No. 308: Turtles and horses, Disney and The Who, collegiate innovators and Colorforms for grown-ups

No rush: You have all day to celebrate World Tortoise Day.

Almost there: That long weekend is so close you can taste it, dear readers – but for now it’s only Wednesday, and the midpoint of another busy week in Long Island socioeconomics.

It’s May 23 out there – World Tortoise Day, as a matter of fact, an absolutely real event “shellebrating” the efforts of California-based nonprofit American Tortoise Rescue.

Tortoise-shell frames would take another 200 years: But it was May 23, 1784, when founding father and inveterate inventor Benjamin Franklin announced the creation of bifocal lenses.

Hoofing it: Alberta’s North-West Mounted Police – precursor to the famous “Mounties,” the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – first saddled up on this date in 1873.

How many T’s in “totalitarian?” In today’s emerging American police state, uniformed security officers may forcibly remove its reporters from public EPA events, but happy anniversary nonetheless to the Associated Press – the not-for-profit news service launched on this date in 1900.

If at first you don’t succeed…: From the Try, Try Again file comes Walt Disney, who – before founding the ubiquitous Mouse House – founded short-lived Laugh-O-Grams, a Missouri-based flop that incorporated on May 23, 1922, and failed just two years later.

Ain’t seen nothing like him: Redefining rock ’n roll – and opera, for that matter – The Who’s album “Tommy” debuted May 23, 1969.

Technically, that makes this the title deaf, dumb and blind kid’s birthday. Non-fictitious birthdays on this date belong to swashbuckler Douglas Fairbanks Sr. (1883-1939), comedian Drew Carey (born 1958), all-time “Jeopardy” brain Ken Jennings (born 1974) and badass “Walking Dead” survivor Melissa McBride (born 1965).

Barbara Ward (1914-1981), the famed British economist, Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth and eloquent evangelist for the needs of the developing world, also adds a notch today, as does John Bardeen (1908-1991), the American physicist, electrical engineer and two-time Nobel Prize winner credited as the co-inventor of the transistor.

And many more: Take a bow, Dame Joan Henrietta Collins – the English actress, best known as the scheming Alexis on “Dynasty” and the angelic Edith Keeler in the “Star Trek” classic “City on the Edge of Forever,” turns 85 today.

Those were the voyages: Fifty-one years later, some Trekkers still count that 1967 Original Series episode as the high point for the entire Trek franchise.

We say Kirk and Co. peaked right here. What say you, dear reader – Kirk? Picard? The rebooted JJ-verse? Share your favorite Trek with us at – and beam up a story tip or calendar suggestion, too.

Wrist shot: Before we get to the busy week in innovation, a quick shout-out to the Stony Brook University biomedical engineering students who captured a People’s Choice Award during this month’s final round of the annual New York Business Plan Competition.

The team pitched Roflex, an innovative medical device that’s worn like a wristwatch and helps monitor stroke-related rehabilitations (with potential as an athletic-training device), to best 15 other competitors and win the people’s hearts and minds in the Fuzehub Category. The SBU engineers were the only Long Island finalists to capture one of the 18 cash prizes offered in the championship round – in addition to a fancy glass trophy, the People’s Choice Award included a $500 business-development stipend.

Oh, and: Speaking of impressive collegians, congratulations also to the SUNY Old Westbury squad that bested a field of 100-plus competitors to win the sixth-annual Up to Us Campus Competition, a nationwide initiative to promote fiscal responsibility among young adults.

The winning 2018 team of politics, economics and law students, led by junior Evan Rufrano, engaged hundreds of other students via trivia contests focused on debt and the economy, and also created “Debt Boulevard,” an interactive walkway stretching across the Old Westbury campus that imparted fresh economic wisdom with each step.


About our sponsor: The Law Offices of Andrew Presberg is Long Island’s premier “IDA attorney” for businesses relocating, expanding and growing on Long Island. Founded in 1984, the practice also focuses on the purchase, sale, leasing and financing of commercial and industrial property, SBA loan transactions, construction, commercial banking and real estate litigation.



Water, water everywhere: Nitrogen-removing biofilters and other cutting-edge clean-water tech were on display Tuesday, when New York State’s Center for Clean Water Technology at Stony Brook University hosted its 2018 Symposium.

Highlighted by the opening of the center’s new research facility, the symposium included the presentation of data from the center’s research on constructed wetlands and “permeable reactive barriers,” as well as a review of the latest breakthroughs in nanocellulose-membrane and membrane-bioreactor technologies.

Other presentations focused on the center’s research into removing contaminants – particularly the nefarious 1,4-dioxane, a common industrial compound frequently surfacing around New York – from drinking water supplies. Center co-Directors Christopher Gobler and Harold Walker welcomed representatives of Suffolk County, The Nature Conservancy and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to the symposium, held at SBU’s Center for Wireless and Information Technology.

LIFE line: With a sharp focus on energy affordability among the state’s low-income residents, the New York State Public Service Commission and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority on Tuesday opened the biennial Low-Income Forum on Energy 2018 Statewide Conference.

The two-day Albany event, which concludes today, is designed to “stress the importance of continued state leadership and support for programs that protect New York’s most vulnerable residents,” according to NYSERDA. The conference – which helps mark the 20th anniversary of the state’s LIFE Initiative – features more than 45 discussion and training sessions for contractors, community organizations, attorneys and other stakeholders, all concentrating on energy-assistance programs, new energy policies and industrial best practices.

These are critical issues for the 2.3 million New York households earning less than the Area Median Income ($53,000 for a family of four), according to NYSERDA President and CEO Alicia Barton, who called the LIFE Conference “another example of how the state continues to identify approaches for connecting our most vulnerable communities to clean-energy service providers and solutions.”



Digital décor: From Cold Spring Harbor-based Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty comes Curate, an augmented-reality innovation that’s sort of a digital Colorforms for home-buyers.

Courtesy Inn is out: It’s checkout time for the eyesore Commack motel, with a 15-year Suffolk IDA tax-abatement deal inching a long-proposed revitalization project (and some much-needed senior housing) closer to reality.

Deep breaths: Stony Brook Community Medicine, a growing multispecialty network of Suffolk County-based healthcare providers, has added a cutting-edge pulmonary practice to its swelling ranks.

Fortune favors the bold: With another year of acquisitions and other key moves under its belt, Melville-based global distributor Henry Schein has moved up nicely on the annual Fortune 500 list.



Biotech buy-in: New York State is pumping a hefty $72 million into three Long Island biotech efforts, including the development of Greater New York’s first veterinary college.

Go your own way: From Forbes, a warning – there are three distinct paths to innovation, but only one that’s right for you and your business.

Moving tributes: Bicycle paths, recreational trails and a host of and emission-reduction efforts are eligible for Albany’s new $100 million Clean Air/Alternative Transportation fund.

Keep it going: Like this newsletter? So do we. Please help keep the good times rolling by forwarding this fun and informative report to your innovative friends – and encourage your team to subscribe for free right here.



+ Eyellusion, a Los Angeles-based live hologram-production company, raised $2 million in seed funding. Thomas Dolan, who currently serves on the boards of the Madison Square Garden and AMC networks, made the investment and will serve in an ongoing advisory role for Eyellusion.

+ Cuebiq, a New York City-based provider of location intelligence and consumer insights, secured $27 million in Series B financing. Backers included Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments, Nasdaq Ventures, DRW Venture Capital, Tribeca Venture Partners and existing investors Tribeca Angels and TLcom Capital.

+ Nanit, a NYC-based maker of a “smart” baby monitor that uses computer vision technology to help parents with their baby’s sleep development, secured $14 million in Series B financing led by new investor Jerusalem Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors Upfront Ventures, RRE Ventures, Vulcan Capital and Vaal Investment Partners.

+ Workframe, a NYC-based collaboration and communication platform purpose-built for commercial real estate professionals, raised $9.5 million in Series B funding led by CRE advisory firm Newmark Knight Frank, with participation from the venture capital arm of real estate technology firm MetaProp, as well current investor Venrock.



No, you hang up first: Why President Trump and Long Island’s own Sean Hannity talk every night before they go to sleep.

LIMA didn’t make the list: Fleet Europe ranks the world’s 10 most innovative airports 

Crypto uh-oh: U.S. and Canadian officials are cracking down on fraudulent “initial coin offerings” and other cryptocurrency scams.

Beam us out: That’s all for today, Trekkers and other dear friends – but please remember to support the great firms that support Innovate LI, including the Law Offices of Andrew Presberg, which boldly explores the final frontiers of real estate law.