No. 460: On diversity, robotics and Hoosiers – plus, how to warm your whiskey

Back in the day: The supersonic Concorde, which spent 27 years speeding passengers between international destinations after entering commercial service in 1976, was first unveiled 52 years ago today.


Moving right along: It’s Wednesday already, dear readers, as we speed through this latest busy workweek and plow straight toward the big year-end holidays.

Peak performance: There’s gold in them thar hills.

The hills are alive: It’s Dec. 11 out there, a.k.a. International Mountain Day, when the U.N. would like you to consider the overexploitation of mountainous regions, home to 15 percent of the human population and one-quarter of Earth’s non-marine lifeforms.

Level headed: There aren’t many mountains in Indiana, where Hoosier Hill gently slopes up to 1,257 feet above sea level, the state’s highest point.

Nonetheless, the 19th U.S. State was admitted to the Union on Dec. 11, 1816, so happy anniversary.

Safety first: Salutations also to the American Nuclear Society, which began safeguarding U.S. nuclear sciences and technologies on this date in 1954.

That was fast: The first prototype of the Concorde Supersonic Airliner was introduced to spectators on Dec. 11, 1967.

Manufactured by Sud Aviation (later Aérospatiale) and the British Aircraft Corp., the Concorde would finally spread its wings in 1969 and officially enter commercial service in 1976.

Last stroll: Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon.

Been there, done that: With TV ratings down and public attention shifting to the Vietnam War, Apollo 17 – NASA’s final manned moon mission – touched down on the lunar surface on Dec. 11, 1972, carrying astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt.

Cooperative climate (mostly): And it was this date in 1997 when 150 nations adopted the Kyoto Protocol, a groundbreaking global agreement designed to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gases.

Now in effect in 192 countries, the treaty is missing only a few signatories: Andorra, Palestine, South Sudan, Canada (which withdrew in 2012) and the United States.

A man of principles: Virginia planter and U.S. Constitutional Convention delegate George Mason IV (1725-1792) – the “forgotten founder” who refused to sign the Constitution and later became the “father of the Bill of Rights” – would be 294 years old today.

Also born on Dec. 11 were industrious Canadian brewmeister John Labatt (1838-1915); suffragist and pioneering American astronomer Annie Jump Cannon (1863-1941), who was instrumental in developing modern stellar classifications; cheesy Canadian-American industrialist James Kraft (1874-1953), who first pasteurized cheese products; entrepreneurial California farmer Walter Knott (1889-1981), who founded Knott’s Berry Farm; and American cartoonist Marjorie Henderson Buell (1904-1993), the creator of “Little Lulu” (known best by her pen name, Marge).

Most definitely: Happy birthday, Dante Terrell Smith.

Are you Def? Either way, take a bow, Dante Terrell Smith – the Brooklyn-born rapper, singer, actor and activist known best as Mos Def turns 46 today.

Wish these and all the other Dec. 11 innovators a happy birthday at We’ll take the gifts – story tips, calendar items, all shapes and sizes, please and thank you.


About our sponsor: With more than 60 attorneys, superior knowledge of the law, polished business acumen and proven credentials, Ruskin Moscou Faltischek has earned a reputation for excellence and success. The strength of our firm’s resources greatly enhances what we can accomplish for clients – to not only solve problems, but to create opportunities. This ongoing achievement makes RMF an acknowledged leader among our peers and the preferred choice among business leaders.



Independent thinkers: Private colleges across New York will find it a little easier to go green, thanks to a new Memorandum of Understanding with the New York Energy Research and Development Authority.

On Tuesday, NYSERDA announced a new agreement with the statewide Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities which represents the public-policy interests of more than 100 independent colleges and universities designed to promote government and private investments in campus-based energy-efficiency programs and otherwise support clean-energy efforts at CICU institutions.

The MOU “recognizes a shared interest in improving New York’s economy,” according to a NYSERDA statement, and marks a big step forward for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Green New Deal – a “steadfast commitment to decarbonizing the grid and bringing clean-energy solutions for all New Yorkers,” according to NYSERDA President and CEO Alicia Barton. “This collaborative partnership will help New York State remain at the forefront of the battle against climate change.”

Madame president: Lauren Brookmeyer.

Presidential material: Stony Brook University’s chief government liaison has earned a rare distinction.

Lauren Brookmeyer, the university’s director of government relations, has been elected 2020 president of The Science Coalition, a circa-1994 nonpartisan nonprofit uniting 50-plus public and private research institutions from across the country in a lobbying effort dedicated to sustaining federal investments in basic science – thereby stimulating the national economy, spurring innovation and ensuring America’s global competitiveness.

Brookmeyer, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Hofstra University and spent 2019 as the Washington-based coalition’s vice president of external relations (and chairwoman of its Communications Committee), said Tuesday she’s “honored and humbled” to move into the center seat next year – and looks forward to “leveraging key communications tools … in an effort to support TSC’s core mission: increasing critical funding for scientific research.”



Machine learning: Robotics and other tech-focused professional skills take center stage in a new public-private collaboration targeting Long Island youth. 

All in: Adelphi and Stony Brook universities are betting big on inclusion, with a slate of promotions, new staff positions and diversity-focused recruitment efforts.

Do it for them (this time): Share this engaging newsletter with your fellow innovators – and then invite them to subscribe for free, because you’re not, like, Timmy the errand boy.



Trust him, he’s Irish: Food and beverage baron Ambrose Clancy shakes off the cold and shares everything you need to know about hot toddies – his latest Voices concoction warms the cockles here.



From the employee playbook: Inc. explains the importance of showing employees respect.

From the job-creation playbook: The New York Times explores the dangers of limiting innovation jobs to a few select cities.

From the impeachment playbook: USA Today offers a step-by-step guide to what happens next.



+ FoodMaven, a Colorado-based company focused on creating a more sustainable food system, raised $15.3 million in Series B financing led by Tao Capital, with participation from Fine Line Group.

+ Zeus Living, a California-based provider of furnished homes for modern professionals, raised $55 million in Series B funding. Backers included new partners Airbnb, Comcast, CEAS Investments and TI Platform Management, and existing investors Alumni Ventures Group, Initialized Capital, NFX and Spike Ventures.

+ Boardable, an Indiana-based online board-management platform, closed a $3 million seed-funding round. Backers included High Alpha Capital, VisionTech and Collina Ventures.

+ Black Diamond Therapeutics, a Massachusetts-based precision-oncology medicine company, completed an $85 million Series C financing round led by Boxer Capital of the Tavistock Group, Wellington Management Co., BVF Partners L.P., Deerfield Management and funds managed by Janus Henderson Investors, among others.

+ Infinitum Electric, a Texas-based motor-technology company, closed a $12.5 million Series B financing round led by Cottonwood Technology Fund, with participation from Chevron Technology Ventures, AJAX Strategies and other individual investors.

+ Impulse Dynamics, a New Jersey-based developer of heart failure technologies, closed an $80.25 million Series D financing round led by Amzak Health Investors, with participation from Wellington Management, Kennedy Lewis Investment Management, Acorn Biosciences and Minth Holdings Ltd., among others.



Mandatory fun: The office holiday party is back.

Making a mentor: The five traits you want in a professional adviser.

Making their day: Ten “secret Santa” gifts your coworkers will actually like.

Making the scene: #MeToo canceled many 2018 festivities, but office holiday parties are on the rise again.

Making the difference: Please continue supporting the incredible firms that support Innovate LI, including Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, where dozens of practice areas can help put your commercial enterprise over the top.