No. 452: Filled with nachos, supernovae, supply chains and a popular movie riff

Pathfinder: United States Air Force Lt. General Tom Stafford (retired) -- who commanded the Apollo 10 moon mission, setting the stage for the Apollo 11 landing -- is among the honorees of the 17th annual Cradle of Aviation Museum Air & Space Gala, scheduled for Nov. 14 in Garden City.

The innovator who came in from the cold: Welcome to Wednesday, dear readers, as we bundle up and brave a blustery week of autumnal socioeconomic innovation.

Gustav Adolfsdagen: On kings and pastries.

It’s Nov. 6 out there, and around the world we go: Constitution Day in Tajikistan, Gustavus Adolphus Day in Sweden, Arbor Day in the Republic of Congo  (where you’d think they already have enough trees, but there you go) and the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict, rather self-explanatory.

Out of Africa: Certain to delight all Americans, it’s also Obama Day in Kenya, celebrated each Nov. 6 in the homeland of the 44th U.S. president’s father to mark Barack’s 2008 election.

Nacho libre: Stay calm, it’s also National Nachos Day.

All the presidents, man: Obama was actually elected on Nov. 4, 2008 – but Abraham Lincoln (1860), Benjamin Harrison (1888), William McKinley (re-elected 1900), Herbert Hoover (1928), Franklin Roosevelt (re-elected 1940), Dwight Eisenhower (re-elected 1956), Richard Nixon (1968), Ronald Reagan (re-elected 1984) and, eventually, Obama (re-elected 2012) all won on Nov. 6.

A star is born: History credits trailblazing skywatcher Tycho Brahe, but the “new star” remembered as the Tycho Supernova – one of only eight Milky Way supernovae ever observed by humans – was first spotted on Nov. 6, 1572, by German astronomer Wolfgang Schüler.

For the record, the supernova was actually the death, not birth, of a star in the constellation Cassiopeia.

Wrong revolution: Sorry, couldn’t resist.

The hunt for Red October: It was this date in 1917 when the Bolsheviks revolted, at least on our Gregorian Calendar – it was Oct. 24 on the Julian Calendar, still in vogue in Mother Russia at the time.

Broadcast news: “Meet the Press,” America’s longest-running television program, debuted on Nov. 6, 1947.

The natural(ist): And it was this date in 2012 when Charles Darwin, dead since 1882, received 4,000 write-in votes in a general election for U.S. Representative in Georgia’s Athens-Clarke County.

One-term Republican wonder Paul Broun – a medical doctor (!) who called evolution and the Big Bang “lies straight from the pit of hell,” insisted the Earth is 9,000 years old and was running unopposed – defeated Darwin, but couldn’t survive a GOP primary in 2014.

Sax machine: Despite his famous name, Adolphe’s patent battles hit a sour note.

Mo’ better blues: Antoine-Joseph “Adolphe” Sax (1814-1894) – a Belgian-French musical instrument designer who invented the saxophone (and more) and died impoverished after a decade of unsuccessful patent battles – would be 205 years old today.

Also born on Nov. 6 were Scottish mathematician James Gregory (1638-1675), a pioneering astronomer who invented the reflecting telescope; British aviator Sir John Alcock (1892-1919), who co-piloted (with navigator and fellow Brit Arthur Brown) the first nonstop transatlantic flight, eight years before Lindbergh; American economist Charles Dow (1851-1902), co-founder of Dow Jones and Co. and first editor of The Wall Street Journal; American composer John Philip Sousa (1854-1932), king of the march; and Canadian-American phys-ed educator James Naismith (1861-1939), who invented basketball (and the football helmet).

Norma Rae: And take a bow, multiple Oscar-, Emmy- and Golden Globe-winner Sally Field – “The Flying Nun” turns 73 today.

Wish these and all the other Nov. 6 innovators well at – story tips, calendar items, op-eds and general howdy-do’s always appreciated.

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Code makers: Teens hack it up at New York Tech.

Hack job: They’re booting up again at the New York Institute of Technology, with another 24-hour TeenHacks LI code-a-thon coming this weekend to the Old Westbury campus.

In May, nearly 200 interstate high-school hackers converged at New York Tech under the auspices of the circa-2018 nonprofit, launched by Long Island teenagers Jeffrey Wu and Wesley Pergament to promote collaboration between coders, designers and industry. Some 300 coders are expected for a “truly exhilarating” event this weekend, as described by New York Tech Vice President of Strategic Communications & External Affairs Nada Anid.

With “food, swag and awesome prizes” included, participation in the Nov. 9-10 hack-a-thon is free and open to all high-schoolers, but pre-registration is required. Late registration for participants, mentors, judges and “campus ambassadors” ends today; more information here.

Galactic gala: With July marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and a full slate of related events and celebrations, it’s been a big year for the Cradle of Aviation Museum – and it’s only getting bigger.

The Garden City museum will honor an impressive group of influential innovators – including Apollo 10 Commander Tom Stafford, who orbited the moon 31 times and got within eight miles of the lunar surface – at its 2019 Air & Space Awards Gala, the museum’s biggest annual fundraiser for its education programs and preservation efforts.

Along with U.S. Air Force Lt. General Stafford (retired), recipient of the annual Spirit of Discovery Award, honorees at the Nov. 14 gala include Perry Youngwall, president and CEO of Melville aerospace distributor Transaero, and Huntley Lawrence, director of aviation for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Ticket pricing, registration and more information right here.


Chain letters: The acronym for the Association for Supply Chain Management’s Long Island chapter makes no sense – unless you understand your APICS history.

Vapor lock: New York is about to become the 18th state to raise its minimum tobacco age to 21 – including e-cigs and related “vaping” products.

Loan-ly feeling: “Less stringent” lenders hindered New York Community Bancorp’s third quarter, but momentum is building again, according to CEO Joseph Ficalora.


Plot device: Medical innovations often astound – but developers must focus better on real-world needs, according to Northwell Health Senior VP Terry Lynam, who steps into the Voices rotation this week with a blueprint for med-tech success.


Name that tunic: Under Armor in spaaace!

Navigating Industry 4.0: The journey from innovation to commercialization is not what it used to be. Forbes takes the wheel.

Starfleet insignia not included: But passengers and crew aboard Virgin Galactic spaceflights will have spiffy new uniforms. Popular Mechanics suits up.

Things to come: “Experiential selling” and the ever-evolving “last mile” will dominate retail innovation in 2020. Oracle’s SmarterCX looks ahead.


+ Inkbit, a Massachusetts-based developer of an AI-powered 3D printer, closed a $12 million equity financing round led by Stratasys and DSM Venturing, with participation from Ocado, 3M and Saint-Gobain.

+ Tmunity Therapeutics, a Pennsylvania-based T-cell immunotherapy company, closed a $75 million Series B financing round led by Andreessen Horowitz, Westlake Village BioPartners, Gilead Sciences, The University of Pennsylvania, Be The Match BioTherapies and the American Cancer Society’s BrightEdge fund.

+ Datanomix, a New Hampshire-based maker of productivity software for industrial manufacturers, raised $2 million in funding led by Bruce Sachs, with participation from Wasabi Ventures, York.IE, Alumni Ventures, Argon Ventures, WPI and several local angels.

+ Fountain, a California-based recruiting platform for gig and hourly workers, closed a $23 million Series B funding round led by DCM, with participation from 51job and existing investors Origin Ventures and Uncork Capital, among others.

+ ESS Inc., an Oregon-based manufacturer of energy-storage systems, secured $30 million in Series C funding led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, SoftBank Group’s SB Energy, Evergy Ventures, PTT Global Chemical and BASF Venture Capital, among others.

+ Nuvation Bio, a New York City-based biotech developing proprietary oncology therapies, closed a $275 million Series A financing round led by Omega Funds, with participation from Aisling Capital, Altitude Life Science Ventures, The Baupost Group, Boxer Capital (part of the Tavistock Group) and other institutional investors.


Social hour: Don’t you have something better to do?

Talk it over: The best companies encourage dialogue from the bottom up.

Work it out: How exercising on company time strengthens productivity.

Keep it professional: How much is too much when it comes to office socializing?

Make it count: Please continue supporting the amazing institutions that support Innovate LI, including Adelphi University, where the Center for Health Innovation is just one of many regional resources. Check them out.