No. 333: On science fiction, science facts, Dowling’s determined demeanor and a ‘smarter’ Long Island

Get smart: The success of the city of the future – and of Long Island – may depend on the interconnectivity of everything.

Middle ground: Happy Wednesday, dear readers, and especially you, new newsletter subscribers Marguerite, Mike, Alena, David and Carrie. Welcome to the show.

It’s Aug. 22 and the midpoint of another busy week of socioeconomic progress. And it’s Flag Day in Russia. Do with that what you will.

Take a Bao: It’s also the second-annual National Bao Day (true story), which is not a salute to the villain in the sci-fi novel “Quantum Acres” but is a celebration of the Chinese dumplings you’ve always loved, and now you can name.

Everybody loves Raymond: Speaking of sci-fi, prodigious futurist Ray Bradbury, who died in 2012, would be 98 today. (More birthdays below).

Mortal Loch: Turng to sci-non-fi, today is also the 1,453rd anniversary of the first recorded sighting of the absolutely-real, no-doubt-about-it Loch Ness Monster, reported by an Irish monk on Aug. 22, 565.

Soft touch: After combining solid soap, water and ammonia, U.S. inventor William Sheppard earned the first U.S. patent for liquid soap on this date in 1865.

The Cadillac of startups: Rising from the ashes of the defunct Henry Ford Company, the Cadillac Co. formed on Aug. 22, 1901, in Detroit.

The aerosol up there: New York City inventor Julius Khan earned a U.S. patent on Aug. 22, 1939, for his “Apparatus For Mixing a Liquid With a Gas” – the first known example of dispensing liquids under pressure from a disposable container and predecessor to the modern aerosol spray can.

Put a ring on it: Although astronomers had long suspected they were there, the rings of Neptune weren’t officially confirmed until Aug. 22, 1989, when the Voyager 2 spacecraft closed in on the rocky blue “ice giant.”

In space, no one can hear “The Scream”: But back on Earth, in one of history’s most daring art heists, two classic paintings by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch – “Madonna” and “The Scream” – were stolen at gunpoint from the Munch Museum in Oslo on Aug. 22, 2004.

Both masterpieces were recovered by Norwegian police two years later. And for the record, that “Scream” was Munch’s 1910 painted version – the master’s even more valuable 1895 pastel version was sold in 2012 by Sotheby’s for $119.9 million, marking the highest price ever paid at an art auction.

Brainy birthdays: August 22 is a big birthdate for accomplished scientists. American Charles Jenkins (1867-1934, invented the altimeter and the automobile self-starter), Canadian James Hillier (1915-2007, co-created the electron microscope) and American biologist/conservationist Thomas Lovejoy (born 1941), the so-called “Godfather of Biodiversity,” all share the day.

So do “Clare de lune” composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918), wisecracking writer/critic/satirist Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) and rubber-faced “Saturday Night Live” alum Kristen Wiig (born 1973).

Big Tuna: And take a bow, Bill Parcells – the former coach of the NFL’s New York Giants, New York Jets and New England Patriots turns 77 today.

Wish NFL archvillain Bill Belichick’s mentor and all the rest a happy birthday at, and drop off a story tip or calendar item, too, please and thank you.


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Mike’s the man: For the 12th consecutive year, Northwell Health President and CEO Michael Dowling has been named to Modern Healthcare magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare.”

Ranking No. 44 overall, Dowling – who heads New York State’s largest healthcare system by number of patients and number of providers – was also the top-rated New York hospital administrator on this year’s list. The magazine credited Dowling for overcoming a $260 million budget gap and instituting business strategies that “keep Northwell charging forward.”

Topping the 2018 list was President Donald Trump, a “fierce opponent of the Affordable Care Act (who) has taken several steps that critics say have undermined various elements of the law,” according to Modern Healthcare, while taking actions on risk-adjustment payments that “put insurers in a lurch.”

Power play: President Trump was also on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s mind Tuesday, when the governor announced New York State is joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance, a global coalition of governments, businesses and other stakeholders focused on ending the use of traditional coal power.

Vowing that the Empire State “will not let President Trump take us backward,” Cuomo also this week issued a letter to acting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging him to reconsider the EPA’s proposed scrapping of the Clean Power Plan, a move seen as a booster shot for the U.S. coal industry.

“The future of our environment, our economy and our children is at stake,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We are already at the forefront of the clean energy revolution and we will not go back.”



That smarts: The time is now for Long Island government and commercial leaders to step up their “smart cities” game, according to longtime LI banking leader Bob Isaksen.

Radiological reconsideration: New Northwell Health research suggests a long-overlooked radiation therapy might actually be a prime weapon against breast cancer.

Climate control: The National Science Foundation has backed an NYIT effort that may help keep food, water and energy moving during extreme weather events.

Panel show: Municipalities across the state are finding new uses for 50-ton, “retired” concrete deck panels rescued from the decommissioned Tappan Zee Bridge.



Parking plea: From Newsday, how a $20 ticket and a heartfelt appeal might lead to a new handicap parking policy in the Village of Northport.

Hitting the brakes on innovation: From Forbes, how the Trump Administration’s environmental policies threaten to bring auto innovation to a standstill.

Objection: From LiveMint, why innovation has such a hard time taking hold in the legal profession, which is sorely in need of disruption.



+ MBio Diagnostics Inc., a Colorado-based developer of rapid, on-the-spot clinical diagnostics and sample-testing solutions, raised an additional $6 million in Series B financing led by new and existing investors, including MBio’s recently announced strategic veterinary partner, Heska Corporation.

+ Sila Nanotechnologies, a California-based company developing and manufacturing materials that set a new standard for batteries, raised $70 million in Series D funding led by Sutter Hill Ventures, with participation from new investors including Next47 and Amperex Technology Limited.

+ Full Harvest, a San Francisco-based marketplace for excess produce that would otherwise go to waste, closed an $8.5 million Series A financing round led by Spark Capital, with participation from new investors Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, Rent the Runway founder Jenny Fleiss, Jon Scherr (CircleUp) and Adam Zeplain of, as well as previous investors including Seed lead Wireframe Ventures.

+ Concourse Global, a New York City-based online platform for education institutions designed to match and connect international students with learning opportunities, completed a $2 million seed funding led by Colle Capital, with participation from A-Star Education, Third Kind VC, LearnStart and Jay Varkey.

+ Renovia Inc., a Boston-based company that discovers first-line digital therapeutic and diagnostic devices for women with pelvic floor disorders, closed a $42.3 million Series B financing round led by Perceptive Advisors and Ascension Ventures, with participation from Longwood Fund, Inova Strategic Investments, Cormorant Asset Management, OSF Ventures and Western Technology Investment.



VC made EZ: Our friends at Big Apple-based Fundera break down the latest trends in early-stage VC funding.

Come together, maybe: From Harvard Business Review, it takes teamwork to make the dream work – but only sometimes.

The 30/70 rule: Turns out ants are efficient because they know when to get out of the way.

Gentle reminder: Still no sign of “free news.” We’ll keep looking. You keep supporting the great firms that support Innovate LI, including Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, where dozens of practice areas have all your legal bases covered.