No. 232: New fundings, a fresh soda offensive and Sam Altman wants you to listen up

It’s Wednesday out there: Welcome new readers Tuki, Rochelle, Neil, Scott, Toni Marie, Michael, Bill, Ken, Hal and George. Happy to have you all aboard, and Nyou, Congressman.

It’s Aug. 2, the day members of the Continental Congress finally got around to signing the Declaration of Independence. Well, 52 of them, anyway. Including our own William Floyd.

Michael Owens received a patent on this day in 1904 for a machine that produced blown-glass bottles at a rate of 240 per minute, reducing labor costs by 80 percent. His name lives on in Owens Corning.

Quote of the week: “When you hit a wall of your own imagined limitations, just kick it in.” – Sam Shepard, 1943-2017

Bioelectronic medicine breakthrough: Hofstra-Northwell and Feinstein Institute researchers believe electronic stimulation of the trigeminal nerve – primarily responsible for transmitting sensations from the face to the brain – could help manage concussions and other brain injuries.

Enough to pay for some planning: Hicksville has won the annual $10 million downtown revitalization contest. The Guv is due to present today, noonish.

Tunnel vision: Long Islander Pat Foye, executive director of the Port Authority, has been ousted. Ditto the agency’s chairman, John Degnan. Foye’s job goes to Cuomo pal and special counsel Rick Cotton, a former TV executive and one-time aide to Joseph Califano, Carter’s health and education secretary.

However: Pat may be moving to a top job at the MTA, according to reports. No comment from Foye or Cuomo.

Still rising: Suffolk County has applied for funding for a coworking facility at the Wyandanch Rising project, where retail space is not exactly flying off the shelf. If funded, the space might be operated by LISTnet, although its president, Peter Goldsmith, was uncharacteristically cautious about discussing the possibility.

ICYMI: The state is looking to get the Belmont Park project on track; Aerospace is fine, but when it comes to Calverton, Red Apple billionaire John Catsimatidis really just likes the dirt;  if you can’t muster the energy to shop, Instacart will do it for you.

Moving on up: Dr. Sophia Jan has been named chief of pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center and medical director of Northwell Health’s Health Homes Serving Children.

A few words from our sponsor: Northwell Health is NY’s largest healthcare provider and private employer, with 21 hospitals, over 550 outpatient facilities and 62,000+ employees. We’re making research breakthroughs at the Feinstein Institute, and training the next generation of medical professionals at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and the School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. Visit

Left coast update: Douglas Elliman has acquired an LA brokerage, giving it 21 additional California offices plus add-in sites in Colorado.

Nanny City redux: The New York City health department is out with another effort to dissuade us from consuming sugary drinks. The $700,000 campaign, “The Sour Side of Sweet,” will appear on TV, online and in print. The theme: Soda isn’t as sexy as the beverage industry would have you believe. And please, please don’t give it to children. A clever sample here.


Booster club: NASA has released the latest edition of Orbital Debris News, including a scintillating account of a Delta second-stage fragmentation field and the planned November launch of a debris sensor that will be bolted to the International Space Station. (Where Delta fragmentation fields are, understandably, not taken as lightly as they are here.)

It giveth … and taketh away: Skilled nursing centers are getting a 1 percent pay raise from Medicare next year. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also announced an Oct. 1 start date for a value-based payment program aimed at measuring skilled nursing facilities’ readmission rates and other care measurements.

Keeping the tradition alive: The Emerson Collective, founded by Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell, will have a majority stake in The Atlantic, the magazine that her group’s namesake, Ralph Waldo Emerson, helped to create 160 years ago. And one day run it all.

Blinding me with science: All told, more than a dozen Democratic candidates with science backgrounds have announced their candidacies for Congress or are expected to in the coming months. The boomlet of STEM-based candidates amounts to a minor seismic event in a community where politics and research have traditionally gone together like sodium and water.

Millennial Rising: Y Combinator’s CEO, Sam Altman wants to support federal candidates who share his views on major policy issues, like housing and health care. Meet The United Slate.


+ New York-based ExecOnline, providing online leadership development programs for college students, raised $16 million in a series B round led by NewSpring Growth Capital, with participation from Osage, New Atlantic, Kaplan, Thomas Lehrman.

+ Sightbox, a Portland-based eye exams/contact lenses subscription service, raised $2.4 million from Rogue, Portland Seed, Jumpstart Foundry, Vista River, G and Irish Angels.

+ Buffalo’s Sentient Science, a platform to predict and track deterioration of life sciences equipment, won $22.5 million in a series C round led by Georgian Partners.

+ Cyrus Biotechnology, the Seattle provider of protein structure software, raised $8 million in funding led by Trinity Ventures, with participation from OrbiMed, SpringRock and W Fund.

+ Within, the Los Angeles online platform for VR film creation and distribution, raised $40 million in a B round led by Temasek, Emerson Collective, with participation from WPP, Macro, Andreessen Horowitz, 21st Century Fox and Raine.


No smarter than the rest of us: Exposure to technology does not make a young person a digital native.

Yum: A team of Finnish scientists has figured out how to make food from electricity. Now we can feed the starving masses of the Third World. No. Wait. You need electricity. Damn. We were so close.

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

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading this far.