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The Commerce Blog

Secretary Locke Announces Recovery Act Grant to Create Jobs, Boost Development in Montana

EDA seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced a $2.7 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant for the State of Montana to capitalize a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) that will provide timber and wood businesses with the financing they need to become more competitive. This grant is the first awarded by the Commerce Department under President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). (More) (Commerce.gov/Recovery)

Secretary Locke Announces Availability of $27 Million in Recovery Act Funding to Help Midwestern Communities

AARA logo. Click to go to www.Commerce.gov/Recovery.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the availability of $27 million in grants for Midwestern communities. These grants, made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), are available through the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). The region targeted by the grants is coping with the downturn of the U.S. auto industry. The money will be available for communities and organizations in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. (More) (Remarks) (Commerce.gov/Recovery)

Internet Use Triples in Decade, Census Bureau Reports

U.S. Census Bureau seal.

New data from the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau show that 62 percent of households reported using Internet access in the home in 2007, an increase from 18 percent in 1997. “These data give us a better understanding of who is using the Internet and from where,” said Thom File, a statistician with the Census Bureau. Among the states, Alaska and New Hampshire residents had among the highest rates of Internet use from any location (home, work or public access) for those 3 and older in 2007. Mississippi and West Virginia had among the lowest rates of Internet use at about 52 percent. (More)

NIST Delivers Updated Draft Standards for Electronic Voting Machines

Image of electronic voting machine.

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) delivered to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) a draft revision to the 2005 federal Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) Version 1.0, specifying how electronic voting machines are built and tested. “The guidelines announced today are designed to further improve the quality and efficiency of the testing conducted on voting systems,” said John Wack, NIST voting team manager. “This enables improvements to be made sooner rather than later when the next full set of standards is finalized.” (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke Meets with Mexico's Secretary of Economy Mateos

Secretary Mateos and Secretary Locke seated in front of fireplace talking. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with Mexico’s Secretary of Economy Gerardo Ruiz Mateos at the Commerce Department. This was the first meeting between Secretary Ruiz and Secretary Locke.Secretary Locke and Secretary Ruiz highlighted the importance of our bilateral trade relationship and the need for continued cooperation in strengthening our competitiveness in the region and removing impediments to trade. (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke: "Time is Running Out" to Receive TV Converter Box Coupons Before June 12 Switch

TV Converter Box Coupon Program logo. Click to visit DTV2009 Web site.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke is urging Americans who need help getting ready for the national switch to digital television (DTV) to apply for a converter box coupon no later than Monday, June 1, in order to receive it before the June 12 transition. "Time is running out. Americans who rely on free television who aren’t prepared for the transition should apply for a coupon today if they need help purchasing a converter box so they can continue receiving the television programming they count on," Locke said. (More) (Apply for Coupon) (www.dtv2009.gov)

USPTO: May 29 Last Day for National Medal of Technology and Innovation Nominations

Image of National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking nominations for the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement. The USPTO administers the NMTI program on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce. The deadline for nominations is May 29, 2009. Honorees are chosen for outstanding contributions to the nation’s economic, environmental and social well-being through the development and commercialization of technological products, processes and concepts; technological innovation; and development of the country’s technological manpower. (More)

NOAA Announces New Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites

Satellite image of Hurricane Katrina. Click for larger image.

Scientists from Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have teamed up with experts from the University of Maryland and North Carolina State University to form the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites. The new institute will use satellite observations to detect, monitor and forecast climate change, and its impact on the environment, including ecosystems. “To help us understand climate change, we have to find ways to best leverage all of our available resources, including the information we get from satellites,” said Mary Kicza, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service. (More)

Commerce Secretary Announces $19.5 Million More for Ike/Gustav Recovery Efforts

EDA seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced an additional $19.5 million in Economic Development Administration (EDA) investments to aid the ongoing economic recovery following the devastation caused last year by hurricanes Ike and Gustav. Last week, the Obama Administration announced $20.9 million of investments for the Gulf Coast region to assist in the recovery. “The Obama Administration is committed to creating jobs, encouraging innovation and improving our nation’s competitiveness,” Locke said. (More)

Secretary Locke Urges Sacramento Residents to Prepare for June 12 Switch to Digital Television

Left to right: Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Secretary Gary Locke and Mayor Kevin Johnson. Click for larger image.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke joined Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Mayor Kevin Johnson at the Sacramento public library to urge residents to prepare for the national switch to digital television (DTV) before the June 12 deadline. In the final month before the national switch, the Commerce Department is increasing its outreach efforts into communities that have been identified as the least prepared for the transition, including the Sacramento area. While the city has made progress since February—the original date for the switch—Sacramento is among the top 10 least-prepared cities in the country, according to Nielsen data. (More)

Census Bureau Announces Guam Economy Grew by 36 Percent, 2002-2007

Census Bureau seal.

Guam’s economy generated $6.2 billion in sales in 2007, up from $4.6 billion in 2002, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Economic Census of Island Areas: Geographic Area Series for Guam. The economic census profiles Guam’s economy every 5 years. The 2007 census data include statistics for Guam and its 19 election districts for businesses with paid employees. These data for Guam are available through the Census Bureau’s American FactFinder, an online data tool that allows users to access, filter, manipulate and extract data. Guam is a U.S. territory in the western Pacific Ocean. (More)

NOAA Observes National Hurricane Preparedness Week

NOAA seal.

To reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Hurricane Preparedness Week May 24-30, 2009. History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. The goal of this Hurricane Preparedness Web site is to inform the public about the hurricane hazards and provide knowledge which can be used to take action. This information can be used to save lives at work, home, while on the road, or on the water. (More)

NOAA Issues Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, Encourages Preparedness

Secretary Locke and officials at airport with NOAA plane in background. Click for alrger image

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasters say a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is most likely this year. However, as with any season, the need to prepare for the possibility of a storm striking is essential. “Today, more than 35 million Americans live in regions most threatened by Atlantic hurricanes,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said at a Washington, D.C. area airport. “Timely and accurate warnings of severe weather help save lives and property. Public awareness and public preparedness are the best defenses against a hurricane.” (More)

NIST Defining the Expanding World of Cloud Computing

Image of laptop computer.

Photo: Shutterstock

A working definition for cloud computing—a new computer technique with potential for achieving significant cost savings and information technology agility—has been released by a team of computer security experts at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Since the federal government is considering cloud computing as a component of its new technology infrastructure, it is NIST’s role to evaluate it and then promote its effective and secure use within government and industry by providing technical guidance and developing standards. (More)

USPTO to Hold On-Line Chat for Independent Inventors

Photo of USPTO campus.

USPTO Alexandria campus

Senior officials of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will be available live on-line Thursday, May 21, 2009 from 2 to 3 pm (EDT). They will be answering questions and offering tips for independent inventors. Instructions for taking part in the on-line chat will be posted on the home page of the USPTO web site at 10 AM (EDT) Thursday. Inventors can begin logging on for the chat at 1:30 pm. The independent inventor on-line chat is part of the USPTO’s continuing effort to promote and protect America’s independent inventor community. (More)

President Obama Proclaims World Trade Week

Official White House logo.

In a proclamation from the White House, President Barack Obama declared “World Trade Week is an opportunity to reaffirm the benefits of trade and to emphasize America's commitment to a global marketplace that creates good jobs and lifts up American families. The United States and our trading partners stand to gain when trade is open, transparent, rules-based, and fair, showing respect for labor and environmental standards. The United States is well-positioned to reap the benefits of trade. America is a leader in the global marketplace and ranks at the top of almost every measure of global competitiveness.” World Trade Week is May 17-23. (Presidential Proclamation) (Secretary Locke Remarks)

NOAA Report: Four Fish Stocks Declared Fully Rebuilt

Monkfish in buckets. Click for larger image.

NOAA’s Fisheries Service of the Commerce Department reported to Congress that four stocks—Atlantic bluefish, Gulf of Mexico king mackerel and two stocks of monkfish in the Atlantic—have been rebuilt to allow for continued sustainable fishing. This is the largest number of stocks to be declared rebuilt in a single year since the fisheries service declared the first stock successfully rebuilt in 2001. “Rebuilding these four stocks so they can support the highest sustainable harvest for future generations of Americans is a significant milestone,” said Jim Balsiger, acting NOAA assistant administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. (More)

Locke, Chu Announce Significant Steps in Smart Grid Development

Chu, Locke ande Arnold at White House press conference. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced significant progress that will help expedite development of a nationwide “smart” electric power grid. A Smart Grid would replace the current, outdated system and employ real-time, two-way communication technologies to allow users to connect directly with power suppliers. The development of the grid will create jobs and spur the development of innovative products that can be exported. Once implemented, the Smart Grid is expected to save consumers money and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil by improving efficiency and spurring the use of renewable energy sources. (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke Participates in Port of Seattle Terminal 30 Grand Opening

Photo of ribbon cutting ceremony. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke returned to Washington state for a ceremony marking the rebuilt Terminal 30 at the Port of Seattle. He joined officials from the port, China Shipping–including its president Li Shaode. In his remarks, the Secretary said “I believe this port is another step in bringing our two nations closer together, a step that will ultimately improve the quality of life for both peoples.”

Secretary Locke Statement on National Travel and Tourism Week

Photo of Gary Locke.

File Photo

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke released the following statement on the observance of National Travel and Tourism Week: “Last year, a record 58 million travelers visited the United States to conduct business, see family and friends, and experience our big cities, small towns and incredible natural wonders. As we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, we are reminded that the industry benefits every state and U.S. territory, employing more than eight million workers across the country.” (More)

Secretary Locke Meets with Korea's Trade Minister Kim Jong-Hoon

Locke and Kim at conference table with aides. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with South Korea’s Minister for Trade Kim Jong-Hoon at the Commerce Department, the first meeting between Minister Kim and Secretary Locke. Locke and Kim recognized the importance of the $83 billion in goods trade between the two countries in 2008. They expressed support for continuing to deepen cooperation on trade and investment issues. “Korea, with a $1 trillion economy, is our eighth largest export market, and the Department of Commerce is committed to ensuring that U.S. companies can compete and win in this vibrant Asian market,” said Secretary Locke. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on March 2009 Trade Numbers

Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the March 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports decreased by 2.4 percent to $123.6 billion since February 2009. Imports decreased 1.0 percent to $151.2 billion. Overall, the trade deficit grew 5.5 percent during the same time period. “Today’s numbers are better than many economists predicted, and it’s worth noting that the trade deficit is half of what it was in the first quarter of 2008.” (More) (Fact Sheet)

Secretary Locke Urges Americans to Prepare for June 12 Switch to Digital Television

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www.DTV2009.gov logo. Click to go to Web site.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke is urging Americans to prepare for the national switch to digital television (DTV) before the June 12 deadline—just 30 days from today. In the final month before the national switch, the Commerce Department is increasing its outreach efforts into communities that have been identified as the least prepared for the transition. “With just 30 days to go, Americans who haven’t prepared for the transition to digital need to act now to ensure they will be able to continue to receive the television programming they count on,” said Secretary Locke. (More)

Over 7,000 Attend Two-Day National Trademark Expo

(Posing left to right): Dennis the Menace, Congressman Jim Moran, Debbie Cohn, John Doll and Curious George officially open the 2009 National Trademark Expo. Click for larger image.

It began on Friday morning with a parade of 25 trademark characters, music from the Air Force Band’s Ceremonial Quintet, speeches and a ribbon cutting. It ended on Saturday when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s normally quiet weekend campus sprang to life with thousands of kids and their parents flocking to the National Trademark Expo. Attendees enjoyed and interacted with such iconic trademark costume characters as Popeye, Olive Oyl, Dennis the Menace, Betty Boop, Curious George and Sprout. Expo visitors also learned more about the vital role trademarks play in the global economy at 15 exhibit booths and by attending educational workshops. (More) (Photo Gallery)

NOAA Researchers: Blue Whales Re-establishing Former Migration Patterns

Blue whale spouting. Click for larger image.

Scientists have documented the first known migration of blue whales from the coast of California to areas off British Columbia and the Gulf of Alaska since the end of commercial whaling in 1965. In the scientific journal Marine Mammal Science, researchers from Cascadia Research Collective in Washington state, NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in California, and Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans identified 15 separate cases where blue whales were seen off British Columbia and the Gulf of Alaska. (More)

Secretary Locke to Meet with Supply Chain Industry Leaders, Keynote Conference

International Trade Administration logo.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will deliver keynote remarks at the Game Changers in the Supply Chain Infrastructure: Are We Ready to Play? Conference on Monday, May 11. The conference, jointly hosted by the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Transportation, is the first meeting between supply chain industry leaders and key Administration officials to discuss how America’s freight infrastructure must be improved to boost the competitiveness of U.S. firms in the global economy. A live webcast of the keynote address will be available beginning Monday, at 9:00 a.m. EDT. (Webcast) (Remarks)

New Study: Home Energy Savings Are Made in the Shade

Image of house and garage shaded by trees. Click for larger image.

Trees positioned to shade the west and south sides of a house may decrease summertime electric bills by 5 percent on average, according to a recent study of California homes by researchers from Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The first large-scale study of its kind, the research paper considers the effects of shade on 460 single-family homes in Sacramento during the summer of 2007 and provides hard statistics showing how well-placed shade trees can reduce energy costs and atmospheric carbon as well. (More)

Secretary Locke Meets with Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry

Minister of Trade and Secretary of Commerce with other attendees of meeting. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Toshihiro Nikai, the first meeting between Minister Nikai and Secretary Locke. In their meeting, Locke and Nikai recognized the progress made by the Commerce Department and METI under the Joint Initiative for Enhanced U.S.-Japan Cooperation on Intellectual Property Rights and other global issues and expressed support for continuing to deepen cooperation on trade and investment issues. “It is important for the United States and Japan, as the two largest economies in the world, to show strong leadership during these challenging economic times,” Locke said. (More)

NOAA, U.S. Coast Guard: New Ocean Current Data to Improve Search and Rescue Activities

Image of helicopter with responder hovering over water rescuing a victim. Click for larger image.

U.S. Coast Guard Photo

A new set of ocean observing data that enhances the ability to track probable paths of victims and drifting survivor craft should improve search and rescue efforts along the U.S. coast. The data comes from the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®), part of a joint effort among Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security. The new data sets include surface current maps from high frequency radar systems. (More)

Secretary Locke Sworn in at White House Ceremony by Vice President Biden

Image of Scretary Locke.

File Photo

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius were sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden in ceremonies at the White House. President Barack Obama also attended the ceremonial swearing-in event in the East Room. “My Cabinet is now full of energetic innovators like Kathleen and Gary. . . I am thrilled to have them by my side as we continue the work of turning our economy around and laying a new foundation for growth that delivers on the change the American people asked for, and the promise of a new and better day ahead,” President Obama said. Locke, a key member of the President’s economic team, is the department’s 36th Secretary, leading its 12 agencies and bureaus and more than 52,000 employees. (President’s Remarks)

Secretary Locke Discusses Trade Promotion Agreement with Colombian Minister for Trade

Minister Plata and Secretary Locke talk while seated in chairs. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with Colombia’s Minister for Trade, Industry and Tourism, Luis Guillermo Plata, at the Commerce Department today. This was the first meeting between Minister Plata and Secretary Locke. The Secretary and Minister Plata reaffirmed the commitment of both governments to move forward on progress towards the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement. The two leaders also underscored the importance of building stronger business ties through activities like joint cooperation in trade capacity-building for small- and medium-sized enterprises and good governance programs. (More)

Secretary Locke, Governor O'Malley Urge Americans to Get Ready for TV Transition

Residents of Liberty Senior Center listen as Secretary Locke addresses the group. Click for larger image.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley encouraged Americans to prepare for the June 12 switch to digital television at a community gathering at Liberty Senior Center in Randallstown, Maryland. Secretary Locke commended local volunteers who are assisting senior citizens who rely on over-the-air television in their community with the upcoming digital transition. “The national switch to digital television is just around the corner, and there won’t be another delay,” said Secretary Locke. (More)

Salazar and Locke Restore Scientific Consultation under the Endangered Species Act to Protect Species and their Habitats

Categories:
Image of sea turtle underwater. Click for larger image.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the two departments are revoking an eleventh hour Bush administration rule that undermined Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections. Their decision requires federal agencies to once again consult with federal wildlife experts at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—the two agencies that administer the ESA—before taking any action that may affect threatened or endangered species. (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke Meets with China's Minister of Commerce

Secretary Locke and MinisterChen shake hands, with U.S. and Chinese flags in the background.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with China’s Minister of Commerce Chen Deming at the Commerce Department. The Secretary and Minister Chen reaffirmed the commitment of both governments to continuing to build a positive and cooperative relationship that strengthens trade and creates jobs in the United Statesand China. The two leaders underscored the importance of achieving concrete results at the next meeting of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade and discussed issues such as increasing U.S. exports to China and the need to avoid protectionism. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on World IP Day

Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke released the following statement on World Intellectual Property Day: “U.S. companies are among the most innovative in the world. As we celebrate World Intellectual Property Day we are reminded of the important role intellectual property rights play in stimulating American ingenuity and spurring economic growth and jobs. Unfortunately, counterfeiting and piracy take an enormous toll on American industry and workers, costing billions of dollars and thousands of jobs each year. The Department of Commerce is working to combat this problem through trade agreement compliance, active engagement with foreign leaders, and educational outreach.” (More)

Residential Mover Rate in U.S. is Lowest Since Census Bureau Began Tracking in 1948

Bureau of the Census seal.

Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau announced that the national mover rate declined from 13.2 percent in 2007 to 11.9 percent in 2008—the lowest rate since the bureau began tracking these data in 1948. In 2008, 35.2 million people 1 year and older changed residences in the U.S. within the past year, representing a decrease from 38.7 million in 2007 and the smallest number of residents to move since 1962. “Even though the number of people who changed residence in 2008 dropped by 3.5 million from the previous year, millions of Americans continue to move,” said Tom Mesenbourg, acting director of the U.S. Census Bureau. “As we gear up for the 2010 Census, we will be looking to get an accurate count of everyone in the country, regardless of whether they moved in the past year or not.” (More)

Researchers Give High Marks to New Technology for Fingerprint Identification

Image of fingerprint. Click for larger image.

Overworked crime scene investigators can take heart at the results of recent tests at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of new technologies that automate the manual portion of latent fingerprint identification. Prototype systems evaluated by NIST performed surprisingly well for a developing technology: half of the prototypes were accurate at least 80 percent of the time and one had a near perfect score. Automating the manual portion of the work frees up time for trained examiners to spend time on very difficult images that the software has little hope of processing. (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke Addresses Motion Picture Summit

Secretary Locke at podium during remarks to Summit.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke talked about the motion picture industry’s importance to the U.S. economy at the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) Second Biennial Industry Summit. “Movies and TV shows are direct products of the freedoms we enjoy; that’s part of why they’re so popular around the world,” Locke said. “The Obama administration is well aware of the impact of counterfeiting and piracy on our industries and workers, and we’re working to combat it.” (Remarks) (www.stopfakes.gov)

Secretary Locke Announces $5.25 Million Investment in Arkansas Job Creation, Economic Development

EDA seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, on his first official trip since taking office, presented $5.25 million in Economic Development Administration (EDA) grants to create jobs and strengthen the Arkansas economy in the wake of the severe storms, flooding and tornados that occurred in 2008. Locke was joined by Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and Sen. Mark Pryor.“The Obama Administration is committed to creating jobs, encouraging innovation and improving our nation’s competitiveness,” Locke said. (Remarks)

Vice President Biden and Secretary Locke Outline Funding for Smart Grid Initiatives

Vice President Biden and Commerce Secretary Locke at podium. Click for larger image.

Vice President Joe Biden, on a visit to Jefferson City, Mo. with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, detailed plans by the Department of Energy to develop a smart, strong and secure electrical grid, which will create new jobs and help deliver reliable power more effectively with less impact on the environment to customers across the nation. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Vice President and Secretary outlined plans to distribute more than $3.3 billion in Smart Grid technology development grants and an additional $615 million for Smart Grid storage, monitoring and technology viability. (White House Release) (Secretary’s Remarks)

NOAA Dedicates New Chesapeake Bay Research Vessel

Image of the R/V Bay Hyrdo II speeding through the water. Click for larrger image.

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) christened a new state-of-the-art research vessel, R/V Bay Hydro II, which will collect oceanographic data in the Chesapeake Bay region—data critical to safe navigation and environmental protection in the nation’s largest estuary. The dedication took place in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, featuring a ceremonial breaking of a champagne bottle over the bow and a cannon salute from the USS Constellation. (More)

NIST Announces Three-Phase Plan for Smart Grid Standards, Paving Way for More Efficient, Reliable Electricity

Image of electricity-producing wind farm. Click for larger image.

Photo: Shutterstock

As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to moving the nation toward energy independence, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced a three-phase plan to expedite development of key standards for a Smart Grid, a nationwide network that uses information technology to deliver electricity efficiently, reliably and securely. The recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) contains investments critical to spurring the Smart Grid development process. The Smart Grid will allow wind farms to send their energy farther from their source. (More) (NIST Recovery Act Information)

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Statement on Trade Numbers

DOC seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the February 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports increased by 1.6 percent to $126.8 billion since January 2009. Imports decreased 5.1 percent to $152.7 billion. Overall, the trade deficit shrank 28.3 percent during the same time period. (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke Meets with Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong for First Courtesy Visit

The Secretary and Ambassador greet one another with a handshake. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with China’s Ambassador to the United States Zhou Wenzhong in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the Commerce Department, the first visit by a foreign ambassador to the Secretary. Zhou has been the Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. since 2005. Secretary Locke is the first Chinese American to serve as Commerce Secretary and was the first Chinese American governor in U.S. history. Secretary Locke is committed to continue building a positive and cooperative relationship between the U.S. and China to create jobs and strengthen the economy.

National Trademark Expo Set for USPTO Campus May 8-9

Kiosk with sign publicizing expo.

Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will present a National Trademark Expo May 8 and 9. A ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. will kick off the two day event. The Expo will be held on the agency’s campus in Alexandria, Virginia. In addition to Trademark Exhibitors, local businesses will also participate in the Expo. The Expo will highlight anti-counterfeiting efforts and how counterfeit goods cause great harm to the economy. The Expo is free, fun and informative for the whole family. (More)

NOAA Submits Proposed Recovery Plan to Congress to Help Create Jobs, Improve Coastal Communities and Protect Habitat

ARRA logo. Click to go to Commerce.gov/Recovery.

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) submitted to Congress its proposed Recovery plan to create jobs, strengthen the economy, and restore our environment. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, NOAA was provided $830 million. NOAA estimates its planned expenditures will create a significant number of new jobs and strengthen the economy, spurring the creation of additional jobs.NOAA’s investments in weather forecasting and research, fisheries, ocean and coastal management are aimed at safeguarding lives and putting Americans to work. (More)

Locke Statement on President Obama's Intent to Nominate Groves as Census Director

Bureau of the Census seal.

President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Robert Groves as the new Director of the U.S. Census Bureau. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke released the following statement: “The decennial Census faces significant challenges, but I am confident that Robert’s leadership will help us meet those challenges. He is a respected social scientist who will run the Census Bureau with integrity and independence.” As Census Director, Groves will report to Secretary Locke. (Statement) (White House Release)

Secretary Locke Addresses Importance of Broadband to Nation's Economic Recovery and Growth

Locke holding microphone. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke highlighted the importance of broadband to the nation’s economic recovery and growth at the opening of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association’s 2009 National Cable Show. Locke highlighted the Broadband Initiatives funded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which are critical for building a 21st century information infrastructure and creating jobs in unserved, underserved and rural communities across the country. ”Access to high-speed Internet networks opens doors to the world. . . and is fundamental to this country’s economic growth,” Locke said.

Secretary Locke Encourages U.S. Latinos To Be Counted in Census 2010

Secretary Locke speaking from podium.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke participated in the kick off of an historic national campaign at the National Press Club to urge the nearly 50 million U.S. Latinos to fully participate in the 2010 Census. Locke joined the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) and other partners at the launch of the ya es hora !HAGASE CONTAR! (It’s Time, Make Yourself Count!) campaign. “Bringing the right numbers to your communities means bringing economic empowerment. And you have not left the work to the Census Bureau alone,” Locke said. “You are leading the way and taking charge of your destiny. Yes. It is time.” (Remarks)

NOAA: Early Warning System Forecasts Deadly Mudslides

Image of van trapped in debris. Click for larger image.

Scientists from Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Geological Survey have developed a prototype debris flow warning system using weather forecasts and precipitation measurements along with regional USGS rainfall rate thresholds to determine the probability of debris flows. In the United States, approximately 25 to 50 deaths a year can be attributed to the phenomenon of debris flow—or mudslides as they are more commonly known—with monetary losses exceeding $2 billion annually. (More)

Secretary Locke Kicks Off 2010 Census 'One Year Out' Activities in First Public Event

Commer Secretary Locke gesturing on podium. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined 250 national partners from around the country today in launching outreach efforts for Census 2010 in his first public event. Locke stressed the importance of the national partners in the 2010 Census. “Today is my first day on the job, my first day at Commerce, and it’s a measure of the priority the Census is for me and my department, not to mention my appreciation of the work you do, that I’m here this morning,” Locke said. “I’m going to make sure the Census Bureau has the independent leadership it deserves and the professional oversight the American people demand.” (Remarks)

USPTO Seeks Nominees to Public Advisory Committees

USPTO seal.

The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking nominations for the Patent Public Advisory Committee and the Trademark Public Advisory Committee. The committees advise the agency on a wide variety of policy and budgetary issues. Members are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Secretary of Commerce. Member’s terms run for three years. Those appointed must have “substantial backgrounds and achievement in finance, management, labor relations, science, and technology and office automation.” (More)

U.S. Senate Confirms Gary Locke as Commerce Secretary

Photo of Gary Locke.

File Photo

The United States Senate confirmed Gary Locke as the nation’s 36th Commerce Secretary by unanimous consent. Secretary Locke will be a key member of President Obama’s economic team and will work to foster and promote American economic development at home, and will be an influential ambassador for American business and industry abroad. Locke is the first Chinese American to serve as Commerce Secretary. “I’m honored to take on this challenge and will work every day to make the Commerce Department an engine for improving our competitiveness, encouraging innovation and creating jobs,” Locke said. (More)

TV Converter Box Program Now Accepting Requests to Replace Expired Coupons for Transition to Digital TV

TV Converter Box Coupon Program logo. Click to visit DTV2009 Web site.

As the June 12 deadline for the nationwide conversion to digital TV approaches, the TV Converter Box Coupon Program has begun to accept replacement requests from eligible households whose coupons expired without being redeemed. Meanwhile, money allocated to the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has allowed NTIA to clear the digital converter box coupon waiting list. (More)

NIST Improves Microscope's Stability for Nanomanufacturing Biology

Ian an atomic force microscope (AFM), force is measured by a laser beam, yellow in this artist's rendition. AFM photo.

Photo: G. Kuebler/JILA/CU

A research team from the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado has improved by 100 times the stability of a workhorse tool in nanotechnology, known as the atomic force microscope, potentially improving a wide range of areas from nanomanufacturing to biology, where sensitive, atom-scale measurements must be made at room temperature in liquids. (More)

NOAA Seeks Proposals That Will Restore Coastal Habitat, Create Jobs, Stimulate Economy

ARRA 2009 logo.

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) NOAA has begun accepting proposals for coastal habitat restoration projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The effort will foster healthy and resilient American communities while generating and protecting jobs for the thousands of people whose task it will be to restore valuable coastal and marine habitat. NOAA anticipates that up to $170 million may be available for coastal and marine habitat restoration; typical awards are expected to range between $1.5 million and $10 million. (More)

Census Bureau Releases Population Estimates for Nation's Metro Areas

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Raleigh-Cary, N.C., and Austin-Round Rock, Texas, were the nation’s fastest-growing metro areas between 2007 and 2008, according to July 1, 2008, population estimates for the nation’s metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas and counties released by the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau. Raleigh-Cary saw its population climb 4.3 percent between July 1, 2007, and July 1, 2008, to 1.1 million. Similarly, Austin-Round Rock experienced a 3.8 percent increase, to 1.7 million. These two large metro areas were among 47 of the 50 fastest-growing areas located entirely in the South or West. (More)

NOAA's National Weather Service and FEMA Offer Flood Safety Tips for Flood Safety Awareness Week

Image of rescuers in boat on flooded city street. Click for larger image.

Floodwaters can be swift, powerful and, at times, deadly. However, advanced planning can help protect lives and minimize property losses due to flooding. With the spring thaw approaching, NOAA's National Weather Service and FEMA are partnering to observe the fifth annual Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 16-20, 2009. The National Weather Service, along with FEMA’s FloodSmart program, has launched a new Web page that shows the effects and cost of flooding to millions of people in the United States. (More)

Commerce's EDA Announces $150 Million in Recovery Funds to Create Jobs and Boost Development in Areas Hit Hard by Recession

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act logo.

As part of the U.S. Commerce Department’s appropriation under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 recently signed by President Obama, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the availability of $150 million to create jobs and boost development in parts of the country hit hard by the recession. The Federal Funding Opportunity notice, published in the Federal Register, may be viewed at: www.eda.gov/InvestmentsGrants/FFON.xml. (More)

Commerce, USDA and FCC Announce Public Meetings on Recovery Act's Broadband Initiatives

Seen on stage are Agriculture Secretary Vilsack at podium, and seated are Commerce Senior Advisor and Acting Chief of Staff Rick Wade, Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Copps and National Telecommunications and Information Administration Acting Administrator Anna Gomez. Click for larger image.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Copps and U.S. Department of Commerce Senior Advisor and Acting Chief of Staff Rick Wade kicked off the joint broadband initiative under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and announced a series of public meetings that will give Americans an opportunity to help shape the program. “President Obama believes in the power of broadband. Broadband deployment throughout the country will help drive the nation's economic recovery and growth," Wade said. (More)

Safer Net Surfing is Goal of NIST Domain Name Security Experts

Image of user log-on screen.

When you type www.irs.gov—or the Web address of your bank or an e-commerce site—into your web browser, you want to be sure that no one is hijacking your request and sending you to a bogus look-alike page. You’re relying on the integrity of the Internet’s “phone book,” the Domain Name System (DNS). Computer scientists at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are playing a major role in making sure that what you type is what you get by providing standards, guidance and testing necessary to bolster the trustworthiness of the global DNS. A draft update of NIST’s guidelines for DNS security is now available for public comment. (More)

NOAA Report Uncovers Why Some People Don?t Heed Severe Weather Warnings

Image of upside down mobile home after a tornado has struck. Click for larger image.

NOAA’s National Weather Service has issued a report that analyzes forecasting performance and public response during the second deadliest tornado outbreak in U.S. history.The report, Service Assessment of the Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak of February 5-6, 2008, also addresses a key area of concern: why some people take cover while others ride out severe weather. Dubbed the “Super Tuesday” tornado outbreak due to the presidential primary elections held that day, 82 tornadoes raked nine states throughout the South, killing 57 people, injuring 350 others and causing $400 million in property damage. (More)

Vilsack, Copps and Wade to Kick Off the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's Broadband Initiative

Recovery.gov logo. Click to go to Recover.gov Web site.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Acting Chairman Michael Copps and U.S. Department of Commerce Senior Advisor and Acting Chief of Staff Rick Wade will announce the kickoff March 10 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009’s (ARRA) broadband initiative. Vilsack, Copps and Wade will discuss the implementation of the broadband initiatives funded by the ARRA, initiatives critical for building a 21st century information infrastructure and creating jobs in communities across the country. (More)

Minority Business Development Agency Marks 40 Years Promoting Competitive Business Growth

MBDA logo.

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is celebrating four decades ofpromoting the establishment and growth of minority businesses. Throughout the year, the MBDA will be highlighting businesses that benefited from its programs and the people and communities it has impacted. MBDA’s Minority Business Blog (www.mbda.gov/blog) which launched in conjunction with the 40th anniversary will tell success stories of minority businesses, offer tips and business solutions for minority entrepreneurs, as well as communicate up-to-date information affecting the minority business community. (More) (Blog)

Commerce's NTIA Begins to Clear TV Converter Box Coupon Request Waiting List

TV Converter Box Coupon Program logo. Click for DTV2009 Web site.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Communications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that the agency has begun to clear its waiting list for requests to the TV Converter Box Coupon Program as a result of additional funds provided by Congress. “NTIA expects to eliminate the current waiting list within two to three weeks,” said Acting NTIA Administrator Anna Gomez. “This is good news for the more than two million households on the waiting list…” she said. (More)

New Deep-Sea Coral Discovered on NOAA-Supported Mission

Image of orange bamboo coral is another new species and new genus found in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. It is between four and five feet tall, and was found 5,745 feet below the surface. Click for larger image.

Scientists identified seven new species of bamboo coral discovered on a NOAA-funded mission in the deep waters of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Six of these species may represent entirely new genera, a remarkable feat given the broad classification a genus represents. A genus is a major category in the classification of organisms, ranking above a species and below a family. Scientists expect to identify more new species as analysis of samples continues. (More)

Economic Development Administration Excellence Awards 2009

Economic Development Administration seal.

Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Excellence in Economic Development Awards 2009 recognize innovative economic development projects or strategies of national significance. The awards are designed to showcase best practices and highlight outstanding results. EDA is currently accepting entries for Excellence in Economic Development Awards 2009. The awards are commemorative and will be presented by senior officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce in ceremonies in the winners’ respective communities. Members of the winners’ congressional delegations will be invited to join in the award presentation. (More)

Commerce Department Receives $7.9 Billion in Recovery Act Funding Essential to U.S. Job Creation and Economic Growth

Department of Commerce seal.

The U.S. Department of Commerce will receive $7.9 billion to create and save jobs for American workers as part of the historic economic stimulus bill recently signed by President Barack Obama.“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is the most sweeping economic recovery package in our history,” said President Obama, noting it will create or save 3.5 million jobs over the next two years. “We have begun the essential work of keeping the American Dream alive in our time.” (More) (Commerce ARRA 2009 Webpage)

NIST: Updated Recommendations for Protecting Wireless, Remote Access Data

NIST logo.

Telecommuting has freed many to work far from the confines of the office via laptop, but the price of working while sipping a latte at that sunny café is the danger that a public network will not keep the data that passes through it safe. Now, to combat the risk inherent in remote access, Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has updated its guide on maintaining data security while teleworking. The revised guide offers advice for protecting the wide variety of private and mobile devices from threats that have appeared since the first edition appeared in August 2002. (More)

USPTO Seeks Nominees for National Medal of Technology and Innovation Award

Image of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking nominations for the highest honor for technological achievement, the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The USPTO administers the NMTI program on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce. Honorees are chosen for their outstanding contributions to the nation’s economic, environmental and social well-being through the development and commercialization of technological products, processes and concepts; technological innovation; and development of the country’s technological manpower. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation was created by Congress in 1980. (More)

Commerce's NTIA Applauds Congress for Additional Funding to Eliminate Coupon Waiting List

TV Converter Box Coupon Program Logo. Click to go to DTV Converter Box Program Web site.

The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today applauded Congress for additional funding that will allow NTIA to quickly issue TV converter box coupons to all households currently on the waiting list and to start mailing coupons via first class mail. "This additional funding will help keep more Americans connected to free, over-the-air television broadcasts," said Acting NTIA Administrator Anna Gomez. "We expect to clear out the coupon waiting list expeditiously and get coupons into the hands of the American people.” (More)

BEA Sets Benchmark Highs in Organizational Assessment Survey

BEA logo.

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked highest among all federal agencies participating in the 2008 Organizational Assessment Survey, conducted by the Office of Personal Management. BEA achieved the highest scores ever recorded on the survey in six key areas, including leadership and quality, innovation, and performance measures. Among the 23 agencies involved in the latest survey of organizational climate, BEA scored above the median in all areas. BEA produces some of the world’s most closely-watched economic statistics, including U.S. Gross Domestic Product. (Organizational Assessment Survey). (Summary Sheet)

National Inventors Hall of Fame Announces 2009 Inductees

Acting USPTO Director John Doll, back row second from the left with 2009 Inventor Hall of Fame inductees from left to right: John Macdougall (ion implantation),, Larry Hornbeck (digital micromirror device), George Heilmeier (liquid crystal display) Front row, left to right: Dov Frohman-Bentchkowsky (EPROM), Alfred Cho (molecular beam epitaxy), Ken Manchester (ion implantation). Click for larger image.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the integrated circuit, Commerce’s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director John Doll joined members of Congress and officials of the National Inventors Hall of Fame this week to announce the 2009 class of inductees. All those recognized are inventors of advances related to or enabled by integrated circuit technology. Ten living and five deceased innovators will be inducted at a ceremony at the Computer Museum in Mountain View, Calif. on May 2. An exhibit honoring the inductees is currently on display in the atrium of the Madison Building on the USPTO campus in Alexandria, Va. (More)

NOAA National Weather Service Fire Weather Experts Assisting In Australia

Image of wildfire. Click for larger image.

Fire weather forecasters from NOAA’s National Weather Service are on duty in Australia providing crucial weather information to forecasters in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology as they battle wildfires ravaging southeastern Australia. NOAA’s National Weather Service and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology agreed in 2006 to exchange fire weather expertise and staff during the U.S. and Australian wildfire seasons, which occur at opposite times of the year in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. (More)

BEA and Census Release Data on U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services

Department of Commerce seal.

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce, announced today that total December exports of $133.8 billion and imports of $173.7 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $39.9 billion, down from $41.6 billion in November, revised. December exports were $8.5 billion less than November exports of $142.3 billion. December imports were $10.2 billion less than November imports of $183.9 billion. (More) (U.S. Export Fact Sheet)

USPTO to Host Roundtable on Deferred Examination

USPTO logo.

In response to suggestions from stakeholders in the intellectual property (IP) community that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) adopt a new form of deferred examination procedure, the agency will conduct a public roundtable discussion on the topic on February 12 at the agency’s headquarters in Alexandria, Va. The goal of the roundtable is to obtain public input on deferred examination from diverse sources and differing viewpoints. (More)

Census Bureau to Update Employment, Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Numbers

Census Bureau seal.

Beginning Feb. 15, nearly 2,000 Census Bureau field representatives will interview about 100,000 households across the nation for the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS). Results from the CPS-ASEC collected in February through April of each year enable the following high-profile indicators to be updated annually by the Census Bureau: median household income, official poverty rate and percentage of people without health insurance coverage. (More)

NIST, Brookhaven Researchers Use Tuberculosis Bacteria to End 25-Year Quest

The bacterium behind one of mankind's deadliest scourges, tuberculosis, is helping researchers at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) move closer to answering the decades-old question of what controls the switching on and off of genes that carry out all of life's functions. In a Journal of Biological Chemistry paper, the NIST/BNL team reports that it has defined—for the first time—the structure of a "metabolic switch" found inside most types of bacteria. (More)

NIST Participates in National Fire Safety Experiments

Image of a firefighter on ladder with building smoke.

International Association of Fire Fighters

This week, the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is contributing its expertise in measurement science to a series of national fire safety experiments examining the effect of firefighting crew sizes and equipment arrival times on the growth rates of fires and survivability times in structure-related building fires.Data from these experiments will help governments make informed decisions to better match their resources with the risks to the public and firefighters in their communities. (More)

President Obama Announces Commerce Secretary

Commerce seal.

President Barack Obama today nominated Senator Judd Gregg as the next Commerce Secretary. “Commerce defies every wind, overrides every tempest, and invades every zone,” said President Obama. “These are the words carved into the walls of the department that I'm so pleased Judd Gregg has agreed to lead. And as we act boldly to defy the winds of this crisis and outride the tempest of this painful moment, I can think of no finer steward for our nation's commerce.” (More)

UNH/NOAA Report: Arctic Region Unprepared for Maritime Accidents

Photo of ice and open water in the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska. Click for larger image.

The existing infrastructure for responding to maritime accidents in the Arctic is limited and more needs to be done to enhance emergency response capacity as Arctic sea ice declines and ship traffic in the region increases, according to new report released by the University of New Hampshire and the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). (More)

Census Bureau Opens Local Census Office in Richmond

Richmond, VA Local Census Office opening on January 29, 2009.  Pictured from left to right:  Randall Williams, Richmond Local Census Office Manager. Somonica L. Green, deputy regional director, Charlotte Region. Dwight C. Jones, Mayor of Richmond. Arnold A. Jackson, Associate director for the Decennial Census, US Census Bureau. and lastly the Honorable Henry L. Marsh III, Virginia State Senate, District 16. Click for larger image.

Mayor of Richmond Dwight C. Jones and Virginia State Senator Henry L. Marsh III joined the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau officials in officially opening the local census office in Richmond. This office will employ about 1,000 personnel during peak operations for the 2010 Census. The Census Bureau is expected to open about 500 local census offices across the country and hire approximately 1.4 million people for the 2010 Census.

NOAA Team to Train Fishery Observers in Senegal

Photo depicting NOAA workshop in Ghana to train fishery observers. Click here for larger image.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists will travel to the west African nation of Senegal this week to train government officials and university students to be marine resource observers on fishing boats. The observers will collect scientific information about the health of fish stocks and the amount of incidental bycatch of marine mammals and other protected species. This information is used to manage fish stocks and protect marine resources domestically and internationally, through organizations such as the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. (More)

Census Bureau Releases Report on Educational Attainment in United States

Census Bureau seal.

A larger percentage of foreign-born than native-born residents had a master’s degree or higher in 2007, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Nationally, 11 percent of foreign-born — people from another country now living in the United States — and 10 percent of U.S.-born residents had an advanced degree.These statistics come from Educational Attainment in the United States: 2007, a report that describes the degree or level of school completed by adults 25 and older. (More)

NIST Studies Making Cooling Systems More Efficient and Economical

Graphic depicting conventional and magnetic refrigeration cycles. Click here for larger image.

A refrigerator’s humming, electricity-guzzling cooling system could soon be a lot smaller, quieter and more economical thanks to an exotic metal alloy discovered by an international collaboration working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s Center for Neutron Research (NCNR). The alloy may prove to be a long-sought material that will permit magnetic cooling instead of the gas-compression systems used for home refrigeration and air conditioning. (More)

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to Hold Annual Trademark Expo

Trademark Expo visual.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office will hold its annual Trademark Expo May 8-9 at the agency’s headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The 2008 Expo attracted 7,000 people and received wide media coverage. This year’s two day event will focus again on educating the public about the value and important role trademarks play in our society and the global marketplace. It will feature themed displays, company booths, costumed characters interactive exhibits and trademark related seminars for attendees. (More)

NOAA Prepares to Launch New Polar-Orbiting Satellite for Climate and Weather

Photo of satellite.

A new NOAA polar-orbiting environmental satellite, set to launch next month, will support NOAA’s weather and ocean forecasts, including long-range climate predictions for El Niño and La Niña and support U.S. search and rescue operations. The new spacecraft – NOAA-N Prime – is scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Feb. 4, 2009 at 2:22 a.m. PST. Once in orbit, NOAA-N Prime will be called NOAA-19, the latestin the series of NOAA polar-orbiting environmental satellites that have served the nation. (More)

U.S. Census Bureau Reports Business Spending on Fixed Assets Rises to $1.36 Trillion in 2007

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U.S. businesses spent $1.36 trillion on new and used structures and equipment in 2007, of which $1.28 trillion, or 93.7 percent, was spent on new structures and equipment, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. These findings come from the 2007 Annual Capital Expenditures Survey, which measures spending on new and used structures and equipment for businesses with and without paid employees. Expenditures for new and used structures totaled $529.3 billion, an increase of $40.1 billion from 2006. (More)

International Trade Administration Updates Basic Guide to Exporting

Graphic image of A Basic Guide to Exporting.

The International Trade Administration has issued a revised and updated comprehensive overview of how to export outlining the nuts-and-bolts information you will need to meet the challenges of the world economy including how to identify markets for your company’s products. For more than 70 years, A Basic Guide to Exporting has been the resource that businesses have turned to for answers to their questions about how to establish and grow overseas markets for their products and services. (More)

First Wintertime Observations Find Ozone Soaring Near Natural Gas Field

NOAA seal.

During the past three winters, ozone—normally linked to hot-weather and urban pollution—has soared to health-threatening levels near a remote natural gas field in northwestern Wyoming. Now, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory have solved the problem of how ozone can form in cold weather at levels threatening to human health. Their results, published Jan. 18 in the journal Nature Geosciences, are forcing researchers to rethink the mechanics of ground-level ozone production. (More)

NIST Issues New Guide to Protecting Personal Information

NIST logo.

Thefts of personally identifiable information (PII), such as social security and credit card account numbers, are increasing dramatically. Adding to the difficulty of fighting this problem, organizations often disagree on what PII is, and how to protect it. Now, in a first-of-its-kind publication, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued a draft guide on protecting PII from unauthorized use and disclosure. “You can’t protect PII unless you can identify it,” says NIST’s Erika McCallister, a co-author of the new work. (More)