No. 395: On Watson, women in energy and Ming the nonagenarian (and beating Alzheimer’s at its own game)

Ming leader: Carl Adolf "Max" von Sydow, whose award-winning international acting career has spanned seven decades and several prouder moments than this, turns 90 today.


Picking up speed: Welcome to Wednesday, dear readers, as another busy workweek blurs on by.

It’s already April 10 out there, and while it’s not yet an official federal holiday – the Sibling Leadership Network (real thing) is working on that – today is still National Siblings Day.

A moment’s paws: It’s also American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Day, commemorating the April 10, 1866, founding of the ASPCA.

Attention inventors: And it’s a big night for the Long Island Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club, which hosts a presentation tonight at Farmingdale State College on licensing and IP royalties. More here.

The one that started it all: Speaking of inventors, President George Washington signed a bill that laid the foundations of the modern American patent system on this date in 1790

Putting that law to good use were New York innovator Walter Hunt, who patented the safety pin on April 10, 1849, and UK-based manufacturer CACI Microlift, which earned a U.S. patent one year ago today for its “Electrostimulation Skin Massage Devices.”

Tree’s company: The first American Arbor Day was celebrated on April 10, 1872, with the planting of 1 million trees in Nebraska.

For the record, tree-planting festivals – now celebrated globally in various forms on various dates – are said to have originated in 1594 in the Spanish village of Mondoñedo.

Fore! The Professional Golfers’ Association of America first teed up on April 10, 1916.

Don’t be jealous: A strong contender for The Great American Novel, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” was published by Scribner’s on this date in 1925.

They know who you are: And the world’s first national DNA database was launched on April 10, 1995, tracking double helixes throughout England and Wales.

But he did have friends: Matthew Perry – not the sitcom star, the U.S. Navy commodore who opened Japan to Western trade – would be 225 years old today.

Also born on April 10 were mechanical calculator pioneer Frank Baldwin (1838-1925); Salvation Army cofounder William Booth (1829-1912); trailblazing journalist (and one-time New York congressman) Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911); Frances Perkins (1880-1965), the first American woman to hold a cabinet-level position (secretary of labor under FDR); and labor leader/civil rights activist Dolores Huerta (born 1930), who co-founded the National Farmworkers Association (now United Farm Workers).

Hail Ming! And take a bow, Max Von Sydow – the versatile Swedish actor (and sci-vet, gracing everything from “Flash Gordon” to “Dune” to the “Star Wars” saga) turns 90 today.

On that note, enjoy some cheese. And please remember to wish the merciless emperor and the rest a happy birthday at (The story tips? They’re for every one of us. They’ll save every one of us.)


A few words from our sponsor: EisnerAmper is a leading international accounting, tax and advisory firm serving more than 500 technology and life science clients. Our dedicated team of more than 125 professionals support startup companies, emerging growth, IPO-track and publicly traded clients.



Naked truth: Digital advertising agency EGC Group, which maintains offices in Melville and Manhattan, is once again mugging it up with Port-Washington based beauty-products manufacturer KISS Products.

The latest coupling between the creative boutique and the professional-grade manufacturer/distributor (they’ve hooked up before) is overflowing with drama, literally: EGC Group has spearheaded the debut of Kiss Products’ “Naked Drama” eyelash collection with a social media campaign (told on Facebook, YouTube and elsewhere) filled with lost love, redemption and, of course, lush lashes.

Directed by noted fashion photographer Marilou Daubé at Long Island City’s Metropolitan Building, the new campaign marks the third year of flying sparks between EGC Group and its Port Washington client, “and the creative energy and exciting risks show no indication of slowing down,” according to EGC Art Director Nicole Robinson.

Ready player one: Participants from Long Island, and just about everywhere else, will log on this weekend for Megathon, a one-hour gaming session aiming to hyper-accelerate Alzheimer’s research.

Thousands of domestic and international users, from home and in public meetups, are expected to join forces to analyze 67,000 blood vessels – the equivalent of an entire year of laboratory work, according to organizers – by playing a game called Stall Catchers, created by The Human Computation Institute, an international center promoting collective solutions to societal problems.

The results will assist Cornell University researchers studying cardiovascular risk factors in Alzheimer’s disease. And registered players won’t have to wait long to enjoy the fruits of their gaming – according to the HMI, “the answer to a key research question related to preventing Alzheimer’s disease will be reported on the livestream at the end of the event.”



Artificial addition: Watson, IBM’s all-world AI, will soon bring new efficiencies and ever-smarter services to global accounting giant EisnerAmper’s busy Long Island office.

Que sera CERAWeek: ThermoLift, shining star of Stony Brook University’s innovation-commercialization ecosystem, scored an elite invite at a top global energy conference.

Degrees of unification: A new SUNY collaboration will allow select Old Westbury students to earn healthcare degrees from Brooklyn’s Downstate Medical Center.



Workforce-development insider Rosalie Drago played a part at Suffolk County’s recent C3E Women in Energy event, which championed gender diversity in traditionally male-dominated fields.



Big win for Chembio: Newsday reports on key Brazilian approvals earned by the Medford blood test manufacturer.

Heavy levy: With Tax Day looming, Forbes dives deep into the unique and delicate relationship between taxation and innovation.

Youth movement: Medical marvels for younger patients took center stage as Stanford Children’s Health hosted its second Pediatric Innovation Showcase.



+ Apana, a Washington State-based creator of an intelligent water-management platform used by Fortune 500 companies, public institutions and cities, closed an $11 million Series B funding round led by current investor Kurita Water Industries Ltd., with participation from Cowles Company, E8 Fund and Urban Innovation Fund.

+ Make School, a California-based college offering degree programs developed in partnership with leading tech companies, raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Venrock.

+ TrashButler, a Florida-based doorstep valet trash and recycling service for apartments and multifamily communities, raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Florida Funders.

+ Fast Radius, an Illinois-based manufacturing-technology company, raised $48 million in Series B funding led by UPS, with participation from Drive Capital, Jump Capital, Skydeck and Hyde Park Venture Partners.

+ Dyne Therapeutics, a Massachusetts-based biotechnology company pioneering targeted therapies for patients with serious muscle diseases, raised $50 million in Series A funding. Atlas Venture, which founded, seeded and incubated the company, was joined by Forbion and MPM Capital in the Series A round.

+ Hungry, a Virginia-based online marketplace that connects independent chefs with the business- and events-catering markets, raised $8 million in Series A financing co-led by Sands Capital Ventures and Motley Fool Ventures, with participation from Marcy Venture Partners, Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Usher, chef/restaurateur Ming Tsai and Honest Tea founder Seth Goldman, among others.



Town: The entire municipality of Story, Ind., is for sale (asking price: $3.8 million).

Country: With China closing the innovation gap, America needs a national new-tech strategy, according to a watchdog report.

World: From Fast Company, 17 innovative ideas that could save the planet.

Syosset: Please continue to support the great firms that support Innovate LI, including global accounting leader EisnerAmper, which is always innovating its Long Island operation (see above).