No. 550: In which Biden, Beethoven and Baby Moses meet (and the yo-yo rises)

Station keeping: The very first section of the International Space Station, a large cargo module, blasted off from Russia 22 years ago today.


It’s their world: We’re just living in it, dear readers, as we reach the end of this latest busy workweek and look ahead to another restful weekend.

Future leaders: At the “25 de Junho” school in Mozambique. (Photo: UN/Eskinder Debebe)

Today is Friday, Nov. 20 – the U.N.’s World Children’s Day, when we’re reminded (or should be) that we’re merely temporary stewards of this planet, keeping it safe for younger generations waiting to do a much better job of it.

That’s ridiculous: For the record, it’s also National Absurdity Day, which seems like just another day in 2020, but there it is.

Quickly: Innovate LI will be celebrating Thanksgiving (in small numbers) next week. Look for your regular calendar newsletter on Nov. 23, and we’ll be back for a full week of engaging newsletters and fresh website content beginning Nov. 30.

P.S., that’s no excuse not to vote for us (every day!) in Bethpage Federal Credit Union’s 2021 Best of Long Island contest. We’re neck-and-neck for Best Long Island Blog, and we only have until Dec. 15 to run up the score. Thanks for your support!

Operatic one-off: Speaking of great scores, Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Fidelio,” the master composer’s only opera, premiered 215 years ago tonight.

No, no: Wrong Yo-Yo.

Yo! Historians believe the yo-yo (or something like it) has been around for nearly 3,000 years, but the modern spin – known then as the “whirligig” – was patented on Nov. 20, 1866, by Ohio inventors James Haven and Charles Hettrick.

Also patented on this date was the “crystal detector” radio antenna (by Greenleaf Packard in 1906) and the automatic traffic signal (by Garrett Morgan in 1923).

I can’t believe it’s not butter: The world’s first artificial blood transfusion took place at University of Minnesota Hospital on this date in 1979, after a Jehovah’s Witness refused a transfusion of real blood.

Sweet Baby Moses: The first successful heart transplant to a newborn infant was completed on Nov. 20, 1985, with 4-day-old Eddie “Baby Moses” Anguiano – born with a fatal heart defect and given just days to live – receiving a donated heart at the Loma Linda University Medical Center in California.

Now 35, Anguiano is alive and well – and that same heart still beats in his chest.

Action station: And it was this date in 1998 when the Zarya Module, the first chunk of the International Space Station, was blasted into space from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The $240 million cargo hold was joined two weeks later by NASA’s Unity connecting module.

Seems nice enough: Landis, playing hardball.

It’s a ridge in Georgia, actually: United States Federal Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1866-1944) – the first-ever commissioner of professional baseball, remembered best for his patriarchal rigidity and unmitigated whooping of anyone who damaged the game’s integrity – would be 154 years old today.

Also born on Nov. 20 were American physicist and astronomer William Coblentz (1873-1962), who improved infrared spectrometers; Canadian biochemist James Collip (1892-1965), who helped discover insulin; American astronomer and telescope namesake Edwin Hubble (1889-1953), the founder of extragalactic astronomy; cartoonist Chester Gould (1900-1985), most famous for two-fisted gumshoe “Dick Tracy”; and veteran American broadcast journalist Judy Carline Woodruff (born 1946), anchor and managing editor of “PBS Newshour.”

Spring in his step: And take a bow, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. – the President-elect of the United States turns 78 today.

Give the iron-fisted autocrat (that’s Landis, not Biden) and all the other Nov. 20 innovators your best at, where we make a mountain out of your story tips and calendar events. Keep them coming, please and thank you.


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Small wonder: The TriClip tricuspid valve-repair device.

Surgery bypass: Two Long Island cardiac centers have joined the clinical trial of a cutting-edge implant that that could eliminate some traumatic open-heart surgeries.

The Northwell Health hospitals – the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital at Manhasset’s North Shore University Hospital and Bay Shore’s South Shore University Hospital – are among 77 international facilities enrolling patients in the safety-and-effectiveness trial of the TriClip, a catheter-based device designed to repair leaky tricuspid valves. Created by Illinois-based healthcare innovator Abbott Laboratories, the TriClip is a new weapon against tricuspid regurgitation (wherein blood flows backward, into the heart) and targets patients “at intermediate or greater estimated risk for mortality or morbidity” with conventional heart surgeries, according to the study description.

Noting limited options for the 1.6 million Americans with moderate to severe TG – including “poor prognosis” therapies and open-heart surgeries that “may be associated with higher risk” – Bruce Rutkin, the Bass Heart Hospital’s director of structural heart disease, enthusiastically welcomed the trial. “While great progress has been made in the treatments for valvular heart disease, treatment for symptomatic tricuspid regurgitation is currently limited,” the cardiologist said. “The structural heart team at Northwell looks forward to … adding to scientific data that will hopefully benefit patients worldwide.”

Stick around: A hefty federal grant will help the State University of New York at Old Westbury boost retention and graduation rates among the students least likely to finish what they’ve started, for socioeconomic and other reasons.

The U.S. Department of Education’s TRIO Student Support Services Program has awarded the college a five-year, $1.3 million grant to bolster personal and academic resources for students from low-income backgrounds, first-generation collegians and students with disabilities. The idea is to help students “whose backgrounds negatively affect their ability to complete their studies,” according to SUNY Old Westbury, with extracurricular efforts like tutoring, career counseling and financial literacy in play.

More than half of SUNY-Old Westbury’s 4,700 enrolled undergraduates meet the TRIO grant’s income, first-generation and/or disability requirements, according to the college. “The goal is to remove the academic, social and financial barriers that can negatively affect rates of persistence and graduation,” noted Cristina Notaro, assistant dean of SUNY Old Westbury’s School of Arts and Sciences and the grant’s principal investigator. “At the same time, we will be linking participating students with real-world opportunities that can serve as further motivation for them to complete their studies.”



Super-duper: Stony Brook University’s new thinking machine is right there with the Japanese supercomputer deemed the world’s fastest and most powerful.

Dry run: The head of a century-old Long Island construction company is warning regional officials to create an Island-wide potable water plan before it’s too late.

Innovation in the Age of Coronavirus: Cuomo’s Thanksgiving downer, Long Island’s first micro-cluster and more cheery news – until those damned vaccines get here, there’s LI’s one-and-only pandemic primer.



A multinational startup with an ambitious AI agenda will monitor the bridges of Suffolk County.



Innovate LI’s inbox overrunneth with inspirational innovations from all North American corners. This week’s brightest out-of-towners:

From Florida: Tampa-based digital-storage innovator TVM.Bio releases patent-pending Smart COVID Card to help control outbreaks.

From Oklahoma: Oklahoma City-based app developer FairTran releases all-ages “Roll of Fortune” game, with business-building advantages.

From Florida: Boca Raton-based “geospatial collaboration” specialist Immersive Wisdom unleashes robotic dogs and other futuristic tech on the U.S. Air Force.



Luz Fonacier

+ Luz Fonacier has been elected president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. She is the head of the Allergy Section at NYU Langone Hospital-Long Island in Mineola.

+ Ashish Nelluvely has joined Mineola-based Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein and Breitstone as counsel in the Labor and Employment Practice Group. She previously served as an attorney with Manhattan-based Messner Reeves.

+ Jaime Nieto has been appointed director of neurosurgery at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills. He previously served as section chief of neurologic and spine surgery at New York-Presbyterian Queens Hospital and as a clinical assistant professor of neurological surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College.

+ John Campana has been named an inaugural member of the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association’s New Lawyers Committee. He’s an associate in Uniondale-based Rivkin Radler’s Complex Torts and Product Liability Practice Group.

+ Elizabeth Doyle has been named assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and accountability for the South Country Central School District. She previously served as principal of the John Marshall Elementary School in East Hampton.

+ Sean McAleavey has joined the West Islip School District as director of school safety. He previously served as an explosive-detection canine handler for MSA Security, stationed at the United Nations in Manhattan.



Sun block: It’s two months of darkness for Utqiagvik.

Dark: Always looking at the bright side can create “toxic positivity.”

Darker: An optical clock has changed scientists’ minds about dark matter.

Darkest: It’s going to be a long “polar night” for America’s northernmost town.

Bright ideas: From brilliant branding to wicked-cool web design, the creativity always shines through at Bowen, one of the amazing firms that support Innovate LI. Check them out.



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