No. 405: On Farmingdale State’s new feeder, Stony Brook’s super switch and Adelphi’s major minor upgrade

Merry prankster: The clownish force behind the Hog Farm hippie commune, Camp Winnarainbow and even a Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor, High Nanton Romney -- a one-time Woodstock festival MC and longtime social activist known best as Wavy Gravy -- turns 83 today.


Cold open: Beware the Ides of March, dear reader – oh, wait, it’s the Ides of May. It only feels like March.

But it’s actually May 15 out there, midpoint of the month, two-thirds of the way through spring and halfway home in this latest (chilly) week of socioeconomic innovation. For the record, as of Tuesday afternoon, the Weather Channel was forecasting that high temperatures on Long Island wouldn’t exceed 70 degrees until the first week of June. Brrrrr.

Peace sign: This will heat things up – it’s International Conscientious Objection Day, held every May 15 to remember those around the globe who fought for the right not to fight.

When you’re finished arguing this point, it’s also the UN’s International Day of Families and National Chocolate Chip Day, both of which should calm things down.

Relatively rapid: A prototype machine gun – capable of firing 63 shots in seven minutes, three times faster than the fastest infantryman – was patented on May 15, 1718, by English lawyer James Puckle.

Seeking asylum: The first private mental-health hospital in the United States – the Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason – opened in Philadelphia on this date in 1817.

Newly minted: “Listerine” was registered as a trademark on May 15, 1923.

While the modern brand is a mouthwash, the original was a surgical disinfectant named in honor of sterile-surgery pioneer Joseph Lister.

Farm fresh: Happy anniversary to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, founded on this date in 1862 by Abraham Lincoln.

The mouse that roared: And happy birthday, Mickey Mouse! Now synonymous with the mighty Walt Disney Co., the cartoon mouse debuted on May 15, 1928, in a short cartoon called “Plane Crazy.”

Line leader: Speaking of birthdays, Maria Reiche (1903-1998) – a German-born Peruvian mathematician and archaeologist and the self-appointed keeper of the Nazca Lines in Peru, where she’s remembered as the “Lady of the Lines” – would be 116 years old today.

Other May 15 birthday boys and girls include Willamina Fleming (1857-1911), the groundbreaking Scottish-American astronomer who discovered white-dwarf stars; “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” author L. Frank Baum (1856-1919); Pierre Curie (1859-1906), the pioneering radiation researcher who shared a 1903 Nobel Prize with his better-known wife; American computer engineer Frank Heart (1929-2018), co-designer of the routing computer behind Internet predecessor ARPANET; and first female U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright (born 1937).

The king of counterculture: And take a bow, Hugh Nanton Romney – the American entertainer and peace activist known best as Wavy Gravy turns 83 today.

Give Monsieur Curie and the rest your best at – and send along a story tip or calendar suggestion, s’il vous plaît et merci.


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Minor improvement: Citing a “national problem in scientific computing literacy,” Adelphi University has partnered with Brookhaven National Laboratory to create a new scientific computing minor curriculum.

The new minor – a first for any New York State college or university, according to Adelphi – was created with guidance from BNL, based on a scientific computing course the Department of Energy’s Upton facility launched in 2015 for high school students. Beginning in the Fall 2019 semester, the Adelphi course load will focus on solving “real-world science problems” with computers.

The idea is to better prepare Adelphi’s STEM students (for science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to join an increasingly computing-savvy workforce – an “urgent need in the scientific community,” according to Christopher Storm, the university’s associate provost for faculty advancement and research. “By partnering with Brookhaven in faculty and curriculum development, we have developed a scientific computing minor that will prepare our undergraduates … to succeed in the scientific community,” Storm added.

Tastes great, more fulfilling: A leader of the Amagansett Food Institute has been accepted into a Cornell University program designed to harmonize agriculture, natural resources and the communities they nourish.

Heather Meehan, the institute’s program coordinator, is officially a member of Class 18 of the LEAD NY Community and Regional Development Institute, Cornell’s collection of seminars, workshops and field studies for industry insiders eager to improve local food-chain synergies.

In addition to encouraging new agriculture-sustainability solutions, LEAD NY refines its members’ analytical and leadership skills, primarily through community engagement – all of which will help Meehan in her role at the AFI, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit membership organization uniting East End farmers, food producers and consumers.



Admission accomplished: Farmingdale State College and Nassau Community College are kicking off an “historic” joint-admissions effort.

Conductive key: A Stony Brook-based superconductivity startup may hold the missing link (literally) to a sustainable-energy future.

Cradle countdown: As Apollo 11’s golden anniversary approaches, the Cradle of Aviation Museum fires all thrusters to highlight Long Island’s pivotal role.



Martian money: Popular Mechanics reveals the New York-based champion of NASA’s Mars habitat challenge.

Smoke signal: Newsday lights a fire under a 15-year Nassau IDA tax deal helping a chimney-liner manufacturer expand in Plainview.

Dis-incentives: As economic-development tax breaks face greater scrutiny on Long Island, this cautionary tale from Wisconsin.



+ Xometry, a Maryland-based on-demand manufacturing marketplace, raised $50 million in equity funding led by Greenspring Associates, with participation from Dell Technologies Capital, BMW i Ventures, Foundry Group, GE Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Maryland Venture Fund and Almaz Capital.

+ Soundstripe, a Tennessee-based production company providing royalty-free music for video, closed a $4 million Series A financing round led by Vocap Investment Partners.

+ NanoPhotonica, a Florida-based developer of quantum dot and nanomaterial technology, secured $3.5 million in funding led by Samsung Ventures, with participation from DeepWork Capital.

+ Understory, a Wisconsin-based weather network and analytics company, closed a $5.25 million Series B funding round led by True Ventures, with participation from 4490 Ventures and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.

+ Neural Analytics, a California-based medical robotics company focused on brain health, raised approximately $22 million in Series C funding led by Alpha Edison.

+ Podimetrics, a Massachusetts-based care-management company focused on preventing diabetic foot ulcers, closed a $13.4 million Series B funding round. Backers included Rock Health, Norwich Ventures and Scientific Health Development.


Classic Kawasaki: “Miso soup for the soul” from tech guru Guy Kawasaki, via Forbes.

Panic protector: A modern mantra to help keep your cool, by way of Quartzy.

Tragic tech: The destructive, eternal, sad true story of AirPods, from Vice.

Intrinsic insight: Please continue supporting the amazing firms that support Innovate LI, including Nixon Peabody, where the expertise comes naturally across a range of critical practice areas.