The writing is very clearly on the wall here: Radio Shack seems screwed. And that’s too bad, because it was once such a great retail chain.

No one is asking, but my plan would be to create an “Apple Store for everything and everyone.” That is, use their current weakness, their insanely large store footprint, as an advantage. Create an Apple Store-like experience for more than just Apple products, all over.

Apple can’t do this for obvious reasons (they’re not going to sell Android devices). Neither can Microsoft (they’re not going to sell iPhones). Neither can the carriers (well they potentially could but they’re far too greedy). And Best Buy is just a bloated mess at this point.

It sounds like RadioShack is starting to do some of this. But I’ve seen the new stores. They’re not going far enough.

David Pierce:

By some alchemical mix of the movie itself and the combined excellence of the Jackson 5, David Bowie, Redbone, and the Raspberries, this collection of music from the ’70s has now spent two consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard 200. It’s estimated to have sold 93,000 copies in the previous week (down from 109,000 the week previous), putting it firmly above the “Now 51” collection and the never-dying Frozen soundtrack. Take that, pop music.

The film itself is good, but the music is both integral and elevates it, so no surprise here.

Horace Dediu:

The graph lets us answer the question “What would have happened if Apple had not paid any dividends, bought back shares and taken on debt?”

The answer is in the blue line. It would be about $210 billion today. There are about a dozen companies other than Apple worth more than that amount.

Even more insane: had Apple not instituted the dividends and buy backs, they would be well on their way to having $1 trillion in cash.

A trillion dollars.

Tallinn on the decrease in crime around the developed world in recent years:

But the sheer scale of the drop—and its broad persistence in the face of the deepest economic depression in a century—make a new crime wave seem unlikely. Policing is still improving; heroin and crack-cocaine consumption continue to fall; and no one is likely to reintroduce lead into petrol. The period of rising crime from the 1950s through to the 1980s looks increasingly like an historical anomaly.

A portion of the theory reminds me a bit of Minority Report’s “pre-crime”. No, not the knowing the future part, but the fact that would-be criminals realize their actions are more likely to be caught in some way, so they are simply thinking twice about doing anything in the first place.

Ariel Schwartz:

Gum’s turn in the spotlight may be ending, however. In a report, Nicholas Fereday, executive director and senior analyst of food and consumer trends for Rabobank, has surveyed the state of the gum market and discovered some surprising data: The $4 billion gum industry has gone into freefall, with sales down 11% and volume down 20% in the past five years. No type of gum is immune—everything from sugar-free gum to bubble gum is experiencing the drop in sales. What’s going on?

Insert “Bubble” joke here. Also, this is really odd. I used to chew gum all the time. I never do anymore. Not really sure why. I just stopped. But I didn’t think everyone else did too.

Daisuke Wakabayashi on the screens likely to find their way into the next iPhone:

Mass-producing sapphire is complex. Sapphire crystals are grown in massive furnaces at high temperatures. After the ingredients crystallize in an energy-intensive process, the result is a giant hockey-puck-shaped cylinder called a boule, which is carved into different shapes. Apple’s Arizona plant is using next-generation furnaces capable of producing boules larger than 440 pounds.

By forming boules more than 50% larger than produced by current machines, Apple and GT aim to drive down the price of sapphire and close the gap with glass.

Chalk it up to: things you can do when you have over $100 billion just laying around.

(As an aside, I keep thinking of this.)