Last century, the invention of the outhouse helped to eliminate hookworm and other parasites in the United States. Now new research shows that the lowly latrine could be a powerful tool in controlling these diseases, which remain widespread among the world's poorest people.

Yesterday Bill Gates released his annual letter, highlighting the philanthropic work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Organization and announcing his expectations for continued improvements in global health, agricultural research and U.S. education in the next year. Throughout the letter, Gates reiterated that innovation was the key to achieving their goals of improving the lives of people around the world.