No. 318: On Helen Keller, Ross Perot, J.J. Abrams and Captain Video (and yes, that iced tea IS very spicy)

These are the voyages: Broodcast live five (sometimes six) nights a week, "Captain Video and His Video Rangerrs" -- television's first sci-fi program -- blasted off on June 27, 1949.

Welcome, welcome: It’s the midpoint of another exciting week of socioeconomic innovation, dear readers, with just seven days to go before the nation’s 242nd birthday.

Mathematically, that must mean it’s June 27 out there, a.k.a. Multicultural Day in Canada and Mixed Race Day in Brazil. In the States, we have to settle for the 125th anniversary of the Great Stock Crash of 1893, which set off a four-year depression.

Wire to wire: Marking the first time two major U.S. cities were so linked, New York and Boston were first connected by telegraph wire on June 27, 1847.

G-men to the rescue: It was June 27, 1942, when the last of eight Nazi saboteurs – including four who rowed ashore in Amagansett and four who snuck into Florida – were captured by the FBI.

Before the “Guardians of the Galaxy:” There was the “Guardian of the Safety of the World” – Captain Video, who along with his teenaged sidekicks, the Video Rangers, first blasted off on the now-defunct DuMont Television Network on June 27, 1949.

Smoke signal: The British Medical Research Council published a report suggesting a direct link between smoking and lung cancer on June 27, 1957 – the first time an official health-regulatory body made such a claim.

True to form, tobacco companies around the world rejected the council’s “opinion.” Six decades later, the American Cancer Society estimates that smoking is responsible for half of all cancer-related deaths.

Have you been in an accident? Championing free speech above other concerns, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in June 27, 1977, that lawyers were free to advertise their businesses.

It sure beat third shift at the Dairy Queen: Future independent presidential candidate H. Ross Perot launched Texas-based Electronic Data Systems on this date in 1962. The company would be acquired by Hewlett-Packard Co. in 2008 for $13.9 billion.

The founding of his IT services firm was a sort of birthday gift to himself, as Perot turned 32 on that date (and 88 today). Also sharing the date are fashion designer Vera Wang (born 1949), political activist (and first blind/deaf person to earn a college degree) Helen Keller (1880-1968) and French astronomer Alexis Bouvard (1767-1843), who discovered eight comets and was the first to track the orbits of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus.

“Lost,” and found: And take a bow, J.J. Abrams – the American film director and producer turns 52 today.

Hooks and lines: Who’da thunk that a National Catfish Day reference would generate such interest? But several readers indeed wrote in this week to acknowledge the little-known holiday, which surfaced in Monday’s calendar newsletter (Pete Crescenti over at Farmingdale State wants you to know Big Daddy’s in Massapequa makes “a mean blackened catfish”).

So, which obscure reference caught your fancy today? Share at, and lure us with a story tip or calendar item, too – we’ll probably take the bait.

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Cohen Children’s shall lead: Cohen Children’s Medical Center is one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2018-19 Best Children’s Hospitals, which bestowed top-50 national rankings upon the New Hyde Park hospital in eight different pediatric specialties.

The Northwell Health center was judged the nation’s 12th best facility for pediatric urology and 20th best for pediatric orthopedics. Cohen Children’s was also ranked among the country’s best in neurology/neurosurgery (27th), pulmonology (29th), neonatology (32nd), diabetes/endocrine disorders (40th), gastroenterology/GI surgery (42nd) and nephrology (48th).

The strong survey results “underscore the progress we’ve made,” noted Northwell Health Senior Vice President Charles Schleien, executive director of Cohen Children’s and pediatrics chairman at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. “Our results this year demonstrate the commitment of our clinical teams, researchers and our highly skilled nursing staff.”

Altice for one: Altice Business – a unit of broadband and telecommunications company Altice USA, Long Island’s primary cable-television provider since 2016 – recently hosted a social media workshop for small businesses.

The “Small Talks for Small Businesses” event, held at Altice’s Optimum Experience Store in the Westfield South Shore Mall, was designed to give regional small businesses insights and tools that will help them advance their customer reach through social media. It kicked off the company’s new Altice Business Live Series, which will focus on “a variety of meaningful topics to help businesses compete successfully,” according to Altice USA.


Get your red hots: You might not think “spicy” when you think of iced tea, but Calverton Business Incubator client PeKANT Tea Co. – pushing a line of habanero-infused sweet teas – sure does.

Brain matter: Recognizing cutting-edge tech and a topflight staff, The Joint Commission has bestowed rare Comprehensive Stroke Center certification on Stony Brook University Hospital.

Shore thing: The Defense Department has tapped a Hauppauge software specialist to help prepare the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships to do battle in coastal shallows.

Through the ages: Two SBU researchers – an up-and-coming rookie and a 20-year university veteran – have earned some major-league recognition.


Lyme twist: A new book by Columbia University doctors explores how biotech and precision meds are accelerating the fight against the tick-borne illness.

Targets acquired: With new data-crunching sciences in play, Fortune reveals the nine companies behind the recent boom in AI acquisition.

Money well spent: How cash-transfer programs have become a highly influential global development policy – especially regarding the health and safety of young women.

Family affair: Why the retired founder of a Hauppauge-based computer-staffing expert wants the current CEO – his son – to sell the company.


+ Akero Therapeutics Inc., a Massachusetts-based biotechnology company focused on metabolic diseases, completed a $65 million Series A financing round co-led by Apple Tree Partners, Atlas Venture, venBio Partners and Versant Ventures.

+ Scratchpay Financial, a Los Angeles-based financial services company offering payment plans for immediate access to veterinary care, raised $6.4 million in Series A funding led by the Companion Fund with participation from TTV Capital, Struck Capital and SWS Venture Capital.

+ Whistle Sports, a New York City-based entertainment media brand that creates, curates and distributes content for young audiences, raised more than $28 million in Series D funding led by Aser Capital, with participation from Liberty Media, Emil Capital, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo and others.

+ Emulate Inc., a Boston-based company that creates living products for understanding how diseases, medicines, chemicals and foods affect human health, secured a $36 million Series C financing round led by Founders Fund, with participation from new investors ALS Investment Fund, SciFi VC and members of GlassWall Syndicate Association, as well as several existing investors.

+ Bossa Nova, a San Francisco-based provider of real-time, on-shelf product-data robots for the global retail industry, raised $29 million in funding led by Cota Capital, with participation from China Walden Ventures, LG Electronics and existing investors.

+ Gotham Greens, a Brooklyn-based urban greenhouse developer and grower of locally and sustainably grown produce, closed $29 million in Series C equity funding led by existing investors including the Silverman Group, along with a significant new investment from Creadev, a global private equity investment firm controlled by the Mulliez family.

+ Pulse Q&A, a San Francisco-based platform designed to help C-Suite executives to make better decisions on strategy, innovation and enterprise technologies, raised $4 million in seed funding led by True Ventures, with participation from Y-Combinator and angel investors Steve Norall, former CPO at Survey Monkey.

+ Mightier, a Boston-based behavioral health company, raised an additional $2.4 million in seed funding led by Slow Ventures, with additional investments from Bolt, Founder Collective, Project 11 and angel investors including veteran executives from TripAdvisor.


The little startup that might: Meet Element AI, the innovative technology company that could break Big Tech’s hold on artificial intelligence.

Carbon pawprint: Why turning cats and dogs into vegetarians might be the only way to save the global environment.

Summertime, and the eatin’ is easy: From our friends at BOSS Magazine, this season’s top food trends (rejoice, tahini fans).

Well read: If you enjoy reading this newsletter as much as we enjoy writing it, forward it to other innovation-minded people – and encourage them to subscribe for free, please and thank you.

That’s a wrap: That’s all for today, dear friends – but please remember to support the great firms that support Innovate LI, including the Law Offices of Andrew Presberg, where business law, real estate law and commercial litigation set the tone.