Former Microsoft head Bill Gates occasionally pops up on Reddit using an account appropriately named "thisisbillgates." He has used the account to participate in ask-me-anything question-and-answer sessions. He has also used it to join in on Reddit-based gift exchanges. Today, he uploaded a link to a photo with the message "On my recent trip to Indonesia, I got to feed the world's deadliest animal. Here's a picture."
When you put "Bill Gates" and "world's deadliest animal" into the same context, you absolutely must click through to see what's up. The image was shared without much context, but it shows Gates holding his bare forearm over the opening of a box containing mosquitoes, hence the reference to "the world's deadliest animal." Two people stand nearby, laughing at the tech bigwig. Gates himself seems unfazed by the experience.
Gates made a recent trip to Indonesia to pledge $40 million to the Indonesia Health Fund to combat a range of diseases, from polio to malaria. A recent entry on Gates' blog, Gates Notes, talks about the experience of giving his blood to the hungry insects. The request came during a visit to Gadjah Mada University, where researchers are working on ways to control dengue, a potentially deadly mosquito-born virus.
The researchers are raising special mosquitoes that are released into the wild to interbreed with dengue-carrying mosquitoes in the hope that the resulting offspring will carry a bacterium that blocks the transmission of dengue.
This is where Gates' blood comes in. Those lab-raised mosquitoes have to be fed by human volunteers. "Within just a few minutes my arm swelled up with dozen of bites. It was a small price to pay for an amazing project that has the potential to turn the tide against a terrible disease," Gates wrote in his blog post.
Though the image ties in with the philanthropic work of the Gates' foundation, it could also be used to soothe frustrated Microsoft users. Download it or print it out and keep it at the ready. Blue screen of death? Don't stress. Just look at this picture of mosquitoes eating Bill Gates. Still using Windows XP and frustrated with that Internet Explorer security flaw? Chill out. It's okay. Here's Bill Gates about to be madly itchy. Don't you feel better now?