Monday, April 30, 2012

Look, Up in the Sky - It's Supermoon

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Sky watchers are preparing for what is being dubbed "Supermoon." is trumpeting the biggest full moon of the year, scheduled for this coming weekend, or as the website calls it: Supermoon Alert.

The moon will come within 221,902 miles of Earth late Saturday night, and it will also be a full moon, ready to offer an extra-bright, extra-big show. said this weekend's full moon should be about 16 percent brighter than average because of its proximity.

Also, the Earth's tides are expected to be particularly high and low. When the moon comes closest to our planet - known as perigee - the moon exerts about 42 percent more tidal force than it will during its next cycle two weeks later.

We're reminded that to view the supermoon at its best effect, we should look as it rises or sets. When the moon is tucked behind buildings or trees, an optical illusion makes it appear much larger.

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BPA Orders Limit on Wind Power Production

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 3:17 PM

A large mountain snowpack, steady rainfall and surplus hydropower have once more led the Bonneville Power Administration to order Northwest wind farms to cut production. In the spring of 2011, BPA sent out a similar order, leading wind farm owners to complain that they were losing millions of dollars in production. Wind energy companies filed their grievances with federal regulators, accusing BPA of violating contracts.

The Associated Press reports that BPA confirmed that its most-recent orders came during the early morning hours of Sunday, and again today.

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Girl Punched, Cut With Knife in Ride-By Theft

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Boise Police are crediting quick work from bystanders in their efforts to catch a suspect in a Sunday night "ride-by" crime.

Witnesses told police that a young man on a bicycle stole a teenage girl's backpack and cut her on the arm with a knife during the struggle. The incident occurred in the 1500 block of Dundee Street. Witnesses said when the girl tried to chase the suspect, he punched her in the face and rode away.

Officers responding to a 911 call quickly spotted the suspect, who ditched his bike and jumped over a fence. Officers pursued on foot using a police dog, and when they caught the young man, he was identified by the witnesses.

Cameron Moon, 19, was booked into the Ada County Jail on felony charges of robbery and aggravated battery.

Cameron Moon is charged with robbery and aggravated assault.

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Early Voting Under Way

Ada and Canyon voters can cast their ballots early until May 11

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Early voting got under way this morning in Ada County, while early voting has already been under way for a full week in Canyon County.

Voters are cautioned that this year's process should take a few more minutes of their time. Voters are being asked to select a party affiliation before they're able to vote (and yes, you can still be nonpartisan), but this is where things get a bit complicated.

Democrat, Constitution or Libertarian Party members will be able to vote on the Democrat or nonpartisan ballot, but the nonpartisan ballot only contains three unopposed judges. Republicans will be able to vote the Democratic, Republican or nonpartisan ballot. Once you've made your choice of party and are handed a ballot, you can't change until after the primary.

Early voting in Ada County takes place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 400 N. Benjamin Lane in Boise. In Canyon County, voting takes place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1102 E. Chicago St. in Caldwell. Early voting will end on Friday, May 11.

Primary Day is Tuesday, May 15, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Study: Wind Farms Warming Local Climates

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Researchers have shown that large wind farms affect local temperatures, particularly at night, by pulling in hot air and pushing it to the ground.

The BBC reports that researchers used data obtained from satellites to measure ground temperatures near wind farms and found that they had indeed risen.

"These changes, if spatially large enough, may have noticeable impacts on local to regional weather and climate," read the study, which was conducted in west Texas, where wind farms have expanded from 111 in 2003 to 2,358 in 2011.

Temperatures were more elevated at night when cool air near the ground is offset by the wind turbines. Using wind to counter night and early morning frost is often used by farmers on their crops.

But the study's authors were quick to add that the research should not be used to stop building wind farms, which provide clean energy, as the research is new and the warming may be beneficial.

The study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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Is USP9x the Missing Link in a Cure for Cancer?

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 8:20 AM

New research indicates that aggressive pancreatic tumors may be treatable with a new class of drugs because of the discovery of the USP9x gene. Fewer than one in five people with pancreatic cancer survive past the first year after being diagnosed.

The study—published today in the journal Nature—showed that the gene in question was being switched off in cancerous cells, but drugs with the potential to turn USP9x back on and stop the spread of cancer are already being tested.

"We looked in human tumor specimens and we found that [USP9x] was missing in a fraction of patients—the patients that did very poorly ... the people who died the fastest," said researcher David Tuveson. "Patients that had a low level of the gene died very quickly after their operation and the patients who at the end of their life had lots of metastasis, they had also a very low level of this protein."

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Protesters Push Back Against 'War Against Women'

"In the last 12 months, women have become sluts for taking birth control.”

Posted By on Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Theresa Burkes cut up Senate Bill 1387, got some glue and assembled an apron with scraps
  • Carissa Wolf
  • Theresa Burkes cut up Senate Bill 1387, got some glue and assembled an apron with the scraps for Saturday's protest against the Republicans' war on women.

Theresa Burkes tore into the 2012 proposed ultrasound legislation ... literally. She cut it. She ripped it. And end-to-end, completely disassembled the Senate Bill, proposed by Republican Sen. Chuck Winder, that would have required Idaho women to undergo an ultrasound prior to having an abortion.

When Burkes stepped backed and looked at scraps of the legislation, which ultimately died in the waning hours of the 2012 Idaho Legislature, she saw an incomprehensible mess.

Burkes said she gave meaning to the shreds of paper that were once SB 1387 through art. She reassembled the fragments into an apron shaped like the State Capitol.

“I know that bill inside and out. I tore it up and pasted it and pasted it. And what I tore was infuriating,” said Burkes.

Burkes said she then fulfilled one of Winder's goals—wrapping the legislation around her body, she tied it with some strings and tucked a photo of Winder into the front pocket of her apron.

“This is where he would have wanted to be,” said Burkes.

Burkes said she kept Winder close to her uterus on Saturday as women’s rights activists marched from the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial to the Statehouse steps in opposition to what they called the "war against women.”

“I was born in 1970," Toni Sutton told the crowd of approximately 100. "That means that I had more legal control over my body at the age of 3 than I have now. In the last 12 months, women have become sluts for taking birth control.”

Protesters said their line of defense in the battle to save women’s rights came with a warning to lawmakers who backed Winder’s bill: They would remember come November.

Kaitlyn Joyce told demonstrators,Laws that affect women do affect what kids cant do.
  • Carissa Wolf
  • Kaitlyn Joyce told demonstrators, "Laws that affect women do affect what kids can't do."

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Feds: Fewer Immigrants Face Detention After Minor Traffic Stops

Posted By on Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Federal immigration officials now say illegal immigrants who are arrested on minor traffic violations and have no criminal history will no longer automatically face detention.

Barbara Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that immigration agents would only consider detaining people if they were convicted of traffic offenses.

The policy change is part of the Department of Homeland Security's response to a report by a task force on a federal fingerprinting program. The report—issued in September 2011—said that deportations for minor offenses were inconsistent with the department's priorities. The report concluded that deportations for minor offenses, such as speeding or driving without a license, carried out under the Secure Communities program were undermining trust between immigrant communities and the local authorities.

The immigration changes came just a few days after the Supreme Court heard the Obama administration's arguments against the controversial Arizona immigration law, which would compel law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of those suspected of being illegal immigrants.

The New York Times reported that administration officials point to Secure Communities as an example of enforcement at the federal level, which makes state level policing of immigration counterproductive.

Appearing before the Supreme Court, the Justice Department argued that Arizona setting up its own state policy was "attrition by enforcement," which would lead to illegal immigrants leaving the state for neighboring states. Critics of the law have argued that it encourages racial profiling.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Forecast: Idaho Economy to Expand Slowly, Personal Income to Grow Nearly 2 Percent This Year

Posted By on Sat, Apr 28, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Idaho's latest economic tip-sheet, published late Friday, offered some good news tempered with caution. The Idaho Economic Forecast—a nearly 80-page document—is the Division of Financial Management's five-year outlook, with particular focus on employment.

"On an annual basis, employment grew 0.5 percent in 2011, which was more than twice as fast as the 0.2 percent that was predicted in January 2012," said the report. "In summary, the economy is forecast to expand slowly over the forecast period. Real GDP is projected to increase 2.2 percent in 2012, 2.4 percent in 2013, 3.4 percent in 2014, and 3.2 percent in 2015."

The forecast also predicts that real personal income is anticipated to grow 1.89 percent this year, 2.89 percent next year, 3.29 percent in 2014 and 2.99 percent in 2015.

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Indicted Tamarack Investor, Custodian Ordered to Back Away From Resort

Posted By on Sat, Apr 28, 2012 at 12:49 PM

An indicted Eagle money manager, accused of bilking investors as part of a $40 million scheme to buy Tamarack Resort, has had the terms of his freedom curtailed by a federal judge. In Friday's hearing at the U.S. District Courthouse in Boise, U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale ordered Michael Hutcheson and his associates not to solicit investors pending his trial.

Hutcheson is accused of taking $5 million from his clients' retirement funds to leverage a $3.2 million loan to purchase the Tamarack golf course. He's also accused of using some of the funds to remodel his home. Hutcheson's attorneys argue that their client should be able to market the loan in order to recover funds for the retirement accounts but Dale disagreed.

On April 19, shortly following a 31-count indictment, Hutcheson's father-in-law, Brad Mason, showed up at the Valley County resort to show off Tamarack to potential investors.

Dale said that Mason could remain as Hutcheson's custodians but was warned not to violate Hutcheson's release conditions.

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