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LOS ANGELES (CAP) - Bill Gates was apparently just getting started when he released live mosquitoes during his talk at the Technology, Entertainment and Design conference in Long Beach, Calif. last week. Last night, the Microsoft co-founder released a swarm of killer bees at a $2,000-a-plate charity dinner in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles.
The move sent dozens of members of the Hollywood elite scrambling for cover as they screamed in horror, and wound up putting several of them in the hospital with minor injuries.
"Well, that wasn't supposed to happen," said a perplexed Gates afterwards.
Apparently when the container was opened, the bees were supposed to remain trapped behind an invisible piece of Plexiglas. However, due to a manufacturing glitch, the glass pane also opened, setting the bees free.
The container was designed by the same team that engineered the Windows Vista operating system, according to Gates.
"By pretending to release the bees, I was hoping to draw attention to the hardships faced by people in developing countries that we never think about," said Gates. "Although I guess the sight of Nicolas Cage squealing and swatting away bees with a cocktail napkin arguably had the same affect."
Also sent scampering by the swarm were singer Jessica Simpson, director Steven Spielberg and actress Angelina Jolie, who received a sting to her face that caused serious swelling.
"Her lips practically overtook her whole face," said Marlene Watkins, a spokesperson for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "Even more so than usual, I mean."
Gates had already come under fire by some for having released the mosquitoes at the TED conference, in an effort to drive home the importance of investing in malaria prevention. But a poll of conference attendees found that most actually appreciated the stunt, particularly when compared to the Microsoft commercials featuring Jerry Seinfeld.
"At least you can swat mosquitoes," said one respondent.
In Hollywood, those involved in the bee brouhaha seemed mostly understanding. "This was a moving display," said Tom Hanks, talking to press after suffering several stings that made his head swell up "like that volleyball from Cast Away," according to the celebrity gossip blog PerezHilton.com.
"After all, when you come right down to it, who will speak for the bees? Who?" asked Hanks. Then he sobbed for a full three minutes.
Meanwhile, at a meeting of shareholders in Seattle, Apple Inc. COO Tim Cook released a container of iPod shuffles held aloft by little butterfly wings, which floated gingerly into the attendees' shirt pockets, garnering thunderous applause.
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