Bill Gates released—no, make that tweeted—his second annual letter from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation earlier today. [That's right. Bill Gates, starting his second year of life post-Microsoft, now has an account on Twitter. Finally. It's @BillGates, he opened it on January 19th, and as of today—after 19 tweets—he's already got 343,218 followers. His Twitter bio: "Sharing cool things I'm learning through my foundation work and other interests..."]
* Gates cited the San Francisco startup, Academic Earth, as among new education sites that will "revolutionize education" by offering students personalized learning experiences. Academic Earth, called by TechCrunch a "sort of Hulu for education videos," provides a user-friendly platform for educational video that offers courses and lectures from Yale, MIT, Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Princeton and others. Gates says his foundation will be investing in online courses that are able to provide interactive applications for children; he says he's also working to ensure that all libraries have computers with Internet access.
* Endorsed President Obama's push to double foreign aid giving, to make sure "the United States will get up into a very respectable range" of giving compared with other wealthy nations. He admonished Italy, specifically, for lowering its foreign-aid budget, saying that in June, he met personally with Prime Minister Berlusconi to make the case for more support, "but I was unsuccessful," Gates wrote. "This is a huge disappointment since I still think the Italian public wants to be as generous as people in other countries."
* Praised the new documentary film about education now airing at Sundance called Waiting for Superman, the story of a several kids trying to get into schools with high-quality teaching. [For more on Gates and his trip to Sundance to support the film, see Bill Gates: Party Animal, in the New York Times blogs today.]