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Our Most Popular Stories Of 2014: Ebola ... And Bed Rails?

Back in July, NPR launched a new blog. It had a funny name, but a clear objective: To tell memorable stories about people who don't get much attention, who may face big problems, from health to poverty, but who still thrive.

So which of the stories on Goats and Soda has been most memorable? Only time will decide that.

But today, we can take a look back and see which topics on the blog were the most popular, at least in terms of traffic, over the past six months.

Ebola: Health officials reported the first cases of Ebola in West Africa back in March. But interest in the topic exploded in August, when the American doctor Kent Brantly was flown to the states for treatment.

In the end, five of our top 10 stories for 2014 were about the virus, including how you catch it, how it kills you and how to stop it.

The No. 1 story on the blog for the year told how the Firestone company has kept Ebola out of its rubber plantation and the surrounding community in Liberia.

Other popular stories on the topic included one about a 3-year-old survivor who proposed to his nurse and one that asked whether the epidemic could drive up chocolate prices.

Viruses and microbes: Ebola wasn't the only disease that caught readers' attention.

The No. 3 post of the year was about HIV and why women are more likely than men to get infected during heterosexual sex. Readers also clicked away on a primer on how to stay healthy during air travel and a story about a new virus that quietly hides out in millions of people's guts.

New technologies: From copper bedrails that stop hospital infections to pencil shavings that clean water, stories about new tools for the developing world were also big traffic winners.

Next year, we would love to have more posts about innovations and technologies brewing in the developing world. Pass along your ideas!

Women's health: This is a central theme in global health. And several important issues, like genital cutting and drug addiction, resonated with readers.

And last but not least: Two of my favorite posts also made the top 20.

The first is arguably the cutest video on death that you'll ever see.

And the second celebrates a lifestyle that doesn't get much attention or credit — living in a village. If you've had enough of Facebook, Instagram — or even blogs — drop that screen and head to village!

What were your favorite Goats and Soda stories this year? What do you want to read about in 2015? We would love to hear from you in the comments or by email.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

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