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9 great reads from CNET this week: Broadband costs, UFOs, electric skates and more

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

Over the past year-plus of pandemic living, the need for broadband has become an inescapable truth. But broadband access isn’t cheap, and for some people, there’s been a hard choice to make: spend limited income to go online for work or school, or to get other essentials, like groceries and other basic supplies.

CNET’s Shara Tibken and Maggie Reardon dug into that “affordability crisis” — who’s struggling, what’s available to them, what hurdles they face, and how some companies, governments and others are working to make broadband cheaper and more accessible.

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:

Broadband costs too much for some people. Fixing that won’t be easy

The US digital divide isn’t just due to lack of service. In many cases, the lack of affordable options is the real problem.

Illustration: Broadband and money

Robert Rodriguez/CNET

UFOs are real. That doesn’t mean we’ve been visited by aliens

Commentary: The Pentagon’s UFO videos have us excited about extraterrestrials but don’t expect to meet aliens anytime soon.

US Navy photo of "gimbal" UFOUS Navy photo of "gimbal" UFO

This still shows the unidentified object tracked by a Navy pilot in 2015 in the “Gimbal” video.

Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

The show must go online: How performance was reinvented for the pandemic

A new era of digital performance has arrived. Let’s hope it’s here to stay.


National Theatre

How I moved from roller skates to electric skates

The Segway Drift W1 Electric Skates look intimidating, but it only takes some practice to start loving them.

Riding a pair of Segway's Drift W1 Electric SkatesRiding a pair of Segway's Drift W1 Electric Skates

Where Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces fall short

Good luck trying to participate in live audio chats if you have hearing loss. But improvements are in the works.

Clubhouse Drop-in AudioClubhouse Drop-in Audio

Getty Images

How do we reemerge after a year of isolation and anxiety? Sherry Turkle has advice

The MIT professor sees the beginning of a rebirth and an acute need for greater empathy.

Cover image from Sherry Turkle's book The Empathy Diaries: A MemoirCover image from Sherry Turkle's book The Empathy Diaries: A Memoir

Scott Stein/CNET

Europe’s last dictator has a YouTube problem

Commentary: Roman Protasevich criticized Belarus’ regime through YouTube and Telegram — until the country’s president forced down a plane to silence him.

A protestor holds a photo of Alexander LukashenkoA protestor holds a photo of Alexander Lukashenko

Nur Photo/Getty

The coronavirus origin story and the lab leak debate need a hard reset

Commentary: Chatter about the origins of COVID-19 has ramped up, as calls for investigation into the lab leak theory grow louder.

Illustration showing the Wuhan Institute of Virology and bats flying aboveIllustration showing the Wuhan Institute of Virology and bats flying above


Friends: The Reunion drags in spots, but is mostly a poignant homecoming

Review: At almost two hours, the special is longer than it needs to be. But hard-core fans of the sitcom will find lots to love about hanging out with these pals again.

Matt LeBlanc hugs Courteney Cox as David Schwimmer and Lisa Kudrow look on during Friends: The Reunion.Matt LeBlanc hugs Courteney Cox as David Schwimmer and Lisa Kudrow look on during Friends: The Reunion.


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Electric skates are scary but also a lot of fun


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