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The Commerce Blog

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)

Commerce Secretary Locke Greets Department Employees with First Lady Michelle Obama

Obamas on podium with Commerce employees behind and Locke looking on ffrom the right. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke welcomed First Lady Michelle Obama to the department as part of her goal to visit each cabinet agency. Today’s was her 15th agency visit. With some of the longest-serving employees behind her, she thanked all Commerce Department employees for the work they do every day to make businesses more competitive and create jobs. (Secretary’s remarks) (Additional photo 1) (Additional photo 2)

Census Bureau Launches 2010census.gov in Spanish

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Censo2010 logo. Click to go to Web site.

With an innovative, unique and digitally rich experience, the U.S.Census Bureau launched its 2010 Census Spanish language Web site, www.2010census.gov/espanol. The site’s goal is to inform the more than 34 million Spanish-speaking people about the 2010 Census and to demonstrate to the Hispanic community that participation is easy, important and safe. The new Web site is an interactive experience, allowing users to preview the 10 questions on the 2010 Census form in Spanish via an interactive application. The site reinforces the message that answers provided in the 2010 Census are strictly confidential and protected by law. (More) (Web site)

NOAA: December Global Ocean Temperature Second-Warmest on Record

Image of the world's oceans.

The global ocean surface temperature was the second-warmest on record for December, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., and based on records going back to 1880. Scientists also reported the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the eighth-warmest on record for December. For 2009, global temperatures tied with 2006 as the fifth-warmest on record. Also, the earth’s land surface for 2009 was seventh-warmest (tied with 2003) and the ocean surface was fourth-warmest (tied with 2002 and 2004.) (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on New Residential Construction in December 2009

Department of Commerce seal.

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Bureau of the Census released data on new residential construction in November 2009. Permits rose 6.0 percent in November and starts increased 8.9 percent, in both cases exceeding market expectations. Permits have risen 17.3 percent above their low in April, and starts have advanced 19.8 percent above their April low point. These gains reflected increases in single-family activity, while multi-family starts have increased modestly. (More) (Release)

NOAA Produces Images of Haiti for First Responders

Photo of plane. Click for larger image.

A specially-equipped NOAA jet conducted aerial surveys of earthquake-stricken Haiti on Jan. 17 and 18 as part of the agency’s effort to help responders assess damage and plan recovery efforts. The aircraft is equipped with high-resolution digital cameras and other sensors that collect data vital to disaster response, scientific research and environmental resource management efforts. “NOAA maintains some of the nation’s premier emergency response services,” said Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “We are proud to be of service in offering experts and expertise to help the people of Haiti during this heartbreaking time.” (More) (Haiti Earthquake Relief Web site)