Of Santa’s Elves and Good Business Practices and Getting Things Done

Santa Claus and Elves in Santa’s Workshop
(image credit: Heritage Puzzle Company)

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services, founded in 1987, is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

It is our privilege to work for, and provide services to, successful and innovative businesses that range in size, operational scope, and renown– from major multinationals with hundreds of thousands of employees … to small businesses, with fewer than 10 employees, and which primarily provide products or services to the local community.

And every Willwork client receives the same uncompromising excellence in service and responsiveness.

Willwork likes to use its social media network, and other communications vehicles, to express admiration for … and tout and herald … standout achievement in performance across all sectors of life – whether business, military and defense, sports, the arts, education, spiritual life, politics … you name it.

Willwork commits considerable time and resources to employee training and education – and we enlist and apply in our business the winning strategies and tactics we have observed working across many different segments of industry and society.

Observing and listening, asking questions, studying, and analyzing … helps us to learn what to do – and what not to do.

Here we are, now, in the first week of December, and in the home stretch and approaching “game time” are the efforts – ongoing for almost the entire year now – of an organization from which Willwork, and all businesses, can obtain value and benefit in studying.

We are talking about that amazing enterprise located at the North Pole: Santa’s Workshop, where elves, under the direction of Santa Claus, build and put together and fasten toys and other presents.

On Christmas Eve and into Christmas morning, the presents will be transported to good boys and girls around the world.  Providing the transport will be Santa Claus and his sleigh pulled by eight flying reindeer; their names are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen

Sometimes the pulling team has nine reindeer.  You see, on the occasion of particularly bad weather, added to the team is a special reindeer – his name is Rudolph –  who possesses a nose that emits a powerful flood of red light that cuts through rain, fog, and snow … or any combination thereof … and illuminates the path ahead.

Just an incredibly efficient system of production, organization, and logistics.

Santa and his elves and flying reindeer have been performing like Amazon, FedEx, and UPS for centuries.

As for the elves.  In today’s post, we are featuring and giving major love and props to the elves. We are making sure that the elves receive the acclaim that they have earned.

Santa Claus approves.  Believe us.

And, for sure, Santa Claus cares deeply about his elves – and the entire workshop operation.

Consider this excerpt from a post, “Protecting Santa’s Elves,” published on December 5, 2013 in Risk Conversation, a blog of the global property and casualty insurance giant Chubb:

“Santa is serious about risk management and has assigned one of his elves the task of safety director. The safety director has developed a regular inspection program to insure that all the elves are wearing proper hearing protection, that all walkways and parking lots are properly cleared of snow, and that the workshop meets all the North Poles fire codes.”

Santa Claus is thorough about risk management.  For example, as also explained in the “Protecting Santa’s Elves” post:  “When elves are on the road, Santa has foreign voluntary workers compensation to help compensate the elves if they are injured or become ill during their work abroad.”

Smart and accomplished business minds recognize the winning practices of Santa – and his elves.

Among those business minds is Dr. Philip R. Geist, Area Director for the Small Business Development Center at the University of North Florida (SBDC), and an international business management consultant who has advised Fortune 500 companies.

Dr. Geist writes a blog called Speaking of Business, for OCALA.com.   On December 18, 2017, the post, “Santa and the Elves,” was published at the Speaking of Business blog.

“No, it’s not a new rock group,” writes Dr. Geist.  “Santa and the Elves are successful entrepreneurs who employ good management practices to have an effective business model. Let’s take a closer look at some of those practices.”

Here’s what Dr. Geist has to say about Santa and his elves and intellectual property:

“Santa and the Elves have several trade secrets, as closely held as the Coca-Cola recipe.  These include the ability to deliver world-wide in one night, and the ability to enter buildings unseen to deliver presents whether a chimney is present or not. By keeping these as trade secrets, Santa and the Elves have no competition. Your business must protect those intellectual property assets that make it unique, either by copyright, trademark, patent, or trade secret. In many businesses their intellectual property is the largest asset, protecting it will limit or eliminate competition.”

 Santa’s elves have long been hip and totally up-to-date on smartly using best-in-class technology to make processes more efficient and productive.

Matthew Anderson, a veteran technical solutions professional, wrote about his business trip to the North Pole and a meeting he had with Santa’s Chief of Elf Operations (CEO).

Mr. Anderson now works for Microsoft.  But it was two years ago, when he was in the  employ of Hitachi Solutions, that he wrote a post for a Hitachi blog about how Santa’s CEO was using the business management software Dynamics 365, a Microsoft product.  (As is the case today, Hitachi and Microsoft are strategic business partners.)

Here is the first paragraph of Mr. Anderson’s post, “Dynamics 365 Lets Elves Visualize and Automate their North Pole Processes”:

“I travel a lot in my role at Hitachi Solutions. During a recent visit to the North Pole, I checked in with Santa’s CEO (Chief of Elf Operations) to catch up. While she is under NDA and couldn’t disclose anything from Santa’s naughty/nice list, I was able to get some feedback on how her team uses the new visual process editor in Dynamics 365 to keep things running smoothly in the workshop. Why is she so excited?”

To find out why the Chief of Elf Operations was so excited please click here to be taken to the full post (which gets a bit technical).

Perhaps the most important aspect and element that supports the elves business success is that they like what they do, and that they work in a supportive and happy environment and culture.

All businesses can benefit from happy employees.

That is the contention Susan M. Heathfield, a management consultant  specializing in human resources and management development, who is frequently quoted in business media stories. Among the outlets that have quoted Ms. Heathfield are The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Forbes.

Ms. Heathfield wrote a post, “Happy Employees Are More Productive in an Elf-Friendly Workplace,” that was published on December 15 of last year on the blog of the award-winning and popular career website, The Balance Careers, for which she writes regularly.

“Workplaces that emulate Santa’s workshop resonate with excitement, engagement, positive employee morale, and employee motivation,” writes Ms. Heathfield.  “Happy employees are more productive, too.”

The subtitle of Ms. Heathfield’s post is “10 Reasons Why Employees Are Happy and Engaged in an Elf-Friendly Workplace.”

If you click here you will be taken to the complete post where you can read up on those 10 reasons.

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Happy and productive as Santa’s Elves.

Willwork submits that this is a preferred way to live – and a preferred way to work and do business.

Happy Holidays!!

 

 

 

 

Into the Holiday Season … of Santa’s Elves and Good Business Practices and Getting Things Done

Of Thanksgiving and Remembrance, and Gratitude

1918 U.S. Food Administration poster urging food conservation (image credit: Library of Congress)

In this space, Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services talks about and features news from the tradeshow and events industry.  We especially like to tout and herald good news about our clients.

We also use the Insights blog as a place to talk about history and current events and holidays.  Here we sometimes make mention and tout what is most important about the human condition.  Here we herald people doing noble and virtuous work.

And, overall, and broadly, on Insights, we either directly discuss our industry … or we tie, let’s say, indirectly, the history, the current events, the holidays … and noble and virtuous people … to our business and the work we do.

For example, please click here to be taken to this year’s Memorial Day post, and here to be transported to last year’s Thanksgiving post; and clicking here will bring you our 2016 Veterans Day post.

It is also fairly certain that if a subject or event or topic or anniversary is important then there is an exhibition dedicated to the subject, the event, the topic, or the anniversary.  On Insights, we feature the exhibitions.

Willwork is in the exhibition and exhibit business.

Today, the day prior to Thanksgiving 2018, Willwork submits for consideration a remembrance, and encourages a reflection, on an important centennial – of November and 1918.  Of the armistice that ended the Great War, and which took effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, and of a disease that still raged throughout the planet as the guns fell silent, and would continue to do so for another year.

That war, which today is most commonly referred to as World War I, was a true global engagement waged by nations and vast empires, on land and at sea.  As well, the war was the first involving large-scale use of aircraft.

The conflict directly killed 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians.

This was also the conflict that was widely and improvidently … and hauntingly … proclaimed to be the War to End All Wars.

Willwork Exhibition & Event Services recommends, for memory and honoring and education, the award-winning National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, MO.  Among the present exhibitions at the National World War I Museum and Memorial – which houses the world’s largest collection of World War I artifacts – are Diggers and Doughboys: The Art of Allies 100 Years On, Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: The Doughboys 1917-1918, and War Around Us: Soldier Artist Impressions.

During the period of the Great War, massive mobilization of troops across vast distances contributed to the rapid spread of the influenza A (H1N1) virus, the pathogen that wreaked catastrophe in the form of what is popularly known as the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic, which actually lasted from 1918 through 1920.

As many as 500 million worldwide were infected with the virus, and anywhere from 50 to 100 million died (which was then about three to five percent of the world’s population), making the epidemic the deadliest natural disaster in history, and a bigger killer than World War I and World War II combined.

There have been, especially in this centenary year, several physical and digital 1918 Spanish Flu exhibitions sponsored by museums and colleges and universities.  One now open, at the Richard E. Bjork Library at Stockton University in New Jersey, is “A Century Later: The Spanish Flu in New Jersey.”  Curator and developer of the exhibition is Brendan Honick, a junior at Stockton University.

Please click here to read a story, published yesterday, that features Mr. Honick’s exhibition.

Perhaps, now, the reader may have had enough of a quotient of death and gloom.

Especially, really, all of this on the cusp of the holiday season.

Well, the fact is, we want to put things in perspective.   We want to encourage some thinking about just how good things are in the United States – our flawed and imperfect republic.  Yes, for sure, America … this America … we are beset with mistakes, sins, and injustice.

And we … America … are also far and away the greatest nation on earth.  No country offers more opportunity – and no country does a better job protecting the rights to which all humans are heir at the moment of their birth.

Willwork – a company with offices in major metropolitan areas across this nation, and which works in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets throughout the U.S. – knows well this United States of America.

We dare say that, on the whole … and far and away … that on this Thanksgiving, an expression of gratitude is in order from the populace.  We should think about and consider what is right and good, and not allow cynicism to steer us in to wallowing and setting anchor in the swirl and festering pool of what is wrong.

Again, perspective.

On Monday, the Pantagraph, a daily newspaper that covers central Illinois, published an installment in its series, A Page From Our Past (PFOP), a section in which the newspaper looks at significant and important historic events and episodes that took place in the Pantagraph coverage area, and inserts into the story excerpts from Pantagraph articles that covered those events, those episodes, as they happened.

The PFOP choice for November 19, 2018 was wholly appropriate.

Here are some selections from, “PFOP: Profound gratitude, relief marked Thanksgiving 1918,” by Bill Kemp:

“Was there ever a more thankful Thanksgiving than the one held Nov. 28, 1918, which came fast on the heels of the one-two punch represented by the end of World War I and the arrival of the great influenza pandemic? ….

“ …. Never in the history of the world has there been greater rejoicing and for a more earnest expression of thanks than at this time, following four years of bloody warfare,” declared The Pantagraph on the occasion of Thanksgiving 1918 ….

“ …. The armistice took effect on Nov. 11, 1918 — the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” The news from Europe reached Bloomington at 1:50 a.m. local time on Tuesday, Nov. 12. By 3:00 a.m., downtown Bloomington was packed with raucous residents of every age, race and class ….

“ …. It was a muted Thanksgiving at the Illinois Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home (later known as the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School) in north Normal, what with more than 100 children still sick with the influenza. Those with an appetite enjoyed a chicken dinner, oysters, and other “eatables and treats” thanks in part to a last-minute gift of $75 by the local grand lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellow … ”

Amid the pain and suffering, people performed at their best, and found occasion for thanks … and for optimism.

Would more of our joined and collaborative societal conduct be of this noble nature.

Willwork wishes everyone a HAPPY THANKSGIVING, and JOYOUS LAUNCH of the HOLIDAY SEASON!!

Among the Biggest and Happiest and Most Fun Events …. as Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Will Tell You … Are Those Held for Championship Sports Teams

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.  Some of the exhibitions and events we service and handle are corporate parties.  We admire parties that are well-planned and well-orchestrated, whether they are big parties, small parties, or midsize parties.

Among the best parties on earth are those that cities and metropolitan areas hold to honor and celebrate the championships of their professional sports teams.  These parties can be quite big, attracting a million, or two million, even three million or more.

On Wednesday of last week,  Halloween, New England honored and celebrated the Boston Red Sox winning the 2018 World Series.   It did so with what is now – and has been since 2002 – a quintessential regional party:  a “rolling rally” duck boat parade through the streets of Boston.

The “Sox” beat the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to one in the best-of-seven-game series.  Now, while, of course, the Willwork corporate headquarters is located in the Boston suburbs, we also have a busy and thriving Los Angeles operation.  The recent World Series result was going to be, for Willwork employees and its contract laborers, occasion for smiles and moping no matter what team won.

And this year it was the Red Sox.

How many were on hand for the victory bash last week?  Smart estimates place the number of revelers in the one-million range.

The inaugural Boston duck boat parade (which is, remember, also a rally) was held in 2002 to celebrate the New England Patriots franchise winning its first Super Bowl.  About a million revelers attended the event.

It was the first of 11 duck boat parades in the city: five for the Patriots (2002, 2004, 2005, 2015, 2017), four for the Red Sox (2004, 2007, 2013, 2018), and one each for the Boston Bruins (2011) and Boston Celtics (2008).  It’s been a nice era for New England professional sports fans.

Of all the duck boat parades, the one that drew the largest attendance – three million – was the parade held for the 2004 Boston Red Sox, the team that ended the 86-year Red Sox championship drought.  That’s a lot of people.

Then, again, it makes sense, the crowd size.  Really.  You wait that long … and over that five-decade wait, the Sox won four American League pennants, yet lost in seven games in all four World Series.  (And we need not rehash Game 6 of the 1986 World Series which Boston, leading the New York Mets in the series, 3-2, had won – but then it hadn’t.)

The 2004 Red Sox parade scored the second biggest crowd to date for a sports championship party,

What party holds to the top spot in the category of highest attendance for a sports championship party?

That would be the rally and parade held for the 2016 Chicago CubsThe estimated crowd size was five million.

Rally and Parade for 2016 Chicago Cubs, World Series Champion (image credit: WGN9 TV)

What was the big deal about the Chicago Cubs win?  Well, you see, Chicago loves its “Cubbies,” a franchise founded in 1870 as the Chicago White Stockings.  And, like the Red Sox, the Cubs play in a hallowed and iconic place – Wrigley Field, which opened in 1914.  Only Fenway Park, which hosted its first game in 1912, is an older MLB park.

There is also the condition of millions of people holding affection for a long time for a team that didn’t win for a long time.  The Chicago Cubs had not won a World Series for a long time.

Chicago’s seven-game World Series win over the Cleveland Indians ended the longest North American professional sports team championship drought in history: 108 years.  In fact, prior to the 2016 season, the Cubs had not won a National League pennant in 71 years, which was an MLB pennant drought record.

People in the Chicago area wanted to party.  A lot of people in the Chicago area wanted to party. And they did.

Curiously, if the Indians had won Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, you could count that at least a million, maybe more, would have shown up for that championship parade.  After all, on June 22, 2016, one million people showed up to fete the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers  – a turnout that, according to Wikipedia, made the crowd the sixth largest sports celebration ever.

The Cleveland Indians have their own long streak of futility, not having won a World Series since 1948, which, as the 2016 “Fall Classic” began, was the second longest time in the MLB desert without a championship.  (Although, prior to 2016, Cleveland’s most recent American League pennant win was 1997.)  Played up in the press was the fact that the meeting of the Cubs and Indians in the World Series was a MLB record-setter for most combined number of years of a championship drought:  176.

Cleveland had known a long championship-barren era.

In fact, when the Cavaliers, and LeBron James, beat the Golden State Warriors heir 2016 title, it ended 52 consecutive years that Cleveland had not won a major professional championship – the NFL title that the Cleveland Browns won in 1964 (its fourth in the 15 years it had been in the league).

To get back to Chicago – actually the broader Chicago area – for a bit, we restate that it is a region and place that holds and nurtures a fervent following for its sports teams.  A crowd of two million attended the rally/parade celebrating the Chicago Black Hawks winning the 2013 Stanley Cup.

And Willwork makes sure to mention here that our Chicago operation has long been highly successful, and enjoys strong and consistent growth.

Then, again, Willwork maintains offices in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States. Across the country, we work in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets.

It is likely that wherever is the next big celebration for a pro sports championship, Willwork has an office close by … as will be the case for the following celebration … and the one after that … and the … anyway, you know what we are saying.

America loves to win.  America loves to party.

And here we reference the words written by journalist W.F. Deeds, in 1999, about the high level of intensity and fervor and joy that Americans displayed that year during the final stages, and in the aftermath of, the U.S. team beating the European squad in the Ryder Cup international golf tournament played at The Country Club in Brookline, MA.

Many on the other side of the Atlantic felt that the nature and character of the celebrating, of players and fans, was inappropriate and crass and over the top.   But not Mr. Deedes, the former editor of the Telegraph newspaper of London.  He wrote:

“I found myself feeling faintly jealous of America’s capacity for emotion. We shrug our shoulders a lot. They really care. They want to win. They hate to lose. And this carries them beyond a golf game at Brookline.”

Yes, America loves to win   America loves to party.

And there will never be a shortage of Americans showing up to be a part of both.

 

 

 

The 2018 World Series. Two Classic and Storied Teams. Two Classic and Storied Ballparks

Fenway Park, Opening of 2013 World Series (image credit: United States Air Force)

A fundamental component of the business of Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is structures and design and architecture. A big part of what we do involves installing and dismantling exhibits and displays – some that are temporary, some that are permanent.

Willwork appreciates beauty and functionality in design.  We have a soft spot for both the new and different and even odd in form and arrangement – and for the antique and vintage and classic.

And this brings us to the 2018 Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series pitting the American League champion Boston Red Sox against the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

Both franchises are among the most iconic and storied in sports.

Dodger Stadium in 2006 (image credit: Junkyardsparkle)

Both franchises call home a facility that also holds high rank for iconic and storied.

A lot of history in this World Series.

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In 1901, the American League (AL) was created.  One of the charter teams was the Boston Americans, which would become the Boston Red Sox in 1908.

The LA Dodgers have even a longer history, going back to 1884 and the city of Brooklyn (which would not become part of New York City until 1898), and the launch of a baseball club called the Brooklyn Atlantics. The Atlantics were one of the founding teams of the National League (NL).

Fenway Park opened in Boston in 1912 – and since 1912, Fenway Park has been the home of the Boston Red Sox.

The Brooklyn Dodgers began play in 1932.  From their first game until the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles at the end of the 1956 season, the team’s home park was Ebbets Field, which had been completed in 1913.

When the Brooklyn Dodgers left New York City and Ebbets Field, and arrived in Hollywood, their home field for a year was Roosevelt Park; the team then played for two seasons at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

For the start of the 1962 season, the Dodgers took residence in the newly-built Dodger Stadium.   And there the Dodgers remain.

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Fenway Park is the oldest Major League Baseball field.  It is peculiar and special.

“Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark,” wrote the novelist and essayist John Updike.  “Everything is painted green and seems in curiously sharp focus, like the inside of an old-fashioned peeping-type Easter Egg.”

Dodger Stadium is the third oldest Major League Park (the second oldest is Chicago’s Wrigley Field, opened in 1914), and the oldest west of the Mississippi.

As explained in the Wikipedia entry on Dodger Stadium, the park “was one of the last baseball-only facilities built before the dawn of the multi-purpose stadium.”

While Dodger Stadium has undergone considerable renovation through the years, it is still very much a classic American baseball stadium.

Home-improvement brand powerhouse and guru Bob Vila published on his site an article,   “10 Iconic Baseball Stadiums Its Worth a Roadtrip to See.”   Mr. Villa has included Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium in the piece.

Mr. Vila notes that Fenway Park’s “quirks’ include “’The Triangle’ and the Green Monster, sections of the outfield walls so unusual they sport their own nicknames.”

“Dodger Stadium’s architecture is modern in its simplicity,” writes Mr. Vila. “The style helps keep all eyes on the game.”

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For sure, this is a World Series played by classic and vintage franchises, and played in classic and vintage spaces.

It is all good for baseball – and for all of us who are enthralled and caught up in the majesty and drama of the World Series, no matter for which team we are rooting.

About The Blockchain – and How This is One More Area and One More Technology in Which IBM … a Longtime Willwork Client … Is A Global Leader in Providing Winning Solutions to Companies and Other Organizations

(image credit: SD Times)

Just about everyone has heard about blockchain (formerly block chain) – a method of digital ledger keeping that is the foundation of something that almost everyone has also heard about – cryptocurrencies – with the most famous of those cryptocurrencies being bitcoin, which … yes … just about everyone has heard.

Now, having said that we are all aware of blockchain and cryptocurrencies and bitcoin, it must be also noted that not many people know that much about any of it.

For a helpful and very … very … simplified and cosmic overview and description of blockchain, we share here an excerpt from a Fortune story, “Wait, What Is Blockchain?” published May 23, 2016, and written by Robert Hackett:

“ …. This coding breakthrough—which consists of concatenated blocks of transactions—allows competitors to share a digital ledger across a network of computers without need for a central authority. No single party has the power to tamper with the records: the math keeps everyone honest …. ”

Blockchain was born in 1991, co-created by cryptographers Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta.

Yet it would not be until October 2008, when a whitepaper, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” was published, that commenced a rapidly unfolding, if you will, chain of events, that brought the term “blockchain” popular public attention, and introduced “bitcoin” to the public dialogue.  The author, or authors, of the whitepaper – commonly called the “bitcoin whitepaper” – was, and still remains, only identified by the pseudonym            Satoshi Nakamoto.

Cryptocurrency quickly skyrocketed as a phenomenon, attracting masses of investors, those looking to make money trading cryptocurrency, and people and businesses figuring on how to use cryptocurrency to buy and sell (to pay and be paid).

Please click here to be taken to the Crypto Timeline, which lists … and provides links to more information about … important events in the history of cryptocurrency, starting with the publishing of the bitcoin whitepaper and on up until August 2017.

Today there are close to 1,000 cryptocurrencies.  A cryptocurrency fever remains – yet one of a lower grade than the fever of years past.  Skepticism and serious doubts of the viability and durability of the cryptocurrency continue to grow.

Indeed, smart and insightful technology and business minds are presenting and discussing a cryptocurrency bubble.

Still, it is important to note that many brilliant and insightful financial minds are powerfully bullish on the future of cryptocurrency.

Consider that, earlier this week, Fidelity Investments – the company which, with $7.2 trillion in assets under administration, is the world’s fourth largest asset manager – announced the launch of a company to support institutional investors trade two cryptocurrencies.

Please click here to be taken to a Fortune story, “Fidelity Launches Company to Help Hedge Funds and Other Big Investors Trade Crypto,” written by Kevin Kelleher, and published on October 16.

Whether or not Fidelity has bet correctly, what does continue to be hot and increasingly used, and increasingly explored for utility, is the blockchain.  And, for sure, the blockchain digital ledger is a powerful and accurate form of record keeping, inventorying, and tracking that can be enlisted across the vastness of industry and human endeavor.

IBM IS A LEADER IN BLOCKCHAIN SOLUTIONS

IBM – a company that it has long been the privilege of Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services to call a client – is out front in developing blockchain solutions for organizations.   Big Blue has developed a business segment dedicated to helping private enterprises and other groups use the blockchain to improve operations and delivery of products and services.

Clicking here takes you to the homepage of IBM Blockchain, an area of the IBM online presence where the company markets its blockchain services – and where is found a trove of information about blockchain, including a “Blockchain 101” tutorial on the technology (offered is a free download of the IBM eBook Blockchain for Dummies), a description of IBM blockchain solutions, and examples of how companies and other groups are winning through the adoption and use of IBM Blockchain.

“Each day, forward-thinking companies are transforming blockchain’s promise into bottom-line business results,” it is explained on the IBM Blockchain homepage. “And they’re doing it with IBM Blockchain.”

(image credit: IBM)

Today, Willwork is highlighting and featuring an IBM Blockchain solution which is creating a global food supply that is safer, works more efficiently, has improved sustainability, and which three days ago the company announced it is making commercially available.

IBM Food Trust is the solution; it has been in development for 18 months.

Following is an excerpt from the Forbes story,  “Ready To Rumble: IBM Launches Food Trust Blockchain For Commercial Use,” by Aaron Stanley, published on October 8:

“The launch marks one of the first times that an enterprise blockchain network has been fully deployed at this degree of scale.

“The IBM Food Trust platform, as it is known, has heretofore been demoed exclusively in pilots and proofs of concept – to trace mangoes throughout a supply chain, for example. In September, retail giant Walmart announced that it would begin requiring its suppliers to implement the system to track bags of spinach and heads of lettuce [please see nearby graphic].

(image credit: IBM)

“But on Monday, IBM announced that its solution-as-a-service cloud platform is now available to all players in the food supply chain, a move that will likely drive unprecedented visibility and veracity into the sourcing and certification of fresh produce and proteins.”

One more example of IBM being a world leader in pioneering and innovating technology to serve humanity and commerce.

Here on the Insights blog we will continue to feature current and recent news about IBM.

 

 

 

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Honors the First Organized Women’s Work Society in the United States. It is a Society to Which Willwork Has a Strong Historic Connection

Daughters of Liberty Weaving

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibitions service and event project management.

On the last day of August, on our Facebook page, we published a post about our client Benco Dental being named by the National Association of Female Executives (NAFE) to the “2018 NAFE Top 70 Companies for Executive Women.”

(This post followed the one we published the previous day on our Facebook page about the organization Great Places to Work FOR ALL selecting Benco Dental as one of the 30 companies on its list, “Best Workplaces for Health Care and Biopharma 2018.”)

In the post about Benco Dental receiving the NAFE honor, we mentioned that, “like Benco Dental,” Willwork strives “to make and always build on our company being a top workplace for women.”

We also included this quote from Denise Franzen, Administrative Director for Willwork:

“Like Benco Dental, Willwork is proactive in, and dedicates considerable resources to, providing opportunity for women … and supporting the advancement of women … throughout the company. And like at Benco Dental, every day at Willwork, women are making the important decisions … and handling the important projects and tasks.”

Today, we are staying with the subject and theme of strong and hard-working and high-achieving women in the workplace.

And we are going back a bit in history – about 250 years, actually.

Yes, Willwork is going back a quarter-of-a-millennium to recognize the first organized women’s work society in the United States: the Daughters of Liberty, a society that played a huge role and contributed vital labor to America winning its battle for independence.

Famous are the Sons of Liberty, a group of men in the English colonies in America who banded together in Boston in 1765 to oppose onerous taxes that Great Britain had imposed that very same year on the colonists.

Of course, what particularly riled and incensed the Americans was the tax created through the Stamp Act of 1765.

The Sons of Liberty disbanded when the Stamp Act was repealed in 1766, but the name Sons of Liberty was adopted by and assigned to other American revolutionary and separatist groups which arose in response to oppressive acts, including the Townshend Acts (enacted in 1766 and 1767), that the British parliament voted as way to exert control over the colonies, and to wring from them more revenue, and make residents of the colonies – who were still British subjects – dependent on the mother country for many goods and services.

In recent popular culture and imagination, the name Sons of Liberty is identified as the title of the History network’s TV miniseries that chronicles the efforts of Sam Adams, John Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, George Washington, Ben Franklin … and others … who led America into declaring independence from England, and eventually taking up armed rebellion to launch a nation.

If you click here you will be taken to the Sons of Liberty TV series site.

Yes, the Sons of Liberty receive, and deservedly so, much reward and recognition for fomenting and overseeing and rallying a revolution.

Yet the efforts and contributions of the Sons of Liberty’s women teammates are owed more heralding and accolades than those which have yet come their way.

The Daughters of Liberty was also founded in 1765, in the colonies of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

These women patriots were motivated by the same laws and impositions as was the Sons of Liberty.

Members of the Daughters of Liberty  tasked themselves with the mission of making clothes, linens, yarn, wool … and other goods and fabrics … that America had previously purchased from England; these women, also, as war neared, and during the armed rebellion, melted down metal that was used for bullets.

And with British tea (almost all of which England obtained from China) an absolute no-no, Daughters of Liberty were out front and busy brewing “Liberty Tea” from herbs and other plants grown in America, including the leaves of mint, raspberry, strawberry, and catnip plants.

The Daughters of Liberty were all about self sufficiency.

Daughters of Liberty

Willwork has something of a direct and cosmic connection to Daughters of Liberty.

You see, Willwork’s corporate headquarters is in the Boston suburb of Easton, MA, a town incorporated in 1725, and which, in 1765, had a populace that was vibrant and energetic in opposition to how England was treating the colonies.

Easton formed militias that served in the conflict.  Men from Easton saw combat. Forges in Easton produced armaments employed in the fighting.

And you just know that Easton had its own faction of Daughters of Liberty.  It was a busy faction.

Here we share an excerpt from The History of the Town of Easton, Massachusetts (John Wilson and Son, Cambridge University Press, 1886) by Reverend William L. Chaffin:

“In order to make up for the deficiency of imported goods, associations of patriotic ladies were formed in many towns to spin and knit and weave. These associations called themselves ‘Daughters of Liberty.’ Sometimes they met at the house of the minister, working the entire day, and leaving the results of their labor as a gift to the minister’s wife. In the Boston papers of that period there were many accounts of such gatherings.  One can easily imagine how animated must have been the scene, where the busy hum of spinning-wheels and the lively sound of many voices made music the whole day long. At Bridgewater [a town near Easton] the Daughters of Liberty adopted the plan of doing the work at home, and carrying the results of their labor to the minister’s house afterwards. Easton had its association of these Daughters, and they adopted the same plan as that of their sisters of Bridgewater. In the ‘Boston Gazette’. of October 24, 1774, was published the following interesting account : —

” ‘We hear from Easton that on Thursday the 13th Instant 53 of the amiable Daughters of Liberty met at the House of the Rev. Mr. Campbell, about One O’clock in the Afternoon, and presented Mrs. Campbell with Two Hundred and Eighty Skeins of Cotton, Linnen, Worsted, Woolen, and Tow Yarn, likewise some pieces of Cloth, Stockings, 8zc. ; then they all Walked in Orderly Procession to the MeetingHouse, where a sermon was Preached suitable to the Occasion by their Rev. Pastor ; and after Divine Service they return’d in the same orderly Procession to the Rev. Mr. Campbell’s House, where they pleasantly regail’d themselves with Cakes, Cheese, and Wine, and then they seasonably retir’d to their respective Families. The whole was Conducted with the greatest Decency and good order ; every Countenance indicated a Noble Spirit for Liberty and the promotion of our own Manufactures.’”

Further along in The History of Easton, Reverend Chaffin describes how almost all able-bodied men, and some boys, in the town served in militias during the Revolutionary War – while also noting the contributions of other men in Easton, such as “Edward Williams, for instance, when too feeble to enlist in the active service, harnessed his team and took into the camp near Boston food, blankets, and many means of comfort, to procure which he stripped his house and received the most generous contributions from neighbors.”

Reverend Chaffin then shares that “Meantime the Daughters of Liberty were busy with their needles, and forwarded many things which they provided at a sacrifice to themselves. They were real even though unrecorded sufferers, often enduring privation, and always full of anxiety concerning the fate of those who were far away in camp and field, and whom they might never see again.”

Perhaps, in these times in which women and men in the U.S. Armed Forces serve together, including in combat zones, William L. Chaffin’s reference to women on the home front while the men are away in military service, might seem a bit chauvinistic.  Maybe.

We think, though, that Reverend Chaffin’s intention is to convey admiration and gratitude for all who sacrificed.

And it is the privilege of Willwork to trumpet and honor the immensely valuable … and absolutely esssential … contributions to the founding of the American republic of the Daughters of Liberty – that society of wholly remarkable, courageous, inspired, and indomitable women.

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For more information on the Daughters of Liberty, please click here to be taken to a Wikpedia entry about the society.

 

 

 

Honoring Virtue, and Remembering Two Gentlemen Who Perished on September 11, 2001

(image credit: For America)

Something vital to remember about the attacks of September 11, 2001 is that almost all those who perished, were killed while they were working, or while they were commuting to and from work.

The America that the terrorists hate, and which fuels their murderous impulses and rages, is not the reality of the nation constituted of hardworking people who day after day get up and go to and perform their jobs.

Work is high virtue.

Terrorists don’t consider much those who faithfully hold a job, or who faithfully hold two or three jobs, to earn money for food, a roof over their head, clothes, gas for the car … yes, necessities.  Terrorists don’t understand that, for many, after paying for the necessities there is not much left over for luxury and indulgence.

Lost on the practitioners of evil and hate are the moms and dads whose commitment to working long and hard is one inspired and driven by a fierce devotion to, and providing for, their children.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services, founded in 1987, is fortunate to day in and day out work across America.  We are fortunate to work in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets throughout our great republic.

Day in and day out we see and benefit from and are inspired with the work ethic and goodness of people.

We see and benefit from those who work for Willwork, some whom were born in the U.S., and some who were born in other countries and are now American citizens – and  all of whom are thankful for the opportunity to work and earn and build a life in a free society.

Oh, for sure, we also see the problems; we deal with the problems.  The United States has problems.  We are imperfect and flawed.  Injustice lives in our land.

We also know that the United States of America is the greatest nation on earth, and that we are ever ascendant toward higher greatness, toward fully realizing … and here we invoke the words of our secular saint Abraham Lincoln … “the last best hope of earth.”

Those of us who work in the tradeshow and events and hospitality industries contribute in a major way to the economy and strength of America.

Willwork remembers, today, on this momentous anniversary, two gentlemen killed on that day, and to whom we have a bit of a communal and cosmic connection.

We remember two workers  – two who did their job well and with fidelity.

Father Francis Grogan, C.S.C., 76, was a passenger on the plane, Flight 175, that crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.  At the time of his death, he was in between jobs, and would soon be leaving his position as director of the Holy Cross Residence in North Dartmouth, MA, to take on a new ministry, that of chaplain.

Father Grogan – known to many as “Father Frank” – was much beloved and known in Easton, the community 25 miles south of Boston where is located the Willwork corporate headquarters. A World War II U.S. Navy veteran, who served as a sonar operator on a destroyer, Father Grogan earned degrees from the University of Notre Dame and Fordham University.

Father Francis Grogan (image credit: WPI)

Father Grogan was ordained in 1955.  Over his long career, he held many chaplain, pastor, and teaching posts, both in the U.S. and abroad.  Immediately after his ordination, Father Grogan became director of admissions and registrar at Stonehill College in Easton; and from 1965 through 1976, he was Assistant Pastor of Holy Cross Church in Easton.

Stonehill College is the alma mater of Willwork president, William F. Nixon Sr.  Willwork maintains an internship program with Stonehill College, and has many Stonehill College grads in its ranks, including Denise Franzen, Administrative Director.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Steve Adams, 51, was at work.  He was working at his job as beverage manager for the Windows on the World restaurant on the 107th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center when Flight 11 hit the building.

On September 10, 2001, Mr. Adams and his wife, Jessica Murrow, had celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary.

Steve Adams grew up in Easton.  He graduated from Oliver Ames High School, the public school in Easton where Willwork president, William F. Nixon, coached and taught for many years, including the time period in which Mr. Adams attended the school.

Steve Adams (image credit: The Enterprise)

Mr. Adams lived a bit of bohemian lifestyle for many years, working at many jobs in the hospitality industry.  He earned a bachelor’s degree from Marlboro College in Vermont.  He wasn’t that successful professionally or at making money.

It would be in middle age when Steve Adams would find professional success and start earning good money.

It was only in April of 2001 when Mr. Adams was hired as beverage manager for Windows on the World.  It was a good job, a well-paying job, and one in which he quickly established himself as effective, reliable, and a deliverer on results.

Father Grogan and Steve Adams represent so much of what makes America good and great … one full of opportunity … one full of promise.   Father Grogan and Steve Adams are surely threads woven into a fabric of American greatness.

Great effort … some of this effort heroic … would ensue in the wake of the devastation of 9/11.

People did their jobs; they did their jobs to respond and heal, to protect and rescue, to comfort and bear witness, to inspire and spread hope, to rebuild and reclaim …and to visit justice on perpetrators of evil.

Members of our Armed Forces and our First Responders were out front in the response, with many being heroic in the commission of their jobs.

And, ultimately, it would be no small thing that America … across all vocations and industries … continued working.  Some sustained merely a stumble and then got back to work.

We continued to build and fortify a keystone of American exceptionalism.

America continued to do its job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Labor Day 2018, a Reflection and Treatise on Work – and Curiosities Related to Labor

Labor Day postcard

“I learned the value of hard work by working hard.”

MARGARET MEAD

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a leader in exhibition services and event project management.

When we were founded, in 1987, we had one employee, and our office was in the basement of a residence – a house, more specifically.  Our technology and office furniture and equipment consisted of a desk, chair, lamp, paper files, and telephone and telephone answering machine.

Why Willwork is where it is now is because of many factors – primary among them, maintaining focus, a commitment to innovation, superior recruitment that contributes to a team of superior employees, supporting and providing our employees with many resources for professional development, our all-star business partners … and a lot of daring and enthusiasm.

Willwork has also benefited from operating and competing in a free and open and capitalist economy.

But, then, all these factors … all these conditions … will not bring about success if absent is hard work.

It is when you add hard work to the mix that you have something special.

Hard work is sacred – and hard work is high virtue.

Now in our fourth decade in business, Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a legacy of hard work.

Across our social media network, Willwork frequently discusses matters pertaining to labor and work.  Then, again, that would make sense.

Please click here to be taken to the post we published for Labor Day 2017, and here to be transported to the post we published for Labor Day 2016.

On October 6 of last year, we published here a post on “Persistence.”   Work is at the core of persistence.

As well, on this blog, there is the post which ran on May 26 of last year, the focus of which is an epic demonstration and execution of work that played a pivotal role in the launch of the United States of America.  Clicking here will take you to that post.

For Labor Day 2018, Willwork, publishes here a reflection on work, on different perspectives on work.

What is the most important work?  It would be tough to argue that the dangerous and life-saving, freedom and liberty protecting work of those who wear the uniform of the U.S. military is not the most important work.  And, within that vocation, those who serve in a combat capacity know a particularly urgent and vital and sacred form of work.

Our first responders – police and firefighters – do among the most important work.  They are frequently called to put their lives on the line.

Doctors and nurses save lives; that is important work.  Teachers prepare, instruct, and inspire those who are the future – yes, that is important work.

Wait, how about parents, and grandparents?  When you a see a successful and well-adjusted and responsible person, there is a good chance … almost a certainty, actually … that she had an upbringing in which a good and caring parent, or parents, whether biological or not … or both … exerted strong influence.

What is hard work?

There are those who estimate that only hard physical labor is hard work.  They have a point, a point that can be supported. For sure, manual labor ranks near the top of  the most noble and admirable work – whether that work is exhausting or only mildly taxing.  Physical labor holds and transmits a special value and worth.

Loggers, stone masons, iron workers, house framers, roofers (and add your own physical laborer) – they know what it is to work.

And let’s not forget that physical labor and sharp reasoning and strategy literally … and figuratively … move the world.  Airline executive Colleen Barrett had it right when she observed, “When it comes to getting things done, we need fewer architects and more bricklayers.”

Yet hard work hard is just not hard physical work.  Hard work is an exercise that involves long hours and intense focus and effort, whether it is writing software code or writing a novel; building a stone wall or building a team; driving a truck or driving a nail; planting and growing plants in a field, or planting and growing ideas and imagination in a mind; planning and coordinating freight logistics, or driving the truck transporting the freight.

On another matter pertaining to hard work … let’s face it … there can most certainly be an element of pomposity and conceit in the declaration that to achieve financial wealth all it takes is hard work, and that the level of hard work one expends is commensurate with one’s net worth.

If that were true, ranking with the world’s richest (money wise) would be all dedicated and good parents and parental figures – and all farmers across the developing world.

What are other exhausting jobs – with exhaustion a mix of physical and mental exhaustion?

It would be tough to argue that the training and performance needed to qualify and become a member of the United States Navy’s Sea, Air and Land Teams (SEALs) does not reside near the top – if not the top – of the most exhausting jobs on earth.  Brutal … absolutely brutal … what is required to become a SEAL … to join one of the most effective and elite fighting forces on earth.

Then, again, even basic training for any of the branches of the U.S. military is a demanding experience.

Elite competitive endurance athletes – whatever the sport … running, rowing, cross-country skiing, cycling, swimming …  are in the running for most exhausting.  We mean, really, your job is to be tired, and frequently to go into oxygen debt.

Martial arts sports, like boxing, karate, kung fu, judo, jiu-jitsu .. and other forms … and mixtures of the forms … are a tough way to make a living.  So too are collision sports, like football and hockey.  Martial arts and collision sports are exhausting, and painful.

What countries are the hardest working?

On September 2, 2016, U.S. News & World Report published a story, “This Labor Day Weekend, a Look at the Hardest-Working Countries: At least 16 other countries clock in more working hours each year than the U.S.”  The story, written by Deirdre McPhillips, cites a study of 38 countries that was produced by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Here is an excerpt from the story:

“Struggling with work-life balance and often opting to pass up vacation plans to spend more time in the office, workers in the U.S. may be surprised to learn that there are a number of other countries in which workers put in more hours. In fact, the average 42.8 work week in Mexico is about a full workday longer than the average U.S. worker’s 34.4 hours work week.”

In 2016, Vin Scully retired as a play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, a job he held for 67 years (when he started with the organization, in 1960, it was the Brooklyn Dodgers).  Mr. Scully is a legendary figure in sports announcing, and the length of his career is amazing.

Of course there is the gentleman who held a job with the same company for 80 years? To read about him, and other long-serving employees, please click here to be transported to the CNN Money story, “Meet the Vin Scullys of the American workplace,” published on September 26, 2016, and written by Ahiza Garcia.

Scariest jobs in the world?  On September 3, 2015, the news and entertainment site ScoopWhoop published an article,  “13 Of The World’s Scariest Jobs That Are Not For The Faint Of Heart.”  Written by Rohit Bhattacharya, the piece is an interesting read.

A note and teaser and spoiler here.  As listed in the article, the scariest job in the world – and among the reasons cited to support the ranking is that the job “makes up a third of all occupational deaths in Alaska” – is Alaskan king crab fisherman.  Coming in at number two on the list is … and this makes total sense … is piloting through a hurricane.

Then there are weird … strange … jobs. Dog surfing instructor, fortune cookie writer, and dog food taster are occupations (at least on a part-time basis) that you will find featured and described in the Business Insider story (published on July 10, 2015), “12 weird jobs you’ll be surprised to know exist,”  by Jacqueline Smith and Steven Benna.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services believes that America is a nation whose marrow and soul is one that possesses a vibrant work ethic and inextinguishable fire that drives it to toil long and hard to achieve.

We also believe that no country on the planet provides more opportunity for those willing to work long and hard than does the United States of America.

Happy Labor Day to All!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Epic and Historic Show and Event Happens Tonight Across the Galaxy and Most of the Planet – The Longest Total Lunar Eclipse of the Century, the “Blood Moon,” and Mars Easily Observed

“Blood Red Moon” During Lunar Eclipse (Image credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is the national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

Willwork is in the shows and events business.

Today’s post is tied to the shows and events theme.

It is also a follow-up to the most recent post in this space – the post published on July 19 that features Willwork’s highly valued client, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (HMI), and the role HMI technology is playing in a major industrial astronomy project: the installation of radio telescopes in northern Norway, inside the Arctic Circle.

Yes, today’s post stays with shows and events, and astronomy.

And we are talking about the most awe-inspiring of events, of shows – those that occur and play out and take place in the skies and heavens above.

Like the longest total lunar eclipse of this century, which will be seen by most of the world on the evening of July 27-28.  The downer is that an area of the world from which the eclipse is not viewable includes almost all of North America.

Before going on, here is the short-and-sweet definition of a lunar eclipse provided courtesy of Wikipedia: “A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind Earth and into its shadow.”

Following is an excerpt from an EarthSky story, “Century’s longest lunar eclipse July 27,” written by Bruce McClure:

“The full moon on the night of July 27-28, 2018, presents the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century (2001 to 2100). The total phase of the eclipse – called the totality – spans 1 hour 42 minutes and 57 seconds. That’s in contrast to the shortest total lunar eclipse of this century, which occurred on April 4, 2015 and lasted 4 minutes and 48 seconds. And it’s in contrast to 2018’s other total lunar eclipse – on January 31, 2018 – whose totality lasted 1 hour and 16 minutes.

“A partial eclipse precedes and follows the total phase of the eclipse, each time lasting 1 hour and 6 minutes. So, from start to finish – on July 27-28, 2018 – the moon spends nearly 4 hours (3 hours and 55 minutes) crossing the Earth’s dark umbral shadow. Wow! That’s a long eclipse.

“Adding to the excitement on eclipse night … this eclipse will happen on the same night that Earth is passing between the sun and Mars, placing Mars at opposition in our sky. In one of the sky’s wonderful coincidences, the Mars opposition happens on July 27, too. It’s not just any Mars opposition, but the best Mars opposition since 2003 …. ”

Mr. McClure also writes that, at points during the eclipse, due to the alignment and movement of Earth and sun and Mars, “the moon will turn red from sunlight filtering through Earth’s atmosphere onto the moon’s surface.”

As well, he explains that the actions and placement of the planets and the sun will make Mars particularly easy to see, even with the naked eye.

Again, though, the way the universe works does not have North America in the physical viewing zone of the eclipse, and “blood moon,” and Mars being all lit up and easy to find.

The best places on the planet to watch the eclipse are Africa, South America, the Middle East, and Central Asia. And is across this stretch of the planet that the blood moon will be cloaked partly, or fully, in the shadow of Earth from 1:14 p.m. to 7:28 p.m. (EDT).  A complete eclipse, “totality,” happens from 3:30 to 5 p.m. (EDT).

Good news is that even if you are home in the U.S. or other places in North America, today and tonight, technology and online communications avails an opportunity to watch the eclipse as it happens.

Willwork recommends two real-time viewing options:

  • The Weather Channel hosts a livestream on its app beginning at 4 p.m. (EDT) today. (Willwork wants to note that the digital properties of the Weather Channel are owned by longtime Willwork client IBM.)
  • Starting at 4 p.m. (EDT) today, NBC News hosts a livestream.

This big-time celestial event occurs a little less than a year after another rare and extraordinary show played out in the sky – that time, though, the show took place in the sky over America.

The solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 was the first solar eclipse, since the solar eclipse of June 8, 1918, in which the eclipse was visible across the entire mainland of the U.S., and the first, since the solar eclipse of February 26, 1979, in which a total solar eclipse was visible across all the contiguous U.S. states.

A solar eclipse, and here we refer again to Wikipedia, “is a type of eclipse that occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and when the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun.”

Lunar and solar eclipses foment deep curiosity and intrigue and engagement among we Earthlings.

Soul-enriching, happy, inspiring, heartening, smile-inducing … unifying … all this is what eclipses and other events and performances played out in the cosmic and celestial space above can make happen.

The Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Peggy Noonan saw all of this play out on the streets of New York City on August 21, 2017.

Watching the Solar Eclipse Over the Empire State Building; August 21, 2017 (Image credit: Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal)

Ms. Noonan shared and reflected on her solar-eclipse experience in her August 24, 2017 column, “For a Day, Our Political Troubles Were Eclipsed”.  The subtitle of the column is “It was beautiful: Up and down Madison Avenue, people looked upward.”

Here are the first three paragraphs of Ms. Noonan’s column:

“In Manhattan on eclipse day I had planned to go by Central Park to witness how people would react to the big celestial event. But I didn’t get there because of what I saw on Madison Avenue.

“It was so beautiful.

“Up and down the street, all through the eclipse, people spontaneously came together—shop workers and neighborhood mothers, kids and bank employees, shoppers and tourists. They’d gather in groups and look up together. Usually one or two people would have the special glasses, and they’d be passed around. Everyone would put them on and look up and say ‘Wow!’ or ‘Incredible!’ and then laugh and hand the glasses on.”

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“Wow!”

“Incredible!”

Leave it to nature and the unfathomable and infinite energy of the universe to create and conduct shows and events that elicit … that demand … from humans these emotions and these responses.

 

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (HMI) – a Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Client – is Playing an Important Role in a Project That Will Help Humanity Acquire a Better Understanding of the Universe

Installation of Asturfeito Radio Telescope in Northern Norway (Image credit: Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence)

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

Our client list includes winning and successful companies across almost all industries. On the list are some of the largest and best-known multinationals … and also small, recently started companies that you may not have heard of … yet …. but you will.

Among our clients are organizations that create and invent, and bring to market, the technology that makes commerce more efficient, more cost-effective, and which improves quality of products and services.

One of those organizations is Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (HMI) .

It our privilege to service, and to work with, HMI.

Based in North Kingstown, RI, HMI designs and produces solutions that optimize the use of measurement data “to increase production speed and accelerate productivity while enhancing quality” in industrial manufacturing projects around the world.

As explained at the HMI website, “Through a network of local service centers, production facilities and commercial operations across five continents,” HMI is “shaping smart change in manufacturing to build a world where quality drives productivity.”

HMI is a division of the Swedish company Hexagon AB, a “leading global provider of information technology solutions that drive productivity and quality across geospatial and industrial landscapes.”

A major project – a project that benefits all humanity – in which HMI solutions are now being used, is the installation in northern Norway, inside the Arctic Circle, of two large radio telescopes, each 13.5 meters (44.3 feet) in diameter.  On this project, HMI technology is employed to assure that the telescopes are assembled with the highest accuracy and precision.

Overseeing the engineering and assembly of the telescopes is Asturfeito, a company headquartered in Spain.  Asturfeito has been an HMI customer for five years.  Asturfeito provides, organizes, and coordinates services for engineering, manufacturing, and commissioning of capital goods for large industrial projects.

In 2013, Asturfeito and HMI teamed as part of the effort to bring into full operation the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), an astronomical interferometer (an array of radio telescopes that operate and record data in unison) located in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile at an elevation of 5,000 meters (16,000 feet).  The ALMA interferometer, developed and constructed by an international coalition of scientific organizations and private companies, contains 66 radio telescopes. Planned and built at a cost of $1.4 billion, ALMA is the most expensive ground-based telescope in the world.

In the installation of the radio telescopes, Asturfeito is using HMI laser tracker systems.

Radio Telescopes

Radio telescopes.  What are they?  What do they do?

Answers to these questions are found in the article, “What Are Radio Telescopes?”, published on the website of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO).  Here are the first two paragraphs of the story:

“Just as optical telescopes collect visible light, bring it to a focus, amplify it and make it available for analysis by various instruments, so do radio telescopes collect weak radio light waves, bring it to a focus, amplify it and make it available for analysis. We use radio telescopes to study naturally occurring radio light from stars, galaxies, black holes, and other astronomical objects. We can also use them to transmit and reflect radio light off of planetary bodies in our solar system. These specially-designed telescopes observe the longest wavelengths of light, ranging from 1 millimeter to over 10 meters long. For comparison, visible light waves are only a few hundred nanometers long, and a nanometer is only 1/10,000th the thickness of a piece of paper! In fact, we don’t usually refer to radio light by its wavelength, but by its frequency.

“Naturally occurring radio waves are extremely weak by the time they reach us from space. A cell phone signal is a billion billion times more powerful than the cosmic waves our telescopes detect.”

Radio telescopes are essential and fundamental instruments and devices to the practice of radio astronomy, which is, and here we refer again to language from the NRAO website:

“Radio astronomy is the study of celestial objects that give off radio waves. With radio astronomy, we study astronomical phenomena that are often invisible or hidden in other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

“With giant, sophisticated radio telescopes, we watch stars turn on, shine, and expend themselves, and then we spy on their fascinating corpses. We watch planets form from dust and ice. We clock the spin of our Galaxy and thousands of others. We see the echo of the clumpy Big Bang and the Universe’s very first stars and galaxies. And we spot the chemical precursors of DNA, floating in space.”

Radio telescopes collect and track data emitted from machines, space probes and satellites, that people send into the cosmos.

If you click here you will be taken to the area of the NRAO website where is found interesting history and explanation about radio astronomy.

Jansky’s “merry-go-round” radio telescope (Image credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF)

As for those radio waves, which are sort of the precursor to radio astronomy, they were first identified almost 80 years ago by Karl Guthe Jansky (1905-1950), an engineer at Bell Telephone Laboratories, the organizational genesis of what today is NOKIA Bell Labs.  Mr. Jansky had been hired by Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1928, and tasked with locating and identifying static and turbulence that interfered with telephone communications.  To accomplish the mission, Mr. Jansky mounted an antenna on a turntable so that the antenna could be rotated to pick up radio waves coming from all directions.  “Jansky’s merry-go-round”, built on Bell Telephone Laboratories property in Holmdel, NJ, was the first radio telescope.

Using the radio telescope, Mr. Janksy identified all the sources of the radio disruption except for one.  Yet he would discover that source as well.  In 1931, he found that stars were what had been that mystery emitter of radio interference.

Today the name for a unit of radio-wave emission strength is a jansky.

It would be late in 1932, when Karl Guthe Jansky first published his findings on stars and radio waves.  Mr. Jansky launched a discipline and a science that an astronomer and engineer named Grote Reber (1911-2002) would usher along and on which he would build.  Before 1932 was out, Mr. Reber attempted to devise and adapt a shortwave radio to detect radio waves transmitted by the stars. The shortwave radio experiment didn’t work.  What did work though was an antenna he built in his backyard in Wheaton, IL in 1937: bowl-shaped and 9.4 meters (31 feet) in diameter.  This device – bearing a resemblance to the radio telescopes of today – enabled Grote Reber to improve detection of, and learn more about, radio waves, and to develop the first mapping of radiation across the Milky Way, the galaxy we Earthlings call home.

Messrs. Jansky and Reber pioneered a science, what started humanity on the path that led to us the radio astronomy technology of today, what the NRAO calls the “giant, sophisticated radio telescopes” – those like the two being installed in Northern Norway, inside the Arctic Circle.

And why inside the Arctic Circle? There are surely far more accessible and environmentally hospitable places.

Radio telescopes are installed in locations far removed from concentrations of human habitat – such as the Arctic – to avoid electromagnetic interference (EMI)  from manmade electronic devices, such as radio, television, radar, and motor vehicles.

And HMI technology is relied on to keep the radio telescope installation perfectly aligned, precise, and balanced … even when the work being done is in some of the coldest and windiest and miserable conditions on the planet.

Yeah, it can get like that in the Arctic.

Benefits of Astronomy – Whether Radio or Optical

Whether – and this is greatly simplifying the concept – it is visible light data and information that an optical telescope collects, or the radio frequency data and information a radio telescope gathers, both are a trove that astronomers and other scientists analyze and study to help humanity know more about the universe.

A primary, an overarching … and we dare say … cosmic benefit … of astronomy is that it helps humanity consider, even if we cannot ever begin to fully understand, how impossibly minute and tiny is the place, the planet, we call home, as a component of the galaxies and the never-ending outer space.

And, in this way … as well … it instructs us just how special is Earth, and how important it is that we take care of  our home.

How small and how remarkable is Earth, and how small and how remarkable are its residents, is beautifully conveyed in a short film called “The Blue Dot” that the legendary and great scientist Carl Sagan – whose scientific creds include that of all-star astronomer – created.  The Blue Dot refers to a photo of Earth that the NASA Voyager 1 spacecraft shot on its 1989 mission. It was Mr. Sagan, a member of the NASA Voyager 1 imaging team, who, as the spacecraft was about to leave our solar system, successfully urged NASA officials to turn and train the camera on our home and take the image.

Carl Sagan used the photo, in which Earth looks like a blue dot, as a visual set against a speech he wrote and delivered. Please click here to be taken to the film.

Astronomy provides us answers to questions we did not know to ask.

Astronomy abets humility even as it exalts our station amid the unfathomable vastness.

Oh, yes, of course, astronomy supports the explicitly tangible and innovation and development that makes living, and making a living, easier, safer, happier, and more productive.

In the following excerpt from an article, “Astronomy in Everyday Life,” published on the website of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) –and authored by Marissa Rosenberg and Pedro Russo (EU-UNAWE), Leiden Observatory/Leiden University, The Netherlands), and Georgia Bladon and Lars Lindberg Christensen (ESO, Germany) – describes specific areas that benefit from astronomy, while also giving a nod to those cosmic contributions and benefits of the science:

“The fruits of scientific and technological development in astronomy, especially in areas such as optics and electronics, have become essential to our day-to-day life, with applications such as personal computers, communication satellites, mobile phones, Global Positioning Systems, solar panels and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners.

“Although the study of astronomy has provided a wealth of tangible, monetary and technological gains, perhaps the most important aspect of astronomy is not one of economical measure. Astronomy has and continues to revolutionize our thinking on a worldwide scale. In the past, astronomy has been used to measure time, mark the seasons, and navigate the vast oceans. As one of the oldest sciences astronomy is part of every culture’s history and roots. It inspires us with beautiful images and promises answers to the big questions. It acts as a window into the immense size and complexity of space, putting Earth into perspective and promoting global citizenship and pride in our home planet.”

If you click here you will be taken to the full article in which you can read more about how astronomy makes life better.

We also wanted to point out … and we just had to, because it is all so immensely intriguing and engrossing … an example of how astronomy is enlisted in the quest to find out if we Earthlings share the universe with other intelligent beings.

Consider the ongoing radio astronomy commotion, and vibrant conversation, and deep analysis, and far-reaching conjecture, which rises from the phenomenon of fast radio bursts, or FRB, first identified in 2007 within data that radio a radio telescope had collected.

Now it seems that established and respected scientists believe that it is possible that these FRBs are power sources for alien spacecraft traveling through the galaxies.  Really.  To learn more about the scientists positing this theory, and the science behind the theory, please click here to be taken to a Popular Mechanics story, “Harvard Scientists Theorize That Fast Radio Bursts Come From Alien Space Travel: Could these mysterious flashes of radio waves come from a planet-sized device to power alien spacecraft?”, written by Jay Bennett, and published on March 9, 2017.

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Whether in the field of electronics or navigation or MRIs or searching for beings from other galaxies … or the many, many other sectors of life … astronomy plays an integral and important role.

And Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (HMI) plays an integral and important role in enabling astronomy technology and devices and instruments to operate with optimum accuracy.