Monday, October 31, 2011

Study: Downtown Arena Generates $7.7 Million Annually for Boise

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 4:22 PM

A new study from Boise State's Center for Business Research and Economic Development said the CenturyLink Arena (formerly Qwest Arena) pumps nearly $8 million into the local economy each year. The arena's owners requested and funded the study.

According to the assessment, CenturyLink's three operations - the arena, the Idaho Steelheads hockey team and the Idaho Stampede basketball team - account for the equivalent of 50 full-time jobs. That's significant, said Boise State economics professor Don Holley, given that in Ada County, there are more than 12,000 firms and less than 5 percent have 50 or more employees.

The study indicated that the direct benefits of the arena's operations are felt in downtown Boise, primarily in bars and restaurants, but secondary benefits are spread throughout the Treasure Valley.

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War Crimes Prosecutor: 'This Platoon is Out of Control'

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Pfc. Andrew Holmes of Boise, already convicted for his role in the murder of an Afghan civilian, was accused today of taking part in an elaborate scheme to blame a series of war crimes on a superior.

The highest ranking of five soldiers charged with taking part in a so-called "kill team" in Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, faced 16 criminal charges as his court martial hearing got under way this morning at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Holmes was previously convicted of taking part in one killing and was sentenced to seven years.

Gibbs' attorneys maintain that their client thought that the killings, which took part in early 2010, were legitimate engagements, and that his co-defendants conspired to blame him when they got caught. In an opening statement, Gibbs' attorney acknowledged that his client took fingers off three corpses and kept them as war trophies, or gave them to others involved in the killings.

Prosecutors said in opening statements that Gibbs' actions were nothing less than premeditated murder.

"This platoon is out of control," said prosecutor Capt. Dan Mazzone.

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Occupy Boise Opens FREE! Market, Not 'Free Market'

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Boise's arm of the nationwide "Occupy" movement, Occupy Boise, turned downtown's Capitol Park into an open-air bazaar for the majority of Saturday, Oct. 29. People brought goods to the market, but with one catch: nothing could be sold or bought. Bring a pair of pants, and leave with a VHS movie, or vice versa.

Groups painted zombie faces, Food Not Bombs provided bread, veggies and meals for all, another group led an at-will drum circle with makeshift instruments, and the Occupy Boise legal team led know-your-rights training.

The group has plans to discuss a possible encampment more closely related to their Wall Street counterpart, slated for the Monday, Oct. 31 general assembly.

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Skeptic Says He's a Believer Now: Global Warming is Reality

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 9:29 AM

When global warming skeptics were looking for some weight behind their argument, they often turned to physicist Richard Muller of the University of California, Berkeley, another denier. The Charles Koch Foundation, whose founder is a major funder of skeptic groups and the tea party, went as far as helping to bankroll a $600,000 study to back up their claims. But it backfired.

Muller now says mainstream climate scientists are right—the Earth's temperatures are indeed rising rapidly. Muller found that the land is 1.6 degrees warmer than in the 1950s. He went even further back, studying readings from Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, and found a continually warming world.

Muller's research is being unveiled today in four separate papers at a conference in Santa Fe, N.M., which is expected to include many prominent skeptics as well as mainstream scientists.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Video: Siri Hacked onto iPhone 4

Posted By on Sun, Oct 30, 2011 at 12:49 PM

It didn't take long. A self-proclaimed hacker has grabbed the much-touted Siri feature from iPhone 4S and moved it over to an iPhone 4. Apple chose to offer Siri, a talking personal assistant, only on its new iPhone 4S.

But Steve Toughton-Smith, who identifies himself as a developer, got Siri running on his iPhone 4 with "no problems," using files from an iPhone 4S, some validation tokens and a 20-step process.

Toughton-Smith even posted his successful hack on YouTube.

[ Video is no longer available. ]

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What's Cooking at Tuesday's Council Meeting? A Neighborhood Bakery

Posted By on Sun, Oct 30, 2011 at 12:46 PM

When the Boise City Council meets Tuesday, they will take up a series of agenda items ranging from commission appointments to a second reading of the proposed anti-smoking ordinances.

But council members will also consider a unique exception: to permit an old-school neighborhood bakery to be allowed to do business in a family residential zone. The proprietor, Carrie Peterson, is asking to locate her business, Sol Bakery, at 3910 W. Hill Road, to serve a customer base in the Collister neighborhood. In addition to the bakery, the applicant is proposing a co-op kitchen and retail shelf space to sell local food items.

The Boise City Planning and Zoning Commission has already recommended approval of the request. The City Council will have the final say.

Proposed location for bakery at 3910 W. Hill Road.
  • Proposed location for bakery at 3910 W. Hill Road.

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New York Times: Neighbor Against Neighbor on Gas Drilling

Posted By on Sun, Oct 30, 2011 at 9:59 AM

A raucous debate, which at times has become personal, has erupted over natural gas exploration in a rural community. It's not in Southwest Idaho, where Bridge Resources has met some community resistance while drilling for gas in Payette County. Rather, it's central New York, where opponents to gas exploration are being compared to Nazis and being told that are "being watched."

Today's New York Times examines the debate near Cooperstown, N.Y., best known as the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

"The dispute has pitted neighbor against neighbor," said the Times. "And has often set people who live in suburbs or villages against the farmers and landowners who live outside them."

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Report: 600,000 Daily Attempts to Hack Facebook

Posted By on Sun, Oct 30, 2011 at 9:32 AM

A report in the London Daily Mail says hackers are attempting to crack as many as 600,000 Facebook accounts every day. The social networking giant confirmed that hackers continue to try to use stolen usernames and password details.

Facebook boasts as many as 800 million worldwide users. While the hacking attempts could be viewed as only a fraction of the overall number, the Mail said experts feared the problem was growing.

This past summer, hackers broke into Sony's Playstation Network stealing user names, addresses and passwords.

A Facebook executive said the company "was very proud" of stopping hackers thus far.

"600,000 times a day, we stop a bad guy," Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt told the Mail.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Brits Consider Time Zone Switch

Posted By on Sat, Oct 29, 2011 at 2:34 PM

European governments have tried just about everything to stem the tide of fiscal crisis, but Britain may have the simplest, yet most controversial, proposal in the bunch: change the clocks.

The U.K. government is expected to consider a long-debated plan to permanently switch to Central European time, a move that advocates said would give the commonwealth's sluggish economy a boost. Additionally, proponents said by moving clocks 60 minutes ahead of current settings, the tourism season would be extended, road deaths would be curbed and outdoor activities would be more widely promoted.

Opponents said that such a move would have a negative impact on the United Kingdom's northern regions, shifting darker mornings across northern England and Scotland. Some critics claim that the sunrise in Scotland could come as late as 10 a.m. during some winter months.

During World War II, Britain's so-called summer time was set two hours ahead and the United Kingdom previously experimented with year-round summer time (when clocks are pushed forward through the late spring and summer) from 1968-1971, which led to protests in Scotland.

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Early Voting Sluggish

Posted By on Sat, Oct 29, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Early voting in Ada County has been under way since last Tuesday, though it may be the best kept secret in town.

Poll watchers told Citydesk late Friday that so far, only 430 residents had cast early ballots—not a good sign for a robust turnout come Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Ada County voters can cast their ballots on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ada County elections office at 400 N. Benjamin in Boise.

In the City of Boise, four council seats are on this year's ballot in addition to the race for mayor. But limited campaigning has been the order of the day, with the exception of the open two-year council slot in which former Chamber of Commerce staffer Ben Quintana is facing school administrator Michael Cunningham and construction company owner Larry Johnson.

In our next edition of BW, we'll examine all of Boise's candidates, speaking on everything from the proposed smoking ban to transit options to Occupy Boise.

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