From Bill Gates, A Toilet Challenge Spills Forth

16 Aug

Warning: this article isn’t about autism. It isn’t about that all too common side topic of vaccines either. Not directly, at least. This article is about Bill Gates. And toilets.

Bill Gates is attacked regularly online by a small but vocal segment of the autism parent community. Why? Because he has put a large part of his fortune towards vaccines. Vaccine research and bringing vaccines to the developing world.

One common complaint is that he is misspending his money. That the developing world needs clean water, better hygene, and good food. It’s a false dichotomy; an either/or argument that makes a division where none exists. Why not both clean water and vaccines, for instance.

Well, Mr. Gates is putting another chunk of his money where his mouth is. What’s a major source of water contamination? Human feces. Why? No good toilets.

From NPR’s From Bill Gates, A Toilet Challenge Spills Forth:, August 15, 2012 · SEATTLE (AP) — These aren’t your typical loos. One uses microwave energy to transform human waste into electricity. Another captures urine and uses it for flushing. And still another turns excrement into charcoal.

They are part of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation competition to reinvent the toilet for the 2.5 billion people around the world who don’t have access to modern sanitation.

This is what divides the Gates Foundation from false "vaccine safety" advocates. Well, this and billions of dollars. I haver never read someone write, "instead of vaccines we should focus on clean water that’s why I donate money to organization X which is bringing clean water to the developing world“. I’ve emphasized the part that is missing. Perhaps someone will be kind enough to point me to the “vaccine safety org” that is putting a major effort into an alternative preservative to thimerosal or improving cold chain access so that clinics in the third world don’t need preserved vaccines. I’ve seen some passing reference to an existing alternative preservative, but rarely and without real support for the idea.

I’ll be watching to see how this is twisted into an attack on Mr. Gates. His vaccine work has been twisted into a claim that he’s attempting genocide.

By Matt Carey

2 Responses to “From Bill Gates, A Toilet Challenge Spills Forth”

  1. Lawrence August 16, 2012 at 10:42 #

    @Sullivan – I found it quite shocking that people could be so idiotic to take Gate’s quote and twist it into some kind of “eugenics / genocide” categorization, especially in light of the quote in context (just read the rest of what he said).

    When infant mortality rates are high, people have more children – when you are sure your kids will live, you have fewer, duh people, this isn’t rocket science.

  2. futuredave5 August 16, 2012 at 11:55 #

    Although I don’t send my financial support to the same priorities as the Gates Foundation, I agree with their vision. Their emphasis on women’s and children’s health care are based on the common-sense economics of saving lives: You pick the low-hanging fruit.

    In low-income countries, nearly a third of all deaths are children under 14 years old.

    The Gates Foundation “Vaccine Innovation” award recently went to Dr. Asm Hossain, an immunization officer in Bangladesh. Through the ordinary process of improving child health and vaccines in low-income areas, Bangladesh has reduced the childhood mortality rate by more than 60%.

    Regardless of how anyone feels about vaccines, the statistics are that for most people throughout the world, vaccines save lives.

    Instead of spending his money on partisan political debates, Gates has chosen to invest in programs designed to change the world for the better.

    Some other time, in some other place, I will ask for more data about why and when certain vaccines were given to my son, but that is really a small issue compared to what Gates is doing. My questions are technical matters of timing and planning, while Gates is trying to implement a vision of a better world.

    If Gates even makes a 1% improvement in sanitation through his foundation’s toilet initiative, the effects will be profound.

    Even if he does not, it is his money.

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