World’s Poor

 

 

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ARPA-E – a new federal agency created to fund research of promising, but unproven, energy technologies

ARPA-E: A Good Beginning for U.S. Energy Innovation

By Bill Gates

Clean energy and innovation are two areas that I’m passionate about, so I’ve been looking forward to investigating some interesting new energy technologies at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit this week.

ARPA-E is a new federal agency—the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy—created in 2009 to fund research of promising, but unproven, energy technologies. It was modeled after DARPA—the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—which was established in the late 1950s to accelerate development of U.S. satellite technology to keep pace with the Soviet Union. Research at DARPA led to a number of fantastic breakthroughs, including GPS technology and the Internet.

The idea behind ARPA-E is to help the U.S. fast-track development of innovative energy technologies that wouldn’t typically be funded by traditional energy companies. If just a fraction of the projects are successful, they could reduce greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change, help the U.S. decrease its dependence on foreign oil, , and keep the U.S. competitive in advanced energy technologies.

I’ve been quite impressed with the people running ARPA-E. In less than three years, they have evaluated hundreds of proposals and made $521 million in grants to support 180 projects.

Keep reading – Bill Gates from The Gates Notes

 

 

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Apple has staged a massive comeback, stopping Android…for now

In the past three months, Nielsen says, Apple has grabbed a 43% share of the smartphones sold in the U.S.

Android’s share has increased versus a year ago–it still leads the market with 48%–but Android’s share gains appear to have stalled.

Apple’s gains are the result of a few key factors, all of which demonstrate that Apple learned a searing lesson from its failure in the 1990s PC market:

  • In the U.S., Apple has finally broadened distribution of the iPhone to Verizon and Sprint, instead of just selling through AT&T.
  • Apple introduced a “low-price” version of the iPhone.
  • Broadened its distribution channels to major retailers like Walmart, Amazon, and Best Buy.
  • Dominating the global tablet market.

via Business Insider

 

Thx to Nicholas Carson

An election year Democrat promise – 1 million more graduates in science, math, and engineering

President Barack Obama proposed $80 million in new government funding for a program to boost science and math education in U.S. schools.

The aim of the new proposed funding is to train 100,000 specialized teachers, who would help to “meet an ambitious goal, which is 1 million more American graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math over the next 10 years.”

In addition, philanthropic organizations and private companies have committed to providing $22 million to help train new math and science teachers.

Organizations involved in the effort include the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Google, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Freeport-McMoRan and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.

via Reuters

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The college dropout bubble

Did you know that every year $4 billion is lost due to college dropouts?

The number comes from lost income and compounds every year with new dropouts adding to the roll call. It’s an interesting statistic that highlights a problem in education.

One that I call the college dropout bubble, but unlike most bubbles this works backwards. It’s a negative bubble:

Positive bubble – trade in which products are at inflated values.

Negative bubble – trade in which products are at deflated values.

I propose that a college education in this country has a deflated value. To the vast majority of Americans it just isn’t worth it. We can get 87% of our multi-lingual/racial/cultural people to get a high school education but, when it comes to college degrees we are at 39%.

There are more college dropouts (17%) than high school dropouts (13%)!!

That is a definitely a negative bubble and is probably impossible to explain. One could say it’s due to the skyrocketing costs of college, or just blame the cool kids for shunning school.

I do have a few topics that really annoy me and one happy-positive solution.

There are a ridiculous amount of students picking “catch-all” majors like business, history, and health. The vast majority of which are only doing so to check the box, “got a college degree…now I should go figure out what I want to do.”

Another issue is the “point the finger” problem in education. Where everyone blames everyone else for our losing ways. Even the movie Waiting For Superman spreads it around liberally. Of course, we usually skip over the parents as if they play a role in getting a kid into and through college.

Then there is billionaire investor Peter Thiel offering $100,000 for students under the age of 20 to dropout. His rationale being that the cost of college is in a bubble (a positive one). An interesting argument until you realize that he is talking about exclusive Ivy-League and other private schools that cost $50,000 a year. As if they haven’t ever been over-priced…

For the record the average tuition at public schools is $7,600 and at private schools is $38,700.

This by no means covers all the issues and I bet my readers have many of their own.

For a solution I think we should go old-school. Pick up something that has been lost in our reverence for money and unhappiness, a hobby.

It’s easy to explain, ironically, by looking at America’s two most successful dropouts: Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Both have a hidden truth. Before they achieved instant wealth they were nerds in high school. I know very revealing, but it’s true and they spent an absurd amount of time playing with computers.

What’s the difference between us and them. Well, when high school hit we all dropped our hobbies for chasing girls/boys and lots of drinking. Few of us were successful with the opposite sex, though, we like to think we did better than Bill and Mark.

I hope that one day our youth (aka my future children), are able to drink less and tinker more. Pick up some nerdy, DIY hobby and run with it. Like the other day I saw a fellow on the beach testing out a remote control surfer robot, future billionaire…

It comes down to..

spending your weekends at a comic convention

Or..

spending weekends working on the Jager

Photos by

bubble – HKD

comics – Kevin Dooley

jager – GadgetBubba