No. 382: Daring photographers, prestigious fellows, international space adventures – and LICA’s tastiest Capital Forum yet

Rock star: Born on Feb. 20, 1902, landscape photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams was revered for his black-and-white images of the American West.


Middle ground: It’s Wednesday, dear readers, and the midpoint of another busy winter week of socioeconomic innovation.

Welcome to Feb. 20, and welcome especially to new newsletter subscribers Wendy, Charles, Sam, Dee, Lyn, Clive, J. Taylor, Rama, John, David and Rosemary. We’ve turned off the “Fasten Seatbelts” sign, so please feel free to move around the cabin.

Those are all good things: Our new friends join us on The World Day of Social Justice, referencing a U.N. General Assembly 2007 proclamation setting aside Feb. 20 for observances of international efforts to eradicate poverty, promote full employment, enforce gender equality and guarantee access to social wellbeing for all citizens.

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night…: Have stayed these couriers from the swift completion of their rounds, not since Feb. 20, 1792, when President Washington signed the Postal Service Act, establishing the United States Post Office.

For the record, there are numerous versions of the infamous “postal service creed” – and none of them is the USPO’s official motto.

MOMA mia: Happy anniversary to New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which opened on this date in 1872.

Sacked: On that same date – Feb. 20, 1872 – inventor Luther Crowell earned a U.S. patent for a machine that produced square-bottomed paper bags.

Other Feb. 20 patents include one in 1846 issued for innovator John Drummond’s “compression molding” technique for creating candles.

Round and round: Strapped into the Friendship 7 capsule, Mercury astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth – three times in a little under five hours – on Feb. 20, 1962.

Also successful – if slightly more crushed, ultimately – was NASA’s Ranger 8 probe, which crashed into the moon on this date in 1965 after photographing and transmitting back home potential Apollo mission landing sites.

Oh, Mir: And speaking of historic space-shots, the first modular components of what would become the Mir space station were launched from inside the Soviet Union on Feb. 20, 1986.

The lasso of truth: Elizabeth Holloway Marston (1893-1993) – an American attorney and psychologist who helped create the systolic blood-pressure measurement used to detect deception (essentially, the polygraph) and (partially) inspired her husband’s comic book creation, “Wonder Woman” – was born on Feb. 20.

So were iconic American photographer Ansel Adams (1902-1984), convention-busting Swiss photographer/adventurer Ella Maillart (1903-1997), notoriously Oscar-snubbed American filmmaker Robert Altman (1925-2006) and doomed Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain (1967-1994).

Sir Charles: And take a bow, Charles Barkley – the all-time NBA great and one-time “round mound of rebound” turns 56 today.

Wish the legendary power forward well at – of course, dishing off a story tip or calendar item is a slam-dunk.


A few words from our sponsor: Farrell Fritz, a full-service law firm with 15 practice groups, advises startups on entity formation, founder and shareholder agreements, funding, executive compensation and benefits, licensing and technology transfer, mergers and acquisitions and other strategic transactions. The firm’s blog, New York Venture Hub, discusses legal and business issues facing entrepreneurs and investors.



Jolly good Fellows: The American Society for Microbiology, the world’s largest science-professional organization, has opened its books to welcome two more Stony Brook University researchers.

Bettina Fries, a professor of medicine, molecular genetics and microbiology at Stony Brook Medicine, and David Thanassi, chairman of the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology at SBU’s Renaissance School of Medicine, have been elected fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology, the “honors class” of the ASM. Both will receive their peer-elected fellowships at the ASM’s annual meeting, slated for June in San Francisco.

Fries, chief of Stony Brook Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases, is a clinical expert in treating fungal infections and a nationally recognized physician-scientist on the tail of the nefarious pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. Thanassi has centered his research on the molecular mechanisms of bacterial secretion systems – essentially, how bacteria spread disease – and his widely published research is credited as “a basis for new potential ways to treat bacterial infections and address antibacterial resistance,” according to SBU.



Well, look who’s gathering on our stage … the next batch of entrepreneurs, inventors and organizations we’re honoring at our really big show, the fourth-annual Innovator of the Year Awards.

Join us March 26 at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury as we honor 2019 Master of Innovation Mitch Maiman, CEO of Hauppauge-based Intelligent Product Solutions, and a cavalcade of creativity, including:

  • LG Studios, the new Edgewood video-production mecca spearheaded by Lorraine Gregory Communications, Mirrorland Productions and the Drake Media Network
  • Ashley Heather, founder of iHamptons and The Spur, a rapidly expanding “private co-working and entrepreneur’s club” for East End entrepreneurs
  • Cutting-edge Smithtown-based innovator MIDI Medical Product Development
  • Taylor Knapp, founder of Peconic Escargot, Long Island’s first-ever snail farm
  • Jericho-based iTutor, a 2013 startup offering online tutoring and standardized-testing prep assistance for K-12 students

We’ll reveal more of our 2019 honorees – dozens in all! – in Friday’s newsletter. Meanwhile, everything else you need to know about our A-list breakfast networker – sponsorship info, registration, all that good stuff – awaits here.



Community chest: Health and wellness – of the physical and socioeconomic kinds – are on tap in Hofstra University’s latest Healthcare Entrepreneurship Community Challenge.

‘Justice’ league: Representing 160-plus statewide organizations, members of NY Renews packed a Long Island hearing to support Albany’s Climate and Community Protection Act.

Taste test: The menu of presenters is set for the next LICA Capital Forum, an innovators-meet-investors pitch-a-thon focused on agri-tech and food & beverage businesses.



Political commentator Jeff Guillot on why the Green New Deal might not be the cure-all for the American economy – but might just be a blueprint for Long Island’s best future.



Dream school: The Wall Street Journal reports on the new medical school NYU is establishing inside Mineola’s Winthrop University Hospital.

Dream job: Hilton and Salesforce lead the way in Fortune’s annual listing of the 100 Best Companies to Work For.

Dream big: Cutting-edge tech and loads of chutzpah are fueling Israel’s first moonshot, blasting off this week.



+ Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha, a Colorado-based beverage company producing handcrafted drinks with snowmelt, completed a $3.5 million Series A funding round led by KarpReilly, with participation from Justin Gold (founder of Justin’s) and Brendan Synnott (co-founder of Bear Naked, EVOL Foods).

+ Tank Utility, a Massachusetts-based provider of IoT tank-monitoring and logistics-optimization services, raised $6 million in financing led by Bullpen Capital, with participation from Energy Foundry, Blue Fog Capital, Generac, Serra Ventures and Array Ventures.

+ RapidDeploy, a Texas-based provider of cloud software that enables public safety officials to reduce emergency response times and improve situational awareness, raised $12 million in Series A financing led by GreatPoint Ventures and Samsung NEXT.

+ Chainalysis, a New York City-based provider of cryptocurrency compliance and investigation solutions, secured $30 million in Series B financing led by Accel, with participation from Benchmark.

+ 2nd Address, a California-based rental platform for business travelers, secured $10 million in funding led by GV, with participation from Foundation Capital, Amicus Capital, Pierre Lamond and others.

+ MākuSafe, an Iowa-based safety-technology company, closed its nearly $3 million seed-funding round. Backers included EMC Insurance Companies, Next Level Ventures and The Best of the Midwest.



Tortoise divorce: After 90-plus years together, the honeymoon is over for Bibi and Poldi – and nobody at Austria’s Reptilienzoo Happ knows why.

Cat’s meow: A Chinese innovator has introduced an AI-powered cat shelter featuring facial recognition (no dogs allowed!) and more.

Bird brains: Vox explains how new research into how the deadly “bird flu” spreads could accidently trigger a global pandemic.

Legal eagles: Please continue supporting the great firms that support Innovate LI, including Farrell Fritz, where the Regulatory & Government Relations Practice Group soars over Albany.