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Guilt-free fungus leather beats vegan alternatives in eco-friendliness

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A new development from Imperial College London may usher in an era of leather-alternatives that are better for the environment without compromising on quality. Unlike real leather, which is made from cowhide, and faux ‘vegan’ leather, which is made from plastics, the newly introduced leather-like material is made from mushrooms — and it is more realistic than commonly available faux leather options, according to the researchers.

Leather has remained a popular material due to its durability, but it is controversial for other reasons: it is sourced from cattle, posing problems ranging from issues of cruelty to the environmental cost of raising the livestock. So-called ‘vegan leather’ has become a popular alternative due to its low cost and cruelty-free nature, but it actually isn’t any better for the environment.

The researchers behind the new study point out that ‘vegan’ leather is made of either polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polymer polyurethane (PU), plastics that include the use of fossil fuels and that aren’t biodegradable. Cowhide leather is likewise bad for the environment — in addition to the impact of raising livestock, the researchers note that the chemicals used to tan the leather are hazardous and often make their way into the environment.

Fungi may hold the solution to these issues, offering a more realistic and less harmful alternative to vegan leather without the environmental cost of real cowhide leather. The researchers say this leather-like material has the same durability and feel of the real thing, but is more sustainable due to the way it is produced.

To create the fungus ‘leather,’ researchers used existing byproducts resulting from forestry and agriculture, including sawdust, to grow the ‘roots’ of mushrooms known as mycelium. It only takes a few weeks of growth before the colonized substrate can be harvested, at which point it is treated mostly with glucan biopolymers and biodegradable chitin to get its leather-like finish.

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Realme’s Next Premium Tablet Looks To Have An Unusual Design

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Even though we still have six days before the Realme Pad X launches in China, some of the specs of the Realme Pad X have already been confirmed by Realme’s CMO Xu Qi Chase, GSMArena claims. We know that this mid-range tablet will get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 chipset. This also means that the Realme Pad X will become the first Realme tablet to feature 5G connectivity. While the CMO did not reveal the rest of the specs, there’s been rumors about the likelihood of the Realme Pad fetting a QHD+ display that could also support a 120 Hz refresh rate.

From the images, it is also evident that the Realme Pad X gets a single rear-facing camera that is situated on an unusually large camera bump. There is a smaller circle below the rear camera with a prominent “AI” logo. The tablet also skips an LED flash for low-light situations.

Designwise, the Realme Pad looks like a contemporary tablet with small bezels and flat sides. One of the invites also showcases the Realme Pad X being used with a stylus. It remains to be seen if this accessory will be part of the retail package or an optional extra. With the launch date for this product a week away, there is a good chance that we could have additional details about the Realme Pad X before the official launch.

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Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 Revealed As The Heart Of Your Next Android Flagship Phone

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Qualcomm’s latest flagship processor continues to be based on a 4nm manufacturing process — albeit this time from TSMC. This change has allowed Qualcomm to increase the GPU and CPU clock speeds by up to 7%. The result is that the Prime Cortex X2 is now clocked at 3.2 GHz (as opposed to 3 GHz on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1). Similarly, the 3x Cortex A710 core now clocks at 2.8 GHz (compared to 2.5 GHz earlier).

Then we have the 4x Cortex A-510 efficiency cores that also see a jump from 1.8 GHz to 2 GHz. While Qualcomm is yet to reveal the clock speeds for the Adreno GPU on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen1, they already claim a 10% higher clock speed in the promotional materials.

The rest of the hardware on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is similar to that of its predecessor — and this includes the X65 integrated modem as well. The new chip continues to support 3200 MHz LPDDR5 RAM, and the ISP used is the same, with support for 200 MP resolution, 8K video capture, and 64 MP burst capture. In terms of encoding, the chip retains support for Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, and HLG. A glaring omission, this time around too, is the lack of support for the AV1 codec.

In simpler terms, apart from the faster performance on account of the supposedly better manufacturing process, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 does not add anything over its predecessor in terms of additional features.

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Why Black Holes Slow Down Time As You Get Closer To One

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To understand why time slows down as an object gets closer to a black hole, it is necessary to understand what time dilation is. Live Science explains that Einstein — obsessed with space and time — was the first to realize that time was relative. After more than a decade of work, Einstein published his general theory of relativity in 1915, shocking the Newtonian establishment and revolutionizing science. Einstein argued that while the laws of physics are constant throughout the universe (via The Conversation), speed or motion, space, and time are not constant but relative. Relative to what? To the point of observation or observer.

Einstein often spoke about trains and how people on and off moving trains would perceive time and speed differently. He cited, for example, that a speeding train would move much faster for a person standing on the side of the track than for a person chasing the train on another train running parallel to it. This has fueled a range of wild experiments with clocks and atomic clocks, and the answers proved Einstein was right: time is not constant and it can dilate.

But to be scientifically accurate, time does not change because of where an observer may be; it changes due to changes in gravity. Scientists have proven these changes in time by measuring atomic clocks on top of buildings and on ground levels, or on orbiting satellites and on Earth. So, if gravity can change time, what would happen to time in the presence of the massive gravitational forces of a black hole?

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