No. 314: Planes in the air, Nazis on the beach, robots at the CPC and why Peloton is rolling into Syosset

They're here: So says Whitley Strieber, the creepy American author celebrating a birthday today.

Over the hump we go: It’s Wednesday, June 13, and all downhill from here, dear readers, as we zip through another bustling week of Long Island socioeconomic innovation.

How about a round of applause for the guy you pray to whenever your car keys go missing – St. Anthony, the finder of lost things, whose June 13 feast day is the biggest municipal holiday in Lisbon, Portugal.

Wing nut: It was June 13, 1910, when pioneering flyboy Charles Hamilton – the legendary “crazy man of the air,” known for spectacular crashes, extensive surgeries and frequent intoxication – completed history’s first-ever New York-to-Philadelphia same-day round-trip.

Flying from New York Harbor to Philly and back, Hamilton won a $10,000 prize sponsored by The New York Times and The Philadelphia Public Ledger with a round trip that, including layover, took just over 11 hours.

Handled with care (one hopes): After several instances of people actually doing it, the U.S. Post Office ruled on June 13, 1920, that children could no longer be shipped by parcel post.

Well that’s, just … I mean, it’s hard to even make fun of this: It was June 13, 1922, when poor Charles Osborne began one of the most notorious streaks in human history.

Osborn would hiccup continuously for the next 68 years, averaging some 40 hiccups per minute, every hour of every day (though they mercifully subsided when he slept) – an estimated 430 million involuntary diaphragm spasms in his lifetime. Doctors blamed a busted blood vessel in his brain.

Proper propagana, slick spying: Just six months after the Pearl Harbor bombing, the United States created the Office of War Information – producer of pro-war effort films, texts, photographs, radio programs and posters – on June 13, 1942.

Washington also formed the Office of Strategic Services, America’s short-lived wartime intelligence agency, that same day (it was dissolved shortly after the end of World War II).

Meanwhile, on Long Island: And that night, after a Nazi submarine ran aground on an offshore sandbar, four heavily armed and well-financed German saboteurs rowed ashore in Amagansett. True story.

Bench barrier breaker: President Lyndon Johnson appointed U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Thurgood Marshall to the U.S. Supreme Court on June 13, 1967. In September, following months of heated debate, Marshall would become the first African American to sit on America’s highest court.

Still going: And a truly long-distance shout-out to Pioneer 10, the American space probe that crossed the orbit of Neptune on June 13, 1983, becoming the first manmade object to leave the Solar System.

Communication with the probe finally ceased in 2003, when it was 12 billion kilometers from Earth and on a general course for the red star Aldebaran, a 68-lightyear jaunt projected to take about 2 million years.

Speaking of stars: “Full House” twins Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen (born 1986), Chris “Captain America” Evans (born 1981), NBC sportscaster Hannah Storm (born 1962) and British thespian Malcolm McDowell (born 1943) all celebrate birthdays today.

Also adding notches are American physicist Wallace Clement Ware Sabine (1868-1919), who founded the science of architectural acoustics (basically inventing the modern concert hall), and English fashion designer Lady Duff Gordon (1863-1935), an innovator of both the couture style and fashion industry public relations.

Gray matter: And take a bow, Whitley Strieber – the creepy American author and frequent alien abductee turns 73 today.

So, what happens first: Pioneer 10 reaches Aldebaran or the Grays reveal their presence on Earth? Vote at, and if you truly come in peace, share a terrestrial story tip, too.


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Showcase and tell: It’s about that time of the year at Stony Brook University’s Center of Excellence in Wire and Information Technology, which is gearing up for its third-annual incubator showcase.

Featuring more than 50 company exhibits – with a heavy focus on biotech, IT and clean energy – and A-list networking for innovators, investors, government representatives and entrepreneurs of every stripe, the showcase offers a glimpse into SBU’s entrepreneurial culture and the new technologies university-based entrepreneurs are bringing to the marketplace.

The 2018 CEWIT Incubator Showcase is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to noon June 27 at CEWIT. The event is free but registration is required. Registration and more information await here.

Let’s see some ID: Eighteen Long Island arrests are among the nearly 80 made over the past month as Albany cracks down on underage drinking and the use of fake IDs at concert venues across the state.

Investigators from the Department of Motor Vehicles, the State Liquor Authority, the State Park Police and local law-enforcement agencies have swept through statewide venues since the beginning of May as part of Operation Prevent, an ongoing effort to curtail underage drinking that’s “in full swing as the summer concert season gets underway,” according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

On May 26, DMV investigators and the Ocean Beach Police Department conducted Operation Prevent sweeps at several Ocean Beach nightspots, resulting in 18 arrests and 24 confiscated phony IDs from New York, eight other states and even Ontario, Canada. “Our investigators are well trained in detecting fake identifications,” warns Terri Egan, executive deputy commissioner of the governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. “Having one from another state or country will not trick them.”



Summer circuit: The Composite Prototyping Center and SBU’s Manufacturing & Technology Resource Consortium are inviting young Islanders to do the robot during their summer vacation.

Diamond in the rough: It’s still taking shape, but the Long Island Gems – cofounded by five experienced businesswomen – already knows what kind of networking organization it wants to be.

Light reading: New York-based alternative-energy investment firm CleanCapital is shining again, completing its second major solar-asset acquisition in less than a month.



Boomer bust: From Forbes, why innovation seems to be excluding Baby Boomers – and why that’s desperately shortsighted.

Deals on wheels: Exercise bike-maker Peloton has inked a lease for a new 13,800-foot Syosset distribution center.

No rush: It may seem the antithesis of invention, but Fast Company tells us that when it comes to innovation, slow and steady usually wins the race.



+ Pharmapacks, an Islandia-based e-commerce company, raised $32.5 million in funding led by RB, with additional investments from McKesson Ventures, Sealed Air and The Emerson Group.

+ Genetesis, an Ohio-based medical device company focused on biomagnetic imaging, closed $7.5 million Series A financing round led by CincyTech, with participation from Mark Cuban’s Radical Investments and new investors Ohio Innovation Fund and Raptor Group.

+ PolyCera Membranes, a Los Angeles-based developer of membrane technology for industrial wastewater treatment and process separation, completed a $9 million Series A funding round led by Kairos Ventures with follow-on capital provided by Bluestem Capital and the Wolfen Group.

+ Radformation, a New York City-based early-stage oncology software company, closed $1.6 million in seed financing led by Brooklyn Bridge Ventures and angel investors.

+ Metacrine Inc., a San Diego-based innovative biotechnology company developing therapies to benefit patients with liver, gastrointestinal and metabolic diseases, completed a $65 million Series C financing round led by Venrock Healthcare Partners, with participation from new investors Franklin Templeton Investments, Deerfield Management, Arrowmark Partners, Invus, Lilly Asia Ventures and Vivo Capital.

+ WhyHotel, a Baltimore-based Alternative-lodging service operating pop-up hotels in newly built luxury apartment buildings, secured $3.9 million in seed funding led by Camber Creek, with participation from Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Mendacre, MetaProp, Vornado/Charles E. Smith, Working Lab Capital, Mitchell Schear and other real estate executives.



The father of all holidays: It was some 58 years after Mother’s Day became a thing that dads finally got their due – more here about the odd origins of Father’s Day.

And: Just four days left to find an awesome Father’s Day gift, so get cracking.

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