Still, thanks to the Web, all is not lost. The World Economic Forum itself maintains an excellent site chock-full of the day's proceedings and a wide range of perspectives on the most contentious issues. Choice quote from Day 1: The observation by Tanzania's president that if everyone on Earth lived like suburban Americans, the planet's resources would have already been exhausted.
Besides the conventional media links (including TIME Europe's), a group of skeptical non-governmental organizations locked out of the gab-with-Gates circuit are mounting an a counter conference under the banner Public Eye on Davos in the heart of the town.
But if you're not content to be a passive spectator, you have two alternatives: You could hop a flight down to Brazil's Porto Alegre for the rival World Social Forum, a gathering of globalization's discontents featuring the likes of French farmer Jose Bove, best known for his renovation-by-tractor of a French McDonald's outlet to protest imports of U.S. beef. The guys at Davos go skiing between sessions; the Porto Alegre crowd prefer something a little more active on their first night, 1,000 activists occupied a local Monsanto laboratory to protest genetically modified food.
Of course the power players gathered at Davos aren't exactly paying attention to the proceedings at Porto Alegre. So if you want to make your voice heard on the ski slopes of power, your best bet may be hellomrpresident.com, an independent Swiss media project that will project your e-mail message of no more than 160 characters onto a ski slope that looms over the town, meaning Messrs. Gates and Soros couldn't possibly miss it. Use the language of your choice, just don't cuss or advertise. Cute quote of Day 1: "Don't produce, reduce."