The Morning After: Friday, March 17 2017

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It's the end of the week and we have talked to Buzz Aldrin about VR and Mars, tried to fund a documentary about what happened to the Tony Hawk game series, all while attempting to ignore Google Home's Beauty and the Beast ads. Ignoring ads from an internet company? It's a tale as old as time.

The second man to set foot on the moon thinks colonizing Mars is humanity's destiny.

Buzz Aldrin turns to VR to explain how we can get to the red planet

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Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 astronaut, may now be 87, but he's keeping his mind focused on the next space frontier. For decades now, he's thought about how to get astronauts to Mars, becoming more vocal about his plans in recent years. He's also a fan of virtual reality as a medium to communicate his vision: He partnered with NASA to build a Mars Hololens experience last year, and now he's hosting a 10-minute VR experience that walks you through his vision of how to get to Mars.

Now it's up to CongressTrump's budget proposal means big cuts for NASA, climate change programs

The president's proposed 2018 budget has been revealed. As expected, it not only pulls money away from many arts and social services programs, but it also contains plans to cut funding for a number of scientific endeavors. The EPA budget would drop by 31 percent, eliminating international climate change initiatives and grants that help local governments fight pollution. NASA would also lose four climate change initiatives, its Office of Education and the planned Asteroid Redirect Mission.

The wonderful world of drone tanks

A Russian military contractor is building a 20-ton unmanned combat vehicle

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A Russian weapons company named after the inventor of the AK-47 has revealed that it's building a new type of unmanned combat vehicle. The company states that its upcoming drone tank will carry both machine guns and anti-tank missiles. While it has yet to release a prototype, we have a vague idea of what to expect from the company's previous work: the BAS-01G Soratnik. Weighing a fraction of the proposed new tank at just seven tons, the Soratnik is a machine gun mounted infantry support vehicle equipped with anti-tank missiles. With a top speed of 25 miles per hour, the mini-tank can be operated from a range of up to six miles and is even able to carry out certain tasks autonomously.

Add warmth to your digital instruments.
Elektron's Analog Heat upgrades your synth and drum machine

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The proliferation of digitally-modelled analog synths has lowered the barrier for cash-strapped, musicians hoping to become the next big synth group like S U R V I V E (the band responsible for the Stranger Things theme). Cheaper synths and drum machines are great, but because they don't decay like analog instruments, they also lend themselves to everyone sounding the same. For anyone looking to add more warmth and variety to her sound, Elektron's $750 Heat comes equipped with eight analog distortion circuits that can be tweaked to your liking.

$75k to make 'Pretending I'm a Superman: The Tony Hawk Game Story'
Crowdfunded documentary will dig into the 'Tony Hawk' series

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The Tony Hawk game series is responsible for bringing skateboarding to an entire generation of gamers, but what was it like behind the scenes? Now, a former producer is crowdfunding a documentary exploring the ups and downs of the series, from start to finish. There are different contribution levels, but for $7k you can go all the way and secure an exclusive session with Tony Hawk himself.

A physicist and film expert are working to restore the decades-old films.
Watch these declassified nuclear test films on YouTube

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There's something both beautiful and unnerving about a mushroom cloud. The United States conducted around 216 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1945 and 1992, many taking place in Nevada and the Pacific Proving Grounds. Now, rare videos of those detonations are declassified and available to the public for the first time.


Google Home is playing ads for 'Beauty and The Beast'

Whether you care about the live-action remake or not, Google Home will tell you all about it. Recently, the smart speaker's users have noticed that the disembodied Assistant will give you a rundown of the upcoming, live action Beauty and the Beast when you ask for a summary of your day's events. It seems widespread beyond the folks who pointed it out on Reddit and appears regardless of if you've shown interest in the movie.

"Alexa, where the hell are my AirPods?"
Amazon's Alexa sets up home in your iPhone

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Now you can talk to Amazon's intelligent assistant whenever you use the Amazon app on your iPhone. Alexa will be able to do much more than just deal with your Amazon account, like play songs from Amazon Music, give you news updates, or even tell a (bad) joke or two. According to Amazon, the one thing you won't be able to do just yet is to ask Alexa to open your door locks with your voice.

But wait, there's more...

  • A Twitter user is suing James Woods for misidentifying her as a Nazi
  • Google's new algorithm shrinks JPEG files by 35 percent
  • SXSW: Ron Howard on his Einstein show and digital filmmaking
  • SXSW: Intel wants to be a tech 'enabler' for the fashion industry

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