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The Commerce Blog

Secretary Locke, Vice President Biden Launch Initiative to Bring Broadband, Jobs to More Americans

Biden, Vilsack and Locke on stage with flags in background. Click for larger image.

White House Photo

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined Vice President Joe Biden to announce the availability of $4 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act loans and grants to help bring broadband service to unserved and underserved communities across America. This is the first round of Recovery Act funding aimed at expanding broadband access to help bridge the technological divide and create jobs building out Internet infrastructure. Locke and Biden were joined today by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski and Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper. (More) (Remarks) (Vice President’s Statement)

NTIA Unveils Program to Help States Map Internet Infrastructure

NTIA logo.

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced details of a grant program to fund collection of state-level broadband data, as well as state-wide broadband mapping and planning, which will assist NTIA in creating a national broadband map. This initiative will provide consumers with better information on the broadband services available to them and inform efforts to increase broadband availability nationwide. “This program satisfies Congress’ mandate that we collect comprehensive information on broadband in America,” said NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces $167 Million in Recovery Act Funding for 50 Coastal Restoration Projects

Workers and Lubchenco pose in front of earthmoving equipment. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced 50 habitat restoration projects that will restore damaged wetlands, shellfish beds, coral reefs and reopen fish passages that boost the health and resiliency of our nation’s coastal and Great Lakes communities. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was provided $167 million for marine and coastal habitat restoration. "These Recovery Act projects will put Americans to work while restoring our coasts and combating climate change,” Locke said. (More)

Census Bureau Opens First 2010 Census Data Capture Center

Acting Census Bureau Director Thomas Mesenbourg (third from left) is shown with ceremonial scissors. Also shown (L to R) are Ken Asbury of Lockheed Martin, James Sheaffer of CSC, and Rick Ruiz of Lockheed Martin. Click for larger image.

Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau opened one of three data capture centers that will process the 2010 Census questionnaires as they are mailed back by households across the nation. The 236,500-square-foot facility will bring more than 2,500 jobs to Baltimore County, Md. “Processing the 2010 Census questionnaires accurately and safely at the data capture centers is a crucial step to a successful census,” said Census Bureau Acting Director Tom Mesenbourg.“The data from each form processed at the facility will help provide a complete count of the nation's population and a new portrait of America.” (More) (2010 Census Web site)

Commerce Secretary Locke Meets with Colombian President Uribe

Locke and Uribe shake hands across the conference table. Click for larger image.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke hosted a meeting with Colombian President Álvaro Uribe at the Commerce Department. This was the first meeting between President Uribe and Secretary Locke. Locke and Uribe discussed the importance of trade and commercial relations between the United States and the Republic of Colombia and the strides Colombia has made in improving security conditions, reducing violence and enhancing economic opportunities for its citizens under President Uribe’s leadership and the need for continued progress in these areas. (More)

Nanosoccer Robots Ready to Compete in Upcoming RoboCup Games

YouTube video clip of nanosoccer. Click to view 2008 video.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will be serving up “soccer under glass”—the glass of a microscope lens—when nanosoccer makes its second appearance at the RoboCup games at the international competition in Graz, Austria, from June 29 to July 5, 2009. Nanosoccer is a Lilliputian event where computer-driven “nanobots” the size of dust mites challenge one another on fields no bigger than a grain of rice. Viewed under a microscope, the nanobots are operated by remote control and move in response to changing magnetic fields or electrical signals transmitted across the microsized arena. (More)

Under Secretary Blank Urges NALEO Officials to Make Your Voices Heard

United States Census 2010 logo. Click to go to Web site.

Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs, Dr. Rebecca Blank urged attendees of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) annual conference to help facilitate “equal access so everyone will participate in the 2010 Census.” “The Census is at the core of our democracy. It is not partisan, it is American—and it belongs to everyone living in America. It is about opportunity, equality and full representation, regardless of economic status, race or ethnic origin, “ Blank said at the annual conference entitled “Latinos and Census 2010: On the Brink of the Count.” (More) (NPR-Blank Interview)

NOAA Observes Lightning Safety Awareness Week, Advises 'When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!'

Image of jagged lightning bolts. Click for larger image.

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is sponsoring National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 21-27, to help the public learn how to recognize and avoid the dangers of lightning. Violent summer storms can form quickly and stretch for hundreds of miles and can produce deadly lightning capable of striking up to 10 miles away. Each year in the United States more than 400 people are struck by lightning. “Lightning is extremely dangerous,” says John Jensenius, National Weather Service lightning safety expert. “The best advice is, ‘When thunder roars, go indoors.’” (More) (Lightning Safety Brochure-PDF)

Vice President Biden, Secretary Locke Announce Expansion of Manufacturing Initiative in Ohio

Ohio Gov. Strickland, Vice President Biden, Secretary Locke seated at table. Click for larger image.

White House Photo

Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the expansion of the National Innovation Marketplace program, an initiative that will help revitalize supply chains and equip manufacturers to use emerging technology and find new market opportunities. Locke joined Biden, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, and Auto Recovery Director Ed Montgomery at the vice president’s fifth meeting of the White House Task Force on Middle Class Families, reinforcing the administration’s commitment to innovation in American manufacturing. (More) (White House Press Release) (Middle Class Task Force Web Site)

Census Bureau Reports World's Older Population Projected to Triple by 2050

Census Bureau seal.

The world's 65-and-older population is projected to triple by midcentury, from 516 million in 2009 to 1.53 billion in 2050, according to the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau. In contrast, the population under 15 is expected to increase by only 6 percent during the same period, from 1.83 billion to 1.93 billion. These figures come from the world population estimates and projections released today through the Census Bureau's International Data Base. This latest update includes projections by age, including people 100 and older, for 227 countries and areas. (More)