No. 541: In which Cool Whip, garbanzo beans and Godzilla get their due, and podcasts take over

Old Ironsides: Still an active vessel of the U.S. Navy, the battle-tested (and heavily refit) USS Constitution first launched in Boston Harbor 223 years ago today.


Healthy start: Welcome to Wednesday, dear readers, and the midpoint of this latest busy week of socioeconomic innovation.

Before we get into it, Oct. 21 brings us National Check Your Meds Day, when we’re supposed to check the expiration dates on our older prescription meds, which is important. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

Big day: This one’s for you, Godzilla, and all your little lizard friends.

Scales: Welcome back. Saluting cold-blooded creatures from the Geico gecko to Godzilla, today is also National Reptile Awareness Day.

And fans of the chickpea, rejoice – Oct. 21, of course, is National Garbanzo Bean Day.

Virtual vote-getter: We can’t press the flesh or kiss any babies, not in the Age of Coronavirus, but we’d sure be grateful if you’d drop a vote (or 20) for us in Bethpage Federal Credit Union’s 2021 Best of Long Island contest, where Innovate Long Island faces some stiff competition for the coveted title of Best Long Island Blog.

Polls are open through Dec. 15 and you can vote daily for your favorites – not just us, but your favorite craft brewery and alternative energy company and the best of LI’s best in dozens of other categories. Find us among the Arts & Entertainment entries, and thanks for your vote(s)!

Built to last: Still an active “ship of state” in the U.S. Navy, the USS Constitution – the only active Navy vessel to have sunk another ship in combat – first put to sea on Oct. 21, 1797.

Built to last 2: British inventor Joseph Aspdin earned a UK patent for Portland cement on this date in 1824.

Also patented on Oct. 21 was a unique method of detecting sensitive computer data published illegally by third-party websites, locked up one year ago today by the United Services Automobile Association.

On the beam: A human voice carried all the way across the Atlantic Ocean on Oct. 21, 1915, when the first experimental transatlantic radiotelephone communication was made between a Virginia transmitter and a Paris antenna.

Google it: The Guggenheim opened 61 years ago today.

Spiraling upward: Designed by “organic architecture” legend Frank Lloyd Wright, New York City’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum opened on this date in 1959.

On the beam: A human voice carried all the way across the Atlantic Ocean on Oct. 21, 1915, when the first experimental transatlantic radiotelephone communication was made between a Virginia transmitter and a Paris antenna.

And speaking of telephonic firsts, it was this date in 1977 when mobile phones became a thing – at least, you could walk a few feet and still dial or hang up, thanks to inventor Henry Dreyfuss’ corded Trimline phone, which stuck the dial and switch hook into the handset and first graced shelves in Michigan 43 years ago today.

What a prize: Swedish businessman, chemist, engineer, inventor and philanthropist Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) – who famously invented dynamite, compiled 355 patents and otherwise left his mark – would be 187 years old today.

Talk to the hand: Judge Judy Sheindlin, the longest-ruling arbiter of any TV court show, was born Oct. 21, 1942., in Brooklyn.

Also born on Oct. 21 were Italian mathematician Enrico Betti (1823-1892), topography pioneer and Betti numbers namesake; Canadian-American bacteriologist Oswald Avery (1877-1955), a DNA-focused innovator who laid the foundations for molecular genetics; American food scientist William Mitchell (1911-2004), who invented Pop Rocks, Cool Whip, Tang and other popular junk foods; trumpet virtuoso John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie (1917-1933), who blessed American jazz with previously unexplored layers of harmonic complexity; and last surviving “Honeymooners” star Joyce “Trixie Norton” Randolph (born 1924).

You be the judge: And take a bow, Judith Susan Sheindlin – the ex-prosecutor, former Manhattan family court judge, television producer and author known best as TV personality Judge Judy turns 78 today.

Honor her honor with a birthday wish at, where it pleases the court to receive your story tips and we have no objections to your calendar items. We rest our case.


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The cupboard is full: The Grizzly Cupboard, part of New York Tech’s healthful Bear Bytes initiative, has been stocked by Stop & Shop.

Stop & Donate: Student food pantries operated by the New York Institute of Technology are swelling with wholesome foodstuffs donated by one of Long Island’s most prominent supermarket chains.

Actually, the Massachusetts-based Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. has virtually stocked the shelves of the Grizzly Cupboard, a new pantry system on New York Tech’s Old Westbury and New York City campuses, with a generous donation of $10,000 in Stop & Shop gift cards, allowing the individual pantries to resupply as needed. The Grizzly Cupboard opened earlier this month as a free and confidential resource for students, offering healthy and nonperishable food items through New York Tech’s Bear Bytes initiative, which delivers students a bounty of wellness content.

Stop & Shop is also providing direct access to health and wellness products for distribution through the Bear Bytes effort. “We are grateful to Stop & Shop for its partnership and sense of community,” said Tiffani Blake, New York Tech assistant provost for student engagement and development. “It will require a collaborative effort to help address the societal need and resolve the problem of food insecurity.”

CRAFTy veterans: The East End Food Institute has resumed a popular apprenticeship program designed to expose tomorrow’s farmers to today’s top agricultural tools and techniques.

The Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training program, coordinated by the EEFI in partnership with several Long Island-based partners, resumed this month after a COVID-induced hiatus. Designed to create peer-to-peer educational opportunities, CRAFT offers guided tours and hands-on activities introducing apprentices – including professionals from other types of farming operations – to a variety of successful agricultural models seeing action across the East End’s vineyards, orchards, fish and shellfish hatcheries and other working farms.

With “new normal” precautions including limited attendance, mask requirements and social distancing in effect, the EEFI is hoping to hear from both apprentices and regional farmers interested in growing the CRAFT program. For more information, email



Peas in a pod: A Huntington-based marketing agency is reaching out to the media savvy – including rival marketers – with high-quality podcast productions.

Cognitive collaboration: A multidiscipline team of Stony Brook University scientists is tracking similar brain biomarkers found in 9/11 responders and Alzheimer’s patients.

Innovation in the Age of Coronavirus: Micro-clusters, haunted campgrounds and other horrors, all lurking in Long Island’s one-and-only pandemic primer … be afraid.



Nonprofits anchor Jeffrey Reynolds taps some maternal instincts this week, offering smart solutions to the COVID-compounded professional childcare crisis, which is especially hard on moms.



One hand washes the central processor-enabled gripping claw: To get smarter and faster, AI will always need humans, and vice-versa. Forbes explains.

Best bet: Best Buy is partnering with multinational professional-services ace Accenture to diversify its internal tech and talent. The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports.

Computer virus: COVID-19 has had some very specific effects on global tech industries. Business 2 Community counts them up.



+ Twentyeight Health, a New York City-based telemedicine company focused on women’s sexual and reproductive health, raised $5.1 million in seed funding led by Third Prime, Town Hall Ventures, SteelSky Ventures, Aglaé Ventures, GingerBread Capital, Rucker Park Capital, Predictive VC and strategic angels including Stu Libby, Zoe Barry and Wan Li Zhu.

+ Solarea Bio, a Massachusetts-based biotech developing microbial healthcare solutions, raised $11.2 million in Series A financing led by S2G Ventures and Bold Capital Partners, with participation from Viking Global and Gisev Family Office.

+ Sonrai Security, a NYC-based public cloud-security company, secured $20 million in Series B funding led by Menlo Ventures, with participation from founding investor Polaris Partners and Series A lead investor Ten Eleven Ventures.

+ Ateios, an Indiana-based maker of a paper-thin customizable battery, raised $1.25 million in seed funding led by Good Growth Capital, Keshif Ventures, Techstars Ventures, Elevate Ventures, HG Ventures, Impact Assets and VisionTech Angels.

+ Fiveable, a Wisconsin-based online social learning company, secured $2.3 million in venture capital funding led by BBG Ventures, Metrodora Ventures, Deborah Quazzo, Spero Ventures, Matchstick Ventures, Cream City Venture Capital, 27V, Golden Angel Investors and SoGal.

+ Agility Robotics, an Oregon-based maker of legged robots, closed a $20 million funding round led by DCVC and Playground Global, TDK Ventures, MFV Partners, the Industrial Technology Investment Corp., Sony Innovation Fund and Safar Partners.



Origin story: Not what you think.

Are you out of your gourd? The fairly unceremonious history of pumpkin beer.

Have you ever considered…? How over-inquisitive leaders can easily derail innovation.

Any questions? You bet – here are dozens of good ones for job candidates to ask during their interview.

They’ve got answers: Please continue supporting the amazing institutions that support Innovate LI, including the New York Institute of Technology, where some of the region’s brightest educators, administrators and researchers already know what you’re going to ask.