No. 439: On iron thrones, pepperoni pizzas, pool parties – and best efforts, wasted

Stella splendente: Beloved the world over, award-winning actress, singer and businesswoman Sophia Loren -- the first person to win an Oscar for a foreign-language performance - turns 85 today.


No kidding: You’ve done it again, dear reader – another five-day gauntlet run, another well-earned weekend reached. Well played.

One day in Bangkok: The world’s your oyster, kids.

It’s Friday, Sept. 20, a good one for the young and the young at heart, marking both National Youth Day in Thailand and Germany’s Universal Children’s Day.

Let’s not go there: It’s also Independence Day in South Ossetia, but that’s a whole big thing.

Thought for food: And since we dropped the bun and failed to mention National Cheeseburger Day on Wednesday, a spicy salute to National Pepperoni Pizza Day, baked up this and every Sept. 20.

One-way ticket (to history): Ferdinand himself wouldn’t make it, of course, but the Magellan-led Spanish expedition that would become the first to circumnavigate the globe set sail on this date in 1519.

Advance praise: Happy anniversary to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which formed on this date in 1848 at Philadelphia’s Academy of Natural Science.

Home on the range: Washington kitchen creator George Simpson patented the electric range on Sept. 20, 1859.

Other patents connected to this date include one in 1862 for Theodore Timby’s revolving battleship turret and one in 1892 for Frank Schulman’s “wire glass,” which inserted wire mesh into plate glass for extra security.

FOR-shadowing: The first successful test run of a computer program written using what would become FORTRAN (FORMula TRANslator) was run on Sept. 20, 1954, by IBM programmer Harlan Herrick.

Making an entrance: It got better from here for King, and for women.

King of swing: And it was this date in 1973 when women’s tennis champion Billie Jean King wiped up the court with chauvinist hustler Bobby Riggs in the notorious “Battle of the Sexes” at the Houston Astrodome.

Whiskey sour: Oxford University scientist Sir James Dewar (1842-1923) – a Scottish chemist and physicist who invented the Dewar flask, but sadly had no other connection to Dewar’s Scotch Whiskey – would be 177 years old today.

Also born on Sept. 20 were Sir Richard Griffith (1784-1878), a civil engineer and the “father of Irish geology”; Pulitzer Prize-winning meatpacking menace Upton Sinclair (1878-1968); book editor Maxwell Perkins (1884-1947), credited with discovering Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe; Hall of Fame basketball coach Red Auerbach (1917-2006); and “A Song of Ice and Fire” scribe George R.R. Martin (born 1948).

Pride and passion: And take a bow, Sophia Loren – born Sofia Villani Scicolone, the Dame of the Grand Cross OMRI and one of the last surviving icons of Hollywood’s Golden Age turns 85 today.

Give the Italian starlet, the “Games” master and the rest your best at – and send a raven our way with some story tips and calendar items, please and thank you.


About our sponsor: Sahn Ward Coschignano is one of the region’s most highly regarded and recognized law firms. Our attorneys are thought leaders and dedicated to achieving success through excellence. With our broad experience in land use, development, litigation, real estate, corporate and environmental law, we have the vision and knowledge to serve our clients and our communities. Please visit



Tinia Pina: Fertile ground.

Nuble effort: Congratulations to our old friends at Re-Nuble Inc., a New York City-based “waste-to-value” biotech developing an on-site nutrient system that will enable farmers to manufacture their own fertilizer – and first-ever winner of the Technology Accelerator Fund Most Valuable Pitch competition.

Re-Nuble, launched in 2011 by CEO Tinia Pina and “virtual client” of Stony Brook University’s Clean Energy Business Incubator Program, snagged $50,000 in seed finding through the inaugural State University of New York-funded competition, which concluded Tuesday with a day-long conference at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany.

The sustainability-focused startup will use the funds to accelerate its commercialization process, after besting nine other early-stage, SUNY-related enterprises in the final round – all told, “a great example of … our students and faculty utilizing their talents, skills and entrepreneur spirit to develop the latest cutting-edge technology and innovation into valuable products,” according to SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson.

Waste effort: Speaking of waste-not, want-not, Covanta Hempstead – self-billed as “Long Island’s largest energy-from-waste facility” – is marking 30 years of service to the Island.

Opened in 1989, the 15-acre Westbury facility has become a vital regional sustainably outlet, managing residential waste from the Town of Hempstead and other neighboring municipalities – and it has the one-minute, 16-second anniversary video to prove it.

Among the environmental achievements of the last three decades: 28 million tons of waste processed, sparing more than 200 acres of landfill space; 15 million megawatt-hours of electricity generated, enough to power 1.5 million homes for a year; and a reduction of 18 million tons of greenhouse-gas emissions, making the Covanta energy-from-waste operation “a cornerstone of the Town of Hempstead’s integrated waste-management system,” according to Supervisor Laura Gillen.



Talent pool: Acquired by an international swim-school leader, regional stalwart Saf-T-Swim has some impressive new friends.

Linear left hook: A muscular Long Island biotech and friends are preparing a DNA-based knockout punch to end the fight against cancer.

No trade war here: A $10 million Chinese investment will help a Massachusetts startup leverage Stony Brook University-developed microRNA technologies.



Vehicle-to-grid, by bus; LI-to-Bulgaria, by plane.



Innovate LI’s inbox overrunneth with inspirational ideas from all North American corners. This week’s brightest out-of-town innovations:

School bully: The NL7T-X2, tougher than it looks.

From Oregon: Portland-based high-tech hardware manufacturer CTL adds “extra-rugged” Chromebooks to its line of worksite-tough touchscreen computers.

From Massachusetts: Boston-based micro-processing maestro BraneCell spreads around the quantum computing with an on-site qubit array material system.

From New York City: Ride-hail innovator Bid2Ride rolls out a limited pilot run of a bid-based hybrid app that guarantees the lowest price for every lift.



Vivian Viloria-Fisher

+ Former Suffolk County Legislator Vivian Viloria-Fisher has been elected chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of the Jefferson’s Ferry Life Plan Community in South Setauket.

+ Marcelle Leis has been promoted to director of veteran services for the Ronkonkoma-based Association for Mental Health and Wellness. She previously served as program director of the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Project, a program of the MHAW and Suffolk County United Veterans.

+ Katie Waterhouse has joined Melville-based T. Weiss Realty Corp. as a marketing associate. She previously served as a marketing coordinator at Cold Spring Harbor-based Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty.

+ Bohemia-based P.W. Grosser Consulting has announced four new hires: Jayce Acevedo has been named a staff engineer; he is a 2019 graduate of Stony Brook University. Li Tang has been named a project manager; she is a 2019 graduate of Michigan State University. Matthew Merrill has been named a project hydrogeologist; he previously worked for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Rich Lagatolla has been named a field hydrogeological/environmental scientist; he’s a 2019 graduate of Hofstra University.


BELOW THE FOLD (Based-On-A-True-Story Edition)

Innovator at the Gates: Bill’s brain, detailed.

Opening the Gates: Netflix goes “Inside Bill’s Brain” with a three-parter on the all-time innovator.

Going dark: New reality film “Chasing Einstein” chronicles the global hunt for dark matter.

Brain binge: The seven best science-and-innovation documentaries to watch right now.

True that: The Environment, Energy and Resources practice group at Sahn Ward Coschignano, one of the amazing firms that support Innovate LI, is fairly awesome at balancing the needs of commerce with the needs of the environment. Check it out.