No. 25: Mission impossible, inside innovation and Googling Nessie

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MISSION LONG ISLAND: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was in Cuba this week to push his Global New York strategy, which seeks to expand trade and other business opportunities for Empire State companies. At his side: executives from a passel of prominent New York brands, including JetBlue, MasterCard and yogurt-maker Chobani.

Big Pharma and biotech were especially well represented, with representatives from Pfizer, the NY Genome Center, Regeneron and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute also in tow.

If the group was really looking to increase trade with an island, it needn’t have traveled so far. Long Island would love to do business with other New York companies and would appreciate the state’s help in opening doors.

Islip’s MacArthur Airport, for example, has been courting JetBlue for years and is dying to ink a deal. Local pharmaceutical companies would be similarly thrilled to get face time with Pfizer, and there are dozens of biotech startups around Cold Spring Harbor and Stony Brook University ready to take Regeneron chief Leonard Schleifer to lunch.

Alas, our new economy doesn’t appear to interest the governor as much as Old Havana.

Too bad, because as the governor noted this week, isolation doesn’t work. In the new world of trade, “engagement” is required. He meant Cuba, but it works here, too.

So come for a visit, Governor. Engage us on business development. We don’t make rum, but we’re distilling a pretty tasty single malt out East.

But bring your own cigars.

A different view: Cuomo should have visited Canada. CNY’s Greg David:


WORKING NICELY: The struggle over IP rights is the biggest obstacle to university-industry collaborations, but Hofstra University’s new Center for Innovation thinks it’s got a work-around: Let industry keep ’em. Innovate’s Gregory Zeller checks in with Hofstra CFI chief Kevin Craig, who also honchoes the school’s Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory.

LOOKING TO MAKE A SPLASH: Stony Brook clean-gen startup Brimes Energy heads to open water this summer to test a newfangled wave machine it hopes will turn ocean currents into electrical current. Three years and $300K into the project, Brimes boss Ramuel Maramara thinks his jellyfish-inspired contraption could one day take the sting out of utility charges.

SET MY PRIMATES FREE: A New York judge has granted two Stony Brook University research chimps the writ of habeas corpus, a move that allows them to challenge their detention. The decision effectively recognizes chimps Leo and Hercules as legal persons, marking the first time in U.S. history that an animal has been given that right. Science Insider has more:

Lawyers and the legally curious can see the court order here:


Carter, DeLuca, Farrell & Schmidt LLP is Long Island’s premier patent and IP law firm, with rich experience in biotechnology, chemistry, electrical, computer software, mechanical, optical, physics and more. Please visit


FULL MEDAL JACKET: Famed DNA researcher James Watson has made a $1M donation to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, part of the more than $4M he netted from selling his Nobel Prize last year at a Christie’s auction. Innovate LI:

GREAT MINDS: The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research has inked a partnership deal with Novogen, the Australian pharmaceuticals giant, to develop new pharmaceutical treatments to battle brain cancers, avoiding surgery and chemotherapy.

CALL IN THE CUBANS: The state said its Jobs Express online employment platform hit a record 115,000 available positions, signaling a pickup in economic activity.

LICENSE TO STEAL: CA Technologies has settled a longstanding legal dispute over source code with San Francisco’s AppDynamics by signing a licensing agreement. The deal includes “substantial” payments for CA, LIBN’s Claude Solnik reports:

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RECHLER GOING TECH: RXR chief Scott Rechler hosted a gathering to show off his firm’s latest NYC acquisition, a 36-story, 1.1 million-square-foot office tower at 32 Old Slip that he plans to freshen up for tech tenants. There is already enough interest in the building to sustain a $10 per foot increase in rents, to $60. Crain’s Daniel Geiger:

JET SPEED, COSTCO PRICING: Online shopping site Jet, the latest offering from founder Marc Lore, will launch in a few weeks, offering New Yorkers everything under the sun at unbeatable prices. Think Amazon mated with Costco – because you can’t start saving until you pay a $49.99 membership fee. CNY:

TECH JOBS, RISING: New York City tech employment jumped by 9.2 percent in March, a gain of about 5,000 positions. But finding the data is no easy feat, as Crain’s Greg David discovered:


LONG FORM: All of this year’s Pulitzer prize-winning pieces, without having to buy a subscription. Which is why newspapers are dying. Just saying.

SEEING THE LIGHT: More than half of those responding to a new poll on renewables said they support expanded use of solar power, but only 6 percent said they plan to install it, citing financial limitations. However, 80 percent of respondents said they do plan to buy LED bulbs. It’s a start. More from Green Tech:

MILLENNIAL BIZ: Vice News is chasing the millennial market with a 20-minute YouTube talk show on personal finance, to be hosted by Daily Beast columnist Michael C. Moynihan. “The Business of Life,” is sponsored by Bank of America. Variety’s Todd Spangler:

TIRELESSLY SEEKING NESSIE: Google has added its Street View feature to Loch Ness, allowing cryptozoologists to search the surface of the 23-mile lake anytime, and even take a few peeks underwater. The addition comes on the 81st anniversary of the most famous photo of the so-called Loch Ness Monster, which appeared in the Daily Mail. More from Tech Crunch:

MORE FRESH HELL: Twitter has added a setting that allows users to receive private Direct Messages from anyone on the platform, whether they “follow” each other or not. The update may provide a new opportunity for companies – and politicians – to mass market. Vox with more on Twitter’s new “dark” side:

AND A FRESH WSJ: The Wall Street Journal is seeking to increase the “cadence” of innovation with a new, responsive website, news apps and a partnership with Apple Watch. Nieman Lab’s Joseph Lichterman with a review:

ATTENTION LANDSCAPERS: Amazon’s recently launched Home Services includes a goat-grazing option, now in beta. From Kottke via Dave Pell:

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