No. 378: Applied DNA in Asia, tech in the classroom and golfers on the moon (plus: why King Kullen still cares)

One ringy dingy: When customers call, give them excellent service starting with a knowledgeable staff -- so says a new marketing survey by Clutch.


Stuck in the middle with you: Here we are, dear reader, together again at the midpoint of another busy week of socioeconomic innovation. Welcome to Wednesday!

It’s Feb. 6 out there, marking both Ronald Reagan Day in California (where the future president served two terms as governor) and the UN’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, which is no joke.

Sick days: Before we get started, yes, you have the flu – and you’re not alone, according to the NYS Department of Health.

On that note, Adelphi University Clinical Associate Professor and influenza expert K.C. Rondello will see you now – or, you’ll see him.

A very Brady birthday: Happy anniversary to Massachusetts, which has forged an unholy alliance with dark forces regarding professional football and also was the sixth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution on this date in 1788.

Sealed fate: Putting a stop to bottle stoppers, Maryland inventor William Painter received a U.S. patent on Feb. 6, 1894, for his crowned cap bottle opener, which went nicely with his earlier patents for screwed-metal bottlecaps.

Other U.S. patents issued on Feb. 6 include one given in 1883 to Thomas Edison for a “regulator for dynamo-electric machines” and one given in 1894 to Edison’s biggest rival, Nikola Tesla, for “an apparatus for generating electric currents.”

Charles (not) in charge: It was this date in 1952 when Queen Elizabeth II succeeded King George VI on the British throne. For the record, her 67-year reign marks the longest of any British royal. (Sorry, Charlie.)

Exclusive club: On Feb. 6, 1971, U.S. astronaut Alan Shepard became the first man to play golf on the moon.

Now landing: And, nicely book-ending our innovative historical review, Washington National Airport was renamed Ronald Reagan National Airport on this date in 1998.

Reaganomical: Of course, all the hoopla must mean today is the birthday of the 40th U.S. President (1911-2004), who started his political career as a Democrat, was the only commander-in-chief to ever have been divorced (until now) and pretty much crushed Communism into little pieces, among other achievements.

Other notable Feb. 6 birthday boys and girls include pistol-packing U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr (1756-1836), baseball icon Babe Ruth (1895-1948), famed British paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey (1913-1996), ion beam-colliding/space-colonization advocating U.S. physicist Gerard Kitchen O’Neill (1927-1992) and Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley (1945-1981).

Sweet child: And take a bow, Axl Rose – the hard-rocking Guns N’ Roses lead man (born William Bailey) turns 57 today.

Wish the musicians, the scientists and the rest a happy birthday at – and keep those much-appreciated story tips and calendar suggestions coming, please and thank you.


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Last check: In one of its final independent gestures, “America’s first supermarket” has boosted a regional food bank to the tune of $28,000.

Bethpage-based King Kullen recently gifted Hauppauge’s Long Island Cares – also known as The Harry Chapin Food Bank, in honor of its founder, the late folk singer – with proceeds raised through the market chain’s latest Check Out Hunger campaign. In 1997, family-owned (for now) King Kullen supermarkets were the first to participate in Long Island Cares’ now-annual Check Out Hunger effort.

Now, with Stop & Shop finalizing its acquisition of the King Kullen chain (including 32 supermarkets and five Wild by Nature natural food stores, all on Long Island), the Bethpage stalwart is pleased to honor its philanthropic legacy, according to co-President Brian Cullen. “King Kullen has been proud to support Long Island Cares and other local not-for-profits for many years,” Cullen said Monday.

Imagine that: Finalists for the seventh-annual Long Island Imagine Awards have been announced, with 20 Long Island-based nonprofit organizations – and the altruistic leaders behind them – vying for $25,000 in grant awards.

Created by Ken Cerini, managing partner of Bohemia-based Cerini & Associates, the Long Island Imagine Awards keeps the suspense going with four finalists in each of five categories – covering social impact, arts and culture, leadership, innovation and “rising stars” – hoping to land a $5,000 award. This year’s event is scheduled for April 30 at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury; a complete list of nominees, along with award and event sponsors and registration information, is available here.

Each of the nominees is a winner, according to Cerini, who noted the significance of the nonprofit sector “to the very fabric of Long Island” and stressed the importance of “recognizing the impactful and innovative work that nonprofits are doing every day.”



Flame throwers: Two Long Island companies – a software startup and a veteran product designer – have teamed up on a new mobile tech aimed at fire prevention.

Asian influence: Cutting-edge supply-chain authenticator Applied DNA Sciences has announced two promising collaborations with Taiwanese partners.

Brain power: A Long Island foundation focused on nonprofit education is backing South Nassau Communities Hospital’s new medical-innovation public lecture series.



K-12 education expert Harry Aurora on how the 21st century student has changed – and why 21st century educators had better hustle to keep up.



Ivy League alien: Harvard’s top astronomer believes ET tech is zooming through the Solar System right now, and he won’t shut up about it.

Give peace a chance: Quartz explains how harmony, not war, will supercharge the coming biotech revolution.

Try, try again: Newsday dutifully reports on the latest academia/industry council to focus on regional tech jobs.



+ Ironclad, a California-based provider of a contract management platform that streamlines legal workflows, raised $23 million in Series B financing led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from existing investors Accel and Y Combinator.

+ GT Medical Technologies, an Arizona-based company dedicated to improving the lives of patients with brain tumors, raised $10 million in Series A financing led by MedTech Venture Partners, with participation from BlueStone Venture Partners.

+ Genomic Prediction, a New York City-based developer of polygenic disease screening tests for improving IVF health outcomes, raised $4.5 million through the sale of preferred stock to Nimble Ventures, PeopleFund and existing investors.

+ Socati, an Oregon-based developer of hemp genetics, cannabinoid science and extraction/purification technologies, closed a $33 million second round of funding led by Lorne Abony, Jim Mellon and JJR Private Capital Inc.

+ AirWorks Solutions, a Massachusetts-based Aerial-mapping software provider, secured $2.3 million in seed funding led by Innospark Ventures, with participation from MetaProp, FM Global, Rough Draft Ventures and angel investors.

+ Epic!, a California-based digital reading platform for children ages 12 and under, secured $30 million in funding led by Evolution Media, Menlo Ventures, Reach Capital, Translink Capital, Rakuten Ventures, Innovation Endeavors and others.



The long game: Forbes collects the top takeaways from history’s most innovative companies.

The telephone game: Marketing-insight specialist Clutch shares a new telephone customer-service survey (spoilers: waiting on hold bad, knowledgeable staff good).

The end of every game: It’s great for dumping on the coach when you win, but as FiveThirtyEight points out, you really don’t need Gatorade or any other sports drinks.

Game on: Please continue to support the great firms that support Innovate LI – including Nixon Peabody, where the 2019 class of new partners helps lead an elite team of international players.