No. 359: Happy Thanksgiving! And Hanukkah! And E=mc² Day! (Plus, digging in with SBU and NYIT)

Something to be thankful for: We’re grateful for you, dear reader – your curiosity, enthusiasm and support keep us going today and every day. Happy Thanksgiving to you and those you hold dear.


Gobble it up: Welcome to Wednesday, dear reader, and not just any Wednesday but the eve of the only four-day weekend sanctioned annually by U.S. business, commercial and government interests.

That makes tomorrow Thanksgiving, of course, and an early one at that (the 22nd, in fact, is the earliest date the fourth Thursday of the month can happen).

Words to the wise: As the big day looms, two pieces of unsolicited advice – tonight is amateur night for drinking and driving, so be aware, and check out Dr. Allison’s five easy tips for avoiding Thanksgiving arguments.

Speaking of getting out in front, the Innovate LI team will be perfecting our turkey salad recipe on Friday, so no Nov. 23 newsletter – we’ll be back with your regularly scheduled calendar newsletter on Monday.

Chag Urim Sameach: It’s Nov. 21 out there, and while Hanukkah 2018 doesn’t start until Dec. 2, today marks the 2,182nd anniversary of Judas Maccabaeus recapturing Jerusalem and rededicating the Second Temple – a 164 B.C. Maccabean Revolt victory revered as the first Hanukkah.

Esse quam videri: It’s also North Carolina’s anniversary – the Tar Heel State ratified the U.S. Constitution and was admitted as the 12th U.S. state on this date in 1789.

Equivalence diploma: Happy centenary-plus-13 to E=mc², Albert Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence formula, which was first introduced in a paper published by the journal Annalen der Physik on Nov. 21, 1905.

Suspension animation: And happy birthday to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which opened 54 years ago today – at the time, boasting the world’s longest bridge span.

Enlightening: Speaking of birthdays, French playwright and philosopher François-Marie Arouet – you probably know him by his nom de plume, Voltaire – would be 324 today.

Other Nov. 21 birthdays include surgeon and “father of gastric physiology” William Beaumont (1785-1853), businesswoman and “Witch of Wall Street” Henrietta “Hetty” Green (1834-1916), pioneering pediatric pathologist Martha Wollstein (1868-1939) and baseball legend Stan “The Man” Musial (1920-2013).

He tawt he taw a puddy tat: And take a bow, Tweety Pie – the banana-yellow Warner Bros. cartoon bird debuted in “A Tale of Two Kitties” on Nov. 21, 1942.

Wish them all a happy Thanksgiving at, but save the story tips (and the drumstick) for us, please and thank you.


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.



Breach teach: Cybersecurity continues to play as an economic driver, with new NYSTAR grant funding bolstering cyber-defenses at small and medium manufacturers across the state.

The Empire State Development Corp.’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation is backing a new cybersecurity program to be administered by three New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers – one in Mohawk Valley, one in Hudson Valley and Fuzehub, the statewide NY MEP center that’s worked before with the Stony Brook University-based Manufacturing & Technology Resource Consortium, Long Island’s regional MEP center.

Based on National Institute of Standards and Technology benchmarks, the program includes professional cybersecurity assessments and a list of implementable “action items” that will bring manufacturers into compliance – now a requirement for U.S. Department of Defense contracts. “Defense contracts can be lucrative for local manufacturing companies,” notes FuzeHub Executive Director Elena Garuc, but to work for the feds, “manufacturers need to meet the federal cybersecurity requirements.”

Charging forward: New York State this week announced a broad range of initiatives designed to encourage the use of electric vehicles – including a host of new statewide charging stations and a rate break (of sorts) by the Public Service Commission.

Citing more than 11,000 state rebates already issued to consumers purchasing electric and hybrid vehicles, Albany trumpeted the initial roll-out of its $250 million Evolve NY initiative, which will ultimately deploy up to 250 “fast chargers” across the state (the 150-kilowatt direct-current stations allow drivers to fill ’er up, electrically, in just 20 short minutes). The New York Power Authority has identified its first 32 locations; Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants 10,000 by 2021.

Meanwhile, the PSC is setting time-of-use rates that incentivize owners to charge their vehicles during off-peak nighttime hours – which not only allows the owners to lock in standard non-peak rates, but lessens the burden on the regional grid. And the Charge Ready NY program stands ready to share $5 million with apartment buildings, malls and commercial locations that install charging stations.



Ground swell: 76West finalist Allied Microbiata, a client of SBU’s Clean Energy Business Incubator Program, takes a microscopic view of soil remediation.

Angry Andrew: Cuomo swings a mighty pen in a scathing op-ed calling out “hypocritical” critics of the Amazon HQ2 facility coming to Long Island City.

Sense and sustainability: A National Science Foundation grant will help NYIT researchers develop an agriculture-friendly network of real-time remote soil sensors.



Innovate LI’s inbox overrunneth with inspirational ideas from all national corners. This week’s brightest out-of-town innovations:

From Texas: Plano-based WayAround introduces WayAround for Public Spaces, a “smart assistant” for the vision impaired that uses “smart tags” and mobile apps.

From New Jersey: Manalapan-based Armas Pharmaceuticals launches its first injectable medication, a 100 MG dose of Azacitidine to fight myelodysplastic syndrome.

From California: Los Angeles-based cannabidiol-product manufacturer CBDFx announces a new line of CBD vape juice (including pineapple and gelato flavors), signaling a “major shift in the … high-end CBD market.”



+ Ezra, a New York City-based startup creating a new way to screen for cancer, announced a $4 million seed round led by Accomplice, Founders Future, Credo Ventures, Seedcamp, Esther Dyson and a number of startup founders and angel investors.

+ Self Lender, a Texas-based provider of consumer tools for people to build credit and save money, raised $10 million in Series B financing led by Altos Ventures, with participation from Silverton Partners, Accion Venture Lab and others.

+ RoadBotics, a Pennsylvania-based developer of advanced computer-vision technology for inspecting roads and infrastructure, raised $3.9 million in seed financing led by Hyperplane Venture Capital, Urban-Us, Urban-X, Radical Ventures and Ekistic Ventures, as well as the Wharton Alumni Angels and Innovation Works.

+ Dust Identity, a Massachusetts-based provider of an unclonable security-tracking solution for hardware authentication, secured $2.3 million in seed funding led by Kleiner Perkins, with participation from New Science Ventures, Angular Ventures and Castle Island Ventures.

+ AsclepiX Therapeutics, a Maryland-based biopharmaceutical company advancing a novel peptide platform for treatment of ocular diseases and cancer, raised $5 million in convertible note funding led by Barer & Son Capital, with participation from Rapha Capital Management, Salem Partners, TEDCO and Piedmont Capital Partners.

+ Understory, a Wisconsin-based weather network and analytics company deployed to more than 500 stations throughout five major metropolitan areas, secured $7.5 million in funding led by 4490 Ventures, with participation from the Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.



Main Course: The Innovation Policy Platform profiles Turkey (the country).

Side dish: How to turn leftover mashed potatoes into waffles, by the waste-not University of Texas.

Just desserts: Forbes reveals how the zero-waste philosophy inspired one of history’s great puddings.

Good enough to eat: Please keep supporting the great institutions that support Innovate LI, including Farmingdale State College, where they’re always cooking up new ideas (like that cutting-edge Technology Management master’s program).