No. 456: A closeup look at Hubble, Feinstein’s finest and the Moon men of Garden City

Up scope: Like the space telescope bearing his name, astronomer Edwin Hubble looked deep into the night and discovered amazing insights about our universe.


Tipping point: Over the hump we go, dear readers, as we speed into the second half of this autumnal week of innovation and economic development.

It’s Nov. 20 out there – National Name Your PC Day, and yes, that’s absurd. But what do you expect on National Absurdity Day?

Owe you one: Time to settle up, slackers.

Also absurd: Today is also National Pay Back Your Parents Day, as if.

Episodic: Before we catch you up on the innovation economy, in honor of Newsletter No. 456, this brief “Star Wars” tidbit.

He’d go back later and crank out Episodes 1, 2 and 3, but creator George Lucas actually started his story – which wraps in December with Episode 9 and is no longer his – with Episodes 4, 5 and 6 based on an old writer’s trick.

That’s rights: Back on Earth, New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution – on this date in 1789.

Think they were in the news recently: The Ukrainian National Republic was first proclaimed in the Third of the Universals of the Central Rada on Nov. 20, 1917, setting the stage for independence from Mother Russia.

Stop right there: African American inventor Garrett Morgan patented the automatic traffic signal – a technology he’d later sell to General Electric for $40,000 – on this date in 1923.

Other U.S. patents issued on Nov. 20 include one in 1906 for inventor Greenleaf Pickard and his “crystal detector,” a useful early radio antenna.

Look, Ma: No, no … the TOY.

Have fun: And two of America’s all-time favorite pastimes – the rotary-crank bicycle and the yo-yo (known first as the “whirlygig”) – were both patented on Nov. 20, 1866.

Are you mach-ing me? Daring test pilot Scott Crossfield became the first man to fly at Mach 2 on this date in 1953 (Mach 2.005, to be exact).

For the record, Chuck Yeager – who was the first to break the sound barrier in 1947 – recaptured his record just two weeks later, hitting Mach 2.44 on Dec. 12, 1953.

That’s no moon: And it was Nov. 20, 1998, when the first module of the International Space Station – a $240 million cargo block – was launched from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The Unity connecting module would be launched by NASA two weeks later.

Hubba Hubble: Speaking of space, telescope namesake Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) – the founder of extragalactic astronomy and early champion of expanding-universe theories – would be 130 years old today.

Also born on Nov. 20 were Swedish author and Nobel laureate Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940); hard-nosed judge and first-ever Commissioner of Baseball Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1866-1944); cartoonist Chester Gould (1900-1985), who created “Dick Tracy”; British-born journalist and broadcaster Alistair Cook (1908-2004), longtime host of PBS’s “Masterpiece Theatre”; New York Senator/U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy (1925-1968); and former Vice President Joe Biden (born 1942).

Woodruff: From Army brat to presidential debate moderator.

Diamond in the Ruff: And take a bow, Judy Woodruff – the longtime American broadcast journalist and current anchor/managing editor of “PBS Newshour” turns 73 today.

Wish these and all the other Nov. 20 innovators well at Story tips, calendar items and general socioeconomic discourse always appreciated.


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Con-fusion: Intracept provides a smart alternative to traditional spinal fusions.

Intracept course: Two Northwell Health hospitals, including one on Long Island, have become the first in Greater New York to offer patients with chronic lower-back pain a breakthrough alternative to spinal fusions.

Lennox Hill Hospital in Manhattan and Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson now offer a minimally invasive procedure called Intracept (by California-based Relievant Medsystems), which injects a specialized probe into spinal vertebrae and uses heat to disable the nerves, “rendering them unable to transmit pain signals,” according to Northwell Health.

The outpatient procedure takes 90 minutes or less and is “ideal for select patients who suffer from chronic lower-back pain,” according to Mohammad Bilal, Mather Hospital’s medical director of vascular and interventional radiology. “The Intracept procedure can rapidly provide pain relief, potentially decrease the need for additional surgical intervention and improve the patient’s overall quality of life,” Bilal added.

Route cause: Anyone who drives the Northern State Parkway through the Town of Huntington knows Albany has touched up the Route 231 interchange – but on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made it official.

The governor announced the completion of the $15.7 million NYS Department of Transportation project, which included a new ramp from southbound Route 231 to the eastbound NSP, the extension (and widening) of the exit ramp from eastbound NSP to northbound Route 231 and a host of other safety improvements, ranging from right-turn-only lanes to raised medians to extended acceleration and deceleration lanes.

The project, which also includes new sidewalks and “enhanced pedestrian signals” on Route 231 (a.k.a. Deer Park Road), was a critical upgrade for an interchange that plugs several regional downtowns – including Huntington, Greenlawn and Northport – to a key New York City connector. “The Northern State Parkway is a critically important roadway for travelers headed to and from Long Island,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This investment will make it easier for motorists to get where they need to go safely and with minimum delays.”



Star turn: Space was cool, but the Cradle of Aviation is really impressive, according to Apollo astronaut Thomas Stafford, among the honorees at the museum’s 2019 gala.

Strong D: Israel’s leading diabetes-research organization has honored the lifetime achievements of a top Feinstein Institute scientist and professor.

Look closer: First-quarter numbers might suggest otherwise, but Broadridge Financial and Hain Celestial both see major positives as Fiscal Year 2020 begins.



Rotation celebration: Experts in media relations, government operations, workforce preparations, business incorporations, resource utilizations and a host of other -ations critical to innovation (and to you) await – check out our amazing Voices library, and find some answers.


Don’t have a cow: Cattle easily rattle — but low-stress beef is coming.


Midnight cowboy: AG Daily glimpses future ranchers and livestock operations.

True grit: Inc.Nad advises, via Harvard, that you forget your passion and find your purpose.

The searchers: Forbes breaks down BERT, which executes 5.8 billion daily Google searches.



+ Cybrary, a Maryland-based online cybersecurity career-development and certification-preparation platform, secured $15 million in Series B funding led by BuildGroup, with participation from existing investors Arthur Ventures and Gula Tech Adventures.

+ AccessOne, a North Carolina-based provider of financing solutions for managing personal healthcare costs, closed a $225 million financing round with PNC Bank.dventures.

+ SimpleCitizen, a Utah-based digital immigration and visa solution for people and companies, closed a $5.8 million in-seed-plus-growth financing led by Kickstart Seed Fund, with participation from Pelion Ventures, Peterson Venture Partners, TSVC, Y Combinator, AppleTree Capital, Kima Ventures, Comcast Ventures, LP and Investo.

+ AMP Robotics Corp., a Colorado-based provider of AI and robotics solutions for the recycling industry, raised $16 million in Series A funding led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from BV, Closed Loop Partners, Congruent Ventures and Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners.

+ Conservation Labs, a Pennsylvania-based maker of a smart water monitor, raised $1.7 million in seed funding led by IrishAngels, with participation from the Amazon Alexa Fund, Serra Ventures, Mountain State Capital and Innovation Works.

+ DataCubes, an Illinois-based underwriting decisioning platform for U.S. commercial property and casualty insurers, closed a $15.2 million Series B funding round led by Palm Drive Capital, with participation from Altos Ventures, NFP Ventures, Stage 2 Capital, MPK Equity Partners, Seyen Capital and MK Capital.



Time’s up: The clock is winding down on Standard Time, at least in Illinois.

Twenty-five reasons: Career-changing tips to help you mentor like you mean it.

Two minutes: Life-changing tips to help you recover from the work day.

One time: Clock-changing rips from the Illinois State Senate, which takes a stand.

A number of reasons: Please continue to support the great institutions that support Innovate LI, including New York Tech, where leaders like Vice President Nada Anid always multiply innovation by a factor of wow. Check them out.