9 Great Reads From CNET This Week: Smartwatches and SpO2, Paycheck Apps, Nightmares and More What we really get out of tracking blood oxygen levels with a smartwatch, how certain apps get you paid before payday, why we have nightmares, and other good stuff.

If you’ve got a smartwatch, chances are you’re using it to track some aspect of your health. During the pandemic, that might have included keeping tabs on your blood oxygen levels. Smartwatches from Apple, Samsung, Fitbit and Withings all offer that capability. 

It’s a complicated matter, though, to assess what exactly those blood oxygen (aka SpO2) numbers mean at any given moment, and over time. CNET’s Lisa Eadicicco talked to doctors and product experts about the benefits and shortcomings of that health feature, and she’s here to pass along to you what she learned.

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.

Smartwatches Have Measured Blood Oxygen for Years. But Is This Useful?

Having access to more health data from home is helpful, but smartwatches still have limitations to overcome. 

Apple Watch blood oxygen measurement


These Apps Are Cheaper Than Payday Loans, but Fees Can Add Up

Earned-wage apps also don’t fix problems caused by inflation and low wages.  

A phone on a table with a $100 bill shown emerging from the screen

Getty Images

How Ancient Graves May Have Finally Revealed the Black Death’s Mysterious Origin

DNA analysis might’ve finally solved a puzzle surrounding one of history’s deadliest diseases.

Nineteenth-century image of the Chu Valley in Kyrgyzstan with a few people and horses in the middle distance

A.S. Leybin

Your Worst Nightmare: The Reason We Experience Terrifying Dreams 

From waking up in a cold sweat to the lingering unease of the morning after, here’s what happens when you’re struck by a nightmare.   

Child sleeping with a night light

Donald Iain Smith/Getty Images

Apple Lays Out More Pieces of Its Future AR Headset Puzzle

WWDC has come and gone, and still no Apple AR/VR goggles. But new software hints at future possibilities.

A lunar lander 3D model, appearing hovering on an iPad screen.


I Took an Esports Brain Test. I’m Not Even Close to Being a Pro Gamer

The test measures a variety of gamer skills. I wasn’t up to snuff in any.  

Team Liquid player Adil

Getty Images

Life in Venus Clouds Would Break Everything We Know About the Planet’s Chemistry

The strange lack of sulfur dioxide in Venus’ clouds doesn’t appear to be the doing of aliens.

The planet Venus against a black background

Planet-C Project Team/JAXA

Reality Dating Shows Are Super Weird Now. What’s Going On?

Commentary: Somehow, reality dating shows are growing more unhinged, and actual dating isn’t far behind.

Two reality show contestants covered in mud, wearing fake antlers.

Discovery Plus

Are You Afraid of the Dark? What’s Not Normal, Why It Happens and How to Treat It

Fear of the dark is common in children, but adults can have it too.

Redheaded person peeking out from bedding

Axel Bueckert/Getty Images

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