5 Powerful People You Didn’t Know Were Related to Bill Gates

culture, history

Chances are good that they’re related to you, too, because of how descent works.  Here are five famous folks who share a common cousin in the Microsoft founder and world-renowned philanthropist.

1.  Diana Spencer, more famously known as Princess Diana.  She’s related to Bill Gates through common ancestors Caleb Fobes and Sara Gager, Gates’ Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandparents and Diana’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandparents, making Bill and Diana 7th cousins, twice removed.

2, 3, and 4. George W. Bush.  Gates’ 7th Great Grandparents, Nathaniel House and Hannah Davenport, are also the 7th Great Grandparents of the 43rd President of the United States, making Gates and Bush 8th cousins.  Bush’s siblings, including presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, are also 8th cousins of Gates, and George H.W. Bush, the 41st president, is Gates’ 7th cousin, once removed.

5. Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Gates’ 8th Great Grandparents are also FDR’s 6th Great Grandparents, making Gates and Roosevelt 7th cousins, twice removed.

Bonus Cousins:  Gates is also related to John Kerry and Richard Nixon.  Use this ancestry list and this cousin chart to see how.

William H. Gates III reacts

The Bill Gates You Don’t Know

culture, history, writing

It’s true that you can now play Oregon Trail for free, in DOS, via the Internet Archive.  It’s also true that before there was a Bill Gates who founded Microsoft, there was Swiftwater Bill Gates of the Klondike Gold Rush, no relation.  Microsoft Bill Gates’ grandfather, also named William Gates, was also a prospector active in the same time and place as Swiftwater, which just goes to show that history wants what history wants.  Read the life story of the other famous Bill Gates, written by his mother-in-law, here.  I bet he would have liked one of those waste-to-water machines.

Click here to see how Mr. Gates is related to Princess Di, the Bushes, FDR, and Richard Nixon.

Joan Didion is Betty White

culture, politics, writing

Christopher Cocca

Last week, before I knew she was the new face of Celine (or before I knew what Celine was, to be honest), I shared Joan Didion’s “At the Dam” in the Required Reading feature here.  I was taught this essay, and I teach it.  Not because Joan Didion is uber-fashionable at the moment, but because it’s really good.

Flavorwire’s Elisabeth Donnelly has an interesting piece up today trying to take the pulse of the growing Didion-as-icon trend.  Donnelly quotes Haley Mlotek in what feels like an especially prescient observation:

As she puts it, citing Joan Didion as your idol says that:

…we’re cool, that we’re educated, that if we are not young and white and slender and well-dressed and disaffected and sad and committed to the art of writing as an arduous and soul-sucking process that must be endured yet Instagrammed simultaneously, then we will be, at least, as close as possible to those identifiers even if it kills us.

Fair? True?

We’ve also been doing this with Leonard Cohen.  Citing him as your idol signals different things, but the desire to look back and hold up great talents in their later years is nothing new.  We do it, of course, with Betty White.  We probably would have done it with Bill Cosby soon.  I for one am not sure why we don’t do it with Dick Van Dyke or Marianne Faithful.

Head’s up: New York Magazine, a mere four hours ago, has issued a warning that loving Joan Didion is a trap.

 

This Website Maps Your Literary Tastes and Tendencies

Books, culture, maps, writing

Literature Map says:

What else do readers of [any other famous author] read? The closer two writers are, the more likely someone will like both of them. Click on any name to travel along.

Did it map you right?  Tell us in the comments.

The Most Followed NBA Teams on Twitter by County and More: An Interactive Map I’m in Danger of Spending Days On

business, culture, sports

I don’t follow the NBA as closely as some, but I’m always interested in the narratives surrounding parity, the lottery system, the differences between large and small markets, and so on. I’m a basketball fan, but not an obsessive one.

With that said, I could spend a very long time on the tool Twitter has created below. There’s a lot of information here, but I thought I’d just share this:

The Lakers have over 4 million Twitter followers. The Bucks have under 300,000. Obviously, lots of people follow more than one team, and so this isn’t as scientific as, say, a Facebook metric. But still.

Every team has outposts of support, and I like to speculate about what makes one county in Nebraska more likely to follow the Sixers than the county next to it.

You can get detailed information on every team, and you can compare any two teams.  That’s helpful if you’re interested in social media as an indication of parity or if you want to keep tabs on how well rival teams on doing with social in general.  If these numbers are any indication, major-market teams have an advantage (we already knew that), but the bulk of their follows come from outside their immediate metropolitan areas.  The later is also true for small-market teams.  If the ring were the thing, the Celtics really should have more followers than the Heat, but they have a million less.  I’m guessing Heat fans skew younger and are more savvy with social.  Boston should be treading the same threshold as the Lakers, but they’re not. Again, age and buzz are at work.

https://interactive.twitter.com/nba_followers/#?mode=team&team=all