Tag: Washington

12
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Washington state again fails to live-track murder hornet

SEATTLE — Washington state officials said Monday they were again unsuccessful at live-tracking a “murder” hornet while trying to find and destroy a nest of the giant insects.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture said an entomologist used dental floss to tie a tracking device on a female hornet, only to lose signs of her when she went into a forest.

The hornet was captured Oct. 5 and kept alive with strawberry jam, which she seemed to enjoy, said Sven Spichiger, a department entomologist.

Scientists then tied a tracking device onto her body and released her two days later onto an apple tree. They lost track of her after she went through some blackberry bushes, though officials believe the tracker was still attached at the time of its last signal.

“This one was a lot feistier,” Spichiger said.

A total of 18 hornets have been found in the state since they were first seen last year near the U.S.-Canadian border, the agriculture department said.

Officials earlier in the month reported trying to glue a radio tag to another live hornet so they could follow it back to its nest, but the glue did not dry fast enough. The radio tag fell off and the hornet ultimately could not fly.

The Asian giant hornet — the world’s largest at 2 inches — can decimate entire hives of honeybees and deliver painful stings to humans. Farmers in the northwestern United States depend on those honey bees to pollinate many crops, including raspberries and blueberries.

Despite their nickname, the hornets kill at most a few dozen people a year in Asia, and experts say it is probably far less. Hornets, wasps and bees typically found in the United States kill an average of 62 people a year, the Centers for Disease Control and

11
Oct
2020
Posted in internet

Washington state’s broadband guru on an internet moonshot and being a metaphorical prom king

Russ Elliott in his man-cave COVID-19 workspace. (Photo courtesy of Russ Elliott)

When a buddy of Russ Elliott‘s asked if he’d join him in starting a telecom company, he flat out said no. While his friend had been a great help building a website he needed, the venture didn’t have any financial backing and Elliott wasn’t versed in internet connectivity.

But when his friend took the unusual step of sending him a motivational postcard — something with an iceberg and a corny message about not knowing what’s out there unless you took a risk — it played on his mind. Elliott had an MBA. He had drive. He decided to embrace the inspirational cliché.

With that, some 20 years ago Elliott helped launch what became a successful business in Colorado called Brainstorm Internet, serving as its president for 13 years.

“We were nimble and quick and had smart people on our team and started DSL in our area,” Elliott said. They applied scrappy, creative solutions to deliver connectivity to rural areas in parts of Colorado and New Mexico.

 It certainly is a moonshot, but it is not unattainable.

There were other ventures mixed in, but the job with Brainstorm Internet wound up prepping him for his current role as the first director of the recently created Washington State Broadband Office, an organization within the state’s Department of Commerce. Elliott has the challenge of providing high-speed internet connectivity — 150 megabits per second for both downloading and uploading data — to all residents and businesses in the state by 2028.

“That really does set us on a different path. It is the most aggressive goal in the country today,” Elliott said. “It certainly is a moonshot, but it is not unattainable.”

He estimates that half of Washington’s population currently lacks fast,

29
Sep
2020
Posted in computer

Cyberattack Hobbles Major Hospital Chain’s US Facilities | Washington, D.C. News

By FRANK BAJAK and RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A computer outage at a major hospital chain thrust healthcare facilities across the U.S. into chaos Monday, with treatment impeded as doctors and nurses already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic were forced to rely on paper backup systems.

Universal Health Services Inc., which operates more than 250 hospitals and other clinical facilities in the U.S., blamed the outage on an unspecified IT “security issue” in a statement posted to its website Monday but provided no details about the incident, such as how many facilities were affected and whether patients had to be diverted to other hospitals.

UHS workers reached by The Associated Press at company facilities in Texas and Washington, D.C. described mad scrambles after the outage began overnight Sunday to render care, including longer emergency room waits and anxiety over determining which patients might be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

The Fortune 500 company, with 90,000 employees, said “patient care continues to be delivered safely and effectively” and no patient or employee data appeared to have been “accessed, copied or misused.” The King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, company also has hospitals in the United Kingdom, but its operations in that country were not affected, a spokeswoman said Monday night.

John Riggi, senior cybersecurity adviser to the American Hospital Association, called it a “suspected ransomware attack,” affirming reporting on the social media site Reddit by people identifying themselves as UHS employees. BleepingComputer, an online cybersecurity news site, spoke to UHS employees who described ransomware with the characteristics of Ryuk, which has been widely linked to Russian cybercriminals and used against large enterprises.

Criminals have been increasingly targeting health care institutions with ransomware during the pandemic, infecting networks with malicious code that scrambles data. To unlock it, they demand

29
Sep
2020
Posted in internet

SpaceX’s internet-from-space Starlink system helping first responders fight fires in Washington

Responders fighting wildfires in Washington are getting some extra help from SpaceX and the company’s internet-from-space Starlink initiative. SpaceX loaned the Washington Emergency Management Division a handful of user terminals that can tap into the company’s Starlink satellites, providing internet to rural areas where first responders are battling raging wildfires.

SpaceX is still at the very beginning of building out its Starlink constellation, which could consist of nearly 12,000 satellites when it’s complete. That number of satellites could beam broadband internet services to every spot on Earth at all times from relatively low orbits, potentially providing global internet coverage from space. There’s still a ways to go. So far, SpaceX has launched nearly 800 satellites, though dozens have also been taken out of orbit. SpaceX plans to start beta testing in the Washington area with the satellites that remain in orbit.

“What happened is that they happened to have satellites that could reach our area,” Steven Friedrich, a spokesperson for the Washington Emergency Management Division, wrote to The Verge in a message.

The Washington Emergency Management Division is using two of SpaceX’s user terminals to receive broadband from overhead satellites. One is located near Malden, Washington, which was devastated by wildfires, and another is located near a smaller fire dubbed the Sumner-Grade Wildfire in western Washington. “Without the terminal, internet would be nearly impossible to achieve” near the Malden area, according to Friedrich. “My understanding is this is the first [public] use of Starlink and the partnership their technical experts have had with our team in the state [Emergency Operations Center] has been invaluable,” Friedrich said.

29
Sep
2020
Posted in internet

Washington emergency responders use SpaceX Starlink satellite internet

Washington Emergency Management Division

The Starlink satellite internet network that SpaceX is developing has been used in the field by Washington state emergency responders in recent weeks, the first early application of the company’s service to be disclosed.

Washington’s state military, which includes its emergency response division, began employing Starlink user terminals in early August to bring internet service to areas devastated by wildfires. User terminals are the small devices on the ground that connect to the satellites. The emergency division has seven Starlink user terminals, which it is deploying with early success.

“I have never set up any tactical satellite equipment that has been as quick to set up, and anywhere near as reliable” as Starlink, Richard Hall, the emergency telecommunications leader of the Washington State Military Department’s IT division, told CNBC in an interview Monday.

How Washington’s using Starlink

Starlink is the name for SpaceX’s ambitious plan to build an interconnected internet satellite network, also known as a “constellation,” to deliver high-speed internet to anywhere on the planet.

The full Starlink network is planned to have about 12,000 satellites flying in what is known as low Earth orbit, much closer to the surface than traditional broadband satellites. Hall, whose division has used other satellite broadband services, said “there’s really no comparison” between Starlink and traditional networks, where the satellites are farther away from the Earth in Geosynchronous or medium earth orbits.

“Starlink easily doubles the bandwidth” in comparison, Hall said, noting that he’s seen more than 150% decreases in latency. “I’ve seen lower than 30 millisecond latency consistently,” he said.

Hall said that, with other traditional services, it typically takes between 30 minutes to an hour to set up a satellite connection, “with a lot less speed and bandwidth and a lot higher latency in a much larger