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Mars One promises to send humans on a one-way trip to the red planet, with the intent to colonize, by 2027. Once the first four people leave Earth for Mars, there's no turning back, no panic button, no chance to return home. This aspect of the trip isn't just for drama -- it's a core tenet of Mars One's technical feasibility. CEO Bas Lansdorp believes that it's possible, using current technology, to land and sustain human life on Mars.

But the systems that would power a human settlement on an alien planet are ridiculously complex. They're so complicated that Lansdorp isn't yet sure what they will actually be. This lack of ready research has mired Mars One in controversy, thanks to a recent one-two credibility punch: First, a 2014 research paper from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concludes that the program is not realistic. Second, a series of articles for Matter magazine calls into question the feasibility of Mars One financially, scientifically and ethically. Still, Lansdorp promises to send humans to live on Mars, but he can't yet say how. He wants the world to trust him.

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Why is Valve getting into virtual reality? Why is Valve making Steam Machines and the Steam Controller? Why did Valve make its own Linux-based operating system? Why did Valve make the Steam Controller? Why is Valve releasing its game engine, Source, for free? It's the Steam economy, stupid!

Valve's game store boasts "over 125 million active accounts worldwide." How does Valve keep growing that store? By literally everything else it does. Here's Valve president Gabe Newell explaining it to us last week at GDC 2015:

"We're trying to build standard interfaces and standard implementations that other people can use. Because, to be honest, we're going to make our money on the back end, when people buy games from Steam. Right? So we're trying to be forward-thinking and make those longer-term investments for PC gaming that are going to come back a couple years down the road."

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It's time have your voices heard. In the dog-eat-dog world of technological innovation ... Ok, ok, enough with the K9 metaphors. Let's just get to the point: Nominations for the 11th Annual Engadget Awards end at midnight PT tonight. We've given you a head start with a few suggestions, but feel free to write in your own in the ballots below -- if you haven't placed your votes already. You don't have to make nominations in every category, but selections should be for products available in 2014.

We'll announce the winners during a very special awards ceremony on March 25th. Let's just say the competition is rrrrruff ...

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88th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Thanks to Netflix, Amazon and YouTube, the competition for kid's eyeballs is fiercer than ever, but that's not slowing down Sesame Street. Now in its 46th year, the show is making a bigger and bigger push into social media, with often hilarious (but secretly educational) results. I sat down with the show's Senior Vice President and Executive Producer, Carol Lynn-Parente, shortly after meeting my new best friend, Cookie Monster, to talk about the show's digital life and more.

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Do you like podcasts? Do you like virtual reality? I'm hoping you occupy that particular sweet spot on the Venn diagram. I'm Ben Gilbert, and this is "Episode Zero" of "Three Bens in VR," the pilot episode of a podcast about all things virtual reality -- hosted by three guys named Ben! You've probably read some of the many, many pieces I've written on virtual reality right here on Engadget, and you've probably read the many works of my esteemed colleagues Ben Kuchera (of Polygon) and Ben Lang (of RoadtoVR). Regardless of our shared first name, what unites us on this show is a shared passion for the emerging medium of virtual reality.

So! Do us all a solid and give it a listen -- be warned that there's a brief section of wonky audio around three minutes in! Then let us know how you feel about the show in the comments, or via Twitter (all our handles are linked below), or however else you'd like! We want to hear it!

Hosts: Engadget senior editor Ben Gilbert, Polygon senior editor Ben Kuchera and RoadtoVR executive editor Ben Lang

Music: Steve Combs - +32 (FMA)

Producer: Jon Turi

Direct download: Episode Zero

Hear the podcast:

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I refuse to "unfriend" people on Facebook.

Well, okay, that's kind of false. I will unfriend you if we're not actual, real-life friends, and I eventually forget how we knew each other. But that's not the point. The point is that my Facebook friends list is made up of people I know, or knew, in real life. They may not be people I speak to every day, or people I see in person with frequency, but they are or were a tangible part of my life: part of what makes me me. To put that more eloquently:

"I see it as my network: a digital representation of my network. An archive of the people I've encountered and come across. If I want to understand my story, my history, all of the ways that I've come about, this is one of those vehicles. It's almost like this weird digital therapy space where you can get to the heart of where you are via the people you've interacted with."

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Exercising While Working

If you work anywhere in or around technology, chances are you've either witnessed or are a member of the standing-desk craze, the natural offshoot of the increasing medical research suggesting sitting in your Herman Miller Aeron chair will actually kill you faster than smoking. But standing's the tip of the iceberg. Treadmill desks, work-walking, whatever you want to call it -- more and more people aren't just standing while they work; they're clocking in 10 slow miles a day on the job. With treadmill desks popping up everywhere from home offices to the cube farms of Google to the open newsrooms of The New York Times, the definition of what it means to be "at work" is changing more than ever before.

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Japan Toyota Fuel Cell

Damn the torpedoes (and Teslas)! Two of Japan's biggest automakers are about to make sizable wagers on a different kind of clean fuel tech: hydrogen power. Toyota will launch the $57,500 Mirai fuel cell vehicle (FCV, above) next year, while hydrogen veteran Honda will out a model in 2016. But wait, aren't EVs the last word in green cars? Fuel cell cars are EVs, in a way, but you can fill one up with hydrogen in five minutes rather than waiting hours for a charge. The only way to do that in an electric vehicle (EV) is by swapping the entire battery. So why is there exactly one production FCV available to buy today, but EVs everywhere? That's a tale of efficiency, fuel, pollution and politics.

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In July 2014, Lindsay Lohan sued Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games, claiming that Grand Theft Auto V featured a character who is allegedly based on the Mean Girls actress. According to the suit, filed in the New York Supreme Court, the cover of the game depicts a bikini-clad woman who bears a striking resemblance to LiLo. And the game itself apparently consists of more similarities, including the fact that the character runs from paparazzi, takes cover in the Chateau Marmont and incorporates Lohan's "image, likeness, clothing, outfits, [Lohan's] clothing line products, ensemble in the form of hats, hair style, sunglasses [and] jean shorts."

Also in July, former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega filed suit in California Superior Court against Activision Blizzard Inc., the makers of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, for using his likeness without permission. According to the complaint, Activision depicted Noriega as "a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state," (the audacity!) and the makers implied that he was "the culprit of numerous fictional heinous crimes, creating the false impression that defendants are authorized to use [his] image and likeness."

Lohan's and Noriega's suits were filed in two different states, and because of this, the applicable laws vary a bit. Lohan's battle is ongoing while Noriega's has been dismissed. One involves a celebrity, and the other a political figure. On the face of it, these two suits don't have all that much in common. The thread that connects them both –- and most lawsuits involving the use of a person's likeness in a video game -– is the right of publicity.

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Gizmo Vaping e-Cigarette Mod

There is a rapidly growing subculture of e-cigarette users across the globe who spend countless hours tricking out their hardware. Vape modding, as it's known, blends technical craftsmanship, engineering creativity and artistry into one -- and unbeknownst to most, it originated right here in the UK. Some do it to get better hits, while others do it to give their e-cigs a unique look. The modders are also the staunchest of users, who credit vaping with allowing them to kick the tobacco habit. But as I found out, through the process of modding, these ex-smokers may have just traded one addiction for another.

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The Engadget Live tour continued last week, with the latest stop taking place in Boston. Just like at our previous two events, in Austin and Seattle, Beantown didn't disappoint and the reader turnout was incredible. Attendees were treated to a night filled with a myriad of activities, giveaways and social mingling. Want to know what you missed? Check out the picture gallery bellow, where you'll also get a glimpse of what the sponsors brought over to the Royale venue to share with the Engadget aficionados in attendance.

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Orbotix, now simply known as Sphero, had the world in awe when it introduced its smartphone-controlled, ball-shaped toy back in 2010. Back then, we were still getting used to the concept of "connected" things. Today, nearly four years after making its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show, Sphero is one of the most popular peripherals around, on iOS and Android alike. But while the robotic ball may have started off as a knickknack for kids, or adults, to play with, it has recently started to break into another, more serious field: education. In an effort to boost that, Sphero launched an initiative called SPRK about five months ago, with the goal of letting schools adopt its product into education curriculum. Simply put, kids could not only learn about programming, but also have fun doing so.

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There are more vending machines per capita in Japan than in any other country in the world. And as of 2013, there are over 5 million of them. Soft drinks might make up half of those, but you can also pick up beer, sake, dried octopus, toys, pet food, hair accessories, glasses and even burgers. (Well, that last one comes with a proviso, but we'll get to that...) We've got 5,000 yen (about $50) in pocket money and a day to cover Tokyo, so join us for a morning coffee and maybe something a little stronger in the evening.

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What should an astronaut do when he gets dirty? Take a meteor shower [groan]. But, what does an astronaut do when their space suit gets mucky in training? They get it laundered, just like anything else. Pictured above, a staff member from the Russian Space Training Center hangs out the freshly washed space suits of Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, NASA's U.S. flight engineer Kathleen Rubins, and Japanese space agency's flight engineer Takuya Onishi. The trio picked up a few stains after landing on water in training for a mission on the ISS. So, the suits can handle the high radiation of space, but not a spin in a dryer?

[Image: Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP]

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