New Clean Energy Source

By intensely focusing the sun's rays on a rare earth oxide, researchers have discovered a reactor that could produce fuel from water in an easily stored form.

The reactor hits ceric oxide with an intense blast of focused sun, which heats up the material enough that it starts to shed the oxygen from its lattice. The material then merrily strips the oxygen from either water or carbon dioxide if they're nearby, leaving hydrogen or carbon monoxide—which can be combined to form hydrocarbon fuels using further catalysts. Still in its early stages, the reactor demonstrates a sun-to-fuel efficiency of 0.7%-0.8%, but according to researchers these are "largely limited by the system scale and design rather than by chemistry."

Watch: The first AI-scripted commercial is here, and it’s surprisingly good

A new AI-produced commercial from Lexus shows how AI might be particularly suited for the advertising industry.

Lexus
Technology & Innovation
  • The commercial was written by IBM's Watson. It was acted and directed by humans.
  • Lexus says humans played a minimal part in influencing Watson, in terms of the writing.
  • Advertising, with its clearly defined goals and troves of data, seems like one creative field in which AI would prove particularly useful.
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A new study says alcohol changes how the brain creates memories

A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.

Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
  • This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
  • The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
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Who believes fake news? Study identifies 3 groups of people

Then again, maybe the study is fake news too.

ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Recent research challenged study participants to pick real news headlines from fake ones.
  • The results showed that people prone to delusional thinking, religious fundamentalists, and dogmatists tended to believe all news, regardless of plausibility.
  • What can you do to protect yourself and others from fake news?
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