No. 322: On P.T. Barnum, Sinatra, Julius Caesar and Han Solo – and why Stony Brook’s CEBIP is shaking with excitement

Still swinging: Award-winning actor, aviator and activist Harrison Ford turns 76 today.

It’s Friday the 13th: And there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of, dear readers – in fact, it’s time to celebrate, with another productive week of socioeconomic innovation in the books and another weekend upon us.

Triple play: As a bonus, this particular Friday the 13th also includes a very rare supermoon solar eclipse. With the moon as close as it will get to Earth this year and in its New Moon phase (meaning it’s only visible during an eclipse), viewers in Australia and the southern Pacific will enjoy quite a show.

Screw this: The rest of us can raise a glass to Swedish-American inventor John Ericsson, who earned a patent for his screw-propeller design – still a maritime mainstay – on July 13, 1836.

Westward Ho: Whilst the phrase has many alleged sources – different dates, different publications, different authors – the most generally accepted version credits “Go west, young man” to newspaper editor Horace Greeley, who reportedly wrote it in a New York Tribune editorial on July 13, 1865.

You probably saw it in “The Greatest Showman”: On that same date – July 13, 1865 – and also in New York City, a tragic fire destroyed entertainer P.T. Barnum’s American Museum, a gaudy, quasi-freak show combining exotic animals, conjoined twins, a bearded lady and oddly uplifting morality plays (not to mention the “skeleton of a mermaid”).

Not pictured: No human lives were lost, but several animals perished in the blaze – including two whales that were boiled alive in their tanks. This understandably did not make the final cut of the Hollywood musical.

Young Blue Eyes: Legendary crooner Frank Sinatra cut his first record on July 13, 1939, featuring the future Chairman of the Board and trumpeter Harry James.

A dark day in history: Following a lightning strike at a Hudson River substation, the Big Apple plunged into darkness on this date 41 years ago, a two-day outage that would be remembered as The New York City Blackout of 1977.

Besides the Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn campus – which had its own power generator (at the time, unique and quite historic) – the only NYC neighborhoods spared the two-day outage were in the Rockaways, which was powered by now-defunct LILCO.

They were the world: And give it up for Live Aid, the dual-venue concert designed to raise funds for Ethiopian famine relief, which took place July 13, 1985, at Wembley Stadium in London and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia.

Give or take a day: Roman dictator Gaius Julius Caesar (100 BC-44 BC) may or may not have been born on July 13 (debate rages about whether it was actually July 12 – pre-Christ birth certificates can be hard to come by).

More certainly marking birthdays today are American clinical-psychology pioneer June Etta Downey (1875-1932), Hungarian Rubik’s Cube inventor Ernő Rubik (born 1944), half-baked comedian Cheech Marin (born 1946) and “Professor X” himself, Sir Patrick Stewart (born 1940) – and for the record, Stewart’s “Star Trek” alter ego, Captain Picard, also shares the date (or he will, in 2305).

Indiana Jones and the AARP: And take a bow, Dr. Jones – still-punching blockbuster superstar Harrison Ford turns 76 today.

Wish Indy, Jean-Luc and the rest well at, where the psychology pops, heroes never age and we’re quite satisfied solving just one side of a Rubik’s Cube, thank you very much.


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On the roads again: Farmingdale State College’s Infrastructure, Transportation and Security Center has joined up with Washington-based University Transportation Centers, a government-facilitated think tank focused exclusively on transportation-related R&D.

Mandated by the federal government since 1987 and leveraging several government funding sources – including 2015’s Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, which authorized $305 billion in spending through 2020 for new and existing initiatives in transportation education and workforce development – University Transportation Centers is designed to address the country’s growing need for safe, efficient and environmentally sustainable transportation options, and to prepare the next generation of U.S. transportation professionals.

That’s squarely in line with the mission of FSC’s Infrastructure, Transportation and Security Center, where a secure and sustainable national transportation system is Job No. 1. The ITSC won a $100,000 U.S. Department of Transportation grant – renewable for an additional three years, with the grant amount to be determined annually – to help it connect with University Transportation Centers, which now includes more than 30 national facilities.

A step in their Springs: A million-dollar-plus state grant will help an East Hampton public school install an innovative wastewater-treatment system designed to protect Long Island’s surface and groundwater.

Albany announced this week that the grant (totaling $1.33 million) will flow directly to the Springs School, which serves roughly 740 students in grades pre-K through eight. The funding, part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act, will help the school replace a failing, 46-year-old septic system with a wastewater-treatment system that incorporates “advanced nitrogen treatments” projected to reduce emanating nitrogen concentrations by 94 percent – good news for nearby Pussy’s Pond and Accabonac Harbor, and for Long Island’s groundwater aquifer.

Springs Union Free School District Superintendent Debra Winter expressed “deepest gratitude” to the governor, noting the funding “will not only enhance the ecosystem in our community, as well as on Long Island, but will also be financially beneficial to our taxpayers.”



There’s friction at CEBIP: But it’s the good kind, as SBU’s Clean Energy Business Incubator Program opens its door for a New Jersey startup on the road to “vehicle-to-grid” kinetic-energy success.

Overjoyed about Underwriting: Stony Brook biotech Applied DNA Sciences is celebrating a new molecular-tagging partnership with global science-safety giant UL (formerly Underwriters Laboratories).

A megawatt deal: Shoreham Solar Commons, a Suffolk County solar farm promising 1 million megawatt-hours of clean-gen electricity, has been acquired by a major North Carolina power player.



Distributor J. Kings is feeling sunny, Hofstra’s student-athletes are feeling better and Henry Schein is feeling pretty good about its new dental practice-focused spinoff.



Didn’t see that coming: From Newsday, why CA Technologies cofounder Russell Artzt was surprised by Broadcom’s $18.9 billion acquisition of the former Computer Associates.

Feelings, whoa-oh-oh feelings: From Forbes, exploring the inexorable connection between emotion and the most successful innovation campaigns.

Future imperfect: From the international Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, a tale of two 2060s – one where investment and innovation lift the world up, one where protectionism and trade wars drag it down.



+ Steven Lee has joined the Commercial Litigation Practice Group at Uniondale-based Farrell Fritz, focusing his practice on construction matters. Lee previously was an associate in the Insurance Fraud practice group at Rivkin Radler and is also a former associate/law clerk at Wormser, Kiely, Galef & Jacobs.

+ Jennifer Hillman, a partner in the Trusts and Estates practice group at Uniondale-based Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, has been recognized by Hofstra University as one of the Long Island region’s Outstanding Women in Law.

+ Kimberly Dobson has joined Melville-based Littler as an associate, focusing her practice on representing employers in discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims. She was previously an associate at Melville-based Jackson & Lewis.

+ Nina Fenton has been hired as chief development officer at the United Way of Long Island in Deer Park. She previously directed development and PR at Northside Center for Child Development in Manhattan.

+ Jennifer Marino Rojas has been promoted to executive director of the Long Island Pre-K Initiative of the Commack-based Child Care Council of Suffolk. Rojas served previously as associate executive director and consultant.

+ Keith Lawlor has been promoted to vice president for Suffolk County at TD Bank in Melville. Lawlor served previously as middle market lending vice president and senior commercial relationship manager.



High hopes: Northwell Health and the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research are testing out a cutting-edge implant that targets “uncontrolled blood pressure.”

True colors: Australian researchers have discovered the oldest-known colors produced by terrestrial organisms – bright pink pigments buried for 1.1 billion years in marine shale under the Sahara desert.

Holding it all together: Behold, the paperclip … elegant in design, hyper-resilient and virtually unimprovable. And if you think they’ve outlived their usefulness, think again – Americans still purchase 11 billion per year (about 35 per U.S. citizen).

Free at last? Not quite … Innovate LI still has to pay its bills. So, please remember to support the amazing firms that support us – including Garden City-based Webair, where Dedicated Private Clouds, Hybrid IT Management and unparalleled Disaster Recovery services are only the tip of the IT iceberg.