Buffet and Gates News Conference

It's great to see CNN and FOX covering this story live at the press conference though unfortunate that commentators are more interested in the cash and personalities than what this means to global health.

37 Billion to Charity  = Thirty Seven Thousand … Million dollar donations.  This appears to be history's greatest act of philanthropy. CNN suggests this is true even if you look at Carnagie and Rockerfeller's huge giving and adjust for inflation. Also important is that those early foundations did not focus on third world problems where the money can be far more effective.

Buffett and the Gates' may prove to be the most powerful global welfare partnerships in history as Buffett, with his remarkable ability to evaluate companies, joins the Gates on the board. For the many who see corporate America as a threat to the welfare of humanity this should also be a wake up call. Gates and Buffett are redistributing wealth from the richest to the poorest far more effectively than any Government progressive tax scheme could ever dream to do, and they are applying their substantial abilities to solving the world's most significant problems.

I'd suggest that Governments and taxation plans tend to redistribute from wealthy and moderatly weathly to the middle and lower middle classes – ie it shifts wealth a few notches down, rather than the far more desirable type of redistribution which moves money from the richest to the poorest as this type of philanthropy tends to do.

Melinda Gates explains that the gift is "unprecedented" and that the new funding will allow the foundation to expand their priority list of diseases so they can fight more than just the "big three diseases" Malaria, Tuberculosis, and HIV / AIDS.

Buffett said he's always expected his billions to go to charity but originally thought it would be his wife who would distribute his wealth after he died. However his wife died first, and his friendship with and respect for Bill and Melinda Gates has inspired him to start giving away his money during his lifetime, feeling that they, and a few other foundations his money will support, have created great mechanisms for distributing his wealth where it will do huge social good.

Bravo Warren Buffett, Bravo!

USA Travel from the eyes of Wikipedians

Wikipedia is great.  I use it a lot to research items of interest or newsiness and find it to be a super way to quickly introduce myself to complex topics like Global Warming, wars, etc.

I just stumbled on the "USA" article for the first time and find it really interesting how Wiki (currently) is carving up the country into travel regions.   I'm still deciding if I think this is a reasonable approach to explaining the USA travel scene.   I think I'm inclined to think these regions may be far too large to convey, for example, the huge difference between New York and DC or San Diego and No. California. 

New England — Home to gabled churches, rustic antiques, and steeped in American history, New England offers rocky beaches, spectacular seafood, rugged mountains, frequent winter snows, and historic cities. These states are small, so you could visit all of them reasonably within a week.

The Mid-Atlantic — Ranging from New York in the north to Washington DC, the Mid-Atlantic is densely populated and home to a number of the nation's largest cities, but also rolling mountains and traditional seaside resorts like Long Island and the Jersey Shore.

The South — With its own culture and traditions, the slow-going, friendly South is celebrated for its down-home cookin' and its blues, jazz, rock 'n' roll, and country music traditions. This lush, largely subtropical region ranges from the verdant (and refreshingly cool) mountains to stately agricultural plantations to vast cypress swamps.

Florida — Northern Florida is similar to the rest of the South, but head further south into the megaresorts of Orlando, retirement communities, and tropical Latin Miami. Don't forget to visit the Everglades, although you certainly wouldn't want to live there.

Texas — The second biggest state in the nation, it's like a whole other country (and in fact, once was). Terrain ranges from Southern swamplands to the cattle-ranching South Plains to the Mountains and desert of west Texas. And, it's even got its own distinctive cuisine.

The Midwest — More diverse than its reputation would suggest, the Midwest is home to rolling farmland, large forests, and picturesque towns as well as many bustling industrial cities. Many of these states border the Great Lakes, the largest system of freshwater lakes in the world, forming the North Coast of the U.S.

The Great Plains — Travel westward through these seemingly flat states, from the edge of the eastern forests through the praries and onto the High Plains, an enormous expanse of steppes (shortgrass prairies) as desolate as it was in the frontier heyday.

The Rocky Mountains — The spectacular snow-covered Rockies offer outdoor pursuits such as hiking, rafting, and skiing on some of the greatest snow on Earth. There are also other significant mountain ranges, deserts, and a couple of large cities.

The Southwest — Heavily influenced by Hispanic culture, the arid Southwest is home to some of the nation's most spectacular natural attractions, and a flourishing artistic culture. Although mostly empty, the region's deserts have some of the nation's largest cities.

California — California offers world-class cities, incredible vistas, national parks, mountains, deserts, rain forests, snow (and great skiing), and a famous beach lifestyle.

The Pacific Northwest — The pleasantly cool Pacific Northwest offers outdoor pursuits as well as cosmopolitan cities. The terrain ranges from spectacular rain forests to scenic mountains and volcanoes to sage-covered steppes and interior deserts.

Alaska — One fifth as large as the rest of the United States, Alaska reaches well into the Arctic, and features expansive mountainous wilderness.

Hawaii — A volcanic archipelago in the tropical Pacific, 2,300 miles from California (the nearest state), laid-back Hawaii has long been a vacation paradise.