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The Commerce Blog

Glider Completes Historic Crossing: New Technology Advances Climate Understanding

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The first-ever 7,300-mile Atlantic Ocean crossing by an unmanned underwater glider is opening up a new world of ocean technology. A ceremony on Dec. 9 in Baiona, Spain, will celebrate the partnership effort among the U.S. interagency Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) through Rutgers University, NOAA, Puertos Del Estado (Spanish Port Authority), the National Oceanographic Partnership Program, and other European partners. “It is through efforts like this that we will continue to learn more about the wonders of the ocean at a critical time for our planet,” said Richard Spinrad, NOAA assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research. (More)

Secretaries Locke and Chu to Announce Initiatives to Accelerate Green Technology Innovation

Secretaries Locke and Chu at press conference.

File photo

In advance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, next week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Energy Secretary Steven Chu will announce new initiatives by their respective agencies to accelerate innovation in green technology, increase America’s competitiveness in this sector, and create jobs. At the Dec. 7 news conference, they will be joined by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office David Kappos.

NOAA: North American 2008 Cooling Attributed to Natural Causes

NOAA map

Cooler North American temperatures in 2008 resulted from a strong natural effect, and the overall warming trend that has been observed since 1970 is likely to resume, according to university and NOAA scientists. “Our work shows that there can be cold periods, but that does not mean the end of global warming. The recent coolness was caused by transitory natural factors that temporarily masked the human-caused signal,” said Judith Perlwitz, lead author of the study and a researcher with the Cooperative Institute for Research Environmental Sciences, and NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory. (More)

Secretary Locke Addresses Brazil-U.S. Business Council Annual Plenary Meeting

Locke on podium with plenary meeting banner behind him. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered the keynote address during the Brazil-U.S. Business Council annual plenary meeting at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Locke discussed the department’s role in expanding trade and ensuring the competitiveness of U.S. companies in markets across the globe. The plenary brings together top executives from the largest U.S. investors in Brazil and Brazil's leading companies to discuss private sector priorities for the bilateral and hemispheric trade and investment agenda with top decision makers from Brazil and Washington. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke to Attend White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will participate in a forum on Jobs and Economic Growth Thursday, Dec. 3, at the White House. The forum is an opportunity for President Obama and the economic team to hear from CEOs, small business owners, labor leaders and nonprofit heads about ideas for continuing to grow the economy and put Americans back to work. Locke will moderate a panel discussion on competitiveness and job creation with Christina Romer, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and make remarks at the closing session before introducing President Obama. Afternoon sessions and several discussion groups on jobs will be streamed live on the White House Web site.

Commerce Secretary Locke Joins Vice President Biden at the 2008 Baldrige Awards

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Locke and Vice President Biden presented three U.S. organizations with the 2008 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest honor for organizational performance excellence and innovation. The award promotes excellence in organizational performance, recognizes the achievements and results of U.S. organizations and publicizes successful performance strategies. Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th U.S. Commerce Secretary, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987. For additional information, visit www.baldrige.nist.gov. (Remarks)

NIST Develops Experimental Validation Tool for Cell Phone Forensics

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Image: kenny1/Shutterstock

Viewers of TV dramas don’t focus on the technology behind how a forensics crime team tracks a terrorist or drug ring using cell phone data, but scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) do. NIST researchers have developed a new technique aimed at improving the validation of a crime lab’s cell phone forensics tools. Early experiments show promise for easier, faster and more rigorous assessments than with existing methods. (More) (Report-PDF)

NOAA: Slow Atlantic Hurricane Season Comes to a Close

Map tracing paths of hurricanes. Click for full-size.

NOAA map

The 2009 Atlantic hurricane season officially ends today, marking the close of a season with the fewest named storms and hurricanes since 1997 thanks, in part, to El Niño. Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported nine named storms formed this year, including three hurricanes, two of which were major hurricanes at Category 3 strength or higher. These numbers fall within the ranges predicted in NOAA’s mid-season outlook issued in August, which called for seven to 11 named storms, three to six hurricanes, and one to two major hurricanes. (More)

Thanksgiving Day 2009: Census Bureau National Holiday Facts and Features

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Census Bureau photo

In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims, early settlers of Plymouth Colony, held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest, an event many regard as the nation’s first Thanksgiving. Historians have also recorded ceremonies of thanks among other groups of European settlers in North America, including British colonists in Virginia in 1619. The legacy of thanks and the feast have survived the centuries, as the event became a national holiday in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. (More Thanksgiving Day Facts and Figures)

Statement from Under Secretary Blank on New Home Sales in October 2009

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The Commerce Department’s U.S. Bureau of the Census today released new home sales figures for October 2009. Sales of new single-family houses rose 6.2 percent in October, compared with private-sector expectations of 0.5 percent. Sales have risen 30.7 percent above their low in January of this year, and the supply of unsold homes relative to sales has fallen 46.0 percent below its peak in January. (More) (Release)