No. 526: Chancellors chosen, schools cleared and Cro-Magnon man unearthed – and it all goes to the dogs

Mother was a saint: Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu -- now the Catholic Church's Saint Teresa of Calcutta, a.k.a. Mother Teresa -- was born 110 years ago today in North Macedonia.


Cooler heads prevail: Welcome to Wednesday, dear readers, midpoint of another warm workweek – good news from the weather desk, though, which promises this latest heatwave breaks today. Stay tuned.

Twice as nice: It’s Aug. 26 out there, a big one for our many readers in Namibia, where’s it’s both Herero Day (a gathering of the Herero people to honor historical chieftains) and the unrelated Heroes’ Day (marking the 1966 start of the southwestern African nation’s nearly 30-year war for independence).

Rings true: Suffrage, good for the soul.

Ratification certification: Here in the States, it’s Women’s Equity Day, which commemorates the Aug. 26, 1920, certification (not ratification, there’s a difference) of the Nineteenth Amendment, the culmination of the decades-long women’s suffrage movement.

Spot on: And they don’t just call them the “dog days,” folks … Aug. 26 is literally National Dog Day.

Choose your weapons: On this date in 1346, King Edward III’s English invaders massacred French defenders in Normandy during the Hundred Years War’s pivotal Battle of Crecy.

Some say the invaders won the day with highly innovative longbows; others note the possible introduction of battlefield cannons.

In black and white: Connecticut inventor Charles Thurber patented the nation’s first working printing press on this date in 1843.

Other U.S. patents issued on Aug. 26 include one in 1930 for designer Philo Farnsworth, who turned on the first electric television system.

Show of hands: Who remembers school without masks?

Meet me in St. Louis: Kindergarten became a thing – at least, in this country – on Aug. 26, 1873, when German immigrants started the first U.S. kindergarten in Missouri.

Something to Cro about: An almost perfectly preserved Cro-Magnon man skeleton was discovered in southwest France by teams working for famous Swiss paleontologist Otto Hauser on this date in 1909.

SportsCenter is next: And Major League Baseball’s first-ever television broadcast filled the airwaves on Aug. 26, 1939, when station W2XBS – later WNBC-TV – showed the Cincinnati Reds playing the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field.

For those keeping score, there were two stationary cameras and the legendary Red Barber at the mic.

The mother of all Teresas: Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu (1910-1997), the Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary known best as Mother Teresa, would have been 110 years old today.

Edward Witten: Reality check.

Also born on Aug. 26 were French chemist Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier (1743-1794), the “father of modern chemistry”; innovative American farmer Stephen McCormick (1784-1875), who did for planting season what cousin Cyrus McCormick (and his mechanical reaper) did for the harvest; Polish-American medical researcher Albert Sabin (1906-1993), best known for developing the oral polio vaccine; and reality-questioning American theoretical physicist Edward Witten (born 1951), who knows all about supersymmetric quantum fields and stuff.

What we know: And take a bow, Marcus du Sautoy – the British mathematician, Oxford University Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and author of many popular science books turns 55 today.

Give the big brains, the 20th Century’s biggest heart and all the other Aug. 26 innovators your best at Quantum theories also accepted, along with story tips and calendar events, please and thank you.


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China’s syndrome: Global decarbonization is impossible unless China changes its environmental ways – and a new poli-sci study with a strong Stony Brook University foundation has mapped out a strategy to help the world’s largest coal producer (and consumer) kick the habit.

That’s the gist of “Enabling a Rapid and Just Transition Away From Coal in China,” a study published this month by science-focused social-environmental platform One Earth. Gang He, an assistant professor in SBU’s Department of Technology and Society, led a nine-member international team through the research effort, which determined that China must transition away from coal for its own environmental health (and the sake of its human population) and to help the world achieve global decarbonization metrics. The “perspective paper” also proposes a four-step “integrated political-socio-economic approach” factoring in ecological concerns and the economic security of millions now working in China’s coal-related industries.

The researchers also suggest a dedicated task force to implement the transition plan, which accelerates retirement of aging coal-fired plants and creates economic incentives for sustainable upgrades. It’s truly a life-or-death matter, according to He: “The benefits of China’s transition away from coal [are] huge. We estimate that the most aggressive coal-transition pathway could reduce premature death related to coal combustion by 224,000 in 2050.”

Lights out: The governor wants to disenfranchise underperforming utilities.

Real power: A seething Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to dramatically increase poor-performance economic penalties for utility companies that fail their customers – and significantly expedite the procedure for revoking their franchises.

Citing an “unacceptable” response to Tropical Storm Isaias by regional electric and telecom providers, Cuomo on Monday proposed new legislation that would escalate penalties “for each individual offense” related to “reliability and continuity of electric service” from $100,000 (or .02 of 1 percent of annual intrastate gross operating revenue, whichever is greater) to $500,000 (or .04 of 1 percent). The penalties apply to day-to-day performance and recovery “following a major outage or event,” according to the governor’s office.

Current laws are “too protective of the utility companies,” added Cuomo, who last week announced plans for legislation to expedite franchise-revocation procedures, including provisions protecting ratepayers from redundant operations fees imposed by new operators. “We don’t pay for utilities to function on a nice day,” the governor said. “The essence of what we pay for is (to) be ready for a storm – give me information when my power goes out and get it back on quickly.”



Cool for school: A cutting-edge Southampton startup is now tailoring its AI-powered post-pandemic reopening platform to schools and universities.

That happened fast: It took SUNY just two months to find its new chancellor – dragging their feet, compared to the former Albany policymaker’s meteoric rise.

Innovation in the Age of Coronavirus: Westhampton rocks, Islip assists and Long Island’s one-and only-pandemic primer rolls on – stay in the loop!



Master of his domain: Ace land-use attorney Michael Sahn makes a pretty compelling case for eminent domain as a primary environmental-protection weapon.



Crisis points: There are four concepts innovators must remember when things go bad. Forbes elaborates.

Running for office: Yes, remote work on a grand scale is possible – but do some workers need an office? Inc. considers.

Tesla was right: And a New Zealand startup aims to prove it, beaming wireless electricity to the masses. Popular Mechanics powers up.



+ Podimetrics, a Massachusetts-based virtual care-management company focused on preventing diabetic amputations, closed its $8.6 million Series B-2 funding round. Backers included existing investors Polaris Partners, Rock Health, Norwich Ventures and Scientific Health Development.

+ Trellus Health, a New York City-based digital-health solution for chronic conditions, raised $5 million in seed funding led by Mount Sinai Health System and EKF Diagnostics.

+ Icon, a Texas-based developer of robotics, software and other advanced construction technologies, completed a $35 million Series A financing round led by Moderne Ventures, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, CAZ Investments, Citi, Crosstimbers Ventures, Ironspring Ventures, Next Coast Ventures, Oakhouse Partners, Trust Ventures, Vulcan Capital and Wavemaker Partners.

+ Carrot Fertility, a California-based global fertility-benefits provider for employers, closed $24 million in Series B funding led by U.S. Venture Partners, with participation from F-Prime Capital, CRV, Precursor Ventures, Maven Ventures and Uncork Capital.

+ GI Windows Medical, a Massachusetts-based clinical-stage medical-device company focused on anastomoses technology, raised $16.4 million in Series A-1 financing. Backers included Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Sonder Capital, GT Healthcare, JC Investco, the Kennedy Trust and Coleman Trust, among others.

+ Exo, a California-based maker of a handheld medical-imaging device, raised $40 million in Series B funding led by Fiscus Ventures, Reimagined Ventures and Action Potential Ventures.



Boooooring: And that’s not all bad.

Slip out the back, Jack: How to keep all those photos and videos when you leave Facebook.

Make a new plan, Stan: One psychologist’s five-minute solution for excessive anxiety.

Don’t need to discuss much: Diving deep into the pros and cons of boredom.

Get yourself free: Please continue supporting the great institutions that support Innovate LI – including Northwell Health, where the Northwell Center for Learning & Innovation is always opening new doors.