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9 great reads from CNET: Amazon lockers, Russia's internet, movie magic and more

The strange case of Amazon lockers that show up in unexpected places. The troubling saga of the fight for internet freedom in Russia. The clever AI software that makes movie battles super-realistic. All that and much more.

Chances are, you've had an Amazon package delivered to your doorstep at some point -- probably lots of Amazon packages. Sometimes, though, that's not ideal. You might be worried about porch pirates. Maybe you're away from home a lot and don't want boxes sitting out in the elements. For you, there are Amazon lockers.

But those lockers, convenient as they might be, have made unexpected appearances in the most unlikely locations. CNET's Laura Hautala looks at some of the unintended consequences, the pushback from communities and businesses, and the broader issue of Amazon's image problems.

Her story is among the many in-depth features and thought-provoking commentaries that appeared on CNET this week. So here you go. These are the stories you don't want to miss:   

Amazon lockers are popping up in odd places. They aren't always welcome

The company has installed lockers in places like a park's path and an obscured side of a gas station, blocking walkers and tempting criminals.

Amazon locker
Getty Images

Inside the fight for internet freedom in Russia

The Kremlin has been cracking down on internet freedoms over the past decade. Activists are fighting back.

Illustration showing a hand with puppet strings to control internet signals.
Collin Buenerkemper/CNET

How Lord of the Rings changed big-screen battles forever

For the past 20 years, Massive software has spawned armies of artificially intelligent crowds, from Lord of the Rings to Avengers: Endgame. 

Masses of combatants in Lord of the Rings

As college football kicks off, avoid putting your favorite team in your password

Being true to your school could cost you.

Florida Gator mascots at a football game
Getty Images

Why people don't want the COVID-19 vaccine: Hesitancy vs. resistance  

Throw away whatever image you have of someone who doesn't want the shot. That group is much more diverse than you think.

Hypodermic and question mark

Coronavirus 'doomsday variant' headlines are wrong -- and dangerous  

Commentary: A variant alleged to be "worse than delta" has received a lot of media attention, but experts say it's far too early to be concerned. 

People sit in chairs at an observation area following their vaccination at a site at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa.

Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself from the coronavirus, including variants like delta. 


Yik Yak, a toxic social network that shut down four years ago, is somehow back

Commentary: Social media is a hot mess and Yik Yak is back, but it should've stayed gone.

Screenshot reading "Yik Yak is back"
Screenshot by CNET

Is Ted Lasso Season 2 actually bad or are we missing the point?

Commentary: People awaiting "inevitable" backlash for the wholesome Apple TV Plus show are missing the point.  

Ted Lasso with a teacup

How the pandemic and gardening startups fed our homegrown cravings

Hydroponic gardens are the latest high-tech hobby, but do they have staying power? 

Plants growing in hydroponic containers
Bridget Carey / CNET