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The Commerce Blog

NIST: 'Microfluidic Palette' May Paint Clearer Picture of Biological Processes

Image of microfluidic palette. Click for larger image.

Researchers at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have created an innovative device called the “microfluidic palette” to produce multiple, steady-state chemical gradients—gradual changes in concentration across an area—in a miniature chamber about the diameter of a pinhead. The tool can be used to study the complex biological mechanisms in cells responsible for cancer metastasis, wound healing, biofilm formation and other fluid-related processes. (More)

Under Secretary Blank Statement on June 2009 Residential Sales Numbers

Portrait of Under Secretary Blank.

U.S. Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank issued the following statement on the release of June 2009 U.S. residential sales by the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales of new one-family houses rose 11.0 percent in June, well above the rise of 2.3 percent expected by private-sector analysts. “The evidence is clear that home buyers are taking advantage of Recovery Act tax incentives, declines in home prices and relatively low mortgage rates,” Under Secretary Blank said. (More) (June Residential Sales Release)

NOAA: Smaller Than Expected, But Severe, Dead Zone in Gulf of Mexico

Image of mouth of Mississippi River showing nutrient run-off. Click for animated vizualization.

Commerce’s NOAA-supported scientists, led by Nancy Rabalais, Ph.D. from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, found the size of this year’s Gulf of Mexico dead zone to be smaller than forecasted, measuring 3,000 square miles. However, the dead zone, which is usually limited to water just above the sea floor, was severe where it did occur, extending closer to the water surface than in most years. Earlier this summer, NOAA-sponsored forecast models predicted a larger than normal dead zone area of between 7,450–8,456 square miles. (More) (Graphic of Dead Zone)(NOAA Visualization)

Secretary Locke Reminds Consumers to Apply for Converter Box Coupons Before July 31st Deadline

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DTV Converter Box Coupon Program logo. Click to go to DTV Converter Box Coupon Program Website.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke today reminds Americans who are still not digital television-ready that they have one more week to request converter box coupons before the July 31st deadline. "If you have lost your television programming since the switch to digital, help is still available," Secretary Locke said. “Consumers who used to rely on over-the-air television have until July 31, just one week from today, to apply for a $40 converter box coupon so they can once again receive the news and emergency information they need." (More)

Secretary Locke Visits Philadelphia for Conversation on Future of Urban and Metropolitan America

Image of Mayor Nutter, Secretary Locke and reporter with microphone in store. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Philadelphia today to kick off the Obama Administration’s National Conversation on Urban and Metropolitan America. This was the first stop in a nationwide tour that will help develop the President’s new urban agenda. Locke was joined by Adolfo Carrion, Director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Ron Sims for a town hall discussion with local experts about the development of Pennsylvania’s Fresh Food Initiative and efforts to encourage supermarket development in urban areas.

Secretary Locke: 'Trade is Good for America, Good for the Global Marketplace'

Photo of Locke on podium.

File Photo

In remarks to the Washington International Trade Association, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke laid out his prescriptions for how the department can help increase and improve American trade and exports. “The trade priorities I’ve discussed tonight—visa reform, export controls review, intellectual property protection, intergovernmental cooperation and trade promotion—will help U.S. companies increase exports, while setting the country on a path to long-term, sustainable growth that creates jobs here at home.” (More)

Locke Statement on President Obama's Intent to Nominate Hightower as Commerce Deputy Secretary

Department of Commerce seal.

President Barack Obama today announced his intent to nominate Dennis Hightower, an experienced management professional with more than 30 years of experience, as the new Deputy Secretary at the Department of Commerce. “Dennis is a proven leader with management skills honed through years of real world experience,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “I have tasked him to make this department a leader among cabinet agencies in efficiency and reform.” Secretary Locke recommended Hightower to the President after an intensive search process. (More) (White House press release)

Dr. Robert Groves Sworn In as New Census Director in Public Ceremony

Secretary Locke, Mrs. Groves and Groves at swearing in.

Robert M. Groves, Ph.D., was sworn in as the 23rd Director of the U.S. Bureau of the Census by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in a public ceremony at Census Bureau Headquarters. Groves, a highly respected expert in the field of survey methodology, takes the helm of the agency at a critical time as it makes final preparations for the 2010 Census. In his remarks, Locke said, "Directing the 2010 Census demanded someone with outstanding academic credentials and management skills. Bob Groves clearly fits the bill." Also present for the event were Dr. Rebecca Blank, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, and seven former Census Directors. (More) (Groves Bio)

Secretary Locke Co-Chairs U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum

Image of Locke and participants seated at table. Click for larger image.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Michael Froman co-chaired the fourth U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum. Locke and Froman co-chaired the meeting with Brazilian Presidential Chief of Staff Minister Dilma Rousseff and Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Miguel Jorge. The Forum, made up of 20 CEOs from the two countries, meets twice a year to make recommendations on ways to strengthen the U.S.-Brazil economic relationship. Pictured here are Locke and participants in the morning session Tuesday.

NIST Awards $55.5 Million in Grants for New University Research Facilities

NIST logo.

Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced that it was awarding a total of over $55 million in grants to four universities for the construction of new scientific research facilities. The grants, which were funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, are contributing to four major construction projects to build state-of-the-art laboratory facilities devoted to a broad range of research topics, including the study of improved construction techniques to reduce losses from hurricanes, improved technologies for aquaculture, better methods and information to help preserve and maintain marine ecosystems, and advanced physics research in areas such as biophysics and nanoengineering. (More)