NPR Staff

Here at Goats and Soda, we're trying something new: We want to know what you want us to investigate. The first topic is girls in developing countries.

Earlier this month, we gathered over 100 questions from our readers. We put three of them up for vote. More than 600 people voted, and this question was the winner:

I would like to know more about about microloans, and if they are in fact helping women start businesses in the developing world.

Paternity leave can make a big difference in a dad's long-term engagement with the child, doctors find. Paid family leave also fosters breastfeeding and reduces the incidence of maternal depression.

Last October, Goats and Soda began a series called #15Girls. The stories explored the lives of 15-year-olds who sought to take control and change their fate — despite daunting obstacles.

It's been a year, and we wanted to check back with the girls we profiled and see how their lives have changed. We weren't able to reach them all, but we did find out how five of the teens are faring in 2016.

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Tim Bauerschmidt left home when he was 19. He would call or visit his parents in Michigan occasionally. Decades went by.

After his father died last year, he knew his mother couldn't live by herself. She was 90, and he realized he didn't know her that well.

"I had some stilted conversations," says Bauerschmidt. "She'd be on the other end of the phone when I talked to my dad. I'd have to say, 'Mom, are you there? Are you on the line?' [She would say] 'Oh yeah, I'm here.' "

On a late summer day in 2010, John T. Williams, a Native American woodcarver, was walking across the street carrying his carving knife and a small piece of wood when he was shot and killed by a Seattle police officer.

"He was carving an eagle at the moment," his brother Rick recalls, on a recent visit with StoryCorps. Rick tells his friend Jay Hollingsworth that his brother loved to carve — had been carving even at age 4, when he completed his first totem pole. He says John could walk and carve at the same time, and that was just what he was doing, carrying his knife openly.

In the world of illegal wildlife trade, the most valuable appendage — even more than elephant ivory — is the horn of the rhinoceros. Investigative journalist Bryan Christy estimates that the wholesale market for rhino horn is roughly a quarter of a billion dollars.

It's hard to imagine a less likely Hillary Clinton supporter than Michael Chertoff.

Chertoff led the Republicans' 1990s probe into the Clintons' land deal, known as the Whitewater investigation — and that led to the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Clinton would later vote against Chertoff for other key positions requiring Senate approval.

In a dramatic turnaround, Chertoff just came out in support of Hillary Clinton for president.

Mike Cruse is the father of a new baby. His daughter Olivia was born in July. But like most fathers in the U.S., he doesn't get paid parental leave. That means his wife, Stephanie, will have to take care of the baby mostly herself — an already difficult task that may be even harder for her since she's dealing with postpartum anxiety.

Cruse, who manages the warehouse for a lighting company, had to take vacation days from his job to stay home and help for those first 10 days. Now he has no vacation left for the next calendar year.

The idea behind the company Blue Apron is simple: Each week, it sends customers a box with recipe cards and fresh ingredients to make a handful of meals, each of them in just under 35 minutes.

The company has grown quickly since its founding in 2012: It delivers around 8 million meals per month.

Vice presidential candidates Tim Kaine and Mike Pence debated Tuesday night in their only official matchup of the election season.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, live annotated the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are underlined in yellow, followed by context and fact checks.


A friend of photographer Phillip Toledano once said "He is the most self-absorbed person I've ever met — but he wears it well."

The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano is a new short film in which the photographer, with the assistance of makeup artists, fortune tellers, and psychics, disguises himself as the various fates life might one day hold for him: Ending up a homeless alcoholic, a white-collar criminal cuffed and taken away by police, or a lonely senior, feeding a small dog from his plate — and more.

It's been one year since health officials in Michigan warned people in the city of Flint to stop drinking the tap water after a research team from Virginia Tech discovered elevated lead levels.

To this day, Flint's water is still not safe to drink without a filter. While funding has been scarce to replace corroded pipes, Congress reached a deal this week that could send millions of dollars in aid to Flint.

Ten years ago, a gunman barricaded himself inside a one-room Amish schoolhouse near Lancaster, Pa. Then he opened fire.

Charles "Charlie" Roberts killed five children and injured five others before killing himself.

The Amish community responded in a way that many found surprising: They forgave the shooter. And, in the years since, they have grown close to his family.

"I will never face my Amish neighbors again"

During the presidential debate on Monday night, Hillary Clinton raised a 1973 federal lawsuit brought against Donald Trump and his company for alleged racial discrimination at Trump housing developments in New York.

Carli Lloyd doesn't "do fake."

"I'm loyal, I'm real, I'm not afraid to say what I'm thinking," she tells NPR's David Greene.

In her new memoir, When Nobody Was Watching, Lloyd describes the journey that led her to become one of the world's best soccer players.

Her victories have been hard-fought — Lloyd's training began in the small, working class town of Delran, N.J.

"I used to kick the ball up against the curb for hours upon hours," she recalls. She'd gather all the soccer balls she could find, head over to the field, and work on her shot.

We've all been there — having fun relaxing with friends and family, when someone says something a little racially off. Sometimes it's subtle, like the friend who calls Thai food "exotic." Other times it's more overt, like that in-law who's always going on about "the illegals."

In any case, it can be hard to know how to respond. Even the most level-headed among us have faltered trying to navigate the fraught world of racial awkwardness.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton went head-to-head Monday night in the first presidential debate.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, live annotated the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are underlined in yellow, followed by context and fact check.

As we surf from website to website, we are being tracked — that's not news. What is news, revealed in a recent paper by researchers at Princeton University, is that the tracking is no longer just about the "cookies" that record our tastes. The researchers surveyed a million websites and found that state-of-the-art tracking is a lot more sophisticated, allowing websites to track the fingerprints left by our devices.

Many Americans are familiar with the astronaut heroes of the 20th century space race — names like Gus Grissom and Neil Armstrong. But who did the calculations that would successfully land these men on the moon?

Several of the NASA researchers who made space flight possible were women. Among them were black women who played critical roles in the aeronautics industry even as Jim Crow was alive and well.

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Eimear McBride's new novel, The Lesser Bohemians, is an old story written in a new way: A May-December romance — or perhaps May-August — between 18-year-old Eily, an Irish drama student who comes to London in the 1990s, and a devilish rake of an older man, an actor, of course, named Stephen.

The novel is full of intricate, imaginative wordplay — and sex that can be similarly characterized — crafted by one of the most imaginative young talents in fiction.

Hip-hop artist Amisho Baraka, who performs as Sho Baraka, is one African-American man who feels left out by both major political parties — and he says this will affect his vote come November.

The Amazon series Transparent is about a transgender woman named Maura who for decades was known to her kids as Mort, or Dad. Actor Jeffrey Tambor plays Maura and has just won a second Emmy for his performance. "When those roles come along, you don't run away," he tells NPR's Kelly McEvers. "It's a perfect role, you know? I thought I was gonna do Lear, but I'm gonna do Maura."

The New York Times recently published a story that examined the way that Donald Trump's presidential campaign promoted his tax plan. Trump had offered a big tax break to businesses, and his campaign told a leading business group he supported the tax break. He got their endorsement. Then his campaign told independent budget analysts he was against the same tax break.

The New York Times called this a lie — specifically, "the trillion-dollar lie."

A disturbing feature of this election cycle has been the growth in anti-Semitic hate speech online.

Jewish journalists, in particular, have received insults, slurs and threats over Twitter and other social media.

The Anti-Defamation League announced this week it is hiring a representative in Silicon Valley to work with tech companies to help fight anti-Semitic abuse online.

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