No. 279: A new flu review, taking the fight to tuberculosis and why your fish might really like a cold beer

Flu crew: Northwell Health's new "biosurveillance" system providers staffers with a proactive tool to help prepare for and respond to influenza outbreaks.

Welcome to Wednesday: And over the hump we go, dear readers, with another week of Long Island innovation and socioeconomic progress in full swing.

It was 179 years ago today, on Feb. 7, 1839, when U.S. Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky – warned that a speech would offend abolitionists and pro-slavery factions alike, and could cost him the presidential election – told Congress, “I had rather be right than be president.”

The nose knows: Walt Disney’s “Pinocchio” celebrates his 78th birthday today, following the 1940 premier of Disney’s second feature-length film. (What was the first? Answer below. Step away from the Googler.)

It’s also the birthday, sorta, of boxing great and global ambassador Muhammed Ali, who officially converted to Islam – and renounced his birthname, Cassius Clay – on this date in 1964.

Gold standard: Actual Feb. 7 birthdays include iconic U.S. manufacturer John Deere (1804-1886), legendary English writer Charles Dickens (1812-1870), “Little House” author Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957), original “Tarzan” and “Flash Gordon” actor Buster Crabbe (1908-1983), country music cornerstone Garth Brooks (1962) and Long Island marketing guru Ron Gold, among others.

Game on: A quick thank-you to reader Tom Mariner – COO at imaging visionary SynchroPET, among other interesting jobs – who reached out after last week’s homage to videogame pioneer Nolan Bushnell.

As Tom rightly notes, the actual chip that triggered the mass production of the earliest videogames was created right here on Long Island, by Hicksville-based General Instrument Microelectronics (now Microchip Technology Inc. of Arizona). GI, as it was known, went on to help develop what Tom called “the Mattel trunk of the videogame tree,” meaning it had a hand in classic home-gaming consoles like the clunky (and forever awesome) Intellivision.

So – the Atari 2600? ColecoVision? Your old Commodore 64? Before Xbox and Playstation ruled the roost, what was your favorite home console? Press start at  editor@innovateli.com, and be sure to share some story tips and calendar items, too.

Sunny outlook: Before we jump into the busy week in innovation news, a round of applause for New York State’s solar-energy initiatives, which according to the governor’s office have wrought a 1,000 percent increase in statewide solar generation since 2011. The initiatives have leveraged more than $2.8 billion in private investments and created some 12,000 jobs across the state, by Albany’s count.

 

BUT FIRST, THIS

The flu, the proud: With the worst flu season in decades raging across the land, Northwell Health has established a high-tech “biosurveillance system” designed to track high volumes of influenza cases.

Working through a unique dashboard, the system – developed in part by Stanley Cho, a senior data analyst at Northwell Health’s Krasnoff Quality Management Institute – provides Northwell staffers with a proactive tool to help prepare for and respond to potential surges in flu cases. That’s no mean feat for a health system that treated 10,500 patients with flu-like symptoms between Jan. 31 and Feb. 6, and admitted 2,700 of them for inpatient treatment.

“The new flu surveillance dashboard gives Northwell the ability to see what’s going on in near real time,” Northwell Health Emergency Management Coordinator Mark Swenson said Tuesday. “This is an important tool that helps us in terms of planning and managing patient care.”

In the weeds: Applied DNA Sciences’ new partnership with TheraCann International Benchmark Corp. is off to a fast start.

The Stony Brook-based biotech announced Tuesday that a laboratory pilot program has successfully tagged and authenticated a supply of legal cannabis and its derivatives, using Applied DNA’s proprietary molecular taggants. The effective test run is an important step toward what Applied DNA projects as “a powerful blockchain backbone for the management and tracking of legal cannabis and derivative products.”

 

About our sponsor: The Law Offices of Andrew Presberg is Long Island’s premier “IDA attorney” for businesses relocating, expanding and growing on Long Island. Founded in 1984, the practice also focuses on the purchase, sale, leasing and financing of commercial and industrial property, SBA loan transactions, construction, commercial banking and real estate litigation.

 

TOP OF THE SITE

Strength in numbers: A fresh collaboration between Catholic Health Services of Long Island and NYIT’s School of Osteopathic Medicine will bring new healthcare options – and, sponsors hope, teams of new professional providers – to Long Island patients.

MWBE or bust: Counties, towns and other municipalities funneling state funds into local projects will have to meet certain minority- and women-owned subcontractor plateaus, according to new legislation proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Targeting tuberculosis: The National Institutes of Health has granted a chunky research award to a Setauket-based pharma startup developing new antibody-based diagnostics for detecting childhood tuberculosis.

Ups and downs: Amityville’s NAPCO Security Technologies had a big 2Q, but Westbury-based Nathan’s Famous and Port Washington’s Aceto Corp. stumbled during their most recent quarters, according to earnings reports issued this week.

 

STUFF WE’RE READING

Fade to black: In honor of Black History Month, the New York Times shares 28 essential films from 20th century cinema that “convey the larger history of Black America.”

Another bright idea: Philips Lighting, Denmark’s largest supplier of integrated IT and communication technologies, has installed the world’s first power-over-Ethernet lighting system, using Cisco network technology.

Necks in line: As a tribute to outgoing Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen – the first woman to run the central U.S. bank – several colleagues made a somewhat familiar fashion statement this week.

Jam session: Printers are faster and sharper than ever – but according to The New Yorker, no technological advance will ever defeat the dreaded paper jam.

 

RECENT FUNDINGS

+ Furnishare, a New York City-based furniture-sharing platform, raised $2 million in seed funding. Backers reportedly included Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Correlation Ventures and Max Ventures, Richard Kerby, Nevzat Aydin and Firat Isbecer.

+ Lambda School, a California-based provider of free computer science education training for the world’s most in-demand careers, raised $4 million in seed funding. Backers included Y Combinator, Tandem Capital, Tyler Willis (founder of Customer Science) and Jake Chapman (of Gelt Venture Capital), among others.

+ Made Modern LLC, a NYC-based developer of products and media aimed at fostering creativity in children ages 4 through 11, completed a $3 million financing transaction with Decathlon Capital Partners.

+ Lightmatter, a Boston-based maker of a light-powered AI chip, secured $11 million in Series A funding led by Matrix Partners and Spark Capital.

+ Paige.AI, a NYC-based startup advancing clinical diagnosis and treatment in oncology through use of artificial intelligence, raised $25 million in Series A funding.

+ Harmless Harvest, a San Francisco-based refrigerated coconut water producer, secured $30 million in growth capital led by Danone Manifesto Ventures, the venture arm of Danone, with participation from Mousse Partners and AccelFoods.

+ Behalf, a NYC-based provider of working capital solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, secured $150 million in debt financing led by a private investment fund managed by Soros Fund Management, with participation from Viola Credit.

 

BELOW THE FOLD

Who needs a groundhog? Why Stony Brook University weather predictions are literally in the clouds.

Homeward bound: After 50 years on the road, Paul Simon is finally retiring from touring.

And not just ‘beer-battered:’ How to pair the right beer with your favorite seafood (and why you should).

Trivia answer: Disney’s first feature-length film was “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” released Dec. 21, 1937.

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