No. 78: Gluons, fake skin and white bucks for Billy the Kid

ISOTOPIA: The Nuclear Science Advisory Committee is pretty much what it sounds like – a group of scientists that advises the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation on ways to keep America at the forefront of nuclear science.

Membership does not require heavy lifting – the group gets around to issuing advice only every few years – but its recommendations can mean serious ducats for the places in which those ideas get built.

Take Lansing, Mich., where they’re putting up an NSAC-proposed facility to study what are called rare isotope beams, short-lived atomic nuclei that are so rare they are not actually found on Earth at all.

The facility is budgeted at $730 million and will employ many, many construction workers for another seven years or so, after which a few hundred scientists will move in to operate it for many more years to come. I believe the scientific term is “Ka-Ching.”

Now the advisory committee has turned its attention to the nation’s urgent need for an electron-ion collider. Urgency, as you’ll see, being relative. The collider would allow unprecedented insights into how protons and neutrons are built up from quarks, and the particles that act between them, known as gluons. (Not sure how one takes that to market, but it certainly sounds interesting.)

Building the collider could cost $1 billion or so and employ many, many construction workers for at least a decade, before a staff of hundreds of scientists move in to operate it. And it will be built either in Virginia or right here at our own Brookhaven National Lab.

The trades should not start calling Doon Gibbs just yet. A decision on where the facility will be built is still a couple of years away, and the first shovel won’t hit dirt until 2020. By the time it opens in 2030, many of us may have trouble recalling what a gluon actually is.

What’s important to remember now is that, all else being equal, New York quarks are vastly superior to Virginia quarks. If you know anyone on the advisory committee, spread the word.

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THE DEBRIEF: Applied DNA Sciences, the Stony Brook startup that uses genetic markers to protect everything from currency to fine wine, is having a helluva year, with important new partnerships, a corporate acquisition and a nod from the Russell Microcap Index. Founder Jim Hayward tells all.

FLY BY: Luminati Aerospace, the Brooklyn startup that wants to build drones at the former Grumman test site at Calverton, makes an appearance before the Riverhead Town board tomorrow. Great opportunity for all of you seeking face time with CEO Daniel Preston.

JUST BEHIND BOSTON: Venture rounds by BuzzFeed and Hindi music-streaming service Saavn helped the New York metro area pull in $1.8 billion in VC investment in the third quarter, up 3% over the same period a year ago, according to the MoneyTree Report from PwC and based on data that tends to ignore smaller investment firms like the ones on Long Island. So it’s likely even bigger.

TOUCHING NEWS: You’ve heard all about prosthetic hands. Now comes artificial skin.

VIACOM DIOS: Cablevision, busy tidying things about before its $17.7 billion sale to Altice, has settled a years-old legal dispute with Viacom over the outrageous fees charged cable companies not willing to carry less-popular channels like Logo and Palladia along with MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and BET. The two are now “entering into mutually beneficial business arrangements.”

IF YOU CARE: Still haven’t figured out the Affordable Care Act? Government is here to help. The SBA is hosting free webinars every other Thursday, beginning Oct. 29. Registration required.

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AND FINALLY: A tintype purchased for $2 at a Fresno antique shop turns out to feature Billy the Kid, considered “the Holy Grail of Western Americana,” one expert told NPR. Value: $5 million or so, even though the shot shows the Kid playing … croquet.

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.