No. 558: Three Kings, two ore extractions and one very unlucky species – plus, the pandemic primer plows on

Spinmeister: Among the most popular television gameshows of all time, "Wheel of Fortune" was first broadcast on the NBC network 46 years ago today.


New and improved: Hello, dear readers, and welcome to a bold new year of socioeconomic innovation on Long Island and around the world.

Yes, the pandemic still weighs heavy on our everyday existence, and will for months to come. But dreadful 2020 is kaput and a new year, brimming with hope and promise, has arrived.

Like Dave Hamilton says (see below), whatever doesn’t kill you … so since we’re all still here, let’s roll up our sleeves and innovate the $&%# outta this thing.

Full of beans: Good for the heart, today especially.

Have an Epiphany: It’s Jan. 6 out there – Three Kings Day (a.k.a. the Epiphany), when the three wise men finally found Jesus.

It’s also National Cuddle Up Day, which helps release the important hormone oxytocin, and National Bean Day, known for its own unique releases.

Dot’s big: Marking a breakthrough in long-distance communications, the telegraph machine was first demonstrated by inventor Samuel Morse on Jan. 6, 1838

Either ore: It’s a big date for creative ore extraction. The first U.S. patent related to iron extraction was issued to New Jersey innovator S. Broadmeadow on Jan. 6, 1844, while Pennsylvania manufacturer Samuel Wetherill earned the first U.S. patent related to zinc extraction on Jan. 6, 1857.

Heart start: The first adult human-to-human heart transplant was performed 53 years ago today at the Stanford University School of Medicine (the recipient, alas, survived only 15 days).

Big wheel keep on turning: Still imprisoning poor Pat Sajak and Vanna White, the “Wheel of Fortune” was first spun on the NBC Television Network on this date in 1975.

For the record, Chuck Woolery was the gameshow’s first host – Pat and Vanna arrived in 1981 and 1982, respectively.

Dead again: Tale of a tragic clone.

Extinction distinction: And it was Jan. 6, 2000, when the last known Pyrenean ibex was found dead in Spain’s Ordesa National Park, officially registering the wild-goat species as extinct.

True story: Prior to the animal’s death, scientists had collected tissue and blood samples for a cloning attempt, and in January 2009, a baby Pyrenean ibex was born from a surrogate mother, marking the first resurrection of an extinct species. Sadly, the baby died within seven minutes, making the Pyrenean ibex the first species to go extinct twice.

You win some, cellulose some: French chemist Amselme Payen (1795-1871) – who discovered cellulose, refined beet sugar and made other critical contributions to industrial chemistry – would be 226 years old today.

That’s just Rudy: McKinnon (left) turns 37 today.

Also born on Jan. 6 were French aviator Jacques Étienne Montgolfier (1745-1799), a pioneering balloonist; American adventurer Jedediah Smith (1799-1831), the first American to walk into California; Nobel Prize-winning Swiss immunologist Rolf Zinkernagel (born 1944), who really got to know the human immune system; and American actress and writer Kathryn McKinnon Berthold (born 1984), the rubber-faced “Saturday Night Live” standout known best as Kate McKinnon.

Brains of the operation: And take a bow, Eric Frederick Trump! The former reality TV personality-turned-reality TV nightmare and third child (of five) by President Trump and his three wives turns 37 today.

Wish the upstanding founder of the Eric Trump Foundation and all the other Jan. 6 innovators well at, where story tips and calendar events are the foundation of our very existence.


About our sponsor: The Long Island Business Development Council has helped build the regional economy for 50 years by bringing together government economicdevelopment officials, developers, financial experts and others for education, debate and networking



Hot ticket: From the Department of Silver Linings comes a sharp year-over-year increase in applications to State University of New York medical schools, part of a national trend attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SUNY system’s four medical schools, including Stony Brook University’s Renaissance School of Medicine, all reported a surge in MD program applications in 2020. The University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences recorded a 40 percent increase over 2019 applications, while SUNY Upstate Medical University (26.2 percent), the Renaissance School (13.5 percent) and Brooklyn’s Downstate Health Sciences University (8.5 percent) also marked significant year-over-year increases.

The SUNY surge reflects a broader national trend, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, which calculates a nationwide 18 percent year-over-year increase in medical school applications – thanks primarily to “the example set by medical workers, doctors and public health figures,” according to SUNY. “The impacts of science and medicine have never been more evident than they are today,” added Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis. “This novel coronavirus pandemic has … significantly elevated the importance of medical research and innovation.”

Offsides: Northwell is pretty cozy with the Islanders AND Rangers.

Cold war: From the What the Puck file comes Northwell Health, close partner of Long Island’s beloved New York Islanders – and now “presenting partner” of the New York Rangers training camp?!?

This week, New Hyde Park-based Northwell Health (that’s New Hyde Park, Nassau County, on Long Island) announced it has purchased the title, including the honor of being the Rangers’ first-ever “practice jersey sponsor.” In addition, the Rangers and parent Madison Square Garden Sports (both based on Manhattan, a completely different island) will partner with Northwell on the “NYRises” campaign, paying homage to New Yorkers “who have inspired their community during the most difficult times.”

This will all be a delightful surprise to fans of the (Long Island-based) Islanders, who practice daily in the Northwell Health Ice Center and have formed a close bond with their neighbor and primary sponsor that goes way beyond money (but also includes gobs of money). The cold truth is, Northwell’s alliance with the Broadway Blueshirts goes way back – and has done lots of good, according to Madison Square Garden Sports Executive Vice President Ron Skotarczak. “When we expanded our partnership with Northwell Health four years ago, a core focus for each of us was making a positive impact on our communities,” the VP said Monday. “Despite all the challenging moments throughout 2020, we witnessed acts of heroism that show how strong New York truly is.”



Piping hot: An Island-grown, nationally known pharmaceuticals manufacturer will execute a $15 million Suffolk expansion, with help from the county’s IDA.

…makes you stronger: Long Island innovation guru David Hamilton kicks off 2021 by saluting startups that not only survived 2020, but were emboldened by it.

And speaking of heartfelt op-eds, innovators Ray Donnelly and Julie Allegretti stop by to remember former LIFT leader Diane Muscarella, who passed suddenly last month.

Innovation in the Age of Coronavirus: Vaccination hubs rise, EUAs extend and the virus fights back – the war continues, and Long Island’s one-and-only pandemic primer remains on the front lines.



Government regs, media influencers, healthcare breakthroughs, cutting-edge tech, workforce-development initiatives, 21st century education, social services, the latest food-and-beverage trends … if only someone curated an exclusive library of front-line perspectives and enthusiastic guidance by leaders from across the Long Island innovation economy. That would be awesome.



Now ‘Pivot Potential’ is a thing: Understanding innovation in a post-COVID world. Forbes educates.

Didn’t think of that: There’s a unique and undeniable connection between autism and invention. The Wall Street Journal enlightens.

What’s right is rights: The Biden Administration’s innovation initiatives won’t get far without new and improved intellectual-property rights. IP Watchdog makes its case.



+ Atriomx Health, a California-based developer of non-invasive detection/characterization solutions for atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias, secured a $10 million Series A financing round co-led by Ajax Health and Zeus Health.

+ Dive Technologies, a Massachusetts-based subsea robotics designer and manufacturer, raised $4 million in a new equity-funding round led by Tanis Venture Management, Virginia Tech Carilion Innovation Fund, Mill Town Capital, Virginia Tech Carilion Seed Fund, Cavalier Angels and the Charlottesville Angel Network.

+ Superpedestrian, a New York City-based transportation robotics company, raised $60 million in funding. Backers included the Citi Impact Fund, OurCrowd, Winthrop Square Capital and others.

+ Diameter Health, a Connecticut-based leader in health data interoperability, raised $18 million in Series B funding led by Centene Corp., Optum Ventures, LRVHealth, Connecticut Innovations and Activate Venture Partners.

+ AI Clearing, a Texas-based construction-technology startup, raised $2 million in seed funding led by Tera Ventures, with participation from co-investors Inovo Venture Partners and Innovation Nest.

+ AMP Robotics Corp., a Colorado-based leader in artificial intelligence and robotics for the waste industry, raised $55 million in corporate equity in a Series B financing round led by XN, Valor Equity Partners and GV, Sequoia, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, Congruent Ventures and Closed Loop Partners.



Winter soldiers: Forming a protective shell.

Good eats: The foods to eat, and those to avoid, to battle the winter blues.

Better bikes: A simple attachment that turns any bike into an e-bike, in seconds.

Excellent editions: The 14 leadership books you need to read in 2021.

Best of the best: Please continue supporting the amazing organizations that support Innovate LI, including the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council – five decades later, still scripting the Island’s top socioeconomic stories. Check them out.