(Photo by Brenton Geach / Gallo Images / Getty Images)

This week, we’re sharing stories from Mark Arax, David Grann, Stephanie Nolen, Eleanor Cummins, and David Marchese.

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1. A Kingdom from Dust

Mark Arax | The California Sunday Magazine | February 1, 2018 | 79 minutes (19,858 words)

Stewart Resnick is the world’s largest irrigated farmer. He lives in Beverly Hills and has never driven a tractor. His California empire of fruit, almonds, and pistachios helped turn the state’s nut boom into a national controversy, thanks in part to his wife Lynda Resnick’s ingenious branding of their crops as healthy snacks. Despite the catastrophic five-year drought and a lack of state and federal irrigation water, the Resnick’s acres in Kern County continued to thrive. So how were they able to outsmart Mother Nature? And what was the true cost to California?

2. The White Darkness

David Grann | The New Yorker | February 12, 2018 | 85 minutes (21,418 words)

David Grann tells the story of Henry Worsley, a British military man and “apostle” of polar adventurer Ernest Shackleton. Worsley earned fame by retracing Shackleton’s failed expedition to reach the South Pole. He, along with two teammates reached their destination on January 9th, 2009. A case study in the art of story pacing, this piece is a testament to the triumphs and perils of human ambition and endurance.

3. The Road

Stephanie Nolen | The Globe and Mail | January 26, 2018 | 41 minutes (10,491 words)

Brazil’s massive Amazon rainforest basin is the world’s last terrestrial frontier. Like all frontiers, it’s getting developed for profit and nation-building at the expense of first nations and the native ecosystem. Unlike other frontiers, it’s happening as the world struggles to address climate change. In this epic, in-depth story, Stephanie Nolen travels 1,200 miles on a single road, BR-163, to examine whether Brazil can use the Amazon to build itself into a first-world economy while protecting enough forest to honor its global ecological responsibility.

4. No One Told Babe Ruth He Had Cancer, But His Death Changed the Way We Fight It

Eleanor Cummins | Popular Science | February 6, 2018 | 11 minutes (2,786 words)

How the legendary baseball player’s cancer treatment in the 1940s helped pave the way for how we treat cancer today.

5. In Conversation: Quincy Jones

David Marchese | Vulture | February 7, 2018 | 19 minutes (4,975 words)

Living legend Quincy Jones tells it all and knows it all: how many songs Michael Jackson stole, which Beatles couldn’t actually play, everyone Marlon Brando slept with, who killed Kennedy, what happens when we die, and the moment God walks out of a room. David Marchese follows up on each fantastic digression in an interview with the world’s most virtuosic octogenarian.