No. 366: ‘Teaching labs’ at SBU, lovely lagers at NYCB Live and a $68 million consolation prize for the LIREDC

Nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious: Charles Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol," in part a rebuke of the condition of the United Kingdom's poor, has never been out of print since it was first published on Dec. 19, 1843.


Season’s speedings: Ho-ho-holy cow, Christmas is a week from yesterday … 2018 truly has kept its pedal to the metal.

That makes this Dec. 19, dear readers, and the midpoint of the last full workweek of this breakneck year. To wit: Please watch for your regularly scheduled Friday newsletter, followed by weekly installments on Dec. 28 and Jan. 4. Back on schedule Jan. 7.

Read all about it: December 19 is a big-time date for historical publications. Under the pseudonym “Richard Saunders,” Benjamin Franklin published the first edition of “Poor Richard’s Almanack” on Dec. 19, 1732.

Speaking of Founding Fathers, “voice of the American Revolution” Thomas Paine – famously noting “These are the times that try men’s souls” – published his first “American Crisis” essay on this date in 1776.

More gravy than grave: And Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” was first published on Dec. 19, 1843.

Paper chase: Even the patents issued on this date are book-related.

New York inventor Albert Jones received a U.S. patent for corrugated paper on this date in 1871 (OK, the wavy paper was used for packaging, but we’re building a theme here). And Missouri-born inventor Samuel Clemens – known better by his famous nom de plume, Mark Twain – earned a patent for his “Improvement in Adjustable and Detachable Straps for Garments,” on that very same day.

Ghost of Christmas past: Among the interesting uses for paper throughout history, the Articles of Impeachment against President Bill Clinton were passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 19, 1998.

Lady Einstein: Serbian mathematician Mileva Marić – the only woman in Albert Einstein’s class at Zürich’s Polytechnic, later his professional collaborator and wife, then ex-wife, and the mother of his three children – would be 143 years old today.

Other Dec. 19 notables include Black History Month founder Carter Woodson (1875-1950), Black History Month fan Martin Luther King Sr. (1899-1984), English health-and-wellness business magnate Rosemary Conley (born 1946) and Israeli scientist and high-tech entrepreneur Orna Berry (born 1949).

Mean machine: And take a bow, “Mean” Gene Okerlund – the legendary, semi-retired professional wrestling announcer turns 76 today.

Mr. Wonderful: We can’t think of Mean Gene without remembering this classic interview, in which he plays the perfect straight man to an overdose of “Macho Madness.” To honor Okerlund, vote for your favorite classic WWF (yes, WWF) personality at – and Hulk up a few Rowdy story tips and Honky Tonk calendar items, which really gives our Steamboat an Andre-sized powerslam.


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Blossoming on the STEM: A unique “engineering teaching lab” at Stony Brook University’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences will enhance STEM education on all levels – from inquisitive middle schoolers to university seminars.

The North Atlantic Industries Engineering Teaching Lab features a flexible classroom environment supporting both lecture and laboratory activities. The lab, which includes industrial-grade testing and assembly stations for students to create unique circuitry, is funded by SBU industrial partner North Atlantic Industries, a Bohemia-based electronics manufacturer for the aerospace and defense industries.

The idea is to promote science, technology, engineering and math education and encourage students on all levels to pursue STEM-based careers, “an important resource in the community for training educators and engaging young students in the excitement of technology and engineering,” according to CEAS Dean Fotis Sotiropoulos. “We are grateful for the generous support of North Atlantic Industries and the personal commitment of (President and CEO) Bill Forman.”

There’s a lager to love: The Oyster Bay Brewing Company has earned a unique honor, providing the first custom-brewed beer served at NYCB LIVE since the new arena opened in April 2017.

Long Island Love Lager, which was created jointly by the Oyster Bay brewery and NYCB Live, was introduced at the arena during a recent New York Islanders home game, one of several the Brooklyn-based team is playing this NHL season at its old/new stomping grounds.

The limited lager is “a way to celebrate the Long Island community,” according to NYCB Live programming Vice President Nick Vaerewyck, while Oyster Bay Brewing Co. owner Gabe Haim is proud to note that 100 percent of the brewing and packaging takes place in Oyster Bay. “We hope everyone gets the opportunity to enjoy one of these Long Island Love Lagers at an event at NYCB LIVE or at the brewery,” Haim said Monday.



You can’t win ’em all: But you sorta can, when you’re the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council and your runner-up prize eclipses $68 million.

Stocking stuffers: The Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency has been in a giving mood, economically incentivizing new projects in East Patchogue and Medford.

The gift that keeps on giving: Please help Innovate LI keep these fun and informative newsletters coming your way by encouraging your innovation inner circle to subscribe for free.



Smoke ’em if you got ’em: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push for recreational marijuana legalization will light up in January, according to Vox.

Small ideas: MIT scientists can quickly and inexpensively shrink objects to 1,000th their original size – just like a real-life Ant-Man, according to Futurism.

And even smaller: Despite issues with privacy and other concerns, “smart dust” is coming, according to Quartz.



+ Bowery Farming, a New York City-based indoor farming startup, raised $90 million in funding led by GV, with participation from Temasek, Almanac Ventures, General Catalyst, GGV Capital and First Round Capital.

+ Mission Bio, a California-based single-cell DNA analysis and precision genomics company, raised $30 million in Series B funding backed by Agilent Technologies, Cota Capital, LAM Capital and Mayfield.

+ The Hardware Club, an investment firm focused on hardware and full-stack startups, closed its $50 million first fund with support from Isomer Capital, Draper Esprit, Bpifrance’s French Tech Acceleration funds, Foxconn and Arkéa.

+ Roar Organic, a NYC-based natural line of vegan, low-calorie, low-sugar, electrolyte-infused beverages, raised $5.6 million in funding led by AccelFoods.

+ Trala, an Illinois-based app that teaches violin, raised $1.29 million in seed funding backed by LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, Origin Ventures, Techstars Ventures, Luis Von Ahn, Bob Meese and Severin Hacker of Duolingo.

+ Hi Fidelity Genetics, a North Carolina-based computational crop-breeding company, closed an $8.5 million Series A round of financing co-led by Fall Line Capital and Finistere Ventures, with participation from Gro Alliance, KdT Ventures, Prairie Crest Capital, S2G and Tom Farms.



On the flip side: Tired of making New Year’s resolutions that won’t stick? Our friends at the Foundry Group suggest you get real with the Won’t Do List.

Just because you can…: According to science, the more bad ideas you have, the better your chances for success.

…doesn’t mean you should: lambastes 2018’s most unnecessary innovations.

But you should definitely do this: Please continue supporting the amazing institutions that support Innovate LI, including SUNY Old Westbury, one of only four New York colleges offering a master’s degree in forensic accounting.