Bill and Melinda Gates share nine things that surprised them; read here

Bill and Melinda Gates on Tuesday shared nine things that have surprised them in nearly two decades of work in global health and development.

Sharing their 2019 Annual Letter, ‘Things We Didn’t See Coming’  the Microsoft founder and his wife say they share surprises that both worry and inspire them, and observe that surprises are often powerful calls to action.

“Twenty-five years ago, we read an article that said hundreds of thousands of kids in poor countries were dying from diarrhea. We believe in a world where innovation is for everyone—where no child dies from a disease it’s possible to prevent. But what we saw was a world still shaped by inequity,” write Bill and Melinda Gates. “That discovery was one of the most important steps in our journey to philanthropy.”

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Surprises in this year’s letter address topics including the importance of investing in Africa’s growing population of young people, sources of greenhouse gas emissions that don’t get enough attention, the reasons data can be sexist, and the nationalist case for globalism.

Surprise one: Africa is the youngest continent

Surprise 2: At-home DNA tests can find serial killers—and could also help prevent premature birth.

Surprise 3: We will build an entire New York City every month for 40 years! The world’s building stock will double by 2060.

Surprise 4: Data can be sexist.

Surprise 5: You can learn a lot about processing your anger from teenage boys

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Surprise 6: There’s a nationalist case for globalism

Surprise 7: When was the modern flush toilet patented? Nearly eight years ago

The next generation of toilets. The toilets of the future are self-contained. They’re essentially tiny treatment plants capable of killing pathogens and rendering waste safe on their ow

Surprise 8: Textbooks are becoming obsolete. Software is finally changing how students learn.

Surprise 9:Mobile phones are most powerful in the hands of the poorest women. Mobile phones give women the power to build an entire new life

To read the letter in its entirety, visit


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