No. 495: Not the AI apocalypse we expected – plus whoops, coughs, space telescopes and past lives

Growth mode: Always celebrated the last Friday in April, National Arbor Day encourages us to each do our ecological part by planting a new tree -- even during the coronavirus lockdown.


Week effort: And you’re finishing strong, dear reader, as we complete five more homebound workdays under COVID-19’s temporary reign and begin another locked-down weekend of spring cleaning, masked market runs and copious binge-watching.

It’s April 24 out there – Concord Day in Niger, remembering the 1995 armistice between government officials and the organizers of the bloody Tuareg rebellion, and the big-hearted World Day for Laboratory Animals.

This little piggy: Let’s be frank.

Pigging out: It’s horrible, what they do to those poor lab mice. Let’s butcher some hogs for National Pigs in a Blanket Day and discuss.

Here’s one we can all agree on: It’s also National Arbor Day. Go plant a tree.

All the news that ft: Of course, they had to chop down some trees to produce the American Colonies’ first regularly published newspaper – the Boston News-Letter, a weekly half-sheet that debuted on this date in 1704.

Speaking of well-read debuts, happy anniversary to the Library of Congress, established on April 24, 1800, with a $5,000 grant approved by President John Adams.

Sea you: Slocum’s solo circumnavigation took three years.

Bon voyage: Legendary sailor Joshua Slocum, who would complete the first solo circumnavigation of the Earth, launched his historic three-year quest from Boston on April 24, 1895.

Deep thought: A different kind of sea man, American inventor Herbert Dorsey, patented the fathometer – an electro-mechanical instrument that measured underwater depths with sounds and echoes – on this date in 1928.

Other U.S. patents issued on April 24 include one in 1833 for innovators George Dulty and Jacob Ebert, who locked up the soda fountain.

Coast to coast: It was this date in 1962 when the Massachusetts Institute of Technology achieved the first transcontinental satellite relay of a television signal, beaming an image (the letters “MIT”) from California to NASA’s Echo 1 satellite to Massachusetts.

Discovery card: Echo 1 had long-since re-entered the atmosphere by April 24, 1990, when the space shuttle Discovery blasted off from Cape Canaveral on its 10th mission.

Its cargo was the Hubble Space Telescope – an amazing instrument now, though NASA’s eye in the sky got off to a rough start.

Whoop it up: American author and conservationist Robert Allen (1905-1963) – the savior of the whooping crane, which teetered on the brink of extinction before Allen discovered the last flock’s Arctic Circle nesting ground – would be 115 years old today.

Babs: The way she was.

Also born on April 24 were English people-watcher John Graunt (1620-1674), the early statistician who invented demography; Swiss atomic-weight pioneer Jean-Charles Galissard de Marignac (1817-1894); American architect John Russell Pope (1874-1937), who designed portions of the National Gallery of Art, the Jefferson Memorial and several other national sites; queen of the whodunits Sue Grafton (1940-2017); and much-awarded, much-loved singer, actress and filmmaker Barbra Streisand (born 1942).

Name your Terms: And take a bow, Shirley MacLaine – the Oscar-winning actress (for 1983’s “Terms of Endearment”) known also for her writing, dancing and past life as a citizen of Atlantis, among other metaphysical chestnuts, turns 86 today.

Give your best to the reincarnated performer, Funny Girl and all of the April 24 innovators at And remember, we’re people – people who need story tips and calendar suggestions, please and thank you.


About our sponsor: Northwell Health is New York’s largest healthcare provider and private employer, with 23 hospitals, 750 outpatient facilities and 70,000-plus employees. We’re making research breakthroughs at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research and training the next generation of medical professionals at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. Visit



A needed lift: Ride-hailing pioneer Uber Technologies has announced a coronavirus-related partnership with The Safe Center Long Island, designed to transport domestic violence victims from dangerous lockdown situations to secret safe harbors.

Through the partnership, Uber will provide up to $35,000 in free rides during the pandemic to victims seeking domestic-violence services, funneled through the Bethpage-based Safe Center, a merger of the former Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Coalition Against Child Abuse and Neglect. Those services are critical now, according to Safe Center Long Island Executive Director Cynthia Scott, who noted that “disasters like this increase the incidence of interpersonal violence and make getting help more difficult for those being abused.”

“The Safe Center is grateful to Uber for their generous support during this crisis,” Scott said Thursday. “This support will help us provide immediate access to safety and services for victims during this unprecedented time.”

Rigged electives: Plastic surgeries and other optional procedures are back on the docket — but only in certain New York counties.

Electoral collage: Elective surgeries are back in New York State – though not in Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, Kings or a dozen other counties where there’s still a “significant risk of (a) COVID-19 surge in the near term,” according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

Hospitals in the hodgepodge of statewide counties where elective outpatient procedures can resume April 28 – which also does not include New York (Manhattan), Richmond (Staten Island), Bronx or Westchester counties – will still have to meet a virtual ton of metrics to start scheduling plastic surgeries and the like, starting with (and certainly not limited to) fewer than 10 new COVID-19 hospitalizations in their host county over the prior 10 days. But even this glimmer of normalcy is welcome across the Empire State, where confirmed COVID-19 cases approached 260,000 Thursday afternoon, almost 30 percent of the nation’s 868,000 cases.

“We are now ready to lift the restrictions on elective surgeries in regions where hospital capacity and the rate of new infections do not present a significant risk of a surge in new positive cases,” Cuomo noted. “(But) it is essential that we continue to support hospitals and healthcare workers in all regions … because this virus is by no means defeated.”



Ethical dilemma: A student of cyber law and ethics wonders why more attention isn’t being paid to the moral implications of artificial intelligence.

The show will go on: The Willumstad School of Business is muscling forward with its annual business-plan competition, with a virtual finale in the works.

Primer pump: Adelphi’s global reach, Island Harvest’s plentiful potatoes and more from Long Island’s front lines – catch up with Innovation in the Age of Coronavirus, our exclusive, Island-rich Pandemic Primer.



Saving Main Street with eGifter, securing quantum communications with Qunnect.



From Florida: Largo-based health-supplement innovator itSpray adds pro-immunity and anti-anxiety spritzes to its unique “sublingual delivery system.”

From California: Irvine-based wellness-ingredients B2B supplier BGG World announces major expansion of its state-of-the-art microalgae farm.

From Massachusetts: Boston-based “employee resilience” expert meQuilibrium offers tips for staying mentally strong in isolation.



Hayley Cohen

+ Hayley Cohen has joined Melville-based Excelsior Management as vice president of development. She previously served as director of investor relations at R.G. Niederhoffer Capital Management in Manhattan.

+ Eileen Kelly-Gorman has been promoted to executive director of special education and pupil personnel services for the Elwood Union Free School District. She previously served as the district’s director of math, science and technology.

+ Adam Hoffman has joined the Melville office of BankUnited as executive vice president and head of treasury management. He previously served as senior vice president and head of product management for OSG Billing Services in New Jersey.

+ Virginia Kawochka has been named co-chairwoman of the Nassau County Bar Association’s Legal Administrators Committee. She is an administrator at Uniondale-based Forchelli Deegan Terrana.

+ Susan Saban has been appointed director of special services for Lynbrook Public Schools. She previously served as assistant director of pupil services for the Herricks Union Free School District.


Coffee break: It’s five o’clock somewhere.

BELOW THE FOLD (Starting To Blur Edition)

Lost time: Why you keep losing track of time during lockdown.

Three martini lunch: On-the-job boozing appears to be hitting new heights.  

Day planner: Making sure Saturday doesn’t feel like Tuesday (and why that matters).

Crystal Clear: They’ve never been sharper at Northwell Health, Long Island’s COVID-19 front line and home of the Coronavirus Digital Resource Page, packed with expert advice for the health system’s 70,000-plus patients (and everyone else). Check it out.