No. 349: Canada’s new high, Sikes’ new heights and LineaRX’s highest hopes (plus, repainting President Trump)

Painting by numbers: The masses are skewering President Trump for displaying a painting by Missouri artist Andy Thomas, showing Trump chumming with past Republican POTUSes -- even though Taylor also created a nearly similar portrait of President Obama with past Democratic leaders.


Middle ground: Welcome to Wednesday, dear readers, and the halfway point of another exciting week of socioeconomic innovation.

October 17 is in full swing, marking the 25th anniversary of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, a U.N. General Assembly effort to address shortages of basic necessities (i.e.: food, clothing, shelter) around the globe and reinforce the notion that poverty and human-rights abuses routinely coexist. Learn more here.

Eye of the beholder: On a lighter note, today marks a number of third-Wednesday-in-October national events, including Support Your Local Chamber of Commerce Day and Hagfish Day, designed to show a little love for one of Earth’s ugliest species.

Smoke ’em if you got ’em, eh? And it’s a big day in Canada, with recreational marijuana legalized today throughout the entire country.

Smart and smarter: The Radio Corporation of America, a wholly owned GE subsidiary that was liquidated in 1986 (though many consumer electronics still carry the powerful brand name), was founded on Oct. 17, 1919.

Also founded on this date was the U.S. Department of Education, signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

Man of steel: Considered by many to be “the process that made the modern world,” English inventor Henry Bessemer’s unique method of blasting air through wrought iron to create steel was patented on Oct. 17, 1855.

Other U.S. patents filed or issued on Oct. 17 include Edison’s “optical phonograph” (the first movie projector, 1888) and a “process for obtaining schoenite by direct treatment of crude kainite mineral containing sodium chloride as an impurity” (1961). If you try this yourself, expect a call from the Montecatini Società Generale per L’industria Mineraria e Chimica in Milan.

Coming to America: Speaking of big thinkers from abroad, Albert Einstein – a fugitive from Nazi Germany – arrived in the United States on this date in 1933.

Super job: And speaking of the Man of Steel, comic book writer and Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel (1914-1996) would be 104 years old today.

Also born on Oct. 17 were Lloyd Harbor’s own Jupiter Hammon (1711-1806), the first African-American writer to be published in the United States; mumps vaccine creator Ernest Goodpasture (1886-1960); cookbook pioneer Mildred Knopf (1898-1993); ink-stained New York author and columnist Jimmy Breslin (1930-2017); Atkins Diet inventor Robert Atkins (1930-2003); and famed daredevil Robert “Evel” Knievel (1938-2007).

Space pioneer: And take a bow, Mae Jemison – the first African American woman in space turns 62 today.

Wish the astronaut, the daredevil, the columnist and the rest a happy birthday at And please share a story idea or calendar listing, which makes us leap tall buildings in single bounds.


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 more than 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.



The weight is over: Noting that vitamins remain critical to good health, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research scientists reexamine what qualifies as proper nutrition in a recent paper published by the online medical journal Diabetes & Metabolism: Research & Reviews.

After examining the latest nutritional data, doctors Miji Kim, Anam Basharat and Jesse Roth, the scientist in charge of Feinstein’s Diabetes Research Laboratory, “encourage the medical community to re-energize their recommendations on vitamins for patient care,” according to the Feinstein Institute.

“Reuniting Overnutrition and Undernutrition, Macronutrients, and Micronutrients” reveals how medical professionals through the mid-20th century, concerned about famine and undernourishment, saw over-nourishment – a means of gaining extra weight – as key. But “with improving healthcare and hygiene, the desirability of extra weight was diminished,” according to the analysis, which also details the benefits of individual vitamins and minerals on a person’s overall physical condition.

Clean living: Albany is pumping $27.5 million into new workforce-development initiatives designed to prepare New Yorkers for the clean-energy industry’s growing job opportunities.

The funding announcement was made this week in conjunction with the release of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s 2018 New York Clean Energy Industry Report, which shows that more than 151,000 New Yorkers are currently employed in the clean-energy sector, with 5,600-plus jobs added over the last year.

The new NYSERDA funding includes $7 million for energy-efficiency and clean-technology training at colleges, universities and technical high schools; $10 million for on-the-job training at energy-efficiency and cleantech businesses; and $10.5 million for the state’s new Clean Energy Internship Program, designed to provide paid internship opportunities to college students and other 18-to-24-year-olds in technical-training programs. “Clean-energy jobs are the workforce of the future,” noted Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, “and New Yorkers need to be prepared.”



Sikes 101: Mark Lesko has left Hofstra University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, leaving the business-development operation in the capable hands of his longtime executive assistant.

Coming sooner: Applied DNA Sciences spinoff LineaRX has introduced a novel manufacturing platform that could speed critical cancer treatments into clinical trials.

Home run: Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk has selected a well-known (and well-respected) Huntington politico as its new head honcho.

Storm surge: The City of Long Beach will muscle up in preparation for the next deadly superstorm, thanks to a $20 million boost from FEMA.



From beyond the grave: Vox checks out all-time-brain Stephen Hawking’s posthumously published last book, which details how AI might be the end of humanity.

But there’s still hope: Countering Hawking, Fast Company delivers a pep talk on not buying the hype about computers being smarter than humans.

Soft touch: And Quartz at Work peeks into the mind of one of the nation’s top CEOs, who insists human “soft skills” are still more important than top coding abilities.



+ SmileDirectClub, a Tennessee-based teeth-straightening startup, completed an institutional private placement of $380 million in equity capital led by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, with participation from Kleiner Perkins and Spark Capital.

+ Gotham Therapeutics, a New York City-based biotechnology company developing a novel drug class targeting RNA-modifying proteins, raised $54 million in Series A financing co-led by founding investor Versant Ventures, Forbion and S.R. One, with participation from Celgene and Alexandria Venture Investments.

+ MasterClass, a California-based online education company providing educational and inspiring classes via video lessons and interactive exercises, raised $80 million in Series D funding led by IVP, NEA, Javelin Ventures, Advancit Capital, Atomico and Evolution Media.

+ Cardialen, a Minneapolis-based medical-device company developing a low-energy implantable defibrillation therapy, closed a $17 million Series B funding round led by RiverVest Venture Partners, with participation from Qiming Venture Partners, HBM Healthcare Investments and Cultivation Capital.

+ Foundry College, a California-based online two-year college for working adults combining live lectures with small-group active-learning sessions, raised $6 million in funding. Learn Capital made the investment.

+ Lumenari, a Kentucky-based leader in narrow-bandwidth LED phosphors for LCD display backlighting applications, closed a $3 million Series A funding round led by TJ Rodgers, Jeremy Blank, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund and Hanover Partners.



Try, try again: The would-be developers of the expansive Nassau Hub are taking one more crack at it.

Fixer-upper: Speaking of renovations, the Internet is having a blast with the suddenly-infamous portrait of President Trump chilling with his Republican predecessors.

Menacing mollusks: In San Francisco Bay, it’s war with the shipworms.

Free news? We might find Bigfoot, Atlantis and Hoffa’s decaying corpse first, but we’ll keep looking. Meanwhile, please keep supporting the great institutions that support Innovate LI, including Farmingdale State College, where that Technology Management master’s degree is breaking new ground.