No. 144: Space junk, tech drain and why women hate calculus

Baby, it’s hot out there: A great end to the week, everyone. French military officer Francois Bouchard found the Rosetta Stone on this day in 1799, paving the way for the first modern translation of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

(Or, if you believe the History Channel, architectural notes from ancient aliens.)

Happy birthday Kevin Mulligan, Arianna Huffington and Marie Kominicki.

But first, this: Stony Brook University President Sam Stanley sent a carefully worded note to Newsday this week, expressing surprise over the paper’s recent call to shut down the Start-Up NY program.

Like other critics, Newsday editors focused on the relatively low numbers of jobs created by the program so far – 400 or so – and the $53 million advertising program that helped launch it.

The point, as the critics missed and Stanley hammered home, is not about creating jobs for now, but about investing in ideas that might help Long Island reclaim the technological prowess and economic might it enjoyed during the Grumman years.

That is, in fact, government’s role in innovation – to support little companies whose ideas may one day lead to big things. Grumman, certainly, would never have become Grumman without government support.

Is there another game-changer being tinkered with in a Start-Up NY space on Long Island? Given the breadth of invention going on here – from computer-engineered vaccines to next-gen energy systems to finely targeted cancer therapies and bioelectronics – you have to bet there’s at least one.

And all for the cost of a few TV commercials. Seems like a pretty good investment to us.


Lone Wolfie: Speaking of Stony Brook, the university would like to make it clear that it’s the new big dog in supporting local manufacturing. (But LIFT, and others, are welcome to help.)

Fueling the future: MEan Technologies is partnering with Rochester’s American Fuel Cell on a project that will significantly ramp up fuel-cell outputusing – science alert! – gold nanoparticles and membrane electrode assemblies.

The pipes are calling: Industry vet Graeme Cleeton has joined ULC Robotics’ U.K. operation to help roll out the next generation of the Hauppauge firm’s pipe-crawling automatons, which inspect and repair gas and other pipes with minimal above-ground disruption. British utility SGN, which owns and operates 45,000 miles of pipeline, is a partner-customer.

Next generation: Dave Hamilton’s clean energy program is hopping during these normally lazy, hazy days of summer, with four new members, including entrepreneurs from the Pacific Northwest and Italy.

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Thanks and buh-bye: LIFT officials were not exactly caught flatfooted by the resignation of longtime exec Bill Wahlig this week. In fact, they have a replacement in the wings, official announcement coming in early August. “In my view, it was probably time for a change,” LIFT chair Barry Shorten told Innovate LI.

On target: Northwell Health has fielded a new tumor tracker that significantly reduces the time and discomfort of breast cancer surgeries. Patient Ellen Gallin-Procida swears by it.

Off to a healthy start: The NYC region was second in the nation in funding for digital health startups in the first half of 2016, with more than $750 million invested in 26 deals. California’s Bay Area led the way.

And $307 for Innovate: Google said it generated $26.4 billion in economic activity in New York last year, including 5,000 jobs at its local operations.

Remember: It’s the last week to nominate for the Innovator of the Year awards. This is it. Basta. Terminé. Fertig. So hurry. Tell us about your favorite big-thinker via Questions? Query Marlene McDonnell at the same address.

And don’t miss: Hot Topics in Intellectual Property Law, July 20, noon to 5 p.m., Princeton Club NYC, offers 3.5 CLEs, including the much-cherished ethics credit, and lunch, $195 for members, more for nots, discounts for students, info and registration here.

About our sponsor: Hofstra University is an engine for research and innovation, combining a Center for Entrepreneurship, a Center for Innovation, the expertise of its faculty, the energy of its students and the state-of-the-art resources of its schools of engineering and applied science, business, law and medicine to drive and transform the region’s economy. Visit us.


The differential: Women are significantly more likely to drop out of STEM majors then men. The culprit is Calculus I, a new study suggests.

Casting call: Apple is looking for 18-year-old developers to star in its upcoming series Planet of the Apps.

So that’s where they’re going: A report by commercial real estate giant CBRE Group suggests San Francisco was the big winner in attracting people with tech-focused degrees over the past five years, with a gain of almost 90,000. Biggest loser was Boston.


Because summer: A recipe for chicken-fried watermelon.

Thanks, NASA: The latest issue of Orbital Debris Quarterly is out. As of July 5, there were 17,729 things floating around out there.

Crappy planning? There’s an app for that: Overnight, a platform that allows travelers to book last-minute rooms, is launching in New York City.

A reminder: There’s really no such thing as “free” news. Please support great institutions like Hofstra University.

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.