Future

Expert Voices

In potential boon to urban poor, Gates Foundation recommits to toilet tech

Microsoft founder Bill Gates (R) talks next to a container (L) with human feces during the 'reinvented toilet expo' in Beijing on November 6, 2018.
Bill Gates talks next to a container of human feces during the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing on Nov. 6. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images

At the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing on Nov. 6, Bill Gates committed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to scaling up its investments in new toilet technologies. Eight companies based in India, China, the U.S. and Thailand, which had previously received grants from the foundation, displayed their pathogen-killing toilets and small-scale waste treatment plants that can disinfect fecal sludge.

Why it matters: 4.5 billion people don’t have access to safely managed toilets or still defecate in the open. Lack of safe sanitation leads to diarrhea (a leading cause of death among children under 5), infections such as schistosomiasis and trachoma, and vector-borne diseases such as West Nile virus. There's widespread consensus that greater support from donors such as the foundation and international banks is critical to extending basic sanitation services, especially to the world’s poorest.

Alibaba's Singles Day tops Amazon's Prime Day in under 10 minutes

Alibaba's Singles Day festival
A preview of Alibaba's Single's Day Festival. Photo: Visual China Group/Getty Images

Singles Day sales for Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba smashed Amazon's Prime Day sales in less than 10 minutes, Business Insider reports.

By the numbers: The company logged $6.5 billion in sales in its opening 20 minutes. Amazon's Prime Day sales are estimated to have eclipsed $4.2 billion over a 36 hour period.

More stories loading.