Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin played eight seasons in Seattle and won a Super Bowl championship. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota) Plenty of professional athletes fancy themselves as tech geeks in some fashion or another, whether they’re into gadgets or video games or they like launching startups and Twitter tirades. Doug Baldwin is the type of thoughtful, nerdy and genuinely interesting guy that made him — just like he was as a receiver for the Seattle Seahawks — a go-to guy for GeekWire. With the that Baldwin’s playing career with team had come to an end, it was hard not to remember how many times we tossed it to No. 89 ourselves. We sought his perspective on everything from how technology was changing the game he loved to how important it was to give back and serve the greater good of the community. Check out some of Baldwin’s GeekWire highlight reel below: Gamer geek Doug Baldwin plays “Madden” at the Museum of Pop Culture in 2017. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota) GeekWire founder John Cook caught up with Baldwin during the first-ever Madden 17 Championship Tournament in March 2017, an event hosted by the Seahawks at Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture. Baldwin discussed his love for video games, his Madden rating, virtual reality, and more. “Games for myself and for a lot of the guys in the locker room, it’s an escape,” Baldwin said. “We spend so much time, so much effort, so much mental space on the game that we love, video games gives us that mental space to kind of check out for a little bit.” Instinct over data At the at what was then Safeco Field, Baldwin joined former Olympic swimmer Ariana Kukors for a discussion about technology and what impact it had on their careers. For all the advances in data collection and augmented and virtual reality being used to try to enhance player performance, Baldwin said he still leaned on the gut instincts that got him to the level he achieved. He said no amount of data or virtual reality or anything else will change the fact that he has to make the decisions on the football field. “Maybe it’ll help me in terms of repetition, but when I’m on the field, I’m not thinking about that,” Baldwin said. “It has to be second nature.” Life after football Last fall when GeekWire traveled down to Renton, Wash., for a weeklong project, we set up shop not far from where the Seahawks have their practice facility. Baldwin was the obvious choice to join us for an , not just because he’d been a friend to the site in previous years, but because he’d shown his commitment to Renton, too. Baldwin’s efforts to help the City of Renton build a new community center showcased how much he appreciated his own upbringing, and how it taught him to serve those around him for the greater good. “When people ask me, ‘Why do you want to do this?,’ well, I’m a part of something,” Baldwin told GeekWire’s Todd Bishop and Taylor Soper. “I’m a part of the human collective and I want to be a part of it that’s going in a progressive manner and doing things in a positive way. That’s why I do it.” While his Seahawks career may be over, we here at GeekWire know we’re not alone in Seattle and across the Pacific Northwest in hoping that Baldwin continues to feel that way about a region he has had such a positive impact on. He wasn’t shy about saying, after he was done playing, that he wanted to get away from his football persona and take on new challenges and opportunities, and find a platform, for social justice reform or something else. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota) The Seahawks said Thursday that Baldwin was one of the Seahawks’ best players on the field, but that his “legacy in Seattle, however, will be much bigger than the passes he caught or the games he helped the team win.” “There’s this parable, it’s called the parable of talents. Some of you may know it,” Baldwin said on the GeekWire Podcast. “I think that I’ve been blessed with a number of talents, and I don’t want those to go to waste. I don’t want to bury them and not risk them to create more.” GeekWire and Seattle are ready to see what Baldwin creates next.
Via Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is never short of courtside enthusiasm while watching his LA Clippers compete, as we documented on . But on Monday night, he took it to another level, as he witnessed a bit of NBA history as his team overcame the largest deficit ever in the playoffs with a 135-131 victory over the Golden State Warriors. The Clippers trailed by 31 points before mounting a comeback to stun the defending NBA champs at home in game two of the opening round series. Ballmer has owned the team since 2014 and they failed to even make the playoffs last year. It wasn’t looking like they’d be around long this year after a 121-104 loss on Saturday. But the founder of has got to be geeking out over the stats this morning: The Clippers’ comeback win was UNBELIEVABLE
Anopheles mosquitoes are carriers for the malaria parasite. (CDC Photo / James Gathany) It’s at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a time to focus on the global campaign to eradicate malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases. And if delving into the nuts and bolts of developing an effective malaria vaccine doesn’t grab you, how about adding a “Star Trek” angle? That’s exactly what Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is doing in . When I was younger, I loved science fiction. The author I read the most was Robert Heinlein (“The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress” was a favorite). — Bill Gates (@BillGates) As a teenager, I remember watching an episode of the original Star Trek where the bad guy is a shapeshifter who turns himself into a second Captain Kirk. — Bill Gates (@BillGates) There’s an epic scene at the end where Spock has to figure out which one is the impostor. — Bill Gates (@BillGates) Shapeshifters are not just the stuff of science fiction, though. We have them right here on earth. — Bill Gates (@BillGates) To kick off , I wrote about the world’s deadliest shapeshifter (and what scientists are learning about how to beat it). — Bill Gates (@BillGates) How did Gates go from science fiction to epidemiological fact? Even Mr. Spock would find the logical progression fascinating. The malaria virus is transmitted by a tiny parasite that mosquitoes carry from host to host as they go about their bloodsucking ways. It’d be nice to have a vaccine that can train your immune system to recognize the parasite and fight it off before the virus takes hold of its victim. Unfortunately, the parasite has developed its own defense against that strategy. Gates noted that the parasite is designed to shuffle up to 60 different proteins to present a new molecular “shape” to your immune system every few days. That throws off the mechanism that makes it possible for the immune system to recognize and attack an invader. This is why it’s so hard to come up with an effective vaccine. Gates compared the challenge to a scene from a “Star Trek” episode titled in which Spock has to decide which of two identical-looking Captain Kirks is actually a deranged shapeshifter. Spock could just stand by and wait for the right moment while the two Kirks duked it out, but Gates said it’s tougher to fight real-life shapeshifters: “You might think we could create a vaccine that simply recognizes all the different shapes of the parasite. Unfortunately, that’s not practical. The only vaccine we have ever done that with is for a type of pneumonia. It is very expensive to manufacture and covers only a dozen shapes or so, versus the 60 shapes in one malaria infection and the many hundreds across all malaria parasites worldwide. “The malaria community (including our foundation) has been working for years on a vaccine to protect you in stage 1, before the infection takes hold. This vaccine, called RTS,S, teaches your immune system to hunt for a bit of protein that is always on the surface of the parasite. Unfortunately, the protection provided by RTS,S is not strong enough for long enough to help us make real headway toward eradication. And there are other forms of protection (such as bednets and insecticides) that are more cost-effective for saving lives.” So is it futile to look for a vaccine that’s effective enough and inexpensive enough to shut down the shapeshifters? Gates said advances in biotech are keeping hope alive: “For example, scientists are working on new approaches that we hope will trigger the immune system to create long-lived, antibody-generating cells. Another promising idea is to create synthetic antibodies rather than trying to get your immune system to make natural ones. These have revolutionized the treatment of cancer and inflammatory disease, and they could do the same for infectious diseases like malaria.” Gates said investments in bednets and other non-vaccine strategies for prevention and treatment have already reduced malaria deaths by 42 percent since 2000. His foundation also backs research into . “When I see how far we have come and how much we have learned, I am as optimistic as ever that we can beat this clever shapeshifter,” Gates wrote. Check out the Gates Foundation’s website to get an , and keep an eye on Gates Notes for, including a of from past years.