No. 421: The Breakfast Club goes live, Adelphi grads go Upstate, and why HHS needs Northwell’s nurses

Getting her hands dirty: Mary Douglas Leakey is credited with discoveries that have changed the way scientists think about human evolution -- including the fossilized skull of "East Africa man,” on this date in 1959.


Getting warmer: Welcome to Wednesday, dear readers, and the midpoint of another steamy week of summertime socioeconomic innovation.

Before we dive in, a warm welcome to a baker’s dozen of new newsletter subscribers: Laurent, Patrick, Francis, Andrea, Susan, Mike, Allen, Sandeep, Ellen, Edmund, Vik, Kevin and George. Please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times.

That was quick: Pope Damasus II.

Papal reign: It’s July 17 out there, and if you had German Roman Catholic priest Poppo de’ Curagnoni becoming Pope Damasus II on this date in 1048, bene factum! A hundred bronze follis for you … 200 if you knew Poppo’s papacy lasted only 24 days.

For those keeping score, the sovereignty of poor Poppo – overcome by the intense Roman heat during his coronation, the story says – was the seventh-shortest on record.

About face: In happier news – or sadder, or surprised, or a unicorn or some kind of sandwich or a pile of poop, or whatever your mood happens to be in the moment – today is World Emoji Day.

Dark debut: Adjusted for current calendars, it was July 17, 709 B.C., when Chinese scholars entered humanity’s first written record of a total solar eclipse.

Cutting their teeth: America’s first university-based dental school, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, opened on this date in 1867.

Underground railroad: African American innovator Granville Woods earned a U.S. patent on July 17, 1888, for his “Tunnel-Construction for Electric Railways” – tunneling not for the train itself, but for electric conductors beneath the railbed.

Speaking of subsurface efforts, it was this date in 1866 when the Chicago City Council authorized construction of what would become the Washington Street Traffic Tunnel – the first automotive tunnel under a U.S. river.

Boiling point: The SL-1 boiling water reactor outside Arco, circa 1960.

Boiled potatoes: For one hour on July 17, 1955, the 1,000-resident town of Arco, Idaho, located about 20 miles from the Atomic Energy Commission’s Boiling Water Reactor Experiment, became the first community in the world to have its electrical needs entirely met by nuclear power.

In her bones: And it was this date in 1959, in Tanzania, when British paleoanthropologist Mary Douglas Leakey discovered the fossilized skull of Zinjanthropus boisei – “East Africa man,” a heretofore missing link between humans and ancient hominids.

On the map: In other paleo-rific news, Amanz Gressly (1814-1865) – the pioneering Swiss geologist regarded as the founder of paleogeography – would be 205 years old today.

Also born on July 17 were German-American businessman John Jacob Astor (1763-1848), America’s first multimillionaire; whodunnit scribe Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970), who invented “Perry Mason”; American physicist and laser pioneer Gordon Gould (1920-2005); German Chancellor Angela Merkel (born 1954); and all-time New York Islanders great Bryan Trottier (born 1956).

Hasselhoff: Still watching.

The Hoff: And take a bow, David Hasselhoff – the Maryland-born, inexplicably popular international icon turns 67 today.

Hey, we’re Baywatching you. And we’re not judging, but we know America’s got talent. So be a good night writer and send a hassel-free story tip or calendar item to Thanks.


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Melvin Harris Jr.: The road ahead.

The Harris way: A portion of the State Highway System has been rechristened in honor of a late Long Island civil rights leader.

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday signed legislation designating a portion of State Route 102 in the Hamlet of Uniondale as Melvin Harris Jr. Way. Harris, a former commissioner of the Nassau County Commission on Human Rights and one-time president of the Hempstead Chapter of the NAACP, “advocated passionately for positive change,” according to the governor’s office, including legal battles for inclusion, opportunity and upward mobility “for the underserved and the disenfranchised.”

“Melvin Harris Jr. spent decades fighting to advance New York’s values of diversity, equality and inclusion,” Cuomo said in Tuesday’s announcement. “This portion of State Route 102 will honor his memory and recognize his extraordinary work on behalf of the people of Uniondale and the entire Empire State.”

Funny business: The Long Island Breakfast Club – a self-described “socialpreneur” organization that provides coaching, training, networking and more for mid-career professionals – is swimming into multimedia waters.

The LIBC will climb behind the mic for its own show on, a live-streaming entertainment channel associated with the Governors Comedy Club in Levittown. The “Long Island Breakfast Club Show” will feature “Tina Valentina” – on-air alter-ego of LIBC cofounder Valentina Janek – in live segments on Monday and Thursday mornings (beginning July 18 at 9:30 a.m.), with episodes simulcast on the GovsRadio website and Facebook, Google and YouTube streaming sites.

The idea is to deliver enlightening information from the diverse world of the LIBC with a humorous touch, according to Breakfast Club co-founder Chris Fidis. “With a comedic flair, we will be talking about things you may not know that will enhance your business, your life and your overall success,” Fidis said this week, promising a “very interesting editorial calendar … ranging from soup to nuts.”



You have to admit: Guaranteed acceptance is just one of the perks as Adelphi University and Upstate Medical University announce new joint-admissions effort.

Nurses needed: The Hofstra-Northwell nursing school will use a $2.75 million Health and Human Services grant to train nurses for duty in “underserved communities.”

Love this newsletter? So do we. Help us help you by sharing this one with like-minded innovators – and encouraging them to subscribe for free, so you can stop pestering.



Been there: The newest member of our Voices team, corporate-law ace Eugene Barnosky, explains why professional guidance on business formation, real estate transactions, IP and more is the best way to avoid common entrepreneurial traps.



Alan Turing: Master codebreaker, father of AI, posthumous LGBTQ icon.

Turing model: The AP recalls a computing pioneer who was criminally prosecuted for being gay, killed by a poison apple and chosen as the new face of Britain’s 50-pound note.

Reverse logic: Why dismantling your innovation team may be the only way to save it, as told by Forbes.

Empire strikes out: New York is one of the 10 worst states for business startups, as calculated by WalletHub.



+ Cell Vault, a Florida-based T-cell banking service allowing the preservation of the strongest blood cells, raised $1 million in initial funding. Backers included Silicon Valley investors.

+ POPS! Diabetes Care, a Minnesota-based diabetes care-management company, closed a $6 million Series A funding round led by 30Ventures, with participation from Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund and Flying Point Industries.

+ DefenseStorm, a Georgia-based provider of a cloud cybersecurity and cyber-compliance management platforms for community banks and credit unions, raised $15 million in a Series A financing led by Georgian Partners.

+ Exyn Technologies, a Pennsylvania-based worldwide leader in autonomous robot systems, raised $16 million in Series A funding led by Centricus, with participation from Yamaha Motors Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Corecam Family Office, Red and Blue Ventures and IP Group.

+ Powerhive, a California-based energy solutions and technology provider for emerging markets, closed a $9.3 million Series B funding round backed by Toyota Tsusho Corp., Kouros and, as well as existing investors Tao Capital, James Sandler, Prelude Ventures, Caterpillar Ventures and Total Energy Ventures.

+ Blue Water Vaccines, an Ohio-based company developing a universal flu vaccine, raised $7 million in seed funding led by CincyTech, with participation from CincyTech-affiliated private investors.



Feeling lucky: Has Google monopolized the Internet search?

Monopoly: Bloomberg Businessweek opines on the best way to break Google’s Internet-search stranglehold.

Twister: As the tangled-up classic turns 50 this week, remembers when it was considered too risqué for America.

Trivial Pursuit: Behold, the world’s first hotel where the guest’s knowledge of trivia is accepted as payment.

Not playing games: With dozens of practice areas leaving nothing to chance, they’re pretty serious over at Ruskin Moscou Faltschek, one of the amazing firms that support Innovate LI. Check them out.