Welcome to Dec. 6: A red-letter date in history known best for the ratification of the slavery-abolishing 13th Amendment (1865) and the first recording of a human voice (Thomas Edison’s rendition of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” 1877).
Happy birthday: Joyce Kilmer, Ira Gershwin, Agnes “Endora” Moorehead, Dave Brubeck, Wally “Mr. Peepers” Cox, Otto Graham, Larry Bowa, JoBeth Williams, Charles Bronson, Craig “Craigslist” Newmark, Will Shriner, Steven Wright, Judd Apatow and Zeller, yes, Innovate’s Zeller, all unleashed upon the world on this date.
Send your birthday wishes for Agnes Moorehead or whomever to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with story suggestions, calendar listings and all that good stuff.
Water sign: Before we get to the week in innovation, quick but heartfelt congratulations to the Long Island Regional Planning Council, honored this week by the New York League of Conservation Voters as a “Champion for Clean Water.”
The council earned the league’s Environmental Leader Award for its work on the state-funded Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan, including co-management of a $5 million study – with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation – seen as a key step in improving water quality in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
And of course: Major kudos to young scientists Arooba Ahmed and Jiachen Lee (both of Half Hollow Hills East High School) and Jillian Parker (of Half Hollow Hills High School West) for taking top honors in the prestigious 2017 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. The trio, which conducted cell-division research that could someday lead to new treatments for cancers and other diseases, will split the $100,000 grand prize awarded in the competition’s Team Category.
AND NOW, THIS
We need a little Christmas, right this very minute: Cheer up, America! A new poll by Long Island University’s Hornstein Center for Policy, Polling and Analysis suggests the USA has the blues, with the Republican tax-reform plan among several contributors to the national melancholy.
Only 33 percent of Americans believe the economy is either “excellent” or “good,” according to the November survey of 1,002 U.S. adults, while 26 percent find it “poor.” Another 47 percent believe the economy is getting worse, leading to 63 percent of respondents who are either “somewhat” or “very” unsatisfied with the overall national direction.
As for the President Trump-backed tax-reform platform, the poll found that only 26 percent of respondents support it and 44 percent oppose it – while 30 percent said there isn’t enough public information to form an opinion.
The entire poll can be found here.
Breakthrough moment: What do Mark Zuckerberg, NASA, Morgan Freeman, Wiz Khalifa, a 17-year-old Taiwanese cellist, an 18-year-old Filipino scientist and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have in common?
They all factored somehow in the 6th Annual Breakthrough Prize Ceremony, held Sunday at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. Featuring master of ceremonies Freeman and a host of Hollywood stars (including Mila Kunis and a beamed-in Zuckerberg), the event – televised live on the National Geographic channel and streamed real-time on Facebook and YouTube platforms – doled out roughly $22 million in prize money to scientists and innovators from around the globe.
The Breakthrough Junior prize, including $250,000 in scholarship funds and a $50,000 stipend for her high school science teacher, went to Hillary Anales of the Philippines, who submitted a video titled “Relativity & The Equivalence of Reference Frames,” explaining why some think a sideways 6 is actually 9. The young genius also won a new science lab for her school, to be designed in partnership with scientists at CSHL. Forbes has more.
Raising the cup: Piedmont Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines, has honored its team at the Town of Islip’s Long Island MacArthur Airport with the American Airlines Customer Cup.
The “coveted” award is bestowed quarterly upon American Airline stations, including subsidiary offices, that offer an “exceptional passenger experience,” according to the Texas-based airline. Piedmont-ISP (the FAA location identifier for MacArthur Airport) beat out 54 similar-sized stations in service categories including baggage dependability and customer feedback.
A few words from our sponsor: Northwell Health is NY’s largest healthcare provider and private employer, with 22 hospitals, over 550 outpatient facilities and 62,000-plus employees. We’re making research breakthroughs at the Feinstein Institute and training the next generation of medical professionals at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and the School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. Visit Northwell.edu.
TOP OF THE SITE
The bionics man: The Feinstein Institute’s Chad Bouton can tell you six million things about bioelectronic implants and nerve-stimulation tech (like, why the science is about to get all touch-feely).
Following leads: A home-based, one-person business that clears seven figures in its first year and is poised to earn millions more? Plus the freedom to go to Little League and school plays? Just follow these clues.
Patients are a virtue: Northwell Health’s new $15 million Manhasset-based Center for Health Innovations and Outcomes Research will leverage the health system’s uniquely large and diverse patient population.
Fertile ground: Just days after trumpeting its surging DNA-therapeutics vertical, Stony Brook biotech Applied DNA Sciences has announced a new push – molecular-tagging and tracking fertilizer across Turkey, Asia and West Africa.
STUFF WE’RE READING
Go 76West, young energy firm: Gov. Andrew Cuomo has fired the starter’s pistol for the third round of the Southern Tier’s 76West Clean Energy Competition.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority-administered contest, one of the largest in the country focused on clean energy and related economic development, will accept applications from emerging clean-energy companies through April, with a total of $2.5 million in prize money at stake.
Qualified companies must either operate in the Southern Tier (and commit to employment growth), move to the Southern Tier or establish a direct connection with the region, such as a supply-chain relationship. Previous 76West Competition winners have raised some $20 million in private capital, according to the governor’s office, and “are already contributing to the region’s successful cleantech ecosystem.”
Shopping on the go: General Motors is rolling out Marketplace, the auto industry’s first commerce platform for on-demand reservations and purchases of goods and services. The idea is to give drivers of properly equipped Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles the opportunity to more safely interact with a growing number of brands in retail, fuel, hospitality, food, etc., through a simple dashboard interface.
Attention, please: Akili Interactive Labs says a late-stage study of a videogame designed to treat kids with ADHD has met its primary goal – a big step in the Boston company’s quest to get approval for what it hopes will be the first prescription videogame.
Feeling a little sick already: Why CVS’s $69 billion acquisition of Aetna might be really bad news for U.S. hospitals.
+ Nest Fragrances, a New York City-based maker of luxury fragrances for bath, body and home, received an approximately $70 million majority investment from Eurazeo.
+ Aaptiv, a New York City-based digital-health company featuring audio fitness programs designed by expert trainers, raised $38 million in funding led by Insight Venture Partners with participation from Arena Ventures, Pear Ventures and Switch VC.
+ Applied Data Finance, a New York-based provider of alternative loan options for underestimated consumers, has raised $20 million from Redpoint Capital.
+ Noodle Partners, a New York City-based platform for colleges and universities to expand access to – and decrease the cost of – premier online higher education, raised approximately $14 million in Series A funding led by Owl Ventures with participation from Osage and New Markets.
+ Code.org, a Seattle-based computer-science education access platform, raised $12 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Infosys and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
+ Elsen, a Boston-based platform that helps financial institutions analyze user data, raised $2.4 million in seed funding led by Hyperplane Venture Capital and others.
BELOW THE FOLD
Something to chew on: After you finish your drink, you can consume this edible straw (or just dissolve it in the ocean).
Big night in the Big Apple: The Northwell Health Foundation’s Constellation Gala, held Nov. 14 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and featuring Grammy Award nominee Sara Bareilles, attracted 500-plus guests and raised more than $3.3 million for the health system’s Manhattan-based services and programs.
War of the suds: Why a medieval Polish bishop banned God to save beer.
Before you leap: What career-changers wish they knew before they made the switch.
Gentle reminder: There’s no such thing as “free” news. Please support great institutions like Northwell Health.