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9 great reads from CNET this week

Why phosphine gas in Venus clouds could signal alien life, what's the point of the Apple Watch SE and how wildfires show we can't keep ignoring climate change.

It was a big week for product announcements, first with Apple showing off the Apple Watch Series 6, Watch SE, a redesigned iPad Air and an eighth-gen iPad. The only thing missing from the event was the iPhone 12, which will likely be unveiled in mid-October.

Facebook followed at its VR and AR conference by promising the release of its first smart glasses next year and unveiling a new version of its Oculus Quest 2 VR headset. Then Sony announced a launch date and price tag for its PlayStation 5. The consoles, which start at $400, will launch Nov. 12 in the US. You can preorder one now, but hurry, they're selling out.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration on Friday announced it's barring TikTok and WeChat from US app stores amid the president's campaign to protect Americans from the "threats of the Chinese Communist Party." That's as the administration is still reviewing a deal between Oracle and TikTok owner ByteDance that would make the US company the "trusted technology provider" in the US for TikTok.

And then there was the news Friday of the death of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, a fighter for gender equality who served 27 years on the high court.

Here are the week's stories you don't want to miss:

Unexplained phosphine gas in Venus clouds could signal alien life

An unexpected discovery has scientists buzzing.

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NASA/JPL

Apple Watch SE: Um, what exactly is the point of this $279 smartwatch?

Apple's new affordable watch costs $80 more than the Series 3, but on paper packs a lot more.

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Apple

Wildfires in Western US show we can't continue to ignore climate change

Commentary: When Australia burned, our leaders downplayed climate change. We can't afford that again.

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David McNew/Getty

The true story of the Mercury 13 and the women who never made it to space

In the early 1960s, 13 women went through a grueling set of tests to prove they could be astronauts. The program's shutdown shaped space travel for decades.

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Carl Iwasaki/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty

Galaxy Z Fold 2: A droolworthy foldable phone you'll actually crave -- mostly

Samsung has succeeded in making a follow-up foldable phone that turns almost everything we hated about the original Galaxy Fold into something great.

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Angela Lang/CNET

Uber and Lyft's $181 million campaign war chest goes heavy on ad blitz

Some of the drivers featured in Proposition 22 ads have received money from the campaign.

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Angela Lang/CNET

Motorola claims the Razr can fold 200,000 times. We get a peek at how it's tested

Exclusive: The company shows us that you can fold the upcoming, updated Razr 100 times a day for five years.

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Patrick Holland/CNET

Why the Apple One subscription bundle's best feature is actually its least sexy one

Commentary: The oft-ignored iCloud storage took center stage and may be the reason people will give the Apple One bundle a shot.

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Screenshot by Joan Solsman/CNET

Hurricanes: Evidence mounts that they're getting stronger and wetter

For CNET's Now What series, author Eric Jay Dolin describes how we can learn from past hurricanes to brace for more intense storms in a warmer world.

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Bettmann/Getty Images