9 great reads from CNET this week

Some thoughts on life after a year of pandemic, on being a new mom in the age of apps and on what to do when your online purchase doesn't work out as planned.

CNET staff
2 min read

With more and more people getting vaccinated against COVID-19, hope is growing that we'll all start seeing a return to pre-coronavirus normalcy in the coming months. In some parts of the world, where measures including lockdowns, quarantine and contact tracing have been especially effective, the old normal, more or less, is already the new reality.

Australia, for instance, where residents are going to concerts and the movies, and where there hasn't been a coronavirus-related death since October. In late December, CNET's Ty Pendlebury traveled there from New York with his family, and he's written about that experience, from the 22 hours of airline travel to "hotel prison" to maskless encounters Down Under.

That 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:

Fear and COVID in hotel quarantine: What it's like flying overseas right now

A 22-hour flight and a two-week hotel quarantine taught me how Australia keeps COVID-19 in check.

Passengers wait at Sydney airport
Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Big Tech's danger to kids finally has Democrats, Republicans aligned

House lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have found something to agree on, and it's an issue that Facebook and Google can't ignore.

US Capitol building

Instagram for kids could be coming, and it would be disastrous

Commentary: The platform incites feelings of jealousy and inferiority that would be detrimental to young minds. It's a tough enough battle as an adult.

Kid and smartphone
Getty Images

A new mom's ode to smartphone baby apps

Commentary: How did people ever raise a baby without apps?

Sally Anscombe/Getty Images

I want a refund: What to do when buying straight from the source goes wrong

More businesses are selling their wares directly from their websites, cutting out retailers and online marketplaces. But not all of them are getting it right.

"Scheduled delivery pending" note on a loveseat
Photo illustration by Sara New

The 'Chinese virus' label has led to violence and death. It needs to stop

Commentary: We're seeing the results of what happens when loaded terms subtly -- or not so subtly -- link the Asian American community to the coronavirus.

Two women holding signs saying "#Hate is a virus" and "#Stop Asian hate"

Monster Hunter Rise is the Monster Hunter game I've always wanted

Commentary: Capcom finally got the formula just right.

Monster Hunter Rise

How a slim wallet got me to ditch cash

A lowly Ziploc bag was the first step. Maybe digital driver's licenses will mean I'll have no wallet at all someday.

Ekster Aluminum Cardholder wallet
Stephen Shankland/CNET

Happy birthday, Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Thanks for saving my 2020

Commentary: One year ago, in a world where suddenly nothing was reliable, an island game full of animals arrived.

Watch this: Congress vs. Big Tech CEOs on misinformation