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9 great reads from CNET this week: Bezos vs. NASA, California movies, Facebook VR, more

Why Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin is suing NASA (hint: SpaceX), what's so great about making movies and TV shows in California, where you might run into Mark Zuckerberg and much more.

Jeff Bezos clearly enjoyed his rocket ride to the edge of space last month, but his ambitions extend well beyond the occasional stratospheric joyride. He sees big business opportunities in space -- hence his startup Blue Origin -- and he's not taking no for answer.

So when NASA said no to Blue Origin's bid for a contract to build the vehicle that carries astronauts back to the moon, picking Elon Musk's SpaceX instead, Bezos didn't back down. Blue Origin filed suit, alleging flaws in NASA's acquisition process. It's not just the space agency, though. There's also tension between Bezos and Musk, two billionaires with strong visions for humanity's future in space.

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Eric Mack's story on that feud 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.   

Why Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin is going to war with NASA and SpaceX

The space agency prefers Elon Musk's spaceship for lunar landings. Now, a judge will decide if that union will stand.  

Jeff Bezos gives a thumbs-up after returning from space on July 20, 2021.

  

Blue Origin

As Hollywood lures back 'runaway productions,' the Bay Area steps into the spotlight

For years, California has worked to bring back TV and film productions that fled the state. But it's not just LA that wants to win over studios.

Golden Gate Bridge
Getty Images

Biden's Made in America chief wants $600 billion spent the right way

Celeste Drake, who's overseeing the government's Made in America ambitions, says the president is serious about "putting his money where his mouth is."  

President Biden with "Made in America" signs
The White House

Virtual Mark Zuckerberg showed me Facebook's new VR workplace solution

Horizon Workrooms, an Oculus Quest 2 VR software beta for meetings, just launched. Facebook has been using it for remote meetings for months. Here's how it works.   

Mark Zuckerberg and others in a Horizon Workrooms virtual meeting
Facebook

Google hopes Pixel 5A, a midtier 5G phone, will lift sales despite limited availability 

Global supply chain issues crimped a larger rollout.  

Google Pixel 5A
Sarah Tew/CNET

How the delta variant breached Australia's COVID fortress

Australia was a pandemic success story, but it has been overwhelmed by the delta variant. What happened?   

Illustration showing the coronavirus breaking through a fortress wall
Robert Rodriguez/CNET

Apple's movie CODA lets ASL speak, and sing, for itself 

The film, about a Deaf family with a hearing teen, showcases how sign language can be visual poetry -- as raunchy as a limerick, as sublime as a sonnet.

Emilia Jones in the Apple TV Plus film CODA
Apple TV Plus

'The Olympics needs esports': Why that's a tough landing to stick  

Does esports have a future at the Olympics? Experts aren't sure.

Esports competitors
Espat.ai

The Taliban thrive on social media, despite sites' bans   

Social media didn't exist when the Taliban last held power. The group has quickly learned how to use it.

Taliban fighter with a vehicle-mounted machine gun
Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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