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Blog Category: National

NOAA, Army Corps of Engineers to Build Alaska Satellite Operations Facility

Illustration of COSPAS-SARSAT Symtem Overview. Click for larger image.

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will construct a new NOAA satellite operations facility in Fairbanks, Alaska. The contract is valued at $11.7 million. NOAA will use $9 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and additional funding provided by the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 to complete this project. NOAA’s Office of the Chief Administrative Officer and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District, will jointly manage the construction effort. (More)

NIST Delivers Updated Draft Standards for Electronic Voting Machines

Image of electronic voting machine.

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) delivered to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) a draft revision to the 2005 federal Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) Version 1.0, specifying how electronic voting machines are built and tested. “The guidelines announced today are designed to further improve the quality and efficiency of the testing conducted on voting systems,” said John Wack, NIST voting team manager. “This enables improvements to be made sooner rather than later when the next full set of standards is finalized.” (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke: "Time is Running Out" to Receive TV Converter Box Coupons Before June 12 Switch

TV Converter Box Coupon Program logo. Click to visit DTV2009 Web site.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke is urging Americans who need help getting ready for the national switch to digital television (DTV) to apply for a converter box coupon no later than Monday, June 1, in order to receive it before the June 12 transition. "Time is running out. Americans who rely on free television who aren’t prepared for the transition should apply for a coupon today if they need help purchasing a converter box so they can continue receiving the television programming they count on," Locke said. (More) (Apply for Coupon) (www.dtv2009.gov)

USPTO: May 29 Last Day for National Medal of Technology and Innovation Nominations

Image of National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking nominations for the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement. The USPTO administers the NMTI program on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce. The deadline for nominations is May 29, 2009. Honorees are chosen for 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. (More)

NOAA Announces New Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites

Satellite image of Hurricane Katrina. Click for larger image.

Scientists from Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have teamed up with experts from the University of Maryland and North Carolina State University to form the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites. The new institute will use satellite observations to detect, monitor and forecast climate change, and its impact on the environment, including ecosystems. “To help us understand climate change, we have to find ways to best leverage all of our available resources, including the information we get from satellites,” said Mary Kicza, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service. (More)

Secretary Locke Urges Sacramento Residents to Prepare for June 12 Switch to Digital Television

Left to right: Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Secretary Gary Locke and Mayor Kevin Johnson. Click for larger image.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke joined Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Mayor Kevin Johnson at the Sacramento public library to urge residents to prepare for the national switch to digital television (DTV) before the June 12 deadline. In the final month before the national switch, the Commerce Department is increasing its outreach efforts into communities that have been identified as the least prepared for the transition, including the Sacramento area. While the city has made progress since February—the original date for the switch—Sacramento is among the top 10 least-prepared cities in the country, according to Nielsen data. (More)

NOAA Observes National Hurricane Preparedness Week

NOAA seal.

To reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Hurricane Preparedness Week May 24-30, 2009. History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. The goal of this Hurricane Preparedness Web site is to inform the public about the hurricane hazards and provide knowledge which can be used to take action. This information can be used to save lives at work, home, while on the road, or on the water. (More)

NOAA Issues Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, Encourages Preparedness

Secretary Locke and officials at airport with NOAA plane in background. Click for alrger image

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasters say a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is most likely this year. However, as with any season, the need to prepare for the possibility of a storm striking is essential. “Today, more than 35 million Americans live in regions most threatened by Atlantic hurricanes,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said at a Washington, D.C. area airport. “Timely and accurate warnings of severe weather help save lives and property. Public awareness and public preparedness are the best defenses against a hurricane.” (More)

NIST Defining the Expanding World of Cloud Computing

Image of laptop computer.

Photo: Shutterstock

A working definition for cloud computing—a new computer technique with potential for achieving significant cost savings and information technology agility—has been released by a team of computer security experts at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Since the federal government is considering cloud computing as a component of its new technology infrastructure, it is NIST’s role to evaluate it and then promote its effective and secure use within government and industry by providing technical guidance and developing standards. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on National Travel and Tourism Week

Photo of Gary Locke.

File Photo

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke released the following statement on the observance of National Travel and Tourism Week: “Last year, a record 58 million travelers visited the United States to conduct business, see family and friends, and experience our big cities, small towns and incredible natural wonders. As we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, we are reminded that the industry benefits every state and U.S. territory, employing more than eight million workers across the country.” (More)