No. 331: A retail first at Roosevelt Field, phone calls from outer space and why dumping debris in LI waters is good (sometimes)

This is your captain speaking: Beverly Lynn Burns, the first woman to command a Boeing 747 jumbo jet, turns 69 today. The pioneering aviator amassed more than 25,000 hours of flight time before retiring a decade ago.

Hump-hopping: Welcome to Wednesday, dear readers, as we speed through another exciting (and mercilessly damp) week of socioeconomic innovation.

It’s Aug. 15 out there, and today we observe the 73rd anniversary of Victory Over Japan Day. Sorta. (It could be Aug. 15, the date Japan officially announced its surrender, but it could also be Aug. 14 – the surrender date in the States, because of time zones – or possibly Sept. 2, the date Japan signed its Instrument of Surrender, officially ending WWII.)

Independent thought: Regardless, it’s absolutely Independence Day in India, the Republic of Congo and both North and South Korea, so let’s just go with that.

Dramatic license: With all due respect to The Bard, it was on (or about) Aug. 15, 1060, when Macbeth killed his cousin, Scotland’s King Duncan I, in battle (Shakespeare’s spin has Macbeth murdering the king in his sleep).

This won’t hurt a bit: New York inventor M. Waldo Hanchett earned a patent for the dental chair – the first known example of shape-shifting furniture, with adjustable height and a tilting back – on Aug. 15, 1848.

Off to see the wizard: The official premiere of “The Wizard of Oz” was Aug. 15, 1939, at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. But while Grauman’s gets the glory, the first showing of director Victor Fleming’s adoption of author L. Frank Baum’s classic children’s story was actually three days earlier, at the Strand Theatre in Oconomowoc, Wis.

Can you hear me now? A “balloon satellite” called Echo 1, orbiting the Earth at an altitude of about 1,000 miles, bounced a radio beam and completed a call from California to New Jersey on this date in 1960 – a Bell Telephone experiment that history records as the first successful satellite call.

Listen up: Speaking of long-distance calls, the famous “Wow Signal” was detected by Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope on Aug. 15, 1977.

Terrestrial and extraterrestrial theories abound, but the 72-second narrowband radio signal from somewhere in the constellation Sagittarius has never been adequately explained – and is still regarded as the best-known candidate for an actual radio transmission from an alien civilization.

Message received: Wow us at – story tips and calendar items really knock our socks off.

Actually, he was Lawrence of Wales: T.E. Lawrence (1888-1935), the British archeological scholar also known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” was born on Aug. 15.

So were French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), French cooking authority Julia Child (1912-2004) and Capt. Beverly Burns (born 1949), who had nothing to do with the French but in 1984 became the first woman to captain a commercial Boeing 747 jumbo jet.

Open Gates: And take a bow, Melinda Gates – the American philanthropist and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation turns 54 today.


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Seizing an opportunity: The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research will be a study site for the Human Epilepsy Project 2, a deep dive into the long-term challenges faced by patients living with “treatment-resistant” forms of the neurological disorder.

Researchers at the Feinstein Institute and Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital will work to identify biomarkers associated with “focal seizures” – which involve electrical activity in a limited area of the brain – as their part of the HEP2 study, which is monitoring 200 people at eight sites over two years. Their goal: advanced treatments for patients who never know when a debilitating epileptic seizure will strike.

“With seizures causing issues like loss of consciousness, loss of speech and loss of mobility while they occur, it can negatively impact patients’ lives,” noted HEP2 study leader Ruben Kuzniecky, a Feinstein Institute member and director of research and clinical trials in Lenox Hill’s Department of Neurology. “We hope through identifying biomarkers or biological indicators for focal seizures, we can … discover new, possibly better therapies.”

Welcome to the family: Stony Brook Medicine’s expanding network of community-based practices and physicians has grown again, this time welcoming an OB/GYN practice with offices in Setauket, Bohemia and Rocky Point.

Stony Brook Gynecology and Obstetrics is the 22nd private practice to join Stony Brook Community Medical, an arm of Stony Brook Medicine that now includes more than 100 providers in eight specialty areas at 33 Suffolk County locations. Although they’ve long shared the “Stony Brook” name, Stony Brook Community Medical and Stony Brook Gynecology – which boasts more than three decades in practice – were not officially affiliated until this month.

Todd Griffin, chairman of Stony Brook Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine, said the health system is “extremely proud” to welcome Stony Brook Gynecology into the Community Medical family, while Stony Brook Gynecology and Obstetrics OB/GYN Mark Funt said the practice is “enthusiastic about this opportunity for growth.”



Let’s get physical: A California-based e-retailer with organic children’s clothing and a heart of gold has opened its first-ever brick-and-mortar shop inside the Roosevelt Field mall.

Something’s fishy: With tons of debris from the demolished Tappan Zee Bridge and other sources, Albany has continued the state’s unprecedented artificial reef expansion in Long Island waters.

Two steps forward…: Medford’s Chembio Diagnostics and Lake Success-based Broadridge Financial Solutions posted strong efforts, but Stony Brook’s Applied DNA Sciences took a step back in their most recent quarterlies.



Patients first: From Newsday, why Catholic Health Services of Long Island is moving hundreds of back-office jobs from Rockville Centre to Melville.

Yeah, that’s kind of important: Forbes asks a fairly salient question – do you even know why you have an innovation lab?

Canadian branch: Leveraging “vertical forest” technologies, architects in Toronto are designing a 27-story skyscraper covered with more than 450 trees.



+ Magnolia Neurosciences Corp., a New York City-based company developing a new class of neuroprotective medicines, raised $31 million in Series A funding led by AbbVie Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, ARCH Venture Partners, Eli Lilly and Co., the Innovate NY Fund, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., the Partnership Fund for New York City, Pfizer Ventures, the Watson Fund LP, WuXi AppTec’s Corporate Venture Fund and 180 Degree Capital Corp.

+ RiskSense Inc., an Albuquerque-based intelligent threat and vulnerability prioritization platform, closed a $12 million Series B financing round co-led by Spring Mountain Capital and NightDragon Security, with participation from UL Ventures, Paladin Capital Group, Sun Mountain Capital, EPIC Ventures and Jump Capital.

+ Ambys Medicines, a California-based developer of regenerative-medicine therapies for serious liver diseases, raised $60 million in Series A financing. Backers included Third Rock Ventures and Takeda.

+ Root AI, a Massachusetts-based robotics company focused on innovative indoor farming, raised $2.3 million in funding led by First Round, with participation from Accomplice, Schematic Ventures, Liquid2 Ventures and Half Court Ventures.

+ Dor, a San Francisco-based foot-traffic analytics platform, closed its $8.5 million Series A fundraising round, which was led by Vertex Ventures, Conductive Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, Zetta, Bolt and Precursor Ventures.



Cuomo-Nixon I: Agreeing to his first public debate in 12 years, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will square off with Democratic primary challenger Cynthia Nixon at Hofstra University.

Start your engines: How backyard mechanics, once considered an endangered species, may be saved by crowdsourcing.

Poetic license: Why Americans are reading more poetry these days.

Gentle reminder: We’re still searching for “free news,” but no dice yet. So please keep supporting the amazing companies that support Innovate LI – including Webair, where fully managed cloud and infrastructure solutions are only the beginning.