No. 148: Lab skills, brain shock and unkind words about Buffalo

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg: Where to stick all those ads?

TG it’s F: A great end of the week everybody, and better grab a sweater – it’s supposed to be a chilly 79 today. The Watkins Glen Summer Jam took place on this day in 1973, setting a Guinness attendance record. (So many people came early that the Grateful Dead turned their sound check into a two-set marathon. Devout Dead Heads can relive it here.)

Happy birthday Ken Burns and Professor Irwin Corey, the World’s Foremost Authority.

First, this: Online learning has made giant strides in the past decade, but programmers have never come up with a way to drill the motor skills required of real-life lab work. It’s one thing to understand how to use a micropipette to draw liquid and dispense it without air bubbles, for example, but mastering the necessary tactile precision is tough stuff in a virtual classroom.

Enter Lab in a Cube, a game controller-like device being developed at SBU that gives students a fun and affordable way to perfect their hand-eye skills in the comfort of their dorm room or favorite Starbucks.

The cube is a top winner in the SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant program – a total of $700,000+ this year – which nurtures technology with the best chance of being used across the state university system. The project, led by SBU biomedical engineering prof Mei Lin Ete Chan, landed $60,000.

Other local winners: Farmingdale State College, which won grants to develop learning models for electrical and computer engineering courses and for an online student hub that would increase engagement in online courses.

Suffolk Community College also won a grant to expand the use of mobile maker spaces across its campuses.

Good stuff, collegians.


Connie Cleary has departed Brookhaven National Lab’s commercialization office, reasons unclear.

Spectronics Corp. automotive subsidiary Tracer Products has gone all multilingual.

Albany is pitching in on e-recycling costs after state mandates put “unanticipated financial pressures on local governments.”

Northwell and the Mayo Clinic are teaming on a $350,000 study on painkiller addiction.

Getting-to-know-you platform ObviPop is in talks with a California software firm.

Long Island’s jobless rate dropped to 3.8 percent. (Suggesting that only journalists are still unemployed.)

More stuff and big pictures here.

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Coming out party: SBU will hold its 13th annual emerging technologies conference and expo at the Melville Marriott on Nov 2-3. Info and registration details here.

Cheap dates: The rest of the Innovate calendar is here.

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Taking flight: Everything you need to know about the $4.2 billion LaGuardia facelift from the Canadian who’s in charge.

From Politico: Hillary’s Long Island guy.

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Getting a buzz: The Pentagon is testing a military version of the Halo Sport headset, which uses “non-invasive electrical stimulation” to improve the brain’s learning skills. Pilots and snipers get a charge out of it first.

REVing it up: National Grid announced more demonstration projects in support of the state’s Reforming the Energy Vision program. (None around here.)

Virtual retirement planning: Fidelity Investments launched a new millennial-friendly digital service called Fidelity Go.

AI in NYC: NYU’s biz school is launching an accelerator for early stage companies dabbling in artificial intelligence. The four-month program, which offers a $75,000 stipend, includes space, staff support and a student fellow. But hurry – the program plans to accept only five firms.

Nice problem to have: Facebook is running out of places to put ads.

Different problem: The NYT reported declines in both print and digital advertising.

Attention Larry Waldman: Harvard is looking for a new chief for its $37.6 billion endowment following the departure of Stephen Blyth, who left after 17 months for unspecified personal reasons.

Real coworking: WeWork has changed its commission structure to entice brokers to bring clients to its 87 locations in the U.S. and U.K.


But Wartottle is less popular: Pokemon Go devotees are increasingly naming their newborns after game characters. A report from the name-tracking site Babycenter says the name Eevee jumped 1,377 spots while Onyx soared by 2,184.

Related: Hillary is also on the rise. (Yes, but we mean the name.)

Because heat dome: Four ice cream floats made with wine.

“Like Scranton but without the charm:” The meanest things ever said about Buffalo.

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.