THIS IS AN ARCHIVED SITE
This site contains information from January 2009-December 2014. Click HERE to go the CURRENT commerce.gov website.

Blog Category: National

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)