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9 Great Reads From CNET This Week: VPNs, Marvel, Dark Matter and More

How VPN reviewers can do a better job, why visual effects artists are criticizing Marvel, what cosmic breakthroughs reveal about the universe, and plenty besides that.

There are a lot of reasons to use a VPN, even if your internet habits aren't the type to trigger government surveillance. Maybe you want to watch geoblocked sports or avoid run-of-the-mill Wi-Fi snooping. Your privacy concerns count, too.

But VPN tech can be tricky to sort through, and VPN companies may not be inclined to steer you straight. That's prompted members of Congress to call for an investigation of that whole industry. CNET's Rae Hodge gets into all that, and she has a request as well: "I am also calling for VPN reviewers to do better at investigating the VPNs they review." 

Her article 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.  

ExpressVPN Is a Case Study in Why VPN Reviews Require More Legwork

Commentary: Members of Congress are right to ask the FTC to investigate the VPN industry.   

Phone screen with "VPN" and the Wi-Fi symbol centered in a shield
James Martin/CNET

Marvel's Visual Effects Artists Speak Out About Intense Working Conditions

A real secret war is taking place behind the scenes with overworked, underpaid and underappreciated visual effects artists.

Close-up of Korg the rock monster wearing a furry coat
Marvel Studios

Risky Business: Parents, Beware When You Make Your Kids Into Influencers  

Kids are being exploited online every day -- sometimes at the hands of their parents.

A hand holds a smartphone that shows a child playing with toys
Cavan Images/Getty

Scientists Peer Through Warped Space, Identify 12-Billion-Year-Old Dark Matter

These halos from the early universe could lead to a new era of cosmology.   

A colorful square in the background depicts the Big Bang's radiation, galaxies and distorted radiation, seen in the foreground.
Reiko Matsushita

Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4 Need to Make These Changes

Commentary: High prices, limited custom software and design quirks still make foldables a tough sell. But that could shift at the Aug. 10 Samsung Unpacked event.  

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy Z Fold 3
Samsung

Why 'The Orville: New Horizons' Deserves More Attention

Commentary: It's the sci-fi series that "out Star Treks" Star Trek. 

Captain Ed Mercer and Isaac in The Orville
Hulu

Social Media and Chronic Illness: An Impact That Transcends a Screen

Online interaction has played an instrumental role in chronic illness awareness and advocacy. Here's how people are using social media platforms to make a difference.    

Woman in wheelchair looking at her smartphone
RyanJLane/Getty Images

How NASA's Mars Rover, and a Mohawk, Changed My Life

Curiosity touched down on Mars a decade ago, setting a new course for human exploration -- and my career.

The Curiosity rover on the Martian landscape
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Finally, Somebody Made a Great Show About Lego

The charming Australian version of Lego Masters improves on the US show in every conceivable way, and it's free on Tubi.  

Lego fox in a snow globe
Nine