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The Commerce Blog

NIST's Second 'Quantum Logic Clock' is Now World's Most Precise Clock

Image of clock compared to the size of a quarter. Click for larger image.

Physicists at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have built an enhanced version of an experimental atomic clock based on a single aluminum atom that is now the world’s most precise clock, more than twice as precise as the previous pacesetter based on a mercury atom. The new clock is the second version of NIST’s “quantum logic clock,” so called because it borrows the logical processing used for atoms storing data in experimental quantum computing, another major focus of the same NIST research group. (More)

Administration's Budget Proposal Seeks Investments in Innovation, Clean Energy, Infrastructure and Job Creation

U.S. flag over entrance of Department of Commerce.

President Barack Obama today submitted to Congress an $8.9 billion FY 2011 budget request for the U.S. Commerce Department. The budget reflects priorities that will spur the growth of U.S. exports and the jobs that come with them, improve our scientific and technological capabilities and upgrade our capabilities for weather and climate observations and forecasting. (Press release)

Secretary Locke Statement on Advance Estimate of GDP in the Fourth Quarter 2009

Commerce seal

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released the advance estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the fourth quarter of 2009. Real GDP rose 5.7 percent at an annual rate, the second consecutive advance and the strongest increase since the third quarter of 2003. "Today's strong GDP showing represents important economic progress that must now be translated into new jobs," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. (More) (Release)

Secretary Locke to Lead Administration's First Cabinet-Level Trade Mission

Locke at podium. Click for larger image.

Delivering the keynote address at the U.S.-China Business Council’s Forecast 2010 conference, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced he will lead the Obama administration’s first cabinet-level trade mission when he travels to China and Indonesia this May. The clean energy business development missions will promote exports of leading U.S. technologies related to clean energy, energy efficiency and electric energy storage, transmission, and distribution. The mission will take place May 15-25, and make stops in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, China, and Jakarta, Indonesia. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Reports on Commerce Department's 2009 Successes, 2010 Plans

Image capture of Locke and video player. Click to go to Cabinet reports page for video links.

In a new video collage on the White House Web site, Secretary Gary Locke reports back to the American people on everything the U.S. Department of Commerce has accomplished in the first year of the Obama administration and its goals for the year ahead. “Like the President,” Secretary Locke notes, in 2010, “we will be working every day to ensure that every American who wants a job can get one.” The collage also features video of all of the other Cabinet Heads discussing the success and futures of their own departments and agencies. (Video Cabinet agency reports)

Secretary Locke Meets with Russia's Economic Minister, Takes Part in MIT Technology Program

Elvira Nabiullina, Russian Minister of Economic Development, and Commerce Sevretary Locke shake hands at July 2009 meeting in Moscow. File photo.

Nabiullina, Locke, July 2009 file photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with Russia’s Minister of Economic Development Ms. Elvira Nabiullina at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass. The two officials, who previously met at the July 2009 Moscow Summit, held their first meeting in their capacities as co-chairs of the Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group under the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. (More)

NIST Issues First Release of Framework for Smart Grid Interoperability

Satellite image of North America at night showing electrical illumniation and outline of grid. Click for larger image.

Photo: NASA

Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued an initial list of standards, a preliminary cyber security strategy, and other elements of a framework to support transforming the nation’s aging electric power system into an interoperable “Smart Grid,” a key component of the Obama administration’s energy plan and its strategy for American innovation. By integrating digital computing and communication technologies and services with the power-delivery infrastructure, the Smart Grid will enable bidirectional flows of energy and two-way communication and control capabilities. (More) (Release)

Alaska: 2010 Census is Underway in Noorvik

Groves in dogsled. Click for larger image.

U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves traveled by dog sled today and visited residents in the remote Alaskan village of Noorvik, north of the Arctic Circle. There he met with the mayor and local leaders before a team of huskies guided him to a local residence to perform the first 2010 Census enumeration. Census takers must get a head start in Noorvik and other villages in remote Alaska before residents leave for hunting and fishing grounds and while the ground is frozen, which allows access to the region by bush plane, dog sled and snowmobile. (2010 Census Web site)

NOAA, Google Join Forces to Visualize Scientific Data

NOAA logo. Click to go to NOAA home page.

NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and Google have signed a cooperative research and development agreement outlining how they will work together to create state-of-the-art visualizations of scientific data to illustrate how our planet works. Under the agreement, NOAA and Google plan to work together on research and development to join NOAA’s oceanographic, meteorological, biological, and climatological data with Google’s software capabilities. The wide availability of Google’s Internet tools has the potential to bring visualizations of NOAA data to new audiences around the world. (More)

Department of Commerce Issues report for Vice President's Middle Class Task Force

Biden, Sibellius, Locke and Chu seated at table.

The Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration issued a new report for Vice President Biden’s Middle Class Task Force: Middle Class in America. The report, which identifies what it means to be middle class in America today, uses a host of measures to show that it is more difficult today to both attain and maintain a middle-class lifestyle than it was two decades ago. “This report highlights the gravity of the economic realities facing American families aspiring to a middle-class lifestyle," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. (More) (Report—PDF) (White House press release) (Middle Class Task Force Web site)