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October, 2017 |

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Beaver Dam’s Higher Grounds has lofty goals: East side coffee shop promotes all things local

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Australia’s Qantas hops ahead with first nonstop flight to Europe

SEATTLE (CNNMoney) – Finally, after 93 years, Australian airline Qantas gets to fly the way it’s always wanted.

The Australian airline on Monday took delivery of the first of eight 787-9 Dreamliners from Boeing. It’s a jet that Qantas is pinning its future to — part of a years-long turnaround from record losses.

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Next March, Qantas will inaugurate the first ever nonstop airline service between Australia and Europe, connecting Perth with London — a 17 hour journey.

“Given the tyranny of distance in our geographical position in our part of the world this new generation of [aircraft] really allows us to start to overcome the disadvantages of our geography,” said Gareth Evans, Chief Executive of Qantas International.

Qantas has had to rely on airplanes that couldn’t profitably make the journey between the continents without stopping. The Kangaroo route, as it became known, required multiple stops along the air corridor between Australia and the U.K.. In the 1930s the journey took as long as 11 days.

More recently, the airline’s longest-range jets would still have to stop in Singapore or Dubai on their way into Europe.

With the 787, Qantas is establishing a new hub in Western Australia, its new non-stop gateway to Europe. By overflying Asian and Middle Eastern mega-hubs “that really starts to redefine our international network,” said Evans.

Back from the brink

In 2014, Qantas International was bleeding money, logging a staggering $2.8 billion AUD net loss for the year.

The airline has since radically reshaped itself. It laid off more than 5,000 staff, cut aircraft types from 11 to eight and accelerated retirement of older, less efficient jets. It also implemented an 18 month wage freeze for 23,000 employees to offset inflation, according to its annual report.

In its most recent fiscal year, Qantas International inked a $327 million profit and renewed a partnership with Emirates airline to feed its passengers through to Dubai, connecting to over 60 cities in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

The Australian carrier has been flying the Airbus superjumbo A380, its biggest and longest-range airplane, for nearly a decade, but with limited success even on the busiest routes across the Pacific to the U.S.

“Qantas, like most A380 operators, struggles to fill the A380 sustainably year-round,” according to a recent report by the Centre of Asia Pacific Aviation.

Alan Joyce, Qantas Group Chief Executive, said two 787-9s (which seat half as many passengers) are less expensive to operate than a single A380 flight.

But for right now, that’s all on paper. Shareholders and management will wait to see if the ultra-long haul strategy pays dividends. The group has purchased eight 787s with the option to buy as many as 45 more.

“There’s still work to do,”said Joyce.

Weight is everything aboard an aircraft, but even more so for the jet’s unprecedented mission to overfly Asia on its 9,000 mile journey to Europe. Should the aircraft be too heavy, a strong headwind may force an expensive fuel stop, busting its chance for profit. Qantas’ 787-9 is flying with just 236 seats. Oneworld alliance partner American Airlines flies the jet with 285.

The airline is examining a decade of weather patterns between the continents to optimize route planning. Even its Japanese Noritake dinnerware has been redesigned to be 20% lighter.

Project Sunrise

Qantas’ Dreamliner experiment is paving the way for it to try and conquer commercial aviation’s final frontier.

In August, Joyce posed a challenge to Boeing and Airbus: Deliver us an airplane in 2022 that can fly nonstop from Sydney to London and New York. That flight between Australia and the U.K. capital would clock in at 20 hours and 20 minutes and Sydney to New York would be 18 hours and 7 minutes, according to Qantas.

“We’ve taken up Alan’s challenge,” said Dr. Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president of Asia Pacific sales for Boeing.

Joyce said the airline wants a full load of passengers and cargo on Boeing’s 777-8X for the more than 20 hour flight between Sydney and London. While New York and London are at the top of Qantas’s wish list, it’s also eyeing destinations as far as Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro.

“While the aircraft is close, it’s not quite there,” said Joyce of both Boeing and ultra long range Airbus A350.

Qantas is playing to bragging rights of producing a superlative jetliner, even if the selected plane maker only builds 10 or 20.

“Each manufacturer really needs to try and do this and achieve it, because the seal of approval,” said Joyce. “There is a lot of credibility having Qantas on an airplane. I think the manufacturers want that seal of approval.”

Copyright 2017 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Your future kitchen has a smart oven, a burger-flipping bot, and 36 bacon programs

Last year, we predicted some of the changes that we’d see in cooking over the next decade, including precision cookware. The Smart Kitchen Summit, which was held this week in Seattle, brings together device makers, chefs, and other experts to discuss the future of food. And based on some of the items that were featured at the annual event, we may be able to get precisely cooked, hyper personalized dishes from our ovens sooner than we thought.

Major appliance brands such as Kenmore and Whirlpool are on board with embracing the smart kitchen. Both announced Alexa-enabled appliances, including fridges, dishwashers, and ranges earlier this year. There aren’t a ton of ways for Alexa and these appliances to interact yet, but manufacturers see including smart technology as a way to continuously add new features to old machines. But even people who swear they’ll never talk to their oven will see a benefit.

Good as new

“We have troves and troves of failure data out of appliances that we have repaired, be it our brand or a third-party brand we also maintain,” said Chris McGugan, general manager of Innovation and Kenmore at Sears. “And what we’re doing with our smart-home technology is bringing that failure database to all the appliances we’ve had to maintain and real-time telemetry off of new appliances to make predictive analytics real and how we go about servicing those appliances.”

Most of the data a fridge is sending back to Kenmore won’t interest their owners, but it could lead to new product innovation and fix an issue before the whole appliance breaks.

“There are so many variables that will impact how long it takes to bake something.”

Ideally, that would mean your appliances would last longer, but Brett Dibkey, vice president and general manager of Whirlpool’s Integrated Business Units, said the advent of smart technology could also inspire people to buy a new appliance sooner than they otherwise would.

“In today’s market, an offline refrigerator or oven, the product is the best it’s ever going to be on the day you buy it and put it in your home,” he said. Add an internet connection, and Whirlpool, Kenmore, GE Appliances, and others could deliver a software update that offers a new feature.

June is already doing this with its Intelligent Oven. The $1,495 countertop convection oven and $1,995 wall oven have cameras inside that are smart enough to tell what you’re cooking and presets that effectively let you press a button and walk away. As users cook in the oven, the June team is gathering data to improve the product. For example, it initially only had a single preset for bacon.

“Our culinary team was able to look at all the data and say, ‘OK, what are all the most important variables for bacon?’” Matt Van Horn, June’s co-founder and CEO told Digital Trends. The factors that were influencing how the meat cooked were number of slices and whether people preferred it crispy or chewy. Now, the camera senses the amount of bacon inside and users simply choose the doneness they prefer.

“We turned one bacon program into 36,” Van Horn said. People may not have even noticed there was a change until their bacon started coming out better. “We can modify our presets without even doing a software update.”

Personal best

Not every smart oven has cameras or sensors, and that’s where smart accessories come in. GE Appliances’ FirstBuild introduced its upcoming Precision Bakeware at the Summit. It includes a temperature probe that communicates with connected GE ovens and alerts your phone when your cake is perfect according to your specifications.

“In theory, if you run the same ingredients through the same process, you should get the same meal.”

“There are so many variables that will impact how long it takes to bake something: what temperature it started, what your altitude is, what the center oven temperature truly is, what rack you’re on, what kind of bakeware you’re using,” said Chris Naber, a FirstBuild product developer. “Monitoring the actual temperature of the baked good eliminates all that.”

But he also points out another theme that emerged from the Summit: It’s not just about perfection but personal perfection.

“There’s no perfect doneness,” Naber said. “If you get people talking about how they like their brownies, it’s going to be a battle.”

But even if you and your entire family like your brownies chewy, each member could make the same recipe and come out with different results.

“In theory, if you run the same ingredients through the same process, you should get the same meal,” said Jon Jenkins, director of engineering at Hestan Smart Labs, during a talk. He showed images AllRecipes users submitted of the same salmon dish, and not one looked like the other. In contrast, he pointed out that Yelp users’ photos of the croque madame from Bouchon restaurant were quite consistent, even when taken years apart.

“This is what we should be striving for in the home kitchen,” Jenkins said. The problem is that recipes use vague words like “brown” and “tender,” that could mean different things for different people. Stoves have wildly different temperatures for the low setting. Instructions for cooking a chicken breast in the oven range from at 350 degree Fahrenheit for 45 minutes to 425 for 30. Plus, people perform tasks differently.

The Hestan Cue smart cooktop and pan provided data that shows users take between a second and a minute to flip food. Jenkins thinks software can fix a lot of these problems by controlling temperature and making adjustments based on what the humans are doing.

Pro tips

There are some advancements that are too pricey for home kitchens, like robots. Miso Robotics’ Flippy, for example, is a robot that can flip burgers, chop vegetables, and perform other repetitive kitchen tasks. (Even if you hate cutting up onions, you probably don’t need an entire robot dedicated to the chore.)

“We say it gives eyes and a brain to the industrial robotic arm,” said David Zito, the company’s CEO. “It doesn’t just see what’s going on, but it actually is trained to understand, through thermal sensors, the delta between the temperature of the patty and the grill.”

It can also take into account the thickness of the patty, making sure it’s properly cooked every time. Zito knows the idea of a robot in the kitchen will make people nervous, but he said restaurateurs contacting him don’t have staff reduction mind. For them, it’s more about food safety and consistency. One chef wanted to teach Flippy to do sous vide so customers could watch a livestream of the robot putting wagyu steak into a water bath set to cook the meat to their specifications.

Zito also said some places are feeling the crush with new delivery services like UberEats and Doordash bringing in more customers.

“Restaurants that I talked to that used to only have takeout five to 10 percent,” he said. “Now it’s 40 to 50 percent of the food they’re producing.”

Flippy could help them meet the demand while also freeing them up for the more enjoyable, creative aspects of cooking, he said.

Meanwhile, Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio wants restaurant owners and delivery services to have better communication. Restaurants should be able to set parameters to maintain a level of quality control, he suggested. Maybe not every dish should be on the delivery menu, for example.

“If I freeze a dome that I have infused with burnt applewood as a semifreddo with liquid nitrogen and you order that from Postmates, you can’t hold me accountable for the fact that it’s a puddle of burnt wood when it gets to your house,” he said.

There’s some tech that’s still trying to find its way when it comes to cooking. Virtual reality and augmented reality might be useful when designing and remodeling kitchens, but people aren’t using it in a ton of other ways, yet. There are plenty of ideas out there, though.

Virtual and augmented reality might be useful in designing and remodeling, but people aren’t using it in a ton of other ways, yet.

“Therapy’s a big one for us, because it allows us to make you feel less addicted to certain foods,” said Jin An of Project Nourished, which provides fine dining experiences paired with VR. Similarly, he thinks picky eaters could learn to love vegetables by associating them with pleasant memories created via VR. While strapping on a headset is often seen as isolating, Google VR designer Basheer Tome thinks parents could use it to virtually eat dinner with a kid who’s away at college.

“You could even think of it as not just necessarily connecting you across distances but also connecting you across time,” he said. Film you and your mother making a pie, and five years later you could surround yourself in the memory and recall her secret technique for a flawless pie crust.

As more ARKit apps come out, we’ll undoubtedly see some kitchen-centric ones. Something that shows you exactly how to slice a carrot into ¼-inch half moons would be great — if only a robotic arm could hold your phone for you while you chop. Maybe in another decade.

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Tesco are now selling orange cooking pots just like Le Creuset …

KITCHEN whizzes looking for some classy crockery could do a lot worse than Tesco’s new range of Le Creuset-inspired kitchenware.

The supermarket giant has cooked up a set of kitchen essentials which echo the timeless style of the French luxury brand… at a fraction of the price.

Tesco has launched a range of kitchen essentials, pictured, – styled after swanky French brand Le Creuset

Le Creuset’s original pot, pictured, will set you back at least £220, depending on where you shop

Tesco’s new “Go Cook” range is out in stores today, including roasting trays, knives, saucepans and casserole dishes styled in iconic Le Creuset orange.

But while a cast-iron casserole dish made by Le Creuset will set you back £220, Tesco’s own take on the popular pots are £45 – just over a fifth of the price.

The description reads: “This 4.6L casserole dish is made from cast iron, which provides completely even heat distribution and retention, so you can keep your food warmer for longer.

Le Creuset’s iconic range of crockery has been the inspiration behind a range of supermarket copycat versions

Tesco is also stocking a shallow version of the casserole dish, coloured in the same dusty orange

“The dish is coated in an orange enamel and has ergonomic handles to provide a comfortable grip.”

The only obvious difference is that Tesco’s version is 0.1L smaller.

Also in Tesco’s copycat range is a £12 knife which is £88 cheaper than the Le Creuset version, and a rectangular roasting tin which costs £14 – one tenth of the French brand’s price tag.

And Tesco isn’t the only supermarket looking to cash in on the undeniable appeal of the dusty orange crockery.

Tesco’s new rectangular roasting tin costs just one tenth of the price of Le Creuset’s version

Le Creuset’s fancy kitchen range, pictured, has been the inspiration for all sorts of supermarket variants

Sainsbury’s is offering its own 4.7L version of the iconic casserole dish, priced at £45 and coloured in the same “stunning” shade of orange.

They’re also stocking a red version, as well as a 3L shallow casserole dish – also at a pocket-friendly £45.

POINTS MEAN PRIZES This is how you can boost your Tesco Clubcard points

And just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be any more in the way of dusty orange casserole dishes, Dunelm has its own version too.

Priced at £42, the Dunelm dish undercuts even its supermarket rivals, never mind the £220 Le Creuset original.

Sainsbury’s is offering its own orange casserole dish, priced at £45
 Wonder where Dunelm found the inspiration for this stylish orange pot?
Wonder where Dunelm found the inspiration for this stylish orange pot?

Previously, we revealed the sold-out children’s toy which has already become this year’s Christmas must-have present.

We also told how Tesco caused a seasonal stir earlier this month by releasing a bizarre new flavour of festive crisps.

Sustainability shines at ZenaFest

Willamette community receives a closer glimpse of student, faculty work at forest property.

A Willamette festival gave students who were unfamiliar with Zena Forest plenty of reasons to return.

Held Oct. 7 during Family Weekend, ZenaFest offered tours, wine tasting (for people aged 21 and older) and demonstrations — all on the university’s 305-acre property northwest of campus.

More than 200 people traveled to the forest, many for the first time.

“People generally know Zena Forest exists, but many have never been out there and don’t understand why we have it,” says Claire Pockell-Wilson ’20, communications coordinator for the university’s Sustainability Institute. “It’s such a great resource for our campus and community — there’s so much stuff going on.”

Faculty members, many of whom use the forest for their teaching or research, led walks through ecologically restored forest and prairie. The crowd also watched a demonstration of how drone-captured images can be used for ecological monitoring. Another tour led people through Zena Forest Products wood mill, where they learned the owner cuts wood for flooring by hand.

Fresh produce cultivated at Zena was also available for sampling. Members of the Farm Club, a student organization that maintains gardens and sell fruits and vegetables to Willamette students, handed out peppers and cherry tomatoes that tasted “like candy,” says Pockell-Wilson. Locally-sourced squash soup and bread was also served, along with samples of apple cider that club members pressed at the event.

True to Willamette’s sustainability ethic, dinnerware and food was composted at the zero-waste event, so that, despite the huge crowd, less than one pound of trash was generated.

The turnout was better than expected and, as Pockell-Wilson says, “events like ZenaFest let people know this property is accessible.”

The Sustainability Institute plans to hold the event again next fall.

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3rd annual Free Market set for Friday at main post chapel

The Fort Stewart Protestant Women of the Chapel Club is hosting its 3rd annual “free market” at the main post chapel Friday. 

The event allows all military ID holders to shop for any household item for free.

Last year, more than 1,000 people waited in line for the event and more than 700 families were served, according to Mara Tate, the PWOC Inreach coordinator. 

Items available include furniture, clothing, toys, bedding, accessories, electronics, sports equipment, kitchen appliances, books, DVDs, games, shoes and other household items.

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