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Yanks captain chases hits milestone July 8, 2011

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag, Trends.
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New York Yankee captain and all-star short stop, Derek Jeter, is closing in on baseball history. He is 2 hits shy of 3,000 for his career and is the only Yankee, current or past, to reach this milestone. During a homestand this weekend against division rivals Tampa Bay,  it is likely that Derek will get the 2 hits he needs to reach this next achievement in his future hall of fame career. In all of baseball, Jeter will be only the 28th player to have 3000 hits. Derek is that exceedingly rare MLB player who has only played for the New York Yankees his entire career.

Chasing 3K hits

Jeter 2 shy of 3000 career hits

As usual, the captain is not talking too much about this significant event. He is focused on helping his team win games. Yet, they have only won 1 game in 5 since his return. It is hard not to be distracted when an HBO film crew is dogging you and the team.

Jeter has just come off the disabled list earlier this week. During that time, the Yanks were 17-3. Now that he is back in the line up, he will play every day until the All-Star break next week.

I hope he gets his 3,000th hit on Saturday. I will be watching the Yanks playing a day game, with history on deck.

What could be more American than that?

Space Shuttle reaches the end of an ERA July 7, 2011

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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The final shuttle launch scheduled for Friday marks the end of this era in space exploration. I covered the 2nd to last launch previously. Now the last ever shuttle launch is imminent, there are lots of anecdotes and reminders. Here is an interactive graphic the details the history of this unique space program, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

Interactive Shuttle timeline

Shuttle launch histo

Because the final shuttle launch is not routine, it will garner lots of media coverage to mark the end of this type of space exploration. While the launch is significant, the completion of this last mission is still important. The final event is the landing and safe return of the shuttle. You can then visit it at a museum in the near future. I have seen one in person – it is not as big as I imagined it to be.

Space travel is still very dangerous. The engineering challenges are huge and there is no room for error. Each system must work flawlessly; if there is a problem, there are redundant and backup systems. The shuttle changed our perception of space travel. It made it seem more pedestrian, safer than being ‘spam-in-a-can’ riding in a giant rocket.

The re-usable shuttle allowed us to rationalize that this type of travel could be within our reach someday. Not yet, not soon either. I think routine commercial space travel is 1 or 2 generations ahead of us. Advances in technology will continue at a pace that is relative to the level of funding. Remember, we met the challenge from JFK to land on the moon in 10 years. We can achieve a similar milestone, all it takes is money.

I’m curious to see what the next era for space travel will be. Whatever the goal is, it will increase our engineering capabilities and expand our knowledge of the cosmos. It will also provide benefits to our daily lives as the technology designed for space travel is leveraged in commercial products and services.