No. 392: Birthing bots, baseball reborn and a second look at our 2019 innovation love-in

A wall to be proud of: For the brave who served and made the ultimate sacrifice. Most states have held annual remembrances since 1973, but it wasn't until 2017 that the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act declared Mar. 29 an official national holiday honoring Vietnam vets.


Did you miss us? We missed you, dear reader, but here we are, back on the beat just in time to wrap up another exciting week of socioeconomic innovation.

It’s Friday, March 29, out there, and we’ve still got the warm fuzzies from Tuesday’s 2019 Innovator of the Year Awards, which filled the Crest Hollow Country Club with copious carbs, big brains and lots of love.

Let’s go to the videotape: In case you missed our awards presentation, check out the video replay on the homepage. (You can also check it out if you were there. Hey, there you are!)

Goodnight, Saigon: Marking the last withdrawal of U.S. combat and support units from South Vietnam on March 29, 1973, today is National Vietnam War Veterans Day. Tried to come up with a witty joke. Couldn’t.

Pike peeks: President Thomas Jefferson authorized construction of the Great National Pike (better known as the Cumberland Road) on this date in 1806, marking the start of the first federal highway.

The real thing: The first batch of Coca Cola – cocaine and all – was brewed over a backyard fire in Georgia on March 29, 1886, by creator John Pemberton, a doctor who created the future soft drink as a “brain tonic and intellectual beverage.”

For the record, Coke contained cocaine until Congress banned the drug in 1904.

Underground army: The Terracotta Army, a battalion of 8,000 clay warriors guarding the tomb of first Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang, was discovered by Chinese farmers digging a water well on March 29, 1974.

Meanwhile, in space: And it was that same day 45 years ago – March 29, 1974 – when NASA’s Mariner 10 probe took the first close-up photos of Mercury, mapping about half the planet’s surface (even discovering a thin atmosphere and weak magnetic field) during three orbits.

And Tyler, too: Tenth U.S. President John Tyler (1790-1862), the first vice president to succeed to the presidency without election, would be 229 years old today.

Other March 29 birthday boys and girls include influential British novelist Amelia Barr (1831-1919), all-time hurler Cy Young (1867-1955), United Parcel Service founder James Casey (1888-1983), Walmart and Sam’s Club founder Sam Walton (1918-1992) and climate-change champion James Hansen (born 1941), former director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Dishing and swishing: And take a bow, Walt “Clyde” Frazier – the styling and profiling (and poetic) New York Knicks great turns 74 today.

Wish the shaking and baking point guard a happy birthday at – we’ll be spinning and winning with a few story tips and calendar items, please and thank you.


About our sponsor: Hofstra University is an engine for research and innovation, combining a Center for Entrepreneurship, a Center for Innovation, the expertise of its faculty, the energy of its students and the state-of-the-art resources of its schools of engineering and applied science, business, law and medicine to drive and transform the region’s economy. Visit us.



What to gobble when you’re gravid: A New York City app-developer with a hunger for food knowledge has released a white paper diving deep into the nutrition of pregnant women.

Eating for two is a unique challenge, notes Edamam LLC, which creates food- and nutrition-focused search apps and produced “What to Eat When You’re Expecting” with New York University’s College of Global Public Health. The paper summarizes key scientific findings and common practices to create a detailed breakdown of what, when and how pregnant women should eat (spoiler alert: iron, vitamin B6 and vitamin K play big).

Noting that “food is the ultimate medicine,” Edamam founder and CEO Victor Penev said the nutrition recommendations for pregnant moms perfectly complement his 2011 tech startup’s food-knowledge mantra. “Eating healthy starts from the moment of conception,” the CEO said. “By helping expectant mothers eat better, we can move the needle on having healthier children being born, who will be healthier adults with less chronic diseases or health problems.”

Pollution solution: A new STEM competition (for science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is challenging Long Island middle schoolers to clean up nitrogen pollution around their schools.

Excess nitrogen from aging residential septic systems, fertilizers, stormwater runoff and other sources has led to deteriorated surface and groundwater quality across the Island. Enter the Long Island Water Quality Challenge, a Long Island Regional Planning Council effort that focuses young minds on the pollution problem in two specific categories: “Low Input Landscaping” and “Stormwater Treatment” on their school grounds.

Any Nassau or Suffolk state-accredited school serving students in grades six through eight can enter up to two teams. “Our goal is to connect students, teachers and their communities with key issues that are actively being addressed by [the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan],” said LIRPC Chairman John Cameron. “The council recognizes the need for greater interaction between professionals engaged in STEM pursuits and our schools to generate interest and excitement about project learning and STEM careers.”



Event horizon: Tears, cheers, laughs from “Shecky” Shamash and a heaping helping of creativity marked our 2019 Innovator of the Year Awards.

Special delivery: Adelphi University’s College of Nursing and Public Health has cut the cord on an advanced birthing simulator.

Claps for caps: With his temporary 2 percent cap on annual property-tax increases facing extinction, Gov. Cuomo and friends rallied this week in New Hyde Park.



Center point: Major industries like biotech and cybersecurity are commonly ramped up by “centers of excellence” – but niche industries could use some support and attention, too, notes business-incubation expert Phil Rugile.



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

From New Jersey: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s Hamilton-based healthcare facility welcomes Tru-D, a robot packing a lethal ultraviolet disinfector.

From Florida: Margate-based Crypnotic launches a first-of-its-kind cryptocurrency social media platform, monitoring real-time price changes and other news.

From Pennsylvania: The Erie-based Center for Focused Care presents an innovative drug-free depression treatment sending magnetic pulses into the brain.



+ Elaine Smith has been promoted to dean of nursing and public health at Garden City-based Adelphi University. She previously served as interim dean.

+ Justin Stroker has been hired as director for patient and customer experience at Port Jefferson-based Mather Hospital. He previously served as a clinical nurse in pulmonary and neurosurgical step-down units at New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn.

+ Richard Zuniga has been hired as a hematologist-oncologist at New York Cancer & Blood Specialists in Babylon and Patchogue. He held the same position at Lowell General Hospital in Massachusetts.

+ Tessa Hultz has been hired as chief executive of the Long Island Board of Realtors. She previously led the Triangle Multiple Listing Service and Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors in North Carolina.

+ Debbie McLaughlin has been hired as a program sales executive at Woodbury-based SterlingRisk Insurance. She was previously a senior digital marketing representative covering the Long Island territory for



The old ball game: Via National Review, George Will tests your knowledge of baseball history.

The new ball game: From USA Today, how new rules – and new strategies – are innovating baseball.

The young ball game: From the AP, Major League Baseball truly enters a new era, with the last players from the 1900s finally retiring.

Here’s the pitch: Please continue supporting the amazing institutions that support Innovate LI, including Hofstra University, where the Frank G. Zarb School of Business is a big hitter in the regional innovation lineup.