No. 467: In which law firms and the universe expand, and offshore wind goes to school

All about the Benjamin: Printer, philosopher, politician, Freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, rebel and diplomat Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston 314 years ago today.


Well played: You’ve done it again, dear reader – the workweek is winding down and a well-earned (if wintry) weekend awaits.

Rum runners: Warm regards to the bootleggers.

Butter believe it: It’s Jan. 17 out there, and here’s a toast to your efforts – celebrating one of the oldest blended beverages in mixological history, today is National Hot Buttered Rum Day.

Not to mention National Bootlegger’s Day.

Shirley Temples for you: They’re too young for booze, but raise a glass anyway to past and present prepubescent pacesetters – today is also Kid Inventors Day.

Ready, willing and cable: San Francisco innovator Andrew Hallidie was all grown up on Jan. 17, 1871, when he earned a U.S. patent for his “improvement in endless wire ropeways” – a big step toward the creation of the cable car.

Picture this: The first U.S. patent for a fully automatic photographic film developing machine – the Photomaton – was issued on this date in 1928 to New York City inventor Anatol Josepho.

Other U.S. patents issued on this date include one in 1882 for Thomas Edison and his “improvements to the telephone” (he added a carbon microphone).

Can’t stands no more: Hopped up on grass and requiring anger management.

’Cause he eats his spinach: Popeye, arguably the world’s most famous cartoon sailorman, debuted on this date in 1929.

From the Yam What I Yam File, this tidbit: The pipe-smoking, violence-prone, bulging-armed posterchild for performance enhancers first appeared as a guest sidekick in “The Thimble Theatre,” a comic strip starring his longtime love interest, Olive Oyl.

Thinking bigger: And it was that same day – Jan. 17, 1929 – when astronomer Edwin Hubble and colleagues shared a paper with the National Academy of Sciences demonstrating that the universe is expanding.

Observing a correlation between distance and recession velocity of galaxies (a.k.a. the Hubble Law), the paper details one of the great scientific discoveries of all time.

His $100 worth: American polymath and fairly successful innovator Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) – who famously noted “an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest,” and now graces the U.S. C-note – would be 314 years old today.

Also born on Jan. 17 were American inventor Hayward Harvey (1824-1893), who beefed up modern armor; German biologist August Weismann (1834-1914), a pioneer of genetics; Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), simply “The Greatest”; funnymen Steve Harvey (born 1957) and Jim Carrey (born 1962); and distinguished American actor James Earl Jones (born 1931).

Beloved Betty: White, 98 and still great.

Golden girl: And take a bow, Betty Marion White Ludden – the actress, comedian and seven-time Emmy Award-winner known best as Betty White, whose 80-year television career is officially a Guinness World Record, turns 98 today.

Wish the remarkable Betty, the Founding Father and every Jan. 17 innovator in between a happy birthday at And Steve Harvey would like you to name an interesting story tip or calendar item; top five answers are on the board.


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Insurance policy: Partner Michael Brown will head up Ruskin Moscou Faltischek’s new practice group.

Added insurance: A stalwart Long Island firm has added to its commercial-law legacy with the creation of a new specialized practice group.

Under the guiding hand of partner Michael Brown – a former New York State special prosecutor, 40-year litigation veteran, frequent lecturer and full-on “Super Lawyer” – the Insurance & Insurance Litigation practice group becomes the 28th distinct practice group in the Ruskin Moscou Faltischek stable. Brown joined the Uniondale firm in 2018, when it acquired Ohrenstein & Brown LLP, an insurance practice group Brown cofounded in 1983.

“The creation of a standalone group will enable our firm to help our clients with any kind of insurance problem, whether it be a coverage problem or a need for assistance in structuring an insurance program or in self-insuring through the vehicles of a captive insurance company or other ‘alternative risk mechanism,’” noted Ruskin Moscou Faltischek Managing Partner Adam Silvers. “We are proud to grow our practice to include this new and highly specialized practice group.”

Secret weapon: Nineteen of the top 300 high school brains to reach the semifinal round of the 2020 Regeneron Science Talent Search had aces up their sleeves: They were mentored by Stony Brook University faculty.

The 19 students – including nine members of SBU’s Simons Summer Research Program, one participant of the university’s Garcia Center for Polymers at Engineered Interfaces summer program and nine “independent researchers” – were each coached by Stony Brook faculty members for the annual competition, a function of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and the Society for Science & The Public self-billed as “the nation’s oldest and most prestigious STEM competition” for high school seniors.

The semifinalists were selected from 1,993 applications received from 659 high schools in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and eight foreign countries. Each receives a $2,000 award for making the top 300; next up are this year’s 40 finalists, slated to be announced Jan. 22.



Access code: Why one Adelphi University physics professor thinks every college student must learn coding.

Sea students: With grade-A credentials, coming soon at the new Offshore Wind Training Institute, brought to you by Farmingdale State and SBU.

With Stevie Wonder tickling the keys: “Kommercialization” kingpin Tom Mariner plays back a Long Island connection to the birth of the electronic synthesizer.



Kevin Law’s latest victory lap, New York Tech’s new bioengineering nexus and Codagenix’s serious Series B score.



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

From New York City: The Mount Sinai Health System launches clinical-stage startup Tacitus Therapeutics, with new stem cell therapies in the offing.

From Ohio: Akron-based wound-closure specialist Okapi Medical sews up a successful preclinical trial, and a new CEO.

From California: Twentynine Pines-based strategic consultancy Purple Tornado spins out a DHS-commissioned report flagging global supply chain weaknesses.



Rich Lisk

+ Rich Lisk has been hired as executive vice president of Garden City-based GF Sports. He previously served as general manager of the New England Black Wolves in Connecticut.

+ Bohemia-based P.W. Grosser Consulting has announced three promotions: Garret Gobillot, formerly a staff engineer, is now a project engineer; Chris Autz, formerly a field hydrologist, is now a project hydrologist; and Amanda Lauth, formerly a senior hydrologist, will now serve as project manager.

+ Jennifer Gisler has been hired as chief growth officer for the Smithtown-based Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs. She previously served as senior director of development for St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue.

+ Diane Burshtein has been hired as director of patient experience at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson and St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown. She previously served as project coordinator at Northwell Health at Home in Garden City.

+ James Rosenzweig has been hired as a partner in the Real Estate, Banking and Finance, and Restaurant and Hospitality practice groups at Uniondale-based Forchelli Deegan Terrana. He previously served as vice president and general counsel at the Manhattan-based Riese Organization.

+ Anthony DeCapua has been hired as a partner in the Construction and Litigation practice groups at Uniondale-based Forchelli Deegan Terrana. He was previously of counsel at Uniondale-based Ruskin Moscou Faltischek.



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