OK, so it wasn't a menace. In reality, Mr. Gates was giving a talk on malaria prevention at the TED2009 conference when he released the vampiric insects into the audience.
His follow-up explanation that, "...not just poor people should experience this..." drips with a certain tastelessness, similar to the Davos Refugee Run, of trying to make wealthy donors understand the plight of us meager plebians.
Again, my thought here is that these stunts do not go far enough. Doing anything less than going the whole nine yards seems a little pointless. Besides, it's not the mosquitos Bill, we've got those in abundance in Florida. It's the malaria that is the problem.
Next time, maybe bring a jar of that instead.
In linguist George Lakoff's 'Don't Think of an Elephant' he talks about and describes how one can change the direction of a debate or argument, not by adjusting the topic or points one is trying to make, but by reframing the debate itself to change the way people look at it. This affectively remolds their opinion and viewpoint without any changes having to be made to the policy, rules or topic of debate.
This is what seems to be going on here with PreserveRaptorJobs.com, a site and online petition dedicated to preserving manufacture of the $340 million stealth jet as a form of economic stimulus and an effort to keep people employed.
Military spending is a large topic of debate these days and those on both sides have their case for how much and where those dollars should go. However, I find this very interesting because it flips that debate on its end. No mention is made of whether the U.S. needs to or will need more of these jets in the future. Instead, it's framed as a way to keep people employed, period.
Now I'm all for jobs and the recovery of the economy but, would it benefit us in the long run to manufacture something that we no longer need? I'm not saying we don't need these jets now, but the hope for the future would be that the U.S. needs less weapons because the world becomes a better place (idealistic I know but bear with me here).
Does this create a slippery slope toward funding obsolete programs merely because it keeps people employed? Will I ever get to a point here?
Not sure, but it's something to think about.
Hat tip: Wired: Danger Room