No. 211: Real facts, a robotic dog and cloning the Star Trek tricorder

It’s Friday out there: Looking back, April was not the cruelest month. Pretty wet, though.

The 2 millionth American patent was issued this week in 1935. It went to automotive engineer Joseph Ledwinka for a wheel design. Classic car enthusiasts remember Ledwinka as the designer of the 1929 Ruxton, the first front-wheel-drive American car. (Four still known to exist.)

Happy birthday Alice Waters.

But first, this: Collect enough data, the saying goes, and you can prove anything.

That’s not quite the charter of USAFacts, the national database unveiled last week by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, but it certainly gets the job done.

Sucking up info from more than 70 government sources and 50,000+ special districts and other agencies, the database offers a Joe Friday look at how our nation collects money, how it spends it and on whom and what. You decide if the investment was really worth it.

Small example: The amount of fuel wasted in traffic congestion more than doubled between 1990 and 2015, even as per capita spending on road projects went up by 50 percent.

Another: Federal R&D investment per capita, in steady dollars, was $463 in 1990 and $402 last year.

Also not good if you ever hope to collect Social Security: The U.S. population grew by 100 million between 1980 and 2015, but only a tenth of them were children.

And: You really don’t want to know what your share of the federal debt is.

On the fly: Hofstra’s Center for Entrepreneurship hosts a drone seminar and follow-on flying demonstration, May 2, 3 p.m., space limited, contact

Congrats: Huntington Hospital has become the first LI facility to achieve nursing’s top of the charts quality designation for the fourth time in a row.

Not to be overlooked: SBU computer scientist prof and researcher Long Lu has received a prestigious National Science Foundation Career award – and a tidy $500K – to continue his work on mobile security.

Can’t imagine: Attorney, mother of eight and, in June, prez of the Nassau Women’s Bar Association. An Elaine Colavito Q&A.

Attention hop-heads: Innovator of the Year winner Moustache Brewing Co. has a big release weekend planned for May 5-7. In addition to this year’s Blueberry + Ginger Tripel, there’s DJ Night, an IPA brewed with Azacca and Idaho 7 hops, and Get Up On Outta Here!, a double IPA brewed with Hüll Melon, Mandarina Bavaria, and Motueka hops. Details.

Not related as far as we know: The James Beard Awards for writing were out this week, including this Thrillist piece on the great craft brewing sell out.

Also: The indefatigable Kevin Alexander on the hunt for NYT restaurant critic Pete Wells. Worth a read.


+ The Debrief: Lenny Poveromo, chief exec at the Composite Prototyping Center, is a man of many layers.

+ Plainview-based on-demand video firm NeuLion gets Suffolk IDA help to move its HQ and add jobs, and there are affordable rental units on the way.

+ The governor came to Farmingdale State College (Innovate sponsor, lemme hear a yay) to announce $2.5 billion in clean water spending.

+ The state’s annual economic development sweepstakes, which pits Upstater against Southern Tierer, Finger Laker against Long Islander etc. for a share of $800 million, while NYC looks on with disdain, kicks off May 1.

+ Northwell Health and Feinstein Institute spinout TheraSource are teaming to take on sepsis, thanks to a not insignificant chunk of NIH dough.

+ Thuro Metal Products makes good on its pledge to stay put and prosper.

A few words from our sponsor: The Wells Fargo Private Bank understands no two clients are the same. We provide a personalized approach by offering tailored solutions for Long Island’s most successful individuals and families in response to all types of wealth management needs including investments, lending, planning and other financial products customized for their needs.

Imagine if there was an Oscar for doing good. There is. The Imagine Awards, May 2, Crest Hollow, all you need to know here.

And don’t forget EisnerAmper’s Pivotal conference, which combines deep thought, tech talk, Grade A networking, performance and apres-beveraging in one giant happening, May 9, 3 to 8 p.m., The Space in Westbury, register here.

The SBU Incubator Company Showcase, both physical and virtual, is June 8.

The rest of the Innovate calendar is here.

Spot on: Boston Dynamics is developing a robotic dog to deliver packages. It currently operates at two-thirds the speed of the average human worker. (Or twice as fast as the boss’ son.)

Sweeeet: Researchers have developed implantable cells that can control insulin production in diabetics.

The real McCoy: Final Frontier Medical Devices has won Qualcomm’s $2.5 million prize for a medical scanner that comes really close to the Star Trek tricorder.

Don’t do this: Francis J. Lang, a resident of upstate Johnstown, has been issued eight summons related to his attempt to “skip” his snowmobile across an unfrozen pond. (Leaving the scene of a snowmobile submerged in a public body of water was one. No, wait. Two.)

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.

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