Daily Bread for 6.19.20

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will see an afternoon thundershower with a high of ninety. Sunrise is 5:16 AM and sunset 8:36 PM, for 15h 20m 24s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 3.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand three hundred nineteenth day.

On this day in 1865, Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issues an order that would inspire the Juneteenth holiday.

Recommended for reading in full —

 Olivia Messer reports The strange story of Utah tech companies, a Hollywood cheerleader with Midwest roots, and lawmakers dubious of a no-bid coronavirus testing contract:

One morning two weeks ago, Megan Hunt woke up fearing the worst.

The novel coronavirus pandemic was surging in Nebraska, and the 34-year-old midtown Omaha resident was winded, short of breath, sore, and had digestive issues, she told The Daily Beast. She continued to self-isolate, let her 10-year-old daughter help with the cooking, and tried to get a COVID-19 test from her state’s brand new, seemingly high-tech mass testing initiative:

But when she completed the online survey of symptoms, the site told her she didn’t qualify.

“I have spoken to many people who have had the same experience,” said Hunt. “I reported my symptoms honestly, and I was not selected for testing.”

The episode might be unremarkable in a country where COVID-19 testing has been a global laughingstock if not for two things: Hunt is a Nebraska state senator, and she wanted to verify that the state’s choice for a testing program was effective.

Hunt still doesn’t know if she ever had COVID-19. But she does feel confident that her state’s test regime, the bizarre brainchild of Utah “tech bros” with a surreal assist from Iowa native Ashton Kutcher, is “the Fyre Fest of coronavirus testing,” as she told The Daily Beast.

Lily Hay Newman reports The Russian Disinfo Operation You Never Heard About:

THE INTERNET RESEARCH Agency is infamous for flooding mainstream social media platforms with compelling disinformation campaigns. The GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, deploys strategic data leaks and destabilizing cyberattacks. But in the recent history of Russia’s online meddling, a third, distinct entity may have been at work on many of the same objectives—indicating that Russia’s disinformation operations went deeper than was publicly known until now.

Dubbed Secondary Infektion, the campaign came on the radar of researchers last year. Today, the social media analysis firm Graphika is publishing the first comprehensive review of the group’s activity, which seems to have begun all the way back in January 2014. The analysis reveals an entity that prioritizes covering its tracks; virtually all Secondary Infektion campaigns incorporate robust operational security, including a hallmark use of burner accounts that only stay live long enough to publish one post or comment. That’s a sharp contrast to the IRA and GRU disinformation operations, which often rely on cultivating online personas or digital accounts over time and building influence by broadening their reach.

Secondary Infektion also ran disinformation campaigns on a notably large array of digital platforms. While the IRA in particular achieved virality by focusing its energy on major mainstream social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Secondary Infektion took more than 300 platforms in all, including regional forums and smaller blogging sites.

Worried about a second wave of coronavirus? We’re still in the first:

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