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9 great reads from CNET this week: COVID protests, algorithms, swimming pools and more

We look at pandemic pushback, algorithms setting the rhythms of our daily lives, an Airbnb-style business for swimming pools and much more.

The pandemic isn't over, not by a long shot. Infections, hospitalizations and deaths have been on the rise in the US as the delta variant of the coronavirus runs rampant. Those being hit hardest are the unvaccinated, and only about half the total population in the US is fully vaccinated. That's forcing a reckoning across the federal government, the tech industry and elsewhere.

Yet opposition to the COVID-19 vaccines and restrictions remains strong in many areas, both in the US and around the world. There have been mass protests in recent days from Paris to Sydney. This prompted CNET's Daniel Van Boom to try to come to terms with what's motivating the disaffected and what that means for all of us. "Like the coronavirus itself," he writes, "the distrust that fuels these protests infects the entire world."

Van Boom's commentary is among the many in-depth features and other thought-provoking pieces that appeared on CNET this week. So here you go. These are the stories you don't want to miss:  

COVID protests and the dangers of the disinformation age

Commentary: COVID denialism and anti-vaxxers can no longer be ignored. 

Anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination protesters march in Sydney on July 24.
Don Arnold/Getty

What I learned surrendering my life to algorithms

CNET's Jesse Orrall outsourced several of his daily decisions to algorithms for a week to better understand the lines of code that are playing a greater role in guiding all our lives.

Dressed in hoodie like a hacker
CNET

Swimply lets you swim in a stranger's pool. It's less weird than you think

Your visit may or may not include a giant unicorn floatie.  

Swimming pool with a unicorn floatie
Swimply

The case for the Xbox Series S: Why Microsoft's entry-level console is worth your money  

Commentary: Paired with a GamePass subscription, it's the easiest way to jump into next-gen gaming.  

xbox-series-x-s-console-hoyle-studio-promo-8
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

'Weird' fossil from 890 million years ago could be evidence of earliest animal life

If confirmed, the finding would push back our earliest evidence of animal life by about 350 million years.   

Mediterranean sponges
Getty

Outer Banks season 2 review: This North Carolinian can't get enough

It's corny, ridiculous and at times downright exhausting. But CNET's Mary King couldn't stop watching.

Scene from Netflix's Outer Banks
Netflix

Hollywood has a diversity problem, so Starz chose to make its name on inclusion

Premium network Starz decided to overrepresent women and people of color at its network, and it found a secret to success.  

starz-power
Starz

What HIPAA does and doesn't protect against when it comes to vaccine questions

Many people are confused when it comes to the rules surrounding HIPAA. We'll help explain.

004-vaccine-covid-19-race-pharma-stocks-virus-2020-injection-mrna-trials-moderna-pfizer
Sarah Tew/CNET

Kevin Can F**k Himself is the weirdest show on TV. Does it make sense?

The finale for a show like Kevin Can F**k Himself was always going to be tricky. 

Kevin Can F Himself Allison and Kevin
Jojo Whilden/AMC
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