Close-up of an ampoule that contains a medium for stem cell storage at the UK Stem Cell Bank, north London, England, May 19, 2004. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

This week, we’re sharing stories from Caroline Chen, Keri Bertino, Ann Friedman, Allison Williams, and Brian Payton.

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1. The Birth-Tissue Profiteers

Caroline Chen | ProPublica / The New Yorker | May 7, 2019 | 27 minutes (6,854 words)

Stem cell purveyors suggest that they “ease” every aging-related malady from arthritis and erectile dysfunction to wrinkles and everything in between. What don’t these stem cell snake-oil salespeople have? Any science to prove these claims or any scruples about preying on the vulnerable at tens of thousands of dollars per injection.

2. Pull Over, I’m Having a Baby

Keri Bertino | Topic | May 6, 2019 | 19 minutes (4,800 words)

“A few hours later, after giving birth in the car’s back seat, there was paperwork to do. In my bed at New York Methodist, my daughter’s buttery newborn skin against my chest, I tabbed through papers in a blue folder embossed with the hospital’s logo: birth certificate and social security forms, lactation support resources, a brochure asking, helpfully, “Can Your Baby Hear You?”

One line on an insurance printout caught my eye. PLACE OF BIRTH: EXTRAMURAL.”

3. The Magic of Estate Sales

Ann Friedman | Curbed | May 1, 2019 | 11 minutes (2,800 words)

“To walk through an estate sale and finger the wares—as I’ve been doing regularly since I was a teenager—is to commune with the departed. If you’re paying attention, you can put together a story about who they were.”

4. Where on Earth Is Sam Sayers?

Allison Williams | Seattle Met | April 23, 2019 | 20 minutes (5,235 words)

After summiting Washington state’s Vesper Peak on a day hike in August 2018, Sam Sayers disappeared. At Seattle Met, Allison Williams reports on the conspiracy and true-crime enthusiasts, the social media frenzy, and the desperate search for a woman who hasn’t been seen since.

5. The Trees That Sail to Sea

Brian Payton | Hakai Magazine | Feb 6, 2018 | 14 minutes (3,500 words)

You may see a piece of driftwood at the beach or on the shore and wonder about its journey from land to water, and back to land again. Driftwood is not only beautiful. It’s a critical piece of the marine ecosystem that offers vital sanctuary to breeding insects and invertebrates on shore and in the sea, who in turn feed species all the way up the marine food chain.