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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.

 

 

 

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.

 

The Declaration of Independence, July 4th, and Events and Pageantry and Celebrations and “Illuminations”

 

Visitor to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., views the Declaration of Independence (image credit: National Archives and Records Administration)

(Note: This post, originally published on July 2, 2018, was updated on July 6, 2018)

“We find it hard to believe that liberty could ever be lost in this country. But it can be lost, and it will be, if the time ever comes when these documents are regarded not as the supreme expression of our profound belief, but merely as curiosities in glass cases.”

PRESIDENT HARRY TRUMAN, speaking on December 15, 1952, at the National Archives, where is housed the original copy of the Declaration of Independence

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

Established in 1987, we are now in our fourth decade in business.

And for more than 30 years, it has been our good fortune to operate in a free society, one in which capitalism is vibrant, and which is hospitable to and supports and rewards hard work, daring, personal initiative, and creative thinking that builds and produces more effectively and more efficiently, and in higher quality and higher quantity, than any other nation on the planet.

Of course, freedom and liberty – the natural state of humanity – has enemies, and is often attacked, infringed on, subjugated, and destroyed.

2012 Macy’s July 4th Fireworks over Manhattan, New York City (Image credit: New York Daily News)

Preserving and protecting, and winning back, freedom and liberty, has often required great sacrifice, mountainous loss of life and suffering, bold and epic leadership, and indomitable will and perseverance.

Such qualities, such character, were firmly resident in the 56 men, delegates from the 13 American colonies and members of the Second Continental Congress, who signed “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America” – the title of which has been transmitted to posterity as the “Declaration of Independence” – a sacred text approved on and dated July 4, 1776.

On this blog, Willwork, from time to time, likes to tie the business in which we work – shows, events, celebrations, and conventions – to holidays and current events, great episodes in history, and admirable and virtuous people and their accomplishments and contributions to society.

Now, for sure, what took place in Philadelphia in the early summer of 1776 is the among the most momentous of events in history – and one that has, from its inception … as it always will … inspired and launched and fueled the grandest and most colorful celebrations of light and sound.

Countdown to July 4th, Independence Day

While the American Revolution was already underway, and with its armed conflict between the American colonies and England launched on the morning of April 19, 1775 in the Massachusetts towns of Lexington and Concord, the Declaration of Independence took things to a new level.

No longer did the rebellion of English citizens in America include the possibility that the colonies would remain part of the British Empire if King George III and Parliament assented to cease imposing unjust laws and regulations, including onerous taxation, on Americans.

No, that ship had sailed.  Now the fight was about establishing a new nation.

Declaring independence meant there could be turning back, and not acceptable to Congress would be any solution to the crisis that included the colonies still under English rule.

On June 11, 1776, the Second Continental Congress, anticipating that soon it would be ready and have the consensus of support to win a vote to declare separation from England, named a Committee of Five to draft a document would be sent to King George and Parliament, and which would be made universally available, that declared independence and described and explained the reasons for the declaration.

Members of the Committee were Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts,Benjamin Franklin (Pennsylvania), Robert R. Livingston (New York), and Roger Sherman of Connecticut.  Thomas Jefferson, 33 years old, was appointed the lead in writing the document.

The Committee of Five, on June 28, presented a draft of the declaration to Congress.

On July 2, 1776, delegates from 12 of 13 colonies – New York abstained – voted to approve a resolution put forth by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia to declare the colonies independent from Great Britain.  (New York voted, on July 19, to join in supporting the Declaration of Independence, and therefore, also, the resolution of July 2).

It is understood how John Adams believed, as he exulted in a letter to his wife, dated July 2, 1776, that the day of year would be commemorated in perpetuity in the following manner:

“… it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty; it ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

After the passage of the Lee Resolution, Congress devoted two days of debate and discussion about, and proposing and making changes to, the treatise. Yet, for sure, the final text largely remains the result of what was transmitted by the extraordinary mind and pen of Thomas Jefferson.

On July 4,1776, the Continental Congress approved the declaration, even if it would be not until early August that most of the delegates signed the document.  (Jefferson actually made some minor changes to the declaration on   July 5.)

And what a declaration … and what a document.

With the rarest of literary precision, and with timeless beauty, poetry, and eloquence, the Declaration of Independence made the case for, and advanced the argument that, England had deprived the residents of its American colonies of the natural rights to which all people are heir at the moment of their birth (even as it would be a long while in the nation before non-whites and women were permitted to fully enjoy and experience those rights).

The entire Declaration of Independence is a gorgeous piece of writing and argumentation – and unto itself, the preamble, which we share here, is enshrined in our national consciousness and an inspiration for freedom-loving and freedom-yearning people the world over:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Celebrating and Announcing Independence; The Fireworks and Parades Commence

A nation had been born.  And either England would consent to the American independence, and not oppose it – or England would continue to contest, by arms, the colonies breaking away from the Crown, and crush the insurgency.  Or the colonies would win what the Declaration of Independence proclaimed.

And the news spread of what happened in Philadelphia – and launched were the first July 4th celebrations.  Below is an excerpt from a study, The Declaration of Independence: First Public Readings, researched by James R. Heintze, a professor at American University:

“The Declaration of Independence was printed during the late afternoon on Thursday, July 4, by John Dunlap, a local Philadelphia printer.  Congress ordered that copies be sent to ‘the several Assemblies, Conventions, and Committees or Councils of Safety, and to the several Commanding officers of the Continental Troops, that it be proclaimed in each of the United States, and at the head of the Army.’  By the next morning copies were on their way to all thirteen states by horseback and on July 5 the German Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote, published by Heinrich Miller, became the new nation’s first newspaper to announce that the Declaration had been adopted.  On Saturday, July 6, the first newspaper print edition of the full text of the Declaration appeared in the Philadelphia Evening Post.  On Monday, July 8, the Declaration of Independence was ‘proclaimed’ (read aloud) by Col. John Nixon of the Philadelphia Committee of Safety at the State House in Philadelphia.  It was also read again that evening before the militia on the Commons.  Throughout the city, bells were rung all day.  On that as well the Declaration was publicly read in Easton, Pennsylvania, and Trenton, New Jersey.  It was these first public readings which constituted America’s first celebrations of the Fourth of July.  Typically in towns and cities across the nation accompanying the oral declarations were loud shouts, huzzas, firings of muskets, and the tearing down of the British emblems.  In Baltimore, for example, on July 29, the town was illuminated and ‘the Effigy of our late King was carted through the town and committed to the flames amidst the acclamations of many hundreds.  The just reward of a Tyrant.’”

Still, while the creation and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence were necessary to founding the United States of America, independence would not be won without continued and immense sacrifice of blood and treasure.

It was not until October 19, 1781 – more than five years after Philadelphia and July 4, 1776 – thatBritish General Charles Cornwallis surrendered his troops to an American and French force at Yorktown, Virginia, which resulted in the cessation of almost all fighting … and America gaining its independence … even if small clashes continued for two more years.

The American Revolution formally ended in Paris on September 3, 1783, with American and British representatives approving the Treaty of Paris.

But there could be no doubt that what happened on July 4, 1776 announced to Britain … and to the world … that this upstart assembly of colonies were prepared to give all to be free.  Indeed, all those men who signed the Declaration of Independence, in that they were considered by England to be subjects of the Crown, were deemed by the Mother Country to be committing treason, a crime punishable by death.

Benjamin Franklin understood the risk and peril. A letter he wrote which he sent to his colleagues in the Second Continental Congress just prior to the vote on the declaration, included these words: “We must, indeed, all hang together – or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

A big deal.  A very big deal.

And John Adams was right.  America declaring its independence will be “solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

As for those fireworks, if you click here you will be taken to a Travel + Leisure story, “The Best Fourth of July Fireworks in Every U.S. State,” written by Emily Cappiello, and published on June 30, 2017.

There can be no July 4th without fireworks – without “illuminations.”

May there always be July 4th and the fireworks – from sea to sea.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services shouts out a “Happy Birthday America!!”

 

On the Subject of Prodigies, and Being Gifted and Wise Far Beyond One’s Years – and of Stefan Vilsmeier and Brainlab

Brainlab AG founder and CEO Stefan Vilsmeier (Image credit: Brainlab AG)

Let’s talk prodigies.  Encyclopaedia Brittanica defines a prodigy as “a child who, by about age 10, performs at the level of a highly trained adult in a particular sphere of activity or knowledge.”

Merriam-Webster defines a prodigy as “a highly talented child or youth” – a definition which, it would seem, allows for prodigies who are older than 10. Perhaps 16? How about 17?  Maybe 18?

Now, for sure, broadly and generally, in society, the term prodigy is applied to children, or teens, or those in early adulthood (let’s call 21 the cutoff age), who are exceptionally … and we mean exceptionally … gifted, skilled, and talented beyond their years.

A poster child for prodigies is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  Born in Austria in 1756, Mozart played the piano skillfully at 3; he taught himself the violin at 4. At 6, his piano playing wowed and enamored audiences across Europe.

Pablo Picasso was a prodigy.  Born in Spain, in 1881, it is said he could draw before he could talk.  And when he started to talk, he did so by saying, “piz,” which is short for lápiz, the Spanish word for pencil.

Picasso applied to the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona when he was 13.  The application process usually took a month. Picasso finished the application in a week, and so impressed the admissions jury that it enthusiastically chose to accept him.

Of course, for both Mozart and Picasso, their childhoods and adolescences were foundations and jumping off points to lives of extraordinary artistic prolificacy, and delivering work that is brilliantly transformative in beauty, power, and revelation.

Mabou Loiseau is a prodigy.  When she was 8, Ms. Loiseau, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, spoke English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, Creole, Japanese, and knew and was able to communicate in American Sign Language (ASL); yes, that’s nine languages.  Ms. Loiseau skillfully played the piano, violin, drums, guitar, harp, clarinet, flute, and conga.   Ms. Loiseau, a New York City resident, also was involved in dance and sports.  Mabou Loiseau is now 13, and continues to learn and be amazing.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services has ties to … we are only a degree or two separated … from a man who holds true and solid prodigy credentials.

Stefan Vilsmeier is his name.  Mr. Vilsmeir is a medical technology titan.  Before Mr. Vilsmeir was a medical tech titan, he was a prodigy.

Stefan Vilsmeier is the founder and CEO of Brainlab AG, a global leader in developing, manufacturing, and marketing “software-driven medical technology, enabling access to advanced, less invasive patient treatments.”

It is and has been the privilege of Willwork to provide services to, and to work closely with, and for, Brainlab AG.

Stefan Vilsmeier and Early Brilliance, Early Achievement

Born in 1967, Stefan Vilsmeier grew up in a suburb of Munich. As a teenager, he taught himself computer programming.  An enthusiastic gamer, he used his technology talents and imagination to create video games.  At the age of 17, Mr. Vilsmeier wrote a book on 3D graphics that became a bestseller, with more than 50,000 books sold.

With a bestselling book behind him, Mr. Vilsmeier then coupled his creative and programming gifts, with high energy, a driving work ethic, entrepreneurial zeal, and excellent entrepreneurial insight to build the groundwork and foundation for Brainlab.

Following is an excerpt from Mr. Vilsmeier’s bio at the Brainlab website:

“In 1989, Vilsmeier enrolled at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, to study Computer Programming and The Theory of Medical Technology. However, his enterprising nature and burgeoning business in computer-assisted medical technology left little time for theory. While still in the first semester, Vilsmeier founded Brainlab GmbH from the proceeds of his book. During the following years, Stefan Vilsmeier spearheaded new developments in the area of neuro-navigation and radiotherapy.”

Please click here to be taken to the full Stefan Vilsmeier bio.

Stefan Vilsmeier and Brainlab Capitalized on the Value of Tradeshows

Early in his stewarding and directing Brainlab – and Willwork just has to point this out – Stefan Vilsmeier capitalized on and accessed the opportunity of tradeshows to market and sell his company and its technology.

In 1992, Mr. Vilsmeier and Brainlab made a strong and strategic foray into the U.S. market, exhibiting at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington, D.C.  The Brainlab exhibit at the show, and this should not be surprising, was one that Mr. Vilsmeier designed and built himself.

Last year, close to half of Brainlab’s $311.1 million (€ 260 million) in revenue was generated in the United States.

Stefan Vilsmeier and Brainlab Continue to Believe in Tradeshows

Today, Brainlab, still based in Munich, employs 1,300 across 19 locations internationally.  There are almost 12,000 Brainlab technology systems operating in more than 100 countries.

And, today, Stefan Vilsmeier and Brainlab remain deeply and strongly committed to tradeshows as an integral component of marketing Brainlab technology, telling the Brainlab story, and strengthening and solidifying the Brainlab brand.

As explained at the Brainlab website –

“Every year Brainlab participates in dozens of large and hundreds of regional tradeshows all around the globe. Events are a great way for us to not only get to know our current and future customers, but also present new products and gain valuable feedback for products that are still in development. We look forward to welcoming you at the next Brainlab event!”

This all sounds good to Willwork.  Then, again, we sure don’t have to be sold on the value of tradeshows.

Willwork looks forward to continuing to provide optimum tradeshow and exhibit services and value to Brainlab, the company founded by a prodigy, and which produces the “software-driven medical technology” that heals and delivers hope and improves lives the world over.

 

 

 

 

Infrastructure Week – Building America and Supporting the Skilled Trades

It is nice, encouraging, and inspiring when there are initiatives that receive broad-ranging support, and which are championed by Democrats, Independents, Republicans, liberals, and conservatives.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services gives a call out to one of those initiatives: Infrastructure Week – actually, more specifically, the 6th Annual Infrastructure Week – which is ongoing and upon us, with this year’s edition running from May 14-21.

Infrastructure Week is the baby and brainchild of the nonprofit organization of the same name.

Here is a descriptor of Infrastructure Week from the organization’s website:

“Infrastructure Week, a non-profit organization, convenes a national week of education and advocacy that brings together American businesses, workers, elected leaders, and everyday citizens around one message in 2018: Americans are waiting. The future won’t. It’s #TimeToBuild.  Each year during IWeek, leaders and citizens around America highlight the state of our nation’s infrastructure – roads, bridges, rail, ports, airports, water and sewer systems, the energy grid, telecoms, and more – and the projects, technologies, and policies necessary to make America competitive, prosperous, and safe.

“Our bipartisan Steering Committee and nearly 400 affiliates host events, drive media attention, and educate stakeholders and policymakers on the critical importance of infrastructure to America’s economic competitiveness, security, job creation, and in the daily lives of every American. As a business, union, non-profit, government, or an individual who depends on infrastructure, you have an important story to tell. Find a way to participate and tell your fellow citizens and policymakers: We’re tired of waiting. It’s Time to Build.”

And here is some language taken from the FAQ section of the Infrastructure Week website: “Infrastructure Week is non-partisan, is not affiliated with any political candidate, and does not take a position on any legislation or elections.”

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.  Fundamental and integral to our success is our deep reserve of highly skilled tradespeople.  And, of course, we find tremendous merit in infrastructure-based development and construction, for it puts skilled tradespeople to work.

It is important to remember that while, in the U.S., the history of infrastructure building and maintenance and renovation is largely and vastly one of publicly financed projects, there have also been many infrastructure projects financed through public-private partnerships, also called P3s or PPPs.

Actually, P3s are more popular as a financing mechanism in other countries than they are in the U.S., with the main reason being that America, as is the case with only a few nations worldwide, exempts the interest earned on local and state bonds from the taxes that Uncle Sam assesses.  The U.S. bond market, as a result, is bigger and more advanced than in other countries, making exclusive public financing of infrastructure attractive.

Yet, states and the federal government are looking for new streams of financing, and there are more and more P3 projects in the U.S.

An example of a successful P3 is Florida’s I-595 Corridor Roadway Improvement Project a partnership between the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the private concessionaire I-595 Express, LLC.   The project, approved in 2008, and commenced in 2009, involves design, building, financing, operation, and maintenance over a 35-year term – and to date has been coming in on time and on budget.

Smart, innovative, and strategic infrastructure investment is necessary for the overall strength of America.

Infrastructure Week advances a good and noble cause.