Thursday, November 5, 2020

IRS Warns of COVID Payment Scam

Posted By on Thu, Nov 5, 2020 at 3:27 PM


The IRS is warning about a new text scam that attempts to trick people into disclosing bank account information by promising they’ll receive an “Economic Impact Payment” of $1,200, according to a news release from the Internal Revenue Service.

The scam message includes a link to a fake phishing web address and reads: “You have received a direct deposit of $1,200 from COVID-19 TREAS FUND. Further action is required to accept this payment into your account. Continue here to accept this payment.”

The phishing URL leads to a fraudulent website impersonating the IRS “Get My Payment” website. If recipients of the text enter personal financial information, those behind the scam will have access to it.

“The IRS, states and industry, working together as the Security Summit, remind taxpayers that neither the IRS nor state agencies will ever text taxpayers asking for bank account information so that an EIP deposit may be made,” the release said.

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said the scammers behind the texts are “relentlessly using COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments as cover to try to trick taxpayers out of their money or identities,” according to the release. “This scam is a new twist on those we’ve been seeing much of this year. We urge people to remain alert to these types of scams.”

The IRS says anyone who receives the text scam should take a screenshot of it and email the photo to with the following information:

  • Date/Time/Timezone that they received the text message

  • The number that appeared on their Caller ID

  • The number that received the text message

Those who think they qualify for Economic Impact Payment should visit, but the government agency will never send unsolicited texts or emails.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Speed Up Your Internet for the Long, Slow Pandemic

Posted By on Wed, Jun 10, 2020 at 10:26 AM

  • BigStock

I recently flagged down a technician from my local internet provider about why the service seems so darn slow all the time. He confirmed one problem I’d always suspected. Upgrading infrastructure is expensive so a company tends to put far too many customers onto the bandwidth than can ever hope to achieve the promised upload and download speeds.

So, the first uncomfortable reality of your slow home internet is that it’s likely there’s an infrastructure problem that will not be addressed until the customer complaints reach the intolerable level.

Even after local economies return to whatever passes for normal in the near future, expect that many who went home to work during the pandemic will not return to the office, thus creating even more demand for the finite resource of internet bandwidth.

The good news is that there’s a solid chance that a few tweaks to your router and applying other tricks of the trade can speed things up considerably while you wait for your provider to crack open the wallet and undertake a full-scale upgrade.

Test Your Speed First

There’s not much point in changing anything until you know what you’re working with. That means you should test upload and download speeds to see if they happen to be anywhere near what was promised in the package you signed up for.

Once you have numbers for both your upload and download speed (the latter is typically much faster), compare them against what area providers say they deliver. Maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised, but there’s a good chance you won’t. If your real world numbers are too far removed from your plan numbers, a phone call to the home office might be in order.

Advertised speed is usually calculated as a “best case” scenario and intended to be used as the top end of a range.

Turn Off Unused Devices

Every single internet device in your house is sipping (maybe even gulping) data at all times unless it’s turned off or the wifi capability is switched off. Wait! Don’t just speed through this suggestion as too Mickey Mouse to try. It really can help.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

OSIRIS-REx: New Information On Asteroids' Shapes, Formation

Posted By on Tue, Jun 2, 2020 at 10:00 AM

  • Courtesy NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona
Scientists from the University of Arizona-led OSIRIS-REx space mission have released new findings about the origins of small astronomical bodies based on observation of the asteroid Bennu.

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft launched from the Earth in September 2016 and is planned to return in 2023. The spacecraft, part of a NASA program, will collect rocks and dust from the surface of Bennu in order to better understand "the initial stages of planet formation and the source of organic compounds available for the origin of life." Since arriving at Bennu in December 2018, OSIRIS-Rex has mapped the asteroid's rocky and carbon-rich surface.

In studying Bennu, scientists have discovered that the asteroid is composed of fragments of larger bodies that shattered upon colliding with other objects. The small fragments then reaccumulated to form an aggregate body, which explains Bennu's extremely rough surface and a partially hollow interior. 

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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Banner Unveils Virtual Waiting Rooms To Help With Social Distancing

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2020 at 3:30 PM

  • University Medical Center Tucson - Banner

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Banner Health launched virtual waiting rooms for its 300 clinics across the country. The virtual waiting rooms are equipped with chatbots from the health technology company LifeLink that assist patients via text-based communication.

The normal waiting room experience, which included close proximities of patients, needed to be updated for pandemic distancing. According to Greg Kefer, Chief Marketing Officer at LifeLink, the chatbot automates the paperwork patients normally fill out while sitting in the waiting room. This process is now completed in advance.

Patients communicate with the chatbot through text messaging on any device. As Kefer explained, this makes it especially accessible because no app needs to be downloaded nor does any password need to be created or remembered.

Kefer also suggests that this new process may serve as a solution to patients who have resisted going to the doctor.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Powwows move online to keep Indigenous communities together

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2020 at 12:00 PM

PHOENIX – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, some Native Americans have found a way to safely host traditional powwows by moving them online.

In many Indigenous communities, powwows are celebrations of culture in which tribes gather to share art, stories, food, song, dance and the company of one another.

But the ongoing pandemic has made it impossible to hold these gatherings safely – in person, anyways. The Navajo Nation, for example, has set curfews and asked the 173,000 tribal members living on the reservation to stay home because 142 Navajos have died of COVID-19 and 4,071 cases have been diagnosed.

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Friday, April 24, 2020

FC Tucson Finalist in 2020 USL eCup Rocket League Tournament

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2020 at 11:00 AM

If you're craving sports right now, you might be surprised to learn that some are still going - in a more virtual format.

For instance, NASCAR has gone online to iRacing, Formula 1 had its own virtual Grand Prix, and even boxing fought it out in a video game format.

click image fc_tucson_schedule.png
Now, after weeks of bouts and climbing up the brackets, FC Tucson has taken its place in a head to head finalist round for the USL eCup Rocket League competition.

If you're not familiar with Rocket League, it's an online video game of soccer with some twists. Instead of people on the field, there are cars being controlled by the players. These cars also have rocket boosting ability (thus, the title of the game) that is key to getting in place at the right time to score or block a goal.

See the highlights from last night's semifinal match between FC Tucson and Tacoma Defiance, including the 200th goal of the tournament from FC Tucson.

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Thursday, April 16, 2020

Raytheon awarded $13.72 million Navy Contract

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2020 at 2:00 PM

An RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missile is launched from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) off the coast of Southern California, on 23 July 2010. - U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST SEAMAN MATTHEW J. HARAN
  • U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matthew J. Haran
  • An RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missile is launched from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) off the coast of Southern California, on 23 July 2010.
Raytheon employees in Tucson will lead the way on work for the United States Navy’s Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile system after a $13.7 million contract modification was awarded to the company on Wednesday.

More than 90 percent of the work will be done in Tucson, according to a press release announcing the decision. Work will also occur in the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, and Australia, in addition to sites in West Virginia, Canada, Spain, and Turkey.

The missile program is described as an international cooperative effort and is a medium-range surface-to-air system designed to protect ships from missiles and attacking aircraft. Development of the Sea Sparrow program began with NATO in 1990, and Raytheon delivered the first production system to the Navy. The missile entered into service in 2004.

Work on the current project is expected to wrap up in December and the contract includes purchases for the Navy and the governments of Thailand, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Raytheon was originally awarded the contract in 2016 at a potential value of $197 million.

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Friday, April 10, 2020

Make Way for Books opens the door to early childhood literacy

Posted By on Fri, Apr 10, 2020 at 2:09 PM

Make Way For Books' app provides free books for young children, along with literacy tips for their parents. The local nonprofit recently launched a Facebook story time series open to any family with young children. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Make Way For Books' app provides free books for young children, along with literacy tips for their parents. The local nonprofit recently launched a Facebook story time series open to any family with young children.
With libraries and schools closed there are families across Pima County without reliable access to free or low-cost books, but adventures are available in the palm of your hand thanks to Make Way for Books’ smartphone app.

The literacy nonprofit works with families with young children ages 0 to 5 in order to empower them with the skills and confidence they need to be their child’s most important teacher, according to Fernando González, the Digital Director of Make Way for Books.

Too often, children enter kindergarten lacking important early literacy skills. Make Way for Books goes out into the community to provide programming so families can access high-quality literacy aid.

Normally, their work consists of a couple of strategies, including the Family Education and Literacy, The Story Project and Neighborhood School Readiness Project programs, which provide literacy aid both in and out of the home. The Story Project, for instance, includes at-home education, on-site workshops, and lending libraries.

According to González, Make Way for Books tries to provide a two-generational approach in which parents are there with their kids providing a reading lesson while also learning explicit strategies on how to share books with their children.

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