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The Commerce Blog

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

Image of large tornado touching the ground. Click for larger image.

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)

Secretary Locke Meets with Mongolia's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Batbold

Secretary Lock And Minister Batbold seated in chairs by a fireplace. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with Mongolia's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Sukhbaatar Batbold at the Commerce Department. This was the first meeting between Minister Batbold and Secretary Locke. Secretary Locke and Minister Batbold pledged to continue to develop U.S.-Mongolian trade and economic relations."The Commerce Department looks forward to working with Mongolia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to further strengthen our commercial ties," Secretary Locke said. (More)

USPTO: Collegiate Inventors Competition Deadline Nears

Collegiate Inventors Competition logo.

The Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a presenting sponsor of the annual Collegiate Inventors Competition (CIC) reminds the public of the upcoming entry deadline. The CIC is a national competition designed to encourage college and graduate students to be active in science, engineering, mathematics, technology, and creative invention. This prestigious challenge recognizes and rewards the innovations, discoveries, and research by college and university students and their advisors for projects leading to inventions that may have the potential to receive patent protection. Entries must be submitted on the official application form and be postmarked by June 16, 2009. (More)

Secretary Locke Urges Unprepared Consumers to Ensure At Least One Television is DTV-Ready for June 12 Switch

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TV Converter Box Coupon Program logo. Click to visit DTV2009 Web site.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke urged Americans who rely on over-the-air broadcasting–typically those who use older televisions with “rabbit ears” or a rooftop antenna–to take immediate action so that at least one television in their household continues working when the nationwide switch to digital television occurs one week from today. "With one week to go before the nation’s switch to digital broadcasting, I urge consumers who use an older television not on cable or satellite to take the necessary steps to ensure that they can continue receiving the news and information they rely on after June 12," Locke said. (More) (Apply for Coupon) (www.dtv2009.gov)

NOAA, Army Corps of Engineers to Build Alaska Satellite Operations Facility

Illustration of COSPAS-SARSAT Symtem Overview. Click for larger image.

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will construct a new NOAA satellite operations facility in Fairbanks, Alaska. The contract is valued at $11.7 million. NOAA will use $9 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and additional funding provided by the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 to complete this project. NOAA’s Office of the Chief Administrative Officer and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District, will jointly manage the construction effort. (More)

Secretary Locke Meets with Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry Lim

Secretary Locke and Minister Lim shaking hands in front of their countries' flags. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang at the Commerce Department today. This was the first meeting between Minister Lim and Secretary Locke. Secretary Locke and Minister Lim expressed a commitment to strengthening an already robust bilateral commercial relationship, grounded in the extremely successful U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Since implementation of the FTA in January 2004, two-way trade between the United States and Singapore has increased 41 percent, with U.S. exports increasing nearly 74 percent over the same time period. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces Recovery Act Grant to Create Jobs, Boost Development in Montana

EDA seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced a $2.7 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant for the State of Montana to capitalize a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) that will provide timber and wood businesses with the financing they need to become more competitive. This grant is the first awarded by the Commerce Department under President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). (More) (Commerce.gov/Recovery)

Secretary Locke Announces Availability of $27 Million in Recovery Act Funding to Help Midwestern Communities

AARA logo. Click to go to www.Commerce.gov/Recovery.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the availability of $27 million in grants for Midwestern communities. These grants, made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), are available through the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). The region targeted by the grants is coping with the downturn of the U.S. auto industry. The money will be available for communities and organizations in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. (More) (Remarks) (Commerce.gov/Recovery)

Internet Use Triples in Decade, Census Bureau Reports

U.S. Census Bureau seal.

New data from the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau show that 62 percent of households reported using Internet access in the home in 2007, an increase from 18 percent in 1997. “These data give us a better understanding of who is using the Internet and from where,” said Thom File, a statistician with the Census Bureau. Among the states, Alaska and New Hampshire residents had among the highest rates of Internet use from any location (home, work or public access) for those 3 and older in 2007. Mississippi and West Virginia had among the lowest rates of Internet use at about 52 percent. (More)