No. 411: In which Voder speaks, the Apple II arrives, iTunes departs – and the Avengers assemble!

We are the world: Started by the UN in 1974, World Environment Day has become a global platform for public outreach and positive environmental action, celebrated each June 5 in more than 100 countries.


Half full: Welcome to Wednesday, dear readers, as we reach the midpoint of another exciting week of socioeconomic innovation.

Before we dive in, a warm welcome to new newsletter subscribers Michael, Kathleen, Josh, Frank, Tim, Wayne, Elizabeth, Warren, Eddie, Cliff, Noel, Micaela, Paige and Gary. Let us be the first to wish you a healthy and safe World Day Against Speciesism.

Ecologically logical: That must mean it’s June 5 out there, and most of the planet is embracing the UN’s 45th annual World Environment Day.

For those who eschew such common sense, National Geographic keeps a running count of President Trump’s environmental follies. His latest masterstrokes: rolling back offshore-drilling safety rules and appointing a longtime oil-industry lobbyist as secretary of the interior.

Stowe time: Anti-slavery narrative “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by abolitionist author Harriet Beecher Stowe was first published (in serialized form) by The National Era starting on June 5, 1851.

Technobabble: The first machine to produce intelligible sounds mimicking human speech – nicknamed “Pedro the Voder” – was demonstrated by Bell Telephone scientists at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute on June 5, 1938.

Pedro could also imitate various farm animals.

It’s a go: After receiving favorable weather reports on this date in 1944, U.S. Army Gen. (and future 34th U.S. President) Dwight Eisenhower greenlighted the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France.

For the record, the “D” in “D-Day” didn’t really stand for anything.

Apple of their eye: Inventors Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs introduced what was arguably the world’s first personal computer, the Apple II, on June 5, 1977.

Cork flew: And it was this date in 1988 when Woodbury Vineyards in upstate Fredonia claimed one of the world’s great records – the longest recorded flight of a popped champagne cork, traveling a remarkable 177 feet, 9 inches, or about half the length of a football field.

Numero uno: Elena Cornaro Piscopia (1646-1684), an Italian mathematician recorded as history’s first woman to receive an academic degree from a university, would be 373 years old today.

Also born on June 5 were English astronomer John Couch Adams (1819-1892), one of two sky-watchers to independently discover Neptune; Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa (born José Doroteo Arango Arámbula, 1878-1923); groundbreaking American cultural anthropologist Ruth Benedict (1887-1948); Hungarian physicist Dennis Gabor (1900-1979), who invented three-dimensional holography; and pioneering British archaeologist Beatrice de Cardi (1914-2016), who at the time of her death was the world’s oldest practicing archaeologist.

The Force is with her: And take a bow, Kathleen Kennedy – the American film producer currently occupying the throne of Disney’s “Star Wars” empire turns 66 today.

Wish these amazing innovators and all the other June 5 birthday boys and girls well at We’ll take the presents – story tips, calendar items, all shapes and sizes, please and thank you.


About our sponsor: Science and technology are driving the economy, and Adelphi University now offers three exceptionally innovative new programs preparing the next generation of business and industry leaders. A unique Accelerated Business of Science program provides a high-speed path for earning a BS and MBA in just five years. The Scientific Computing minor, developed in partnership with Brookhaven National Laboratory, gives undergraduate students the advanced skills needed to analyze data in large-scale experiments. And the Willumstad Winning Edge, a new program for undergraduates at the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business, prepares students to be tech-ready and career-ready for today’s quickly changing business world.



By any other name, tastes as sweet: Say hello to the East End Food Institute – as of this month, the new moniker of the Amagansett Food Institute.

The nonprofit organization, launched in 2010 to promote regional food producers, is effecting the name change “to reflect the true geographic reach of its programs and its positive impact on the local food system,” and has scheduled a June 26 open house at South Fork Kitchens in Southampton to celebrate the switch.

Nothing else changes: South Fork Kitchens, which the AFI opened in 2014 on Stony Brook University’s Southampton campus to spotlight locally sourced foods, is still cooking, as are other institute programs, including the coming-soon Hamptons Box collaboration with locaLI Bred. “Our members work together to create a more economically viable, environmentally sustainable, efficient and equitable local food system,” noted EEFI Board Chairman Michael Braverman. “That’s something to be proud of, and I hope more people will join us in support.”

In Epstein they trustee: The Northwell Health Board of Trustees has tapped Sands Point attorney and 14-year board veteran Michael Epstein as its new chairman.

Epstein, a senior partner at Manhattan law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, also serves as a trustee of the Jonas Salk Foundation and a member of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services. He succeeds Mark Claster, who chaired the Northwell Health Board of Trustees for five years.

The new chairman, who has also served since 2002 on the board of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, is a well-known IP expert and “a good friend and strong supporter of the health system,” according to Northwell Health President and CEO Michael Dowling. “He is a community-minded, mission-driven individual who has been very active with numerous other philanthropic endeavors.”



Innovators assemble! With plenty of impressionable young minds on hand, the Cradle of Aviation Museum’s spaced-out comic convention Cradle-Con reinforced real-life science.

Northwell de-livers: Sixteen months after granting preliminary approvals, Albany has officially signed off on North Shore University Hospital’s new liver-transplant program.

Ask not what your planet can do for you: The CEO of a major interstate environmental-services provider challenges high school graduates to think globally.



STEAM engine: People-power pioneer Rosalie Drago illustrates how today’s science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics classes are creating tomorrow’s workforce.



Tune out: From Forbes, why Apple killed iTunes – and what it means for the future of digital music.

Breaker, breaker: From Popular Mechanics, how the world’s first digital circuit breaker could radically alter power management and distribution.

Stars and bars: From Fast Company, why NASA had second thoughts about sending convicts into space.



+ Moleaer, a California-based manufacturer of industrial-scale “nanobubble generators,” raised $5 million in funding led by ADM Capital’s Cibus Fund, with participation from Energy Innovation Capital.

+ KelSie Biotech, a Colorado-based creator of bioavailability delivery methods for active pharmaceutical ingredients, closed a $5 million Series A funding round led by Salveo Capital, with participation from Arcadian Capital and other investors.

+ LifeSprout, a Maryland-based aesthetics and regenerative medicine company spun out of Johns Hopkins University, closed a $6.5 million seed financing round backed by Kairos Venture Partners, Triskelion Investments, Maryland Technology Development Corp., Ginkgo Gofar, AngelMD and Medytox.

+ ID R&D, a New York City-based biometrics technology provider, raised $5.7 million in Series A funding led by new investor GSR Ventures, with participation from existing investor Gagarin Capital.

+ Pillo Health, a Massachusetts-based, voice-enabled medication and care-management platform, secured $11 million in Series A funding led by Stanley Black & Decker’s corporate venture capital arm, Samsung Ventures, BioAdvance, Hikma Ventures, Hackensack Meridien Health System’s Innovation Center Fund and Civilization Ventures.

+ OpenSesame, an Oregon-based e-learning company providing a comprehensive online catalog of curated employee-training courses, raised $28 million in growth equity funding led by FTV Capital, with participation from existing investor Altos Ventures.



Caps: First Round Review offers career wisdom for new grads (and everyone else).

Gowns: Market Trends stitches together a unique analysis of international eveningwear.

Gifts: Why billionaire Robert F. Smith paid off the student loans of Morehouse College’s entire 2019 graduating class.

Degrees of separation: Please continue supporting the great institutions that support Innovate LI, including Adelphi University, where more than 115,000 graduates (and counting) have earned the skills to thrive personally and professionally.