No. 339: Innovation (and procreation) in Russia, the ‘Best Colleges’ on Long Island and strange things on Cynthia Nixon’s bagel

It was in her stars: Twenty-six years ago today, Mae Jemison made history as the first African American woman to travel into space. These days, she pursues her dream of interstellar travel as the principal of the 100 Year Starship organization.

Fair-to-middling: Welcome to Wednesday, dear readers, and the midpoint of another exciting workweek. We trust yours is, at least, slightly above average.

It’s Sept. 12 out there, marking the international observance of Mindfulness Day, which promotes the notion of careful consideration. Why don’t you just think about that for a bit.

Putin the “Mother” in “Mother Russia”: It’s also the Day of Procreation in Russia, which stems from a 2006 speech in which Vlad the Dad decried his nation’s demographic crisis.

Couples in the Ulyanovsk region are actually given time off from work to … let’s say, help boost the national birthrate. Those who have a child on June 12 are rewarded by the state with televisions, washing machines and other prizes.

Inspirational message: Here in the States, Sept. 12 is known better as the National Day of Encouragement, which is real and just as supportive as it sounds. If you’d like to use that as an excuse to go make whoopie, we think that’s a terrific idea and we know you’ll do great.

Say “cheese”: Happy birthday to Switzerland – officially, the Swiss Confederation – which became a federal state via the adoption of a new constitution on this date in 1848.

Rubber soul: German chemist Fritz Hofmann earned the world’s first patent for synthesized rubber on Sept. 12, 1909.

Also patented on this date, in 2000, was the “toothbrush structure with multiple directional bristle portions,” by Ohio inventor George Royer.

Chipper fellow: Texas Instruments engineer Jack Kilby first demonstrated his new integrated circuit – essentially, the microchip – to friends on Sept. 12, 1958.

Yes, she Mae: And U.S. astronaut Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to fly into space on this date in 1992, aboard the space shuttle Endeavour.

A river runs through him: Speaking of bold adventurers, English navigator/explorer Henry Hudson would be 443 years old today.

Also born on Sept. 12 were American inventor Richard Gatling (1818-1903), who cranked out the first working machine gun; acclaimed American publisher Alfred Knopf (1892-1984); French physicist Irene Joliot-Curie (1897-1956), daughter of Marie Curie and a 1935 Nobel Prize winner herself; and Olympic great Jesse Owens (1913-1980).

Dream girl: And take a bow, Jennifer Hudson – the Oscar-, Golden Globe- and Grammy-winner turns 37 today.

On behalf of the American Cancer Society, Hudson once recorded a gives-you-chills version of “Happy Birthday.” But is it the best celebrity rendition of the ubiquitous birthday song? Cast your vote at – and if you want to hum a few bars about cool stories or networking events, please do.


A few words from our sponsor: Farmingdale State College is New York’s largest public college of applied science and technology and a national pioneer in environmental sustainability. With over 9,600 students, Farmingdale has Long Island’s second-largest undergraduate enrollment among four-year institutions, and offers rigorous academic programs in business, engineering technology, health sciences and liberal arts and sciences. Farmingdale also offers a master’s degree in Technology Management. Learn more here.



Rank and file: With the Fall 2018 semester in full swing, Long Island-based colleges and universities have logged their usual B-plus-ish performance in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 “Best Colleges” rankings, released Monday.

Not all of the Island’s institutions of higher learning were ranked – you deserved better, SUNY-Old Westbury – but many earned passing grades (or better) on the highly regarded annual list. Stony Brook University led the regional pack with a five-way tie for No. 80 among all National Universities; Hofstra University (seven-way tie for No. 140) and Adelphi University (five-way tie for No. 147) also made the National-U honor roll.

Other notables: Molloy College tied with two other schools for No. 25 among Regional Universities-North; Farmingdale State College was in a two-way tie for No. 19 among Regional Colleges-North; and Hofstra (No. 77), Adelphi (No. 86, two-way tie) and SBU (No. 118) were all ranked as Best Values among National Universities. The complete rundown – led by Princeton University, the No. 1 National University – is available here.

The ink’s still wet: Supply-chain authentication specialist Applied DNA Sciences has signed a new deal with the Defense Logistics Agency’s Ohio-based Land and Maritime testing center.

The contract, awarded Sept. 6, covers two years with a year-three DLA option. According to Applied DNA, the Stony Brook-based biotech – a longtime DLA partner – will continue applying unique DNA markers to various inks, allowing for quality-control authentication that “directly support(s) DLA’s counterfeit-prevention initiatives, product-verification and testing programs,” specifically those relating to FSC 5962 microcircuits.



Bullish on co-parenting: SmartCoparent, the Hauppauge-based, all-in-one digital tool for separated parents, is now leveraging Merrill Lynch’s financial expertise.

Scaling up: FuzeHub, CEBIP and friends are bringing a two-day Department of Energy clean-energy prototyping and manufacturing workshop to Stony Brook University.

Light the corners of their mind: A team led by esteemed Feinstein Institute researcher Betty Diamond may have discovered a way to curb memory loss in lupus patients.

A winning philosophy: With an eye on creating practicing physicians who also specialize in laboratory research, the New York Institute of Technology has introduced its first-ever PhD program.



Bubbles will burst: But according to Forbes, the digital ecosystem – where innovation truly grows – remains remarkably resilient.

Screw that: Newsday checks in with Plainview-based Supreme Screw Products, a precision-machined components manufacturer planning a $4.7 million expansion.

Not sure those tariffs are working: As trade tensions with the United States mount, Russia and China are teaming up on some $100 billion in innovation projects.



+ Packet, a New York City-based bare metal automation platform for developers, raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Third Point Ventures, with participation from Battery Ventures, JA Mitsui Leasing, Samsung NEXT, SoftBank Corp. and Dell Technologies Capital.

+ AutoGrid, a California-based leader in AI-driven optimization and controls for the energy industry, closed on a $32 million Series D funding round led by a global consortium of energy companies, including CLP Holdings Group, innogy, Ørstead, Tenaska, Energy Impact Partners, Envision Ventures, Total Energy Ventures, Clearsky Power & Technology Fund, E.ON and Foundation Capital.

+ WaveSense, a Massachusetts-based developer of military-proven ground-penetrating radar, closed a $3 million seed-funding round led by Rhapsody Venture Partners, with participation from Vas Ventures, Nomo Ventures and other VC firms.

+ OncoResponse, a Washington State-based immunotherapy company developing a portfolio of novel cancer-treating antibodies, completed a $40 million series B equity financing round led by RiverVest Venture Partners, Qatar Investment Authority, Redmile Group and others.

+ Palmetto, a South Carolina-based clean-technology company focusing on the distribution of residential solar, storage, energy-efficiency and in-home IoT products, raised $6 million in funding led by Greycroft, Lerer Hippeau, Box Group and NBA commissioner emeritus David Stern.

+ Fulcrum Therapeutics, a Massachusetts-based company focused on discovering and developing small-molecule therapies to treat genetic diseases, raised $80 million in Series B financing led by Foresite Capital, with participation from Fidelity, 6 Dimensions Capital, Casdin Capital, Sanofi Ventures, Section 32 and NS Investments.



Lox her up: Soon-to-be-former gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon’s strange bagel order is just the latest in a long line of curious candidate-cuisine conundrums.

Winnebagos in spaaaace: Lockheed Martin has unveiled designs for its “space RV,” which can comfortably support a family of four (astronauts, that is) on the moon or Mars.

Separation anxiety: From the big brains at Wired, what to do after (and before) you lose your phone.

Free news? Like Bigfoot and low-carb pizza, it’s fairly difficult to nail down. We’ll keep trying. Meanwhile, please keep supporting the great institutions that support Innovate LI – including Farmingdale State College, where next-level innovation only starts with that super-cool Technology Management master’s degree.