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Blog Entries from 2009

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)