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Blog Category: National

NOAA and University of California Sign Ground Lease for New Fisheries Center

Artist's rendering of campus and proposed buildings. Click for larger image.

The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of California have signed a 55-year ground lease clearing the way for construction next year of a new federal laboratory and office center at the University of California, San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus in La Jolla. “This is a key step as we prepare for construction of a world-class research facility where hundreds of federal and university scientists will investigate the entire ecosystem of fish and marine mammals off the California coast and beyond,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. (More)

Census Bureau Opens 2010 Census Data Processing Center in Jeffersonville, Ind.

Census logo. Click to go to Census 2010 Web site.

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau opened a data processing center in Jeffersonville, Ind., which will process 58 million 2010 Census forms completed by households in 10 states. The new facility will be at the Census Bureau’s National Processing Center (NPC) and will employ approximately 1,350 people. Census officials were joined by Jeffersonville Mayor Thomas Galligan and other dignitaries at the opening of the data processing center. (More) (Census 2010)

Physicists Find Way to Control Individual Bits in Quantum Computers

Optical lattices use lasers to separate rubidium atoms (red) for use as information “bits” in neutral-atom quantum processors -- prototype devices which designers are trying to develop into full-fledged quantum computers. NIST scientists have managed to isolate and control pairs of the rubidium atoms with polarized light, an advance that may bring quantum computing a step closer to reality. Click for larger image.

Physicists at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have overcome a hurdle in quantum computer development, having devised a viable way to manipulate a single “bit” in a quantum processor without disturbing the information stored in its neighbors. The approach, which makes novel use of polarized light to create “effective” magnetic fields, could bring the long-sought computers a step closer to reality. A great challenge in creating a working quantum computer is maintaining control over the carriers of information, the “switches” in a quantum processor while isolating them from the environment. (More)

The Fourth of July 2009: Census Bureau National Holiday Facts and Figures

Image of U.S. flag over main entrance of the Commerce Department. Click for larger image.

U.S. flag, Department of Commerce

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. As always, this most American of holidays will be marked by parades, fireworks and backyard barbecues across the nation. In 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation was 2.5 million. This year, the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau estimate is 307 million. For fascinating figures on Fourth fireworks, flags, fanfares, firings (grills) and more, see the Bureau’s Facts for Features. (More Facts for Features) (U.S. Population Clock)

NTIA Unveils Program to Help States Map Internet Infrastructure

NTIA logo.

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced details of a grant program to fund collection of state-level broadband data, as well as state-wide broadband mapping and planning, which will assist NTIA in creating a national broadband map. This initiative will provide consumers with better information on the broadband services available to them and inform efforts to increase broadband availability nationwide. “This program satisfies Congress’ mandate that we collect comprehensive information on broadband in America,” said NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces $167 Million in Recovery Act Funding for 50 Coastal Restoration Projects

Workers and Lubchenco pose in front of earthmoving equipment. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced 50 habitat restoration projects that will restore damaged wetlands, shellfish beds, coral reefs and reopen fish passages that boost the health and resiliency of our nation’s coastal and Great Lakes communities. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was provided $167 million for marine and coastal habitat restoration. "These Recovery Act projects will put Americans to work while restoring our coasts and combating climate change,” Locke said. (More)

Nanosoccer Robots Ready to Compete in Upcoming RoboCup Games

YouTube video clip of nanosoccer. Click to view 2008 video.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will be serving up “soccer under glass”—the glass of a microscope lens—when nanosoccer makes its second appearance at the RoboCup games at the international competition in Graz, Austria, from June 29 to July 5, 2009. Nanosoccer is a Lilliputian event where computer-driven “nanobots” the size of dust mites challenge one another on fields no bigger than a grain of rice. Viewed under a microscope, the nanobots are operated by remote control and move in response to changing magnetic fields or electrical signals transmitted across the microsized arena. (More)

Under Secretary Blank Urges NALEO Officials to Make Your Voices Heard

United States Census 2010 logo. Click to go to Web site.

Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs, Dr. Rebecca Blank urged attendees of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) annual conference to help facilitate “equal access so everyone will participate in the 2010 Census.” “The Census is at the core of our democracy. It is not partisan, it is American—and it belongs to everyone living in America. It is about opportunity, equality and full representation, regardless of economic status, race or ethnic origin, “ Blank said at the annual conference entitled “Latinos and Census 2010: On the Brink of the Count.” (More) (NPR-Blank Interview)

NOAA Observes Lightning Safety Awareness Week, Advises 'When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!'

Image of jagged lightning bolts. Click for larger image.

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is sponsoring National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 21-27, to help the public learn how to recognize and avoid the dangers of lightning. Violent summer storms can form quickly and stretch for hundreds of miles and can produce deadly lightning capable of striking up to 10 miles away. Each year in the United States more than 400 people are struck by lightning. “Lightning is extremely dangerous,” says John Jensenius, National Weather Service lightning safety expert. “The best advice is, ‘When thunder roars, go indoors.’” (More) (Lightning Safety Brochure-PDF)

Vice President Biden, Secretary Locke Announce Expansion of Manufacturing Initiative in Ohio

Ohio Gov. Strickland, Vice President Biden, Secretary Locke seated at table. Click for larger image.

White House Photo

Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the expansion of the National Innovation Marketplace program, an initiative that will help revitalize supply chains and equip manufacturers to use emerging technology and find new market opportunities. Locke joined Biden, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, and Auto Recovery Director Ed Montgomery at the vice president’s fifth meeting of the White House Task Force on Middle Class Families, reinforcing the administration’s commitment to innovation in American manufacturing. (More) (White House Press Release) (Middle Class Task Force Web Site)