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The Commerce Blog

NIST Seeks Proposals for $20 Million Recovery Act Program

NIST seal. Click to go to NIST home page.

The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced that it is establishing a financial assistance program to help selected institutions develop and implement a NIST measurement science and engineering fellowship program. The new program is funded under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. "Measurement science and engineering research is critical to fostering innovation," NIST Deputy Director Patrick Gallagher said. "This fellowship program will create jobs and promote long-term investments in the nation's science infrastructure, which is important for future economic prosperity." (More)

FCC and Commerce's NTIA Offer Continuing Consumer Assistance for DTV Transition

DTV Converter Box Coupon logo. Click to go to dtv2009.gov Web site.

As the nation concludes its transition to digital television today, the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration will continue providing consumer assistance after the June 12 transition. TV converter box coupons will be available to consumers who apply until July 31, while supplies last. In addition, the FCC is offering assistance over the phone and free in-home installation for consumers in most areas.

One Day Until DTV Transition

On the eve of an historic technological transition to digital television, the focus for the two federal agencies managing the switch is on helping Americans who are at risk of losing their TV signals. The digital TV (DTV) transition began over two decades ago as engineers set an ambitious technological goal: moving broadcast television into the digital age. Efficient digital technology would provide consumers with a better picture and sound and more channels, while at the same time clearing valuable airwaves to meet the explosive demand for advanced wireless services, including first-responder radio. (More) (6-10 C-SPAN White House video and Transcript)

NIST, DOD, Intelligence Agencies Join Forces to Secure U.S. Cyber Infrastructure

Image of computer keyboard keys.

Photo: Shutterstock

Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD), the Intelligence Community (IC), and the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS), has released the first installment of a three-year effort to build a unified information security framework for the entire federal government. Historically, information systems at civilian agencies have operated under different security controls than military and intelligence information systems. This ongoing effort is consistent with President Obama’s call for “integrating all cybersecurity policies for the government” in his May 29 speech on securing the U.S. cybersecurity infrastructure. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on May 2009 Retail Trade Numbers

Photo of Secretary Locke.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the May 2009 U.S. Retail and Food Services Sales. Today’s report showed that U.S. nominal retail sales rose 0.5% in May. Motor vehicle and parts sales also rose 0.5% in May. Gasoline sales increased 3.6%, partly reflecting the renewed rise in prices, while other sales edged up 0.1%. “Today’s numbers reflect improving consumer confidence. The Recovery Act is making life a little easier for families and businesses, and there are early signs of progress across the country. But May sales are still below their first-quarter average, reminding us of how difficult the economic environment remains.” (More) (Report)

NOAA: U.S. Contiguous States Temperature Warmer Than Average for May

Map of U.S. states. Click for larger image.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that the May 2009 temperature for the contiguous United States was above the long-term average, based on records going back to 1895, according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Centerin Asheville, N.C. The average May temperature of 62.5 degrees F was 1.4 degrees F above the 20th century average. Precipitation across the contiguous United States in May averaged 3.22 inches, which is 0.35 inch above the 1901-2000 average. (More)

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Statement on Trade Numbers

U.S. Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the April 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services that showed that U.S. exports decreased by 2.3 percent to $121.1 billion since March 2009. Imports decreased 1.4 percent to $150.3 billion. Overall, the trade deficit grew 2.2 percent during the same time period. “Today’s numbers remind us just how challenging the world economic environment is.That’s why it’s important we continue supporting American businesses by removing trade barriers and encouraging other countries to resist protectionist impulses.” (More)

Secretary Locke Hosts Meeting of U.S. Travel and Tourism Board

Secretary Locke (center) with participants. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted his first meeting with the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB). Board members presented their recommendations regarding airport congestion, travel facilitation and the economic sustainability of the travel and tourism industry. “At Commerce, we’re working closely on tourism development with trade associations, destinations, and industry leaders,” Locke said. “We are tracking the industry because of its importance to the U.S. economy and understand the stress it is currently experiencing. I look forward to working with the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board to restore growth to this important sector.” (More)

NOAA Partners with National Science Foundation, Universities and Other Organizations in VORTEX2 Research Project

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The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is engaged in the largest and most ambitious attempt to study tornadoes in history and will involve more than 100 scientists and 40 research vehicles. The project, Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment2 (VORTEX2 or V2) will last for five weeks in May and June. Scientists will sample the environments of supercell thunderstorms that form over much of the U.S. but are more common in the central Great Plains known as “tornado alley.” This collaborative, nationwide research effort is jointly funded by NOAA, the National Science Foundation, 10 universities, and three nonprofit organizations. (More)

Dr. Rebecca Blank Sworn In as Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, Top Advisor to Secretary Locke

Photo of Under Secretary Rebecca Blank being sworn in by Director of Executive Services Denise A. Yaaag.

Dr. Rebecca Blank was sworn in as the new Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs. Dr. Blank will oversee two of the nation’s preeminent statistical agencies: the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Affairs. She will also serve as the top economic advisor to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. “In Dr. Blank we have the right person to handle a series of looming challenges,” Locke said. “She will help the Census Bureau conduct an accurate and complete count in the 2010 Census, and I’m relying on her to provide sound economic data and analysis to guide the nation through the worst economic crisis in 60 years.” (More) (Bio)