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Blog Entries from February 2009

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)