Daily Bread for 8.1.21 | FREE WHITEWATER

Daily Bread for 8.1.21

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of 77. Sunrise is 5:47 AM and sunset 8:14 PM, for 14h 27m 09s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 41% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1774, British scientist Joseph Priestley discovers oxygen gas, corroborating the prior discovery of this element by German-Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Rick Barrett and Kelli Arseneau report With poor data, deficient requirements and little oversight, massive public spending still hasn’t solved the rural internet access problem:

The Federal Communications Commission has said that nationwide around 14 million people lack access to broadband, also known as high-speed internet. However, the firm Broadband Now, which helps consumers find service, estimates it’s closer to 42 million. And although Microsoft Corp. doesn’t have the ability to measure everyone’s actual internet connection, the tech giant says approximately 120 million Americans aren’t using the internet at true broadband speeds of at least 25-megabit-per-second downloads and 3 Mbps uploads — a further indication of how many people have been left behind.

In education, jobs, telemedicine and entertainment, large swaths of the countryside are stifled in basic tasks such as uploading a video or taking an online class.

Today, many believe the nation is at a pivotal moment as President Joe Biden’s administration has proposed spending $65 billion for broadband expansion.

Biden’s initiative, part of his $1.2 trillion American Jobs Plan, would prioritize the creation of future-proof networks, “so we finally reach 100 percent coverage,” the White House said in a recent statement.

[Price County resident Jeff] Hallstrand and others across rural America have heard this before.

In 2004, President George W. Bush called for affordable, high-speed internet access for all Americans by 2007. It was, he said, essential to the nation’s economic growth.

In 2010, President Barack Obama promoted a National Broadband Plan as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The 360-page plan outlined 208 recommendations. “It is a call to action,” the document said, “to replace talk with practical results.”

In 2019, President Donald Trump unveiled the $20 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, saying that farmers “just haven’t been treated properly” when it comes to internet  access. Billions had already been spent on broadband.

None of the efforts under any of the administrations succeeded, and some of the reasons were fairly straightforward. The data on who has broadband  — and who doesn’t  — has been flawed. Some of the upgrades quickly became obsolete. There’s been limited accountability.

“We have given away $40 billion in the last 10 years … and haven’t solved the problem,” said Tom Wheeler, who was FCC chairman in Obama’s administration.

 The New York Times editorial board writes Russia’s New Form of Organized Crime Is Menacing the World:

Whatever the true scope, the problem will not be solved with patches, antivirus software or two-factor authentication, though security experts stress that every bit of protection helps. “We’re not going to defend ourselves out of this problem,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, the chairman of Silverado Policy Accelerator and a leading authority on ransomware. “We have too many vulnerabilities. Companies that are small, libraries, fire departments will never afford the required security technology and talent.”

The battle must be joined elsewhere, and the place to start is Russia. That, according to the experts, is where the majority of attacks originate. Three other countries — China, Iran and North Korea — are also serious players, and the obvious commonality is that all are autocracies whose security apparatuses doubtlessly know full well who the hackers are and could shut them down in a minute. So the presumption is that the criminals are protected, either through bribes — which, given their apparent profits, they can distribute lavishly — or by doing pro bono work for the government or both.

Tonight’s Sky for August:

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