Happy Birthday, The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – A Warrior for Civil Rights, Racial Equality, and the Dignity of Workers

 

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks to Memphis sanitation workers at Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ), on the the evening of April 3, 1968

 

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

THE REVEREND DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

 

Today the nation celebrates and honors the birthday of one history’s greatest and most noble warriors for human rights and social justice, and among its most powerful, effective, and unrelenting emissaries for peace.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, GA.  (In 1934, Michael King, Sr., a Baptist minister, had both his and his son’s name changed to Martin Luther.)

Martin Luther King, Jr. would give his life for the causes for which he battled and which he trumpeted.  He was felled by an assassin’s bullet in Memphis, TN on April 4, 1968.

Soon after Dr. King’s assassination, a movement to establish a federal holiday in his honor was launched.  In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the legislation that created the national holiday Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – often referred to as MLK Day – was first observed in 1986, even as it would not be until 2000 when all 50 states observed the holiday.  MLK Day is held every year on the third Monday of January, with that date chosen to reconcile closeness to Dr. King’s birthday and the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.

Dr. King’s life mission for human rights, for social justice, was often directly and deeply entwined in the rights of workers and in ensuring that workers were treated fairly and with respect, and were justly compensated for their labor.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services was, of course, founded as a labor company.  Yes, more than 30 years ago … in 1987 to be exact … we launched as an enterprise which provided one service exclusively: exhibit installation & dismantle (I&D) labor for tradeshows and events.

Today, we are national leading exhibition services and event management company – which still provides the highest quality exhibit I&D labor.  We are still very much, like we always have been, a labor company.  Labor is at our core.  Labor undergirds all that we do.

Willwork find immense satisfaction and fulfillment in that from coast to coast hundreds of skilled laborers make a very good and secure living with our company.

Willwork values tremendously our workers – who, collectively, form a workforce rich in diversity – and the exceptional effort they deliver to our clients day after day, job after job, project after project.

Willwork is committed to providing our hardworking and talented laborers with opportunity and education and career development.

Willwork surely esteems highly MLK’s mission in life – a mission a major component of which was dedicated to standing up for the laborer.  It was a heroic mission – for Dr. King fully understood that in continuing to do his work and pursue his mission he was putting his life at risk.

Memphis sanitation workers on strike, March 28, 1968 (image credit: Richard Copley)

All too often something that gets lost in the discussion of the life of Dr. King, and of his accomplishments, is the reason that he was in Memphis on that fateful April day in 1968.  He was there to support the city’s African-American sanitation workers who were striking to obtain fair and safe working conditions.

In Memphis, the night before he was murdered, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to sanitation workers assembled in Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ).  This speech is famously remembered as MLK’s “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop Speech.”  If you click here you will be taken to a page at the website of American Rhetoric where you will find the complete text and an audio-recording of      Dr. King’s speech.

Martin Luther King, Jr. concluded the speech – the last speech of his life – with this haunting and prophetic passage:

“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!

“And so I’m happy, tonight.

“I’m not worried about anything.

“I’m not fearing any man!”

Debate resounds, and is energetic and active in America, about just where does our republic stand, how far along are we, on the journey to arriving at the “Promised Land” that MLK described envisioned.

Yet we dare say that The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in America.

He believed that if we dug deep, if we worked hard, if we were honest with ourselves, and if we were courageous then the U.S. will arrive at the Promised Land.

America has it in us.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Willwork Clients – IBM and Kronos – Join Their Artificial Intelligence (AI) Platforms to Create One of the Most Empowering Talent Management Systems for 2019 … and Beyond

(Image credit: TrendWatching Pulse)

 

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

Here in the new year, 2019, we have entered our 32nd year in business.

It is the privilege and good fortune of Willwork to count as our valued clients, companies and other organizations across just about all business and commerce sectors. Our clients include some of the largest, most successful, and most established multinationals … and small, recently launched enterprises that you probably have not heard of … but you will, just please give it a little time.

All Willwork clients receive our same uncompromising excellence in service and attention.

For this early-in-the-new-year post, we felt it appropriate to highlight and feature a recently-started collaboration of two Willwork clients.  It is a collaboration that represents one of the most exciting and empowering commercial uses today of artificial intelligence (AI)  – the next great and transformative dimension in computing and machine intelligence.

IBM and Kronos are the collaborating Willwork clients.

IBM is synonymous worldwide with computing and information technology.  Founded in 1911, it employs 380,000 and serves 177 countries.  Over the years, its employees have been awarded five Nobel Prizes, five National Medals of Science (USA), five National Medals of Science and Innovation (USA), and six A.M. Turing Awards.

Nicknamed Big Blue, IBM pioneered AI and performs the most advanced work in the field.

Kronos, among its fellow international technology leaders, is a relative baby, having been founded in 1977.  It is also the world’s premier developer of workforce and human capital management software and services.  Kronos employees 5,300.

The IBM-Kronos collaboration – announced on November 4 of last year – joins the AI-powered solutions of IBM Watson Talent with Kronos’s Workforce Dimensions to help companies best manage talent and human resources.

IBM Watson Talent is powered by IBM’s famed Watson, the smartest AI computing and machine-learning system on the planet.

Workforce Dimensions is built on Kronos D5™,  the vanguard for intelligent cloud-based HR computing platforms.

As stated in a Kronos media announcement, the IBM-Kronos “collaboration will help improve the engagement, performance, career development, and retention of hourly workers and simplify the complex task of managing this important segment of the global workforce.”

Please click here be taken to the full announcement.

Beyond this project being a cooperative effort of Willwork clients, we are also keenly interested in the project because hourly workers are a large segment of the Willwork workforce and business.

Expect the IBM-Kronos collaboration to deliver winning and major results on a regular basis.

Willwork will report and provide updates in this space on the results of the collaboration– and how the teamwork of IBM and Kronos are empowering and enabling organizations to optimize and make most efficient their talent management and HR operations.

 

 

 

 

More Record-Breaking and Inspiration for the Holidays and Christmas Season

Chef Alain Rpby measures his creation: the world’s largest  candy cane (image credit: Heron PR)

We are following up on, and continuing the theme of, noteworthy and grand and large festive and holiday and Christmas-themed events and decorations.

In this space, on December 19, we published the post, “Christmas Trees That Are Major Exhibitions and Statements.”.

Four years ago, on Christmas Eve, we published here the post “Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Does a Cal Out to Impressive and Awesome Holiday Displays and Events.”

We had to share today a link to a story, “The largest Christmas dinner to the oldest tree: 15 Guinness world records with a festive theme,” published on December 6 in the UK newspaper The Telegraph.  In the article, written by Wendy Douglas, among the record setters are “Most lights on a Christmas tree,” “Most snowmen built in one hour,” “Largest floating Christmas tree” – and world record we featured on our Facebook page last Thursday: “Largest group of carol singers.”

Hannukkah 2018 ran from December 2 through December 10. A central symbol to Hanukkah – the Jewish religious celebration which is also called “The Festival of Lights” – is the menorah.

What is the largest menorah on the planet?  Well, it seems that there is a tad of controversy surrounding the answer to that question.  For there are two groups that annually install a large and grand menorah with each saying its menorah holds the top spot.  One group installs its menorah in the New York City borough of Manhattan. One group installs its menorah in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

If you click here you will be transported to a story, “After a battle to be the ‘world’s largest,’ two NYC menorahs continue to spread light,” published on November 30 at 6sqft.  Alexandra Alex wrote the piece.

On to a discussion of the the world’s largest candy cane.

That would be the 51-foot monstrous confection that world-renowned and award-winning pastry chef Alain Roby created in December of 2012.  Now, here’s the thing, for Mr. Roby, the owner and proprietor of All Chocolate Kitchen in Geneva, IL, that giant candy cane was the third sweet he made that earned a place in Guinness World Records.

Yes, Mr. Roby also holds records for constructing the tallest cooked sugar building and tallest chocolate sculpture.

Please click here to read a story, “Geneva chef makes world’s largest candy cane,” published in the Daily Herald Report on December 8, 2012.

Willwork hopes you have enjoyed the thought images and inspiration we have shared

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!!

Christmas Trees That Are Major Exhibitions and Statements

Northgate Shopping Center Christmas tree 1950 (image credit: C.R. Douglas)

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

A major portion and component of the business we are in is installing and dismantling, erecting and setting up, taking down and putting away.  We perform these functions and these roles across projects and jobs the scope of which span from the installing and dismantling of a single 10’ x 10 exhibit, to the installing of all displays and fixtures in a shopping mall, to full-service general contracting for shows and conventions that cover floor space across multiple large halls and venues.

As appropriate, during the holiday season, across our social media presence, we feature posts and publish stories about events and displays and exhibitions that are holiday and festive themed.

On Christmas Eve 2014, we published here a post, “Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Does a Call Out to Impressive and Awesome U.S. Holiday Displays and Events.”

Now, for sure, there is considerable planning, industry, and effort committed to the putting up and erecting of a primary symbol of the season: the Christmas tree.

A lot of money is shelled out around the world for Christmas trees – whether natural or artificial – that decorate and hold a place of honor in our homes. Residential Christmas trees are big business.

And, of course, whether to have an artificial or natural tree is a long-debated matter.

On November 20, Popular Mechanics published a story, “The 7 Best Artificial Christmas Trees: All the joys of the holidays, with none of the mess.”  Popular Mechanics is very sensitive to budgets in its selection, with the most economical a six-foot hinged “pine” tree with stand from Best Choice Products that goes for $49.97, and the most expensive, a six-and-a-half-foot luxurious Balsam Hill Vermont White Spruce that carries a price tag of $1,012.44.

The real-thing tree has been skyrocketing in price.  Please click here to be taken to a Fortune story, “Christmas Trees Are More Expensive This Year, Continuing Trend,” published on December 7, and written by Chris Morris.

Following is an excerpt from Fortune story:

“The National Christmas Tree Association said the cost of the evergreens are expected to increase 2% over last year’s average price of $64-$73. That’s on the heels of a 17% price spike from 2015-2017.

“The reasons vary, but it largely comes down to three things: the economy, bad weather, and farmers shifting to more lucrative crops … “

As for the installation and dismantle of residential Christmas trees, none should involve much difficulty.  But very frequently the procedure becomes an immensely involved task … a task that infringes on holiday merriment and joy … even if only briefly.

Then there are the Christmas trees of a corporate or institutional or municipal nature.

In our Christmas Eve 2014 post, which was referenced and linked to earlier in this post, we featured what just might be the best known and most iconic holiday season display in the United States: the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.  Every year, since 1933, there has been a Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.  The tree, which is almost always a Norway spruce, has ranged in height from, on the shortest end, about 60 feet, to the tallest, the 100-foot conifer erected in 1999.

What is the tallest natural Christmas tree ever set and installed in America?

Okay, the tallest real Christmas tree, as Guinness World Records informs us, was the 67.36-meter (221 feet) Douglas fir installed and decorated in December of 1950, in Seattle, WA, at Northgate Shopping Center, which had opened the previous May.

Yet something of a qualifier seems warranted in discussion of the Northgate Shopping Center Christmas tree of 1950.

Because, you see, the tree was something of a Frankenstein tree: all natural, but also modified and adulterated.

How the giant Christmas tree happened and came to be was tied to and revolving around the fact that the Northgate Shopping Center was a bit of a risky venture; it was a new form of shopping complex: a regional mall located in the  suburbs.  Jim Douglas, the president of the company that developed Northgate, forecast that the building of more roads and highways would encourage shoppers to venture beyond Main street of towns and the downtowns of cities.  Things were going to change, Mr. Douglas and other suburban shopping mall pioneers projected.

But major retailers were skittish about committing to and leasing space at Northgate Shopping Center.

Jim Douglass recognized that that first holiday and Christmas season was crunch time – do or die.  He thought and figured on different marketing draws, and arrived at the concept of putting up a monstrous … a gigantic …Christmas tree at the mall.

Douglas and associates went out into the forests of Washington and found a giant fir.  Yet, while it was giant in height, it was deficient in a bounty of branches and evergreen that spread wide like a skirt wrapping the tree, which is a characteristic of any good Christmas tree.   This paucity, which had to be rectified, owed to that the tree selected grew within a tight cluster 0f other firs, and this prevented the tree from growing and spreading its branches, especially in its lower region.

Transporting the tree was also presented a challenge to be solved.  Again, we are going back almost 70 years.  Trucking and rigging and transport were not what they are today.

What to do?  Well, the tree was felled and stripped of all its branches and became, basically, a pole that was a little more than 200 feet long.  Two trucks transported the pole to Northgate Shopping Center where it was raised and steadied with guide wires, and to which were affixed the branches that have been shorn from the tree, and also other fir tree branches that had been collected.  The tree was then adored with lights and other decorations.

And, wouldn’t you know, that Christmas tree did what it was supposed to do.  It brought sightseers and shoppers. Providing a big boost to drawing power of the Christmas tree was the media exposure it was accorded, including being the subject of a story in Life magazine, which at the time one of the most popular general interest publications in the world.

Northgate Shopping Center flourished.

Clicking here takes you a page at the site of the public radio station KNKX (Tacoma, WA) where you can find a short article on the Northgate Shopping Center Christmas tree, and a link to podcast of an interview (originally aired on KNKX on May 13, 2017) that Jennifer Wing, a producer at KNKX, conducted about the tree with C.R. Douglas, a cousin of Jim Douglas.  C.R. Douglas is a political analyst for the news broadcast of Channel Q13, the Fox TV affiliate in the Seattle and Spokane area.

What is the tallest artificial Christmas tree in history to date?

That would be the 238-foot tall structure in Colombo, Sri Lanka that was unveiled on Christmas Eve 2016, and which bested the previous record holder:  a 180-foot tower of lights, artificial foliage, lamps, and ornaments erected in Guangzhou, China in 2017.

The World’s Tallest Artificial Christmas Tree, in Colombo,           Sri Lanka (image credit: Anton)

Following is an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry about the Sri Lankan Christmas tree:

“The cone-shaped tree is a steel-and-wire frame made from scrap metal and wood, and covered by plastic netting. It is decorated with approximately one million natural pine cones painted gold, green, red and silver colors. It has 600,000 LED bulbs which illuminate the tree at night.  On the top of the tree there is a 20-foot (6.1 m) tall Christmas star with bulbs, weighing about 60 kg (130 lb). The tree cost Rs 12 million (about US$ 80,000).  The tree was constructed by 150 employees of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Ports and Shipping with support from other parties.”

Please click here to be taken to CBS News story about the Sri Lankan Christmas tree.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services will publish here on Christmas Eve another post about noteworthy displays and exhibitions with holiday-season and festive themes.

Willwork wishes and extend to all – Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!!

 

 

 

 

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.