Welcome to The Verge: Weekender edition. Each week, we'll bring you important articles from the previous weeks' original reports, features, and reviews on The Verge. Think of it as a collection of a few of our favorite pieces from the week gone by, which you may have missed, or which you might want to read again.

  • Feature

    Who am I? Data and DNA answer one of life’s big questions

    DNA testing has allowed us to learn about several generations of ancestors without doing much more than spitting into a vial, and new technologies are enabling a surge of young hobbyists are able to explore two eternal questions: who am I, and where did I come from?

  • Report

    Bitter pill: life-saving HIV drugs fuel crime and addiction in South Africa

    A mixture of heroin, marijuana, and antiretroviral medications make up the South African street drug “whoonga.” But the prolonged effects of smoking whoonga — stomach ulcers and internal bleeding, for starters — may not be the worst aspect of it. Creating whoonga means taking medications from those who need it, and some researchers suspect that the drug could hurt users’ response to important HIV treatments in the long run.

  • Interview

    The illusion of simplicity: photographer Peter Belanger on shooting for Apple

    Making Apple’s products look simple in ads isn’t as easy as you’d think and the images actually aren't renders. The photographer behind some of Apple’s most iconic images spoke with us about how he came to work with the company and what it takes to make a product look so good.

  • Review

    Fitbit Flex review

    Is there really room beside the Jawbone Up for a bland plastic strap like the Flex? Absolutely. Flex is great at collecting fitness information — but at the end of the day, what can you do with all of it.

  • Report

    Everything, Zen: can you be a monk and a tycoon too?

    As Jeremy Riney’s startup, Project Playlist, was being sued toward its collapse, Riney decided to leave Silicon Valley for an Ohio monastery. The entrepreneur has headed back to the startup world after 18 months of living as a monk, and he’s wondering if it’s possible to find balance in business and religion.

  • Feature

    Body Message: GI Joe and the invention of the viral video

    Eric Fensler’s re-edited GI Joe cartoons went viral in a time before YouTube and Twitter. Now a decade later, we chatted with Fensler and took a look back at how a meme is born and what becomes of its maker.

  • Report

    Burn notice: NASA discovers that fireproof materials ignite in space

    Accidental fires have been a continued safety concern aboard the International Space Station. Now as commercial flights aim to leave the earth, it’s become increasingly important to figure out how just how fire works in low gravity environments.