No. 486: On mega-moons, linear DNA and innovative immigrant services – and yes, lots of coronavirus stuff

It's a twister: Paving the way for new and ever-more-accurate forecasting technologies, the first successful tornado prediction was made on this date in 1948, foreseeing a massive whirlwind hours before it struck Oklahoma.


The unusual: Welcome to Wednesday, dear readers, and the midpoint of another weird and wild workweek, as the Great Coronavirus Pandemic continues to reshape our world and the regional and global innovation economies scramble to keep up.

Leggo my Eggo: Move over, pancakes — it’s the waffle’s day to shine.

Please celebrate alone: It’s March 25 out there, the U.N.’s International Day of Solidarity With Missing or Detained Staff Members, which is actually about U.N. employees who made the ultimate sacrifice, but seems oddly redefined today.

To mark the occasion – or at least to make the quasi-quarantine more bearable – you can choose from plenty of good eats: March 25 is International Waffle Day, Lobster Newberg Day (yes, please) and Pecan Day, which is more about a tree than the nut, but whatever.

Titanic discovery: Speaking of big deals, Dutch physicist, mathematician, astronomer and inventor Christiaan Huygens discovered Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, on March 25, 1622.

About half the size of Earth, Titan still ranks as the largest natural satellite in the Solar System.

Weapon of mass destruction: The Burnside Carbine, a breech-loading rifle that did plenty of damage during the American Civil War, was patented by inventor Ambrose Burnside on this date in 1856.

Also, England’s Queen Elizabeth I granted Sir Walter Raleigh a patent to create the colony of Virginia – essentially, the exclusive right to colonize America – on this date in 1584, but we’re not sure that one stuck.

Blowing in the wind: The world’s first successful tornado forecast was made on this date in 1948, when Maj. Ernest Fawbush and Capt. Robert Miller issued a warning hours before a devastating twister struck Oklahoma’s Tinker Air Force Base.

Fawbush and Miller went on to develop tornado-forecasting technologies still in use today.

Lennon’s linens: John and Yoko, protesting peacefully.

Pillow talk: John Lennon and Yoko Ono kicked off their first Bed-In for Peace on March 25, 1969, at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel, promoting world peace from between the sheets.

Let the Wiki win: And it was this date in 1995 when the first “wiki” – a webpage that can be edited by users – became a thing, with the launch of Ward Cunningham’s WikiWikiWeb.

This is…: Howard Cosell (1918-1995) – the blustery, popular and influential radio and television sportscaster/print journalist of the mid-20th century, who also enjoyed a successful acting career (mostly playing himself) – would have been 102 years old today.

Equal sign: Steinem, cofounder of the Women’s Media Center.

Also born on March 25 were educator William Wait (1839-1916), who invented a writing system for the blind that predated Braille; Great Neck’s own Eileen Ford (1922-2014), co-founder of the Ford Modeling Agency; British anthropologist Dame Mary Douglas (1925-2007), a leading scholar of anthropological classifications; iconic American novelist and short-story writer Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964); and retired American astronaut Jim Lovell Jr. (born 1928), steady hand at the wheel of the treacherous Apollo 13 mission.

No Ms.-taking her: And take a bow, Gloria Marie Steinem – the American journalist and social/political activist, whose name has long been synonymous with feminism, turns 86 today.

Send well wishes for the Ms. magazine cofounder, the originator of history’s most-overused meme and all the other March 25 innovators to – and please include a story tip or calendar item. Remember, failure is not an option (second-most-overused meme).


About our sponsor: Nixon Peabody is an international law firm with an office in Jericho that works with clients who are building the technologies and industries of the future. We have the experience necessary to drive your business forward and help you negotiate risks and opportunities related to all areas of business and the law, including startup work, private placements, venture capital and private equity, IP and licensing, labor and immigration and mergers and acquisitions.



Scoping mechanism: Applied DNA Sciences is not naming names, but a new research agreement with a “global top-20 pharmaceutical company” promises a giant leap forward for its LineaRX spinoff, according to the Stony Brook-based biotech.

Applied DNA – a leader in polymerase chain reaction-based DNA manufacturing for product-authenticity solutions, nucleic acid-based biotherapeutic development and other cutting-edge uses – said this week the new collaboration would “evaluate the full scope of the company’s linear DNA platform,” already an increasingly useful tool in everything from the COVID-19 fight to textile supply-chain security.

The best may be yet to come, according to Applied DNA President and CEO James Hayward, who noted particular interest from the unnamed Big Pharma partner in potential expansions of its modified T-cell therapeutic programs, key to treating blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma. “This agreement validates our linear DNA platform strategy and evidences growing interest in our manufacturing platform,” Hayward said, noting attention “from the highest tier of pharmaceutical manufacturers.”

Jeffrey Reynolds: Island integrator.

Welcome to Long Island: One of the region’s leading community organizations has scored a chunky grant to support assistance programs for recent U.S. immigrants.

The Mineola-based Family & Children’s Association has earned a $139,209 grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation – a New York City-based nonprofit on a mission to meet the health needs of statewide residents and communities – earmarked for the FCA’s Newcomers Resource Center, which is being created to guide recent arrivals and immigrants already living here toward becoming successful members of the Nassau County community.

Featuring referral services, counseling, school advocacy, legal guidance, vocational training, short-term childcare services and more, the Newcomers Resource Center will be a game-changer for new residents struggling to find their way on Long Island, according to FCA President and CEO Jeffrey Reynolds. “We look forward to seeing life-changing opportunities present themselves for these families,” Reynolds said.



One-stop coronavirusing: Welcome to your Pandemic Primer, a running log of Long Island-flavored innovations and breakthroughs from the COVID-19 front.

Plans in motions: Businesses around the world were caught flatfooted by the WFH restrictions of the global pandemic – but not Nixon Peabody.

Coming soon: The National Guard will pitch in as emergency hospitals rise on the Stony Brook University and SUNY Old Westbury campuses.



Pandemic squared: COVID-19 affects all, but for public relations professionals – who must still create non-coronavirus messaging without seeming oblivious or insensitive – the challenge is double. Media maestro David Chauvin weighs in with advice for marketers of every stripe.



Under fire: From the New York Times, the importance of leadership in a crisis, according to military brass who’ve been there.

Underwhelmed: From NBC News, why the U.S. military would do more good in the coronavirus fight with a different commander-in-chief.

Udder-whelmed: From Atlas Obscura, the birth of “cowcohol” – vodka made from whey, a common dairy-production byproduct.



+ Diligent Robotics, a Texas-based AI company building socially intelligent workforce robots, raised $10 million in Series A funding led by DNX Ventures, with participation from True Ventures, Ubiquity Ventures, Next Coast Ventures, E14 Fund, Promus Ventures and Grit Ventures.

+ Honorlock, a Florida-based online proctoring service for educational institutions to protect academic integrity in online assessments, raised $11.5 million in Series A funding led by Neil Sequeira from Defy Partners.

+ E25Bio, a Massachusetts-based developer of rapid diagnostic tests, raised $2 million in financing. Khosla Ventures made the investment.

+ ZincFive, an Oregon-based provider of nickel-zinc batteries and solutions, raised $13.1 million in Series C funding. The round was led by 40 North Ventures.

+ RoadRunner Recycling, a Pennsylvania-based technology platform built for commercial recycling, raised $28.6 million in Series C financing co-led by and Greycroft, with additional participation from Franklin Templeton, Adams Capital Management and FJ Labs.

+ Quit Genius, a California-based personalized digital therapeutic platform for addictions, raised an additional $11 million in Series A funding led by Octopus Ventures, with participation from Y Combinator, Startup Health, Triple Point Ventures, Serena Ventures and Venus Williams, among others.



Make it so: A “Next Generation” marathon might cheer you up.

Don’t worry: Why stressing out over COVID-19 is the last thing you should do.

Be happy: Yale University’s popular “happiness” course, now online and free.

And watch some TV: Comforting shows to stream your way through the pandemic.

Also keeps you chill: Nixon Peabody, one of the amazing firms that support Innovate LI, has launched a multidisciplinary Coronavirus Response Team to help your business weather the storm. Real-time legal updates and other pandemic resources are just a click away.