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The Commerce Blog

NIST Submits Master Plan for Gaithersburg Campus

View of Gaithersburg campus. Click for larger image.

Courtesy HDR Architecture, Inc./Steve Hall
© Hedrich Blessing

Planned and potential expansions and new facilities across campus, the addition of 400-500 kilowatts in power from solar panels, and increasing already-heavy employee use of alternative transportation to a daily rate of 40 percent are among the highlights of an updated Master Plan for the Gaithersburg, Md., campus of the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST has delivered its plan to the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), the central planning agency for federal land and buildings in the National Capital Region. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on President Obama's Intent to Nominate Hirschhorn as Under Secretary for Industry and Security

Bueau of Industry and Security logo.

President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate attorney Eric Hirschhorn to be the Under Secretary of the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). Hirschhorn is currently a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Winston & Strawn LLP. "Eric Hirschhorn has a wealth of experience working with export controls and I look forward to having him onboard as we implement President Obama's vision to reform the export control system and increase competitiveness of U.S. companies by facilitating the sale of our goods while protecting national security," Locke said. (More) (White House press release)

USPTO to Hold Live Online Chat for Independent Inventors

Photo of inventors with large-screen monitor.

File Photo

Senior officials of the Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will be available live online Wednesday, September 16, 2009 from 2 to 3 p.m. (EDT). They will be answering questions and offering tips for independent inventors. Instructions for taking part in the online chat will be posted on the home page of the USPTO Web site at 10 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday. Inventors can begin logging on for the chat at 1:30 p.m. The independent inventor on-line chat is part of the USPTO’s continuing effort to promote and protect America’s independent inventor community. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on President Obama's Intent to Nominate Gallagher as Director of NIST

Portrait of Patrick Gallagher.

President Barack Obama today announced his intent to nominate physicist Patrick Gallagher to be the 14th director of the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Gallagher, 46, is currently the NIST deputy director. “NIST is a unique agency with a strong culture of world-class scientific achievement,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “Pat Gallagher has come up through the ranks and his continued leadership will be critical to an agency that is central to the nation’s ability to innovate and compete in global markets.” (More) (White House Press Release) (Bio)

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Secretary Locke Statement on Census Bureau Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Report

Portrait of Secretary Locke.

The U.S. Census Bureau today announced that real median household income in the United States fell 3.6 percent between 2007 and 2008, coinciding with the recession that began in December 2007. Additionally, the number of people covered by private health insurance decreased from 202 million in 2007 to 201 million in 2008. (More) (Census Bureau Release) (Full Report-PDF)

Secretary Locke Statement on July 2009 Trade Numbers

Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the July 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports increased by 2.2 percent to $127.6 billion since June 2009. Imports increased 4.7 percent to $159.6 billion. (More) (Fact Sheet)

New NIST Trace Explosives Standard Slated for Homeland Security Duty

Bottle of SRM 2905 seen under blue crime scene light and spot of tagged SRM on test paper. Click for larger image.

To aid in searches for explosive materials and persons who have been in contact with them, Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), with support from the Department of Homeland Security, has developed a new certified reference material, Standard Reference Material (SRM) 2905, Trace Particulate Explosives. Compatible with field and laboratory assay methods, the SRM will be helpful in calibrating, testing and developing standard best operating procedures for trace-explosives detectors. (More)

Deputy Secretary Hightower: 'Keep Trade Flowing Freely and Fairly Across Our Borders'

Portrait of Deputy Secretary Hightower.

In his first public speech as Deputy Secretary of Commerce to the Trade North America Conference in Detroit, Dennis F. Hightower identified four key trade priorities of the Commerce Department: visa reform, export controls review, intellectual property protection, and intergovernmental cooperation and trade promotion. Hightower also emphasized the need for enforcement of existing trade agreements among the three countries to ensure free and fair trade across the Canadian and Mexican borders, and to resist any impulses toward protectionism. (Remarks)

Climate Effects of Atmospheric Haze Better Understood, NOAA Researchers Report

Image of hazy sky at sunset. Click for larger image.

Scientists have used a new approach to sharpen the understanding of one of the most uncertain of mankind’s influences on climate—the effects of atmospheric “haze,” the tiny airborne particles from pollution, biomass burning, and other sources. The new observations-based study led by Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirms that the particles (“aerosols”) have the net effect of cooling the planet—in agreement with previous understanding—but arrives at the answer in a completely new way that is more straightforward, and has narrowed the uncertainties of the estimate. (More)

Secretary Locke Joins Virginia First Lady Holton and Richmond Mayor Jones to Promote Department of Education Initiative

Students and officials watch President's broadcast speech. Click for larger image.

As children across America went back to school today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, joined by First Lady of Virginia, Anne Holton and Mayor Dwight C. Jones, visited the Linwood Holton Elementary School in Richmond, Va., to participate in “We Are What We Learn,” a U.S. Department of Education initiative launched to challenge students to work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning. Locke, Holton and Jones joined students to watch a live broadcast of President Obama’s national education address. (Video of President’s Address) (Remarks)