No. 539: On Pooh, Holmes, deep-space ‘splosions and all-you-can-eat dessert

Hypersonic: With the legendary Chuck Yeager at the stick, the Bell X-1 rocket plane first broke the sound barrier over California 73 years ago today.


Vote note: Welcome to Wednesday, dear readers, as we muscle through another busy week of socioeconomic innovation.

Before we begin, please head over to Bethpage Federal Credit Union’s Best of Long Island contest and pull the virtual lever for Innovate Long Island, part of an impressive field battling to be crowned Best Long Island Blog. We want it, we deserve it, but we can’t get it without you – find us in the Arts & Entertainment category, and as always, thanks for your support!

Dig in: No shame on National Dessert Day.

Sweet: It’s Wednesday, Oct. 14, and the good news is we don’t have to choose between cakes, cookies, pies or ice cream – not on National Dessert Day, which embraces them all.

Sour: Helping you count calories on National Dessert Day is World Standards Day, held every Oct. 14 to salute the thousands of international experts responsible for humanity’s commonly accepted measurements (inches and pounds, for instance).

With a bang: Swedish chemist, inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel earned a Swedish patent on this date in 1863 – the first of his 355 (!) global patents, this protecting the future philanthropist’s unique method for preparing nitroglycerin.

Also patented on Oct. 14 was photographic film, locked up in 1884 by New York innovator George Eastman. (For those keeping score, Eastman wouldn’t trademark the name “Kodak” until 1888.)

Elementary: “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” a collection of short stories scribe Arthur Conan Doyle had been publishing in magazines since 1887, was first published in book form on this date in 1892.

Joining the master detective for an Oct. 14 literary debut was writer A.A. Milne and illustrator E.H. Shepard’s “Winnie-the-Pooh,” first published 94 years ago today.

L.A. vs. the Smog Monster: It was this date in 1947 when the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors established the L.A. County Air Pollution Control District – the nation’s first air pollution-control program.

X-1 x 662 MPH: It was that same day – Oct. 14, 1947 – when U.S. Air Force Capt. Chuck Yeager became the first human to fly faster than sound, rocketing over California’s Rogers Dry Lake.

Wayne’s world: Flight No. 99, on approach.

The Great One: And the National Hockey League’s all-time leading scorer, then-Edmonton Oiler Wayne Gretzky, scored his first NHL goal 41 years ago today.

He’d score 893 more – still the record – and pile up more assists than anyone else, too, over a dominant 20-year career.

Lower case, upper echelon: American poet, painter, author and playwright Edward Estlin Cummings (1894-1962) – who went by “E.E.” (often stylized as “e.e.”) and produced some 2,900 poems, four plays, two novels and a host of essays – would be 126 years old today.

Koop: Best-known, by a whisker.

Also born on Oct. 14 were English philosopher William Penn (1644-1718), the Quaker who founded Pennsylvania; German physicist Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Kohlrausch (1840-1910), who lit up electrolytes; 34th U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1969); famed pediatric surgeon C. Everett Koop (1916-2013), the 13th and arguably most influential of all U.S. surgeons general; and Bronx-born fashion icon Ralph Lauren (born Ralph Lifshitz, 1939).

Gee-nome whiz: And take a bow, John Craig Venter – the American biotechnologist and businessman, known for leading the first draft sequence of the human genome and other titanic advances in genomic research, turns 74 today.

Wish these and all the other Oct. 14 innovators well at, where story tips, calendar events and even Bronx cheers are always welcome (though a short poem would be nicer).


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All hands: With COVID-19 wreaking havoc across virtually all industries, Long Island’s top tourism engine is teaming with regional economic-development groups to reinforce the Island as a top destination for both play and work.

Long Island’s eight Industrial Development Agencies have partnered with Discover Long Island to form the Long Island Economic Development Collective, a “proactive marketing approach capitalizing on Long Island’s talented workforce, advanced industries, intellectual capital and proximity to New York City.” The collective actually kicked off in 2019, but with the pandemic decimating Island tourism – and significantly denting so many other regional industries – it’s refocusing its efforts to raise public (and corporate) perception of Long Island as a land of rich economic opportunity.

The new campaign includes a one-stop website for site selectors, packed with workforce statistics, information on IDA incentives packages, C-suite testimonials, interactive maps and more. “Attracting talent and placemaking have become focal points for our regional communities,” noted Discover Long Island President & CEO Kristen Jarnagin. “As the country begins to rethink corporate structures … it is more relevant than ever to promote the many positive qualities that Long Island living offers prospective businesses.”

Domains: Vint Serf, Internet co-creator and Tesla Science Center advisor.

Cerf (the ’net): The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe will Light the Night With Science, and honor a renowned “father of the Internet,” at its second-annual gala fundraiser.

Built on the grounds of Serbian scientist Nikola Tesla’s one-time laboratory, the Shoreham science center is honoring computer pioneer Vint Cerf at its annual shindig, which spotlights high-level science and technology contributors. Cerf, a longtime Google VP and former DARPA researcher who’s advised the Tesla Science Center since 2017, designed the TCP/IP protocols forming the Internet’s digital backbone, earning himself a 1997 U.S. Medal of Technology alongside Internet co-creator Robert Kahn. He’s also snagged an ACM Alan M. Turing Award (known as the “Nobel Prize of computer science”) and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In addition to honoring Cerf, the virtual Oct. 30 gala will include “networking rooms,” innovative technology demonstrations, a unique online auction of tech-themed items and live entertainment. Sponsorship opportunities are available. More information on programming, sponsorships, ticket pricing and registration available here.



Star trek (with space-time ripples and everything): A SUNY-Old Westbury astronomer will look to deep space for answers to some of nature’s most basic questions.

Beach brawl: Local residents don’t dig it, but an undersea transmission cable is one big step closer to coming ashore in Wainscott.

Innovation in the Age of Coronvirus: Twindemics, virtual productions and more – until there’s a vaccine, there’s Long Island’s one-and-only pandemic primer.



The history of pandemics suggests a golden age of medical innovation may be upon us, according to healthcare anchor Terry Lynam, who believes COVID has created both the need and the opportunity – and has already encouraged some real systemic progress.



Simple minds: The key to innovation is simplicity. Forbes summarizes.

A-ha: The lightbulb moment that revolutionized baby food. Daily Mail delivers.

The cars: Forget what you think you know about automobile design. Fast Company re-educates.



+ JobGet, a Massachusetts-based mobile job platform for hourly workers, raised $2.1 million in seed funding led by Pillar VC, with participation from Data Point Capital Partners, Crocker Mountain Capital, EO Ventures, Greg Donoghue (Clover Food Lab) and Anna Marie Wagner (Gingko Bioworks).

+ Newlight Technologies, a California-based producer of an ocean-degradable biopolymer, closed a $45 million Series F financing round. Valedor Partners joined existing investor GrayArch Partners.

+ deepwatch, a Washington-based provider of intelligence-driven managed-security services, closed a $53 million Series B funding round led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from existing investor ABS Capital Partners.

+ Cerebral, a California-based mental health telemedicine company, raised $35 million in Series A funding led by Oak HC/FT, with participation from Westcap, Liquid 2 Ventures, Gaingels, Air Angels and others.

+ Andie Swim, a New York City-based swimwear e-commerce company, raised $6.5 million in Series A financing. Backers included CityRock Venture Partners, Trail Mix Ventures and others.

+ Exer Labs, a Colorado-based fitness startup producing AI-powered motion-coaching apps, raised $2 million in seed funding. Backers included GGV, Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures, Morado Ventures, Range VC, Service Provider Capital, Shatter Fund, Mike and Albert Lee, Signia Venture Partners and David Ko.



Well, it’s succinct: But surely you can do better.

Quick change: Fast Co. is updating its business rules for the next quarter century.

Quick turnaround: New job a nightmare? How to quit fast, with class.

Quick thinking: Will your crisis-management plan work? Better check.

Quick draw: Rising fast in national rankings, SUNY College at Old Westbury – one of the amazing institutions that support Innovate LI – now boasts more than 5,000 students, working toward 70-plus degrees and their best future selves. Check them out.