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Blog Entries from July 2009

NIST Releases Final Version of New Cybersecurity Recommendations for Government

NIST logo.

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released its final version of a publication which represents a major step toward building a unified information security framework for the entire federal government. Recommended Security Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations was released in draft form for public review in June. “The aim is to provide greater protection for federal information systems against cyber attacks,” said Ron Ross, of NIST’s computer security division. (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke Statement on 2nd Quarter GDP Numbers

Photo of Secretary Locke.

File Photo

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released data on GDP in the second quarter along with comprehensive revisions to the historical GDP data. Real GDP declined 1.0 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter, better than the private-sector expected drop of 1.5 percent. This decline is noticeably less than the larger decreases of 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 and 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2009. (More)

Secretary Locke Testifies Before Senate Committee to Discuss National Climate Change Policy

Secretary Locke with Director Holdren in background. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to discuss the Department’s contributions to national climate policy. Joined by Dr. John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Locke testified at a full committee hearing on “Climate Services: Solutions from Commerce to Communities.” The Department of Commerce is a leader in climate change research and monitoring, providing critical data and services to all levels of government and the private sector and helping companies and communities understand and adapt to climate change.

Census Bureau: U.S. Business Employers Add 100,000 Establishments in 2007

U.S. Census Bureau seal.

United States businesses with employees added more than 100,000 establishments in 2007, bringing the total number to 7.7 million and adding more than 650,000 employees to their payrolls. Overall, employees of businesses in the United States earned more than $5 trillion in annual payroll in 2007, up from $4.8 trillion in 2006. These economic numbers come from County Business Patterns: 2007, an annual report that contains data covering establishments with paid employees at the national and state levels, and in more than 3,100 counties. (More)

NOAA Reports GOES-14 Spacecraft Shows First Image

The spacecraft is transported to the launch site on large truck beds. Click for larger image.

NASA Photo

NOAA’s newest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) took its first full-disc visible image on July 27 at 2 p.m. EDT. GOES-14 joins three other operational NOAA GOES spacecraft that help the agency’s forecasters track life-threatening weather and solar activity that can impact the satellite-based electronics and communications industry. The satellites continuously provide observations of 60 percent of the Earth including the continental U.S., providing weather monitoring and forecast operations as well as a continuous and reliable stream of environmental information and severe weather Warnings. (More Photos and NASA Video of Launch)

NIST: 'Microfluidic Palette' May Paint Clearer Picture of Biological Processes

Image of microfluidic palette. Click for larger image.

Researchers at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have created an innovative device called the “microfluidic palette” to produce multiple, steady-state chemical gradients—gradual changes in concentration across an area—in a miniature chamber about the diameter of a pinhead. The tool can be used to study the complex biological mechanisms in cells responsible for cancer metastasis, wound healing, biofilm formation and other fluid-related processes. (More)

Under Secretary Blank Statement on June 2009 Residential Sales Numbers

Portrait of Under Secretary Blank.

U.S. Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank issued the following statement on the release of June 2009 U.S. residential sales by the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales of new one-family houses rose 11.0 percent in June, well above the rise of 2.3 percent expected by private-sector analysts. “The evidence is clear that home buyers are taking advantage of Recovery Act tax incentives, declines in home prices and relatively low mortgage rates,” Under Secretary Blank said. (More) (June Residential Sales Release)

NOAA: Smaller Than Expected, But Severe, Dead Zone in Gulf of Mexico

Image of mouth of Mississippi River showing nutrient run-off. Click for animated vizualization.

Commerce’s NOAA-supported scientists, led by Nancy Rabalais, Ph.D. from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, found the size of this year’s Gulf of Mexico dead zone to be smaller than forecasted, measuring 3,000 square miles. However, the dead zone, which is usually limited to water just above the sea floor, was severe where it did occur, extending closer to the water surface than in most years. Earlier this summer, NOAA-sponsored forecast models predicted a larger than normal dead zone area of between 7,450–8,456 square miles. (More) (Graphic of Dead Zone)(NOAA Visualization)

Secretary Locke Reminds Consumers to Apply for Converter Box Coupons Before July 31st Deadline

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DTV Converter Box Coupon Program logo. Click to go to DTV Converter Box Coupon Program Website.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke today reminds Americans who are still not digital television-ready that they have one more week to request converter box coupons before the July 31st deadline. "If you have lost your television programming since the switch to digital, help is still available," Secretary Locke said. “Consumers who used to rely on over-the-air television have until July 31, just one week from today, to apply for a $40 converter box coupon so they can once again receive the news and emergency information they need." (More)

Secretary Locke Visits Philadelphia for Conversation on Future of Urban and Metropolitan America

Image of Mayor Nutter, Secretary Locke and reporter with microphone in store. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Philadelphia today to kick off the Obama Administration’s National Conversation on Urban and Metropolitan America. This was the first stop in a nationwide tour that will help develop the President’s new urban agenda. Locke was joined by Adolfo Carrion, Director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Ron Sims for a town hall discussion with local experts about the development of Pennsylvania’s Fresh Food Initiative and efforts to encourage supermarket development in urban areas.