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gatesharvard212Getting involved with dead-tree publishing seems to be the thing to do if you’re a tech billionaire from Seattle.

While Bill Gates didn’t out-and-out buy Wired like Jeff Bezos did with the Washington Post, he did grab a guest spot as the editor for the magazine’s December issue. He saw it as an opportunity to expand an ongoing conversation he has been having about how technology can be used to help solve major problems in developing nation worldwide.

“The WIRED audience was a great group to continue that dialogue,” Gates wrote in a blog post about the process of becoming the magazine’s editor for a month. “They’ve already got a bias toward technology and innovation. Could I convince them to channel some of that capacity for the poor?”

In addition to an essay by Gates himself about the billionaire’s plan to save the world (and what others can do to pitch in), the issue features a star-studded cast, including an interview with Gates and former President Bill Clinton, who is now working at the Clinton Foundation to work on problems similar to those that are being tackled by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The issue includes Gates’s holiday wish list, which, while a bit non-standard, is exactly what you would expect from someone in his line of work. The Microsoft co-founder picked out four top world problems, and had four companies each prototype a solution. It’s an interesting take on the usual gift guide.

juicebox_cover_1One of the solutions comes from Seattle’s Artefact Group, which created the Juice Box (pictured at right) — a device that can take input from any source of electricity, like a windmill or a micro-dam, and use it to charge a battery that people can then power a number of key devices, including an LED lantern that is included with the unit.

Artefact is currently looking for partners to develop the technology, according to the company’s blog post about the Juice Box.

Wired’s December issue hit newsstands Nov. 19, and the magazine is posting articles from its print edition online on an ongoing basis.

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