No. 224: Immune system secrets, Empire steel and save us, Scott Rechler

How’s it going so far? The sun was directly over the Tropic of Cancer at 00:24 Wednesday morning, signaling summer’s start.

Environment New York would like to take this opportunity to warn you that local temperatures are 1.6 degrees warmer than in the 1970s and could be nine degrees higher than now by the century’s end if we don’t stop with the coal already and get back with the Paris thing.

So please tan responsibly.

Also, welcome new readers Paul, Tom, Andrea, Carla, Chandra and Arthur. Happy to have you aboard.

But first, this: Elon Musk’s latest startup is trying to significantly ramp up the speed of tunnel boring machines so that they might affordably dig a network of new traffic lanes under congested places like LA, where Musk’s The Boring Co. happens to be headquartered.

Current TBMs, as they’re known, inch along at a pace 14 times slower than a snail, suggesting there’s plenty of room for improvement. Making the machines smaller is one easy fix, as is building all-electric versions that eliminate the giant locomotive systems current TBMs crawl along on.

Musk also thinks he can use the dirt, clay and other muck bored out by the machines to make bricks for tunnel support and surfacing – possibly seamlessly, during boring – eliminating the costly and time-consuming carting off of rubble. It would also reduce the need for concrete, which is also expensive and a major source of greenhouse gases.

Oh, and Musk thinks the next-gen machines can operate robotically, 24-7.

If it all sounds a bit over the top, remember that Musk is the guy who envisioned reusable rockets that could land themselves on a drone ship at sea. (You’ve maybe seen the video.)

Sound interesting? The Boring Co. has job openings.

Working out: After very strong April hiring, Long Island’s year-over-year unemployment rate crept up in May, the Labor Department reported, but not enough to affect the region’s overall 3.9 percent jobless number.

(Ithaca has the state’s lowest rate, with 3.8 percent unemployed.)

A lotta nerve: Feinstein Institute research heavyweights Sangeeta Chavan, Valentin Pavlov and Kevin Tracey have produced a breakthrough analysis on how the nervous and immune systems communicate to control a long list of injuries and diseases. Read it all in the journal Immunity.

To the rescue: RXR boss Scott Rechler, former vice chair of the Port Authority and chief trustee at the Regional Plan Association, has joined the MTA board.

Story telling: Some forward-thinking young bucks are marrying digital technology with TCM sensibilities to keep the Huntington’s Cinema Arts Centre box office boffo. (There are awards.)

In us we truss: Albany leaders have agreed to use only U.S.-made steel and iron in future bridge and road projects in the state.

Hoe, hoe, hoe: Sannino’s Bella Vita Vineyard received $19,154 from the state’s New Farmers Grant Fund. Another 26 new farms around the state are splitting $1 million.

ICYMI: Several breakout research projects, plus a few very familiar faces, took gold in the annual Applied Research and Development awards at SBU.

Also: Luminati Aerospace says it’s on the up and up.

Granted: Two Adelphi researchers have received a $300,000+ grant from the NIH to continue their study of trichomoniasis, the most common non-viral sexually transmitted disease.

Good work: Farrell Fritz estate litigation partner Ilene Sherwyn Cooper has joined the board of the Suffolk Y.

Missed a newsletter? Most are archived here.

Class action: Farmingdale State College has been named a Clean Air Champion for reducing the campus’ carbon footprint via ridesharing, mass transit, bicycling and other forms of alternative transport.

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The FTC is coming: The feds are threatening a crackdown on the use of online influencers, affiliates and brand ambassadors. If they’re part of your marketing plan – or, conversely, you have no idea what they are – sign up for a fast, free webinar, July 13, courtesy of the good folks at EGC.

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+ Millennial-focused Vice Media has hauled in $450 million from TPG, valuing the Brooklyn news startup at almost $6 billion.

Not related: Reddit, the fourth-most-visited website on the planet, wants to raise its own $150 million.

+ NYC-based sleep products platform Casper has raised $170 million in a C round led by Target and including celebs Kevin Spacey, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Carmelo Anthony, among others. IPO acoming.

+ Minnesota aquatech startup Tru Shrimp received $15 million via a convertible note.

+ California travel app FinalPrice, which charges users $100 for a year’s worth of discounts on flights, rental cars and hotels, has raised $4 million.


Oops: They actually never finished sequencing the human genome.

Hoosick? Maybe everybody: Toxic chemicals leaking from the Saint Gobain’s plastics plant in Hoosick Falls are seven times higher now than three years ago.

Colorado is most free: New York is the tenth most independent state in the union as measured by its reliance on government, consumer credit, job help, international trade and the need to be naughty.

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.