TED Conference Opens in Long Beach, as Bill Gates Releases Mosquitoes

By Alesandra Dubin February 5, 2009, 5:16 PM EST

The high-level, think-tank-style TED Conference (the name stands for technology, entertainment, design) kicked off Tuesday in Long Beach, California—the conference's new home, after more than two decades in Monterey, California.

Adding a level of drama to yesterday's events, Bill Gates opened a jar of mosquitoes on stage to draw attention to the malaria epidemic. “Not only poor people should experience this,” Gates told the assembled group, according to news reports online, before reassuring the crowd that those particular insects did not carry the disease. Reports of the incident varied: Facebook's Dave Morin first reported an unspecified number on Twitter, some bloggers characterized it as a “swarm,” and other outlets reported seeing only a handful of bugs.

The conference runs through February 7 and is also being simulcast in Palm Springs, California.

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