NPR Staff

Tippi Hedren played the beautiful blond woman that Alfred Hitchcock liked to put in peril — as in the famous scene in which she opens the door into a dark attic in The Birds, and is pecked by a flock of the title characters.

Hedren survived the attic. But those birds weren't just stuffed props — and the real menace might have been the film's eminent director.

Whether it's an IUD, a shot, an implant, or a daily pill, birth control is a regular part of many adult women's lives. It has left a lot of women asking: Why not men?

This year's presidential campaign seems to be one of a kind, but it is really part of a bigger picture that stretches beyond the U.S.

Donald Trump's message to anyone who doubts he can win: Look at what happened in the United Kingdom last summer. The vote to leave the EU in June was fueled by some of the same issues that Trump is tapping.

"Believe me. This is Brexit times five. You watch what's going to happen," he said last month.

The Internet can be a dangerous place. Hackers, bots and viruses are prowling the Web trying to turn your machines into zombies.

A couple years ago, artist and illustrator Christoph Niemann felt like he needed to shake things up. "When you do any kind of creative job for a while, you become better ..." he says, "but I think you always become a little bit more predictable."

It was almost too much for Rick Swenson to take.

First, his friend smashed a car by dropping a 1,400-pound pumpkin on it at a charity event — then he had to stand by as that same friend smashed Swenson's personal record by growing another 1,400-pound monster. Swenson, a competitive pumpkin grower from Minnesota, couldn't just let his friend one-up him like this.

The Berlin Wall was a scar — a concrete and barbed wire boundary that divided families, East and West, communism and capitalism, tyranny and democracy. People died trying to climb over it while others labored to carve tunnels beneath it.

Shocked by someone wearing a costume inspired by the Zika virus? Don't be. People have been dressing up as infectious diseases for hundreds of years, way before trick-or-treating became an American Halloween tradition in the 1920s.

Take this quiz to see how much you know about global disease costumes of the past and present:

Updated at 7:58 p.m. ET

Newly discovered emails being examined by the FBI in relation to Hillary Clinton's email server came to light in the course of an unrelated criminal investigation of Anthony Weiner, a source familiar with the matter tells NPR's Carrie Johnson.

Weiner is the estranged husband of close Clinton aide Huma Abedin; he has been under scrutiny for sending illicit text messages to an underage girl. Sources said authorities seized electronic devices in their home, which led them to this new information.

Protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline have been raging for months, but tensions have been escalating. Recently, tribal leaders — led by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II — called on the Department of Justice to look into what they describe as unnecessary use of force by state and local law enforcement.

After a bruising career in the rough and tumble NHL, who could blame a guy for wanting to take it easy? At age 55, Wayne Gretzky is still playing charity games with other old timers, but "I'm getting older and slower," he says with a laugh.

Along the border between the U.S. and Mexico, armed groups on patrol — mostly men — look for illegal immigrants and drug traffickers. They're not U.S. Border Patrol, but regular people who've decided to take matters into their own hands.

They call themselves militias. Groups such as these have been around for decades, but they exploded in number after Barack Obama was elected president. Today, there are 276 militia groups around the country, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Cori Bargmann's new job description includes "to help cure, prevent or manage all diseases by the end of the century." That's quite a lofty goal.

Bargmann is a neuroscientist and president of science for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the joint venture of pediatrician Priscilla Chan and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. The couple pledged $3 billion to solve major medical problems by helping scientists and engineers collaborate long term, over 25, 50, even 80 years.

Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic's new editor, has had a long career as a reporter, covering Israel, Pakistan and Iran, and spending hours interviewing President Obama.

And recently, Goldberg pressed for his magazine to endorse Hillary Clinton for president. He said it was right, even though it's only the third time in its history The Atlantic has endorsed a presidential candidate.

Donald Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again" is an easy one to adapt for whatever your cause. There are ones like "Make America Gay Again," "Make America Skate Again," "Make America Read Again," "Make America Fair Again." You get the idea.

Bakers, of course, had to get in on the action. How could you pass up "Make America Cake Again"?

Make no mistake. Gloria Steinem, noted feminist and author, does not see that a woman elected to the White House automatically means a win for feminists or women.

"This is not all about biology, and I think we have to be careful to always say that, because if Sarah Palin were the president it wouldn't signify change," she tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "If President Obama did not represent the majority views of Americans and of African-Americans, he would not represent change as he does. So it isn't about simple biology. It's about what we represent."

Claims by one side — so far without evidence — that the coming presidential election will somehow be "rigged" are being echoed at campaign rallies and in one new poll of voters.

Donald Trump has questioned the integrity of the election, and there's been talk of the race for the Democratic nomination having been rigged at the expense of candidate Bernie Sanders.

What Best in Show did for dog shows and what A Mighty Wind did for folk music, the new mockumentary Mascots does for, well, mascots. The film, from director Christopher Guest, follows contestants in the World Mascot Association Championship.

At $68,000 per year, George Washington University in Washington D.C. is one of the most expensive schools in the country, and yet some students — most of whom receive financial aid — still don't have enough to eat every week.

The Nobel committee made a bit of a surprising announcement Thursday morning: Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for, according to the Swedish Academy, "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

If you really want to understand a place, writer Colin Dickey has some advice: "Ignore the boastful monuments and landmarks, and go straight to the haunted houses. Look for the darkened graveyards, the derelict hotels, the emptied and decaying old hospitals."

Dickey has spent a lot of time traveling the country searching for places that go bump in the night. The result is a new book called Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places.

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.

Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debated Sunday night in their second official matchup.

It was the first debate since audio surfaced of Trump making vulgar comments about women, causing more than two dozen in GOP leadership to defect from the candidate.

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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.

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