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Blog Entries from October 2009

NOAA Scientists Study Historic 'Dust Bowl' and Plains Droughts for Triggers

Image of remains of a cornfield after grasshoppers had completed destruction by the Drought of 1931-32. Click for larger image.

After analyzing historical records and climate model data for two major U.S. droughts in the 1930s and 1950s, scientists from Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found two very different causes, shedding new light on our understanding of what triggers drought. Studies such as this one that expand our insights into drought are essential for improving forecasts and can aid in the creation of an early warning system to help communities take precautions and prepare. (More)

New Computer Security Guide Can Help Safeguard Small Businesses

Image of video player. Click to watch a new NIST video explaining the reasons why small businesses should be concerned about safeguarding the information on their computers.

Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published a guide to help small businesses and organizations understand how to provide basic security for their information, systems and networks. Small Business Information Security: The Fundamentals,by Richard Kissel, teaches computer security to groups of small business owners ranging from tow truck operators to managers of hospitals, small manufacturers and nonprofit organizations. The 20-page guide uses simple, clear language to walk small business owners through the steps necessary to secure their computer systems and data. (More) (Video page) (Guide)

Secretary Locke Statement on Trade Numbers

Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the August 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 0.2 percent to $128.2 billion since July 2009. Imports declined 0.6 percent to $158.9 billion. (More) (Release) (Fact Sheet)

Secretary Locke Opens ITA's Sustainability and U.S. Competitiveness Summit

ITA Sustainability and U.S. Competitiveness Summit logo. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addressed attendees of the International Trade Administration’s Sustainability and U.S. Competitiveness Summit at the Commerce Department. Representatives from nearly every federal agency and industry leaders from various business sectors discussed government efforts to support sustainable business practices and enhance U.S. competitiveness. Locke stressed manufacturing as a vital job source and said its revitalization is key to putting people back to work in good-paying jobs. Locke also introduced Commerce’s Sustainable Business Clearinghouse, an online information portal. (Remarks) (Web site)

Anaheim Receives $7.2 Million in Federal Funds to Create Jobs, Strengthen Economy

Recipients and officials holding presentation check. Click for larger image.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Brian P. McGowan presented a $7.2 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the city of Anaheim to create jobs in the Anaheim Canyon. The project is expected to create 1,900 jobs and generate $570 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates. EDA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that partners with distressed communities throughout the United States to foster economic growth and job creation. (More)

NOAA: September Temperatures Above-Average for the U.S

Map showing average temperatures. Click for larger image.

September 2009 average temperature for the contiguous United States was above the long-term average, according to NOAA’s monthly State of the Climate report issued today. Based on records going back to 1895, the monthly National Climatic Data Center analysis is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides. The average September temperature of 66.4 degrees F was 1.0 degree F above the 20th century average. Precipitation across the contiguous United States in September averaged 2.48 inches, exactly the 1901-2000 average. (More)

President Obama, Secretary Locke Honor 2008 National Medal of Technology and Innovation Laureates at the White House

Obama applauds recipients. White House photo by Chuck Kennedy. Click for larger image.

White House photo

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke joined President Barack Obama in honoring the 2008 National Medal of Technology and Innovation recipients in a ceremony at the White House. Announcing the recipients Sept. 17, Secretary Locke said, “Innovation is the key to our economic recovery, and the medical and telecommunication advances of the 2008 medalists are truly awe-inspiring.” The award recognizes individuals or companies for their outstanding contributions to the promotion of technology for the improvement of the economic, environmental, or social well-being of the United States. The award was created by Congress in 1980 and has been presented by the President of the United States since 1985. (More) (President’s remarks)

Secretary Locke and Energy Secretary Steven Chu Headline Clean Energy Economy Forum with Business Leaders

Secretary Chu and Locke at podium.

File photo

Commerce Secretary Locke and Energy Secretary Chu joined Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner and other top administration officials in a Clean Energy Economy Forum at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with business leaders from around the country. “If we create the right incentives on energy, it will drive demand for clean energy and efficiency that will foster the creation of new businesses and the jobs that come with them,” Locke said. The administration officials reiterated the need for a comprehensive energy plan that puts America back in control of its energy future and breaks a dependence on oil that threatens our economy, our environment, and our national security. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Meets with Muslim- and Arab-American Business Leaders on the Economy, Innovation and 2010 Census

Locke and participants in a group pose.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with members of the Muslim- and Arab-American business communities in Dearborn to discuss forging new business partnerships. “Getting our economy growing again will require strong action by both the government and the private sector,” Locke said. “If the Commerce Department and the Obama administration can help make your business a little more efficient, a little more innovative or get you access to a new market—then we'll have accomplished something we can be proud of.” Locke also highlighted the importance of the 2010 Census in ensuring representation and federal funding for the community. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Addresses Midwestern Governors Association Forum, Announces Opening of CommerceConnect in Michigan

Locke with scissors cutting ribbon at ceremony. Click for larger image.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke traveled to Detroit to address the Midwestern Governors Association Jobs and Energy Forum, announcing the official opening of the department’s first one-stop shop, CommerceConnect. The new office will help make the department’s services more accessible and Michigan businesses more competitive. Later, Locke traveled to Plymouth for a ribbon cutting ceremony. The one-stop initiative is focused on integrating Commerce Department programs to help businesses at every point of their life cycle, and the staff there will act as case workers for individual businesses that seek assistance. (More) (Remarks)