No. 106: Asbestos duds, Edison’s foil and Playboy’s got new bounce

TG it’s F: A happy close to the work week everybody, and only one more day of reporting from South Carolina. Sweeet.

Edison patented his phonograph on this day in 1878. The earliest surviving recording, made at a demonstration in St. Louis and etched on tin foil, includes the inventor reciting “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” plus assorted laughter and a coronet solo.

“I was never so taken aback in my life,” Edison said. “I was always afraid of things that worked the first time.”

True fact: If you’ve heard a better version of the recording, it’s a commemorative re-do from 1924.

Glass now half full: Gov. Cuomo was at Stony Brook University yesterday to announce $2 million in state funding to determine the cause of and possible cure for a giant bubble of contaminated water in the aquifer near Bethpage.

(Hint: It’s been called the Grumman Plume for years.)

He also: Unveiled an SBU Center for Clean Water Technology and new regs for mulch producers.

There to help: Steve Bellone, Ed Mangano, John Flanagan, Steve Englebright, Ken LaValle and more. The press conferees spent an inordinate amount of time talking about family ties – that is, neckties – with Cuomo producing the topper. “Mine was made by my brother-in-law. Kenneth Cole.”

(The Guv’s sister, Maria, married the fashion designer in 1987.)

123456: SplashData’s annual list of the world’s worst passwords, plus a little advice on securing your company from Tools4Ever LI chief Dean Weich.


A bounce for Buncee: The Calverton-based presentation software platform reports surging user growth thanks to its pivot into education.

Pitching for pitchers: The Long Island Capital Alliance is looking for consumer product startups for its next funding forum.

In formation: Stony Brook’s annual Innovation Boot Camp is about to set heels to pavement. Eight startups and a secretive roster of commercialization experts huddle under David Hamilton’s watchful eye.

Brush with the law: Medical products king Henry Schein faces more than 20 suits alleging pricing collusion in its dental supply business. The firm intends to defend “vigorously.”

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Queue & A: Carter DeLuca patent attorney Francesco Sardone fields questions, hopes and dreams at the next meeting of the Suffolk inventors and entrepreneurs club.

It takes some welders: ThermoLift CEO Paul Schwartz on how the local innovation economy is working together to get his revolutionary heat pump to market.

Holes in the bottom of the sea: PSEG is drilling test borings off Greenport to see if the Peconic River bed can support an electric line to Shelter Island.

Hanging up the chalk: NY teachers who retired last year received pensions averaging $67,476. The average was $86,800 on Long Island, the highest in the state. Former Commack Superintendent James Feltman led the way with a package topping $325,000, or about half his annual salary.

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Get it in the calendar: Co-Ed Tech Together Happy Hour, April 5, 5:30 p.m. onward, Jewel in Melville, brought to you by Innovate, LISTnet, Ellevate Women and Women in Technology. Buy your own beverage, free hors d’oeuvres. Let us know you’re coming.

And don’t forget: State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan keynotes the March 11 breakfast meeting of ACIT. Crest Hollow, 7:30 a.m. for networking, 8:30 for the main event, $50 for members, more to sit closer to the senator.


Long read: Why solar power is an essential no-go in the Sunshine State.

A few giant leaps: Popular Mechanics has correctly predicted some of America’s greatest innovations, but it’s had a few misses: Asbestos clothing (1929), Russia first to the moon (1959) and heavy water as the fountain of youth (1937).

Noted: The Indonesian government has called for a ban on LGBT emojis.

Social, climbing: AOL has taken a third floor at its NoHo headquarters, bringing its total there to more than 300,000 square feet. Facebook is also expanding in the building, tacking on 82,000 feet.

Related, maybe: Yahoo is dumping its money-losing food, health, parenting, travel, automotive and real estate coverage, and possibly technology, as either operational streamlining or prep for a sale. AOL chief Tim Armstrong has reportedly been tapped to lead acquisition talks.

Metered response: On-demand parking, one of the brightest ideas to hit NYC lately, has hit some speed bumps, with Zirx, Luxe and others scaling back or pulling the plug completely. “Consumer on-demand parking, while one of those novel, amazing experiences for customers, is a very difficult business to scale,” Zirx co-founder and CEO Sean Behr conceded.

Rocky start: Oscar, the much-hyped NYC health insurance platform, signed up a miniscule 2,000 Californians in its enrollment expansion there, or 0.1 percent of the state’s 1.57 million new or renewing members. Still losing money in NY and NJ, too.

Not really related: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has gone to court to stop the firm that distributes Oscar night swag bags, saying the practice infringes on trademarks and tarnishes goodwill. This year’s bag includes a $5,500 certificate for plastic surgery, a $250 sex toy and a marijuana vaporizer.

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Progress: Earthlings are pumping the energy equivalent of 400,000 Hiroshima explosions into the atmosphere every day, but there is still hope, Al Gore pronounced in a fiery TED talk this week. The surge in solar and wind renewables are reasons for optimism, the former veep said.


Teenage no haste land: Are teens today better behaved than you were at that age? Almost certainly. They drink and smoke less, do fewer drugs and put off having sex much longer than we did. Much longer. Check out a nifty comparison gizmo by Vox.

Conversely: Millennials drink more wine than any other U.S. population segment, favoring Italian (72%) and French (69%). Collectively, the cohort drinks more alcohol than 40 percent of the overall adult population. (As would you if you lived in your parents’ basement.)

No sex also sells: The kinder, gentler Playboy is a hit with advertisers.

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.