No. 343: Talking the talk, saluting young geniuses and creating creative pros (and happy birthday, Sandy)

Hopelessly devoted: Award-winning singer and actress, environmental and animal rights activist, health-awareness advocate, entrepreneur and cancer warrior Olivia Newton-John turns 70 today.

Welcome to Wednesday: We’re coming to you live (no) and in color (sorta) on this 26th day of September, dear readers, the midpoint of another busy week here on Long Island and around the world.

Tongue twister: Speaking of around the world, a very special hello, moi, tere and zdravo to our readers across Europe, where the European Day of Languages – celebrated every Sept. 26 – is in full swing.

We just said “hello” in English, Finnish, Croatian and Estonian, four of the European Union’s 24 official languages. For all the tea in China, what are the other 20? No Googling, answer below.

Abort! Abort! Inventors Maxime Faget and Andre Meyer earned a patent on Sept. 26, 1961, for an aerial capsule separation device – essentially, an escape pod for manned space capsules in case of emergencies during blastoff.

Other patents issued on this date include one for Pennsylvania inventor David Saylor and his Portland cement (1871), which innovatively mixed magnesium and limestone clay, and one for a subterranean heat drilling/tunneling machine (1972) invented by a host of engineers on behalf of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

License to cure: New Jersey passed a bill on Sept. 26, 1772, requiring a license to practice medicine – the first U.S. medical-licensing law.

License to trade: President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Trade Commission Act on this date in 1914, forming the FTC.

License to kill: And break out your passports, 007 fans, because the Bond in Motion Exhibition debuts today at the London Film Museum, featuring more than 100 original items from the 24-film spy series – including cars, boats, motorbikes, scripts and more.

And yes, it’s 24 films, unless you include 1967 spoof “Casino Royale” (no) and “rogue” 1983 Bond adventure “Never Say Never Again” (hell no).

Apple picking: Happy birthday this Sept. 26 to pioneering nurseryman John Chapman (1774-1845). You probably know him better by his stage name, Johnny Appleseed.

Nobel Prize-winning poet T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), “Rhapsody in Blue” composer George Gershwin (1898-1937), exercise mogul Jack LaLanne (1914-2011) and South African anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (1936-2018) also share the birthdate.

Take a chance on her: And take a bow, Olivia Newton-John – the Australian singer and actress turns 70 today.

She’ll always be known best as Sandy from “Grease,” but to truly appreciate Newton-John’s amazing vocal range, give a listen to “A Little More Love.” And wish her a happy birthday at, where we also find story tips and calendar items fairly amazing.


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Salt of the earth: Count a 13-year-old Long Island middle-schooler among the nation’s top young scientists. Tyler Bissondial, a student at Grand Avenue Middle School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, is one of 30 finalists in the 2018 Broadcom MASTERS.

Self-billed as the nation’s “premier middle school STEM competition” (for science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the Broadcom MASTERS is a Society for Science & the Public program designed to encourage youngsters with a knack for knowledge and a love of labs to pursue their passions in high school and beyond. Tyler – also a bagpiper and CrossFit enthusiast – focused his entry on flooding from ocean storms, which increases salt levels in coastal soils and negatively impacts the microRNAs of indigenous plant life.

We’re going to do some hefty Internet searching and hire a tutor to catch up. Tyler, meanwhile, will travel to Washington next month to compete in the competition’s project-based final round (there’s $100,000 in prize money at stake) and to present his findings at a special National Geographic Society showcase. The complete list of heady finalists is available here.

Honoring the fallen: A portion of Sunrise Highway in Westhampton is now known as “Jolly 51 Memorial Bridge,” in honor of four U.S. Air Force airmen from New York who died in a March helicopter crash in Iraq.

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday signed legislation renaming Sunrise Highway’s Route 31 overpass in honor of HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter “Jolly 51,” which crashed in western Iraq on March 15. Among the seven Rescue Airmen killed in the crash were Capt. Andreas O’Keeffe of Center Moriches, Staff Sgt. Dashan Briggs of Port Jefferson Station, Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso of Commack and Capt. Christopher Zanetis of Long Island City.

State Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Bridgehampton), who sponsored an Assembly bill calling for the dedication, said in a statement the airmen “gave their lives to protect our freedom, and it is critical that we honor their legacy.”



Graphics content: With an eye on creativity, Five Towns College has officially begun the critical task of preparing a more artful digital workforce.

Now boarding: Albany has announced the completion of the LIRR’s “Double Track” project, more than a year ahead of schedule.

Bill of fair: Why NYIT Vice President Nada Anid believes government should be reimbursing tuition for technology-focused collegians.



Open season: Product development is an understandably private matter, but Forbes explores the “new levels of competitiveness” inherent to open innovation.

Not your grandmother’s “three Rs”: Reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic still count, but Singularity Hub explains why passion, curiosity and inspiration are the future of education.

Nothing ventured: Long Island’s life-science companies do well with federal grants, but Newsday reports on their desperate need – and united call – for fresh venture capital.



+ Kissimmee, a Florida-based woman/minority-owned sign language services provider, raised $775,000 in funding provided by Change Capital Provides.

+ Providence Medical Technology, a California-based innovator in tissue-sparing surgical equipment and implants for cervical spine fusion surgery, closed on $25 million in equity financing led by Revelation Partners, with participation from BMO Global Asset Management, MVM Life Science Partners, Medvest Capital and Aphelion Capital.

+ MusicLens, a maker of smart glasses that can make calls, receive FM radio signals and mine cryptocurrency, raised $3 million in seed funding.

+ Proterra, a California–based heavy-duty electric transportation company focused on the North American mass-transit market, closed a $155 million funding round co-led by Daimler and Tao Capital Partners, with participation from G2VP and other investors.

+ Lunewave, an Arizona-based startup working on self-driving car sensors, secured $5 million in seed funding led by Fraser McCombs Capital, with strategic investments from BMW i Ventures, Baidu Ventures and others.

+ MouSensor, a New York City-based biotech developing a novel platform to digitize the sense of smell, raised $3.3 million in its seed funding round co-led by imec.xpand and Alexandria Venture Investments, with participation from New York Ventures and Elma Hawkins, Ph.D.



Lingo: The European Union’s 24 official languages are Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish. There are also numerous “semi-official” and “minority” languages.

Little buggers: MentalFloss weighs in on Teddy Roosevelt, mosquitoes and history’s most influential parasite.

Bugged out: So, what happens if mosquitoes simply disappear?

Is this bugging you? Termites ain’t the half of it – meet the nastiest critters likely terrorizing your attic.

Sorry to be a pest: But still no sign of “free news.” We’ll keep our eyes peeled. Meanwhile, you keep supporting the great firms that support Innovate LI, please and thank you, including Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, where dozens of practice areas have your business bases covered.