No. 419: Kittens, coladas, Tesla and DNA-infused inks – plus, dialing back the Nassau IDA

Where credit is due: Born July 10, 1856, engineer, inventor and disruptive genius Nikola Tesla brought the age of electric power into being -- and uncovered the principles of wireless technology, making him the true father of radio, television and cellular communications.


Welcome back: Here we are, dear readers, back on the beat as Summer 2019 heats up and we hustle through another busy week of socioeconomic innovation on Long Island and around the world.

All righty, then.

It’s July 10 out there – both National Kitten Day and National Piña Colada Day, an undeniably sweet combination.

Ssshhh: To our readers who are also devout followers of 20th century Indian avatar Meher Baba – who famously kept his mouth shut for 44 years, yet grew to become a renowned spiritual leader with a global flock – a peaceful (and blessedly quiet) Silence Day.

Naked truth: It was this date in 1040 (give or take a year) when Anglo-Saxon noblewoman Lady Godiva disrobed for, arguably, history’s sexiest tax protest.

Equal time: Happy anniversary, Wyoming – the 44th U.S. state was admitted to the Union on July 10, 1890.

Print lives! Inventor Richard Hoe earned a patent for the “Rotary Printing Press,” basis for modern-day offset printing, on this date in 1847.

Other patents issued on July 10 include one in 1962 for Swedish engineer Nils Bohlen and his “Safety Belt,” recorded as the first three-point seatbelt.

Transmission commencing: AT&T’s Telstar 1, the world’s first active geosynchronous communications satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral on this date in 1962.

Max Robinson: Barrier-buster.

Top story: And marking two significant firsts, the ABC Network’s “World News Tonight” debuted on this date in 1978, featuring co-anchor Max Robinson, founder of the National Association of Black Journalists and the first African American anchor on a U.S. network newscast.

The other guy: Thomas Edison hogs the glory, but his great rival, Serbian-born inventor Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), designed and built the first alternating-current induction motor, among other amazing breakthroughs. Tesla – namesake of a burgeoning science center/museum in Shoreham, where he did some of his most profound work – would be 163 years old today.

Also born on July 10 were Protestant religious reformer John Calvin (1509-1564); prolific, gender barrier-busting Restoration Era English playwright Aphra Behn (1640-1689); pioneering telescope maker/astronomer Alvan Graham Clark (1832-1897); German-born American brewer Adolphus Busch (1839-1913); and kitty litter inventor Edward Lowe (1920-1995).

Love her forever: And take a bow, Jessica Simpson – the former pop star/actress-turned-fashion designer turns 39 today.

Wish these and all the other July 10 innovators a happy birthday at … story tips and calendar items also greatly appreciated, please and thank you.


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Coghlan, Curran: Air time.

On the air: The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency is borrowing a page from yesteryear, hoping county residents will tune in and turn on to a new radio program focused on the regional economy.

In a communications era defined by the Internet, on-demand satellite radio and 24-hour cable news, an FM radio program sounds quaint – and a monthly, prerecorded half-hour show airing at 7 a.m. Sundays seems unlikely to gain much traction. But the IDA, which launched “Nassau Means Business” this past Sunday on WKJY-FM (98.3 on your dial, which is a kind of knob), also plans to make recorded segments available on its Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and is counting on the retro effort to help promote critical economic issues.

The first episode featured IDA Chief Executive Harry Coghlan interviewing Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, with future recorded segments – set to premier on WKJY on the first Sunday of each month – featuring other elected officials, businesspeople and regional economic stakeholders. “I am always open to new and innovative ways to fuel economic development and generate business growth,” Curran said this week.

Economics, major: It’s no shock that Stony Brook University – Long Island’s largest single-site employer, with nearly 15,000 workers on the payroll – has a large economic impact. How large … well, that may surprise you.

The university’s annual economic impact on Long Island totals an impressive $7.23 billion – some 3 percent of all Island economic activity, according to an economic-impact report prepared by SBU economics and population Professor John Rizzo, based on the Regional Input-Output Modeling System, a methodology developed by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Rizzo’s report is chock full of impressive numbers, crediting SBU with supporting more than $2.39 billion in regional earnings and some 54,000 regional jobs, as well as 99,000-plus jobs (and aggregate earnings exceeding $15 billion) around the globe, among other lofty totals. University President Samuel Stanley Jr., who steps down this month to take the reins of Michigan State University, said the analysis “confirms that our dedicated efforts have made a positive economic impact, not only in our own backyard but also in the world.”



Sign here: Forensic security specialist Applied DNA Sciences will add its proprietary biomarkers to penmaker Montblanc’s “luxury writing instruments.”

In storage: Albany is incentivizing Long Island residents and businessowners who install cutting-edge energy-storage tech, key to reducing carbon footprints.

In space, no one can hear you study: But on Earth they can, so an SBU scientist is venturing (virtually) to the final frontier to research safer space travel.



From government and education to workforce development and corporate law (and every critical economic-development issue in between), nobody understands Long Island’s innovation economy like the Innovate LI Voices team. Learn from the best.



Hot stuff: United States Stove Company is expanding its product line.

Where the grills are: Forbes warms up to a 150-year-old American stove-maker that’s looking to reinvent fire (in the backyard, at least).

Next stop: Newsday jumps on board as a new Long Island Rail Road station is added to the ambitious Belmont Park makeover.

Hard look: The Harvard Gazette examines the evolution of “soft robots.”



+ Bond Vet, a New York City-based animal-health company opening tech-enabled veterinary clinics across the country, raised $6 million in seed funding. Talisman Capital Partners made the investment.

+ IGM Biosciences, a California-based biotechnology company focusing on engineered IgM antibodies, closed a $102 million Series C financing round. Redmile Group, Janus Henderson Investors, Vivo Capital and Haldor Topsøe Holding A/S participated in the round.

+ Sweet Reason Beverage Co., an NYC-based CBD-infused beverage company, raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Lerer Hippeau, with participation from RiverPark Ventures, Max Ventures, Subversive Capital and angel investors.

+ Commonwealth Fusion Systems, a Massachusetts-based fusion-energy startup, raised $115 million in Series A funding. Backers included Future Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Lowercase Capital, Moore Strategic Ventures, Safar Partners, Schooner Capital and Starlight Ventures, among others.

+ Belong.Life, an NYC-based social network and navigator app for cancer patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals, raised $14 million in Series B funding led by IQVIA, with participation from The Group Ventures and existing investors.

+ Cobalt Robotics, a California-based security provider that builds autonomous robots, raised $35 million in Series B financing led by Coatue.



Ross Perot: Good points.

Notable: Earning nearly 20 percent of the 1992 presidential vote was only part of the late H. Ross Perot’s remarkable legacy.

Noteworthy: How AI is retuning the music industry.

Noted: Why Post-its are the weapon of choice for Hong Kong protestors.

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