Sunday, April 9, 2017

Rue21 May Be Latest Big Box Store Casualty; Retailers Closing Faster Than Ever -- Bloomberg -- T+78 -- April 9, 2017

From Bloomberg, the data points:
  • America's retailers are closing stores faster than ever
  • Rue21 may be next; preparing to file for bankruptcy (Rue21: teen-apparel retailer; my wife has not heard of it)
  • Amazon is gobbling up most of the industry's online growth
  • the pain for America's shopping malls could be just beginning
  • the blight is also taking a toll on jobs
  • retailers cut 30,000 positions in most recent report
  • some say it was simply too many apparel stores
  • store closings year-to-date
    • outpacing those of 2008 when the last US recession was waging
    • 2016 (again, year-to-date): 1,153
    • 2017 (year-to-date): 2,880
    • extrapolating: that could be 8,640 stores closing in 2017; 2008 peak -- 6,200
  • retail space per capita in the US six times that of Europe or Japan (this does not include digital commerce)
More at the link.

Enriched Uranium

I'm reading Gino Segre's Ordinary Geniuses: Max Delbruck, George Gamow, and the Origins of Genomics and Big Bang Cosmology. He spends as much time as any writer that I've read writing about Lisa Meitner and how she "realized" that the uranium nucleus could be split. I don't know how many times I've read that bit of physics but could never remember the details. This time, though, I think I finally have it. I finally "understand" it -- as much as I will ever understand it. Of course, I don't understand the math or the physics but I "understand" the concept, if that makes sense.

I finally understand it because of the time I spent with our oldest granddaughter and the periodic table. Funny how things play out.

One of the things I never paid attention to was the actual percent of U-235 in a ton of "natural" uranium. I find that amazing.
  • natural uranium
    • U-238: 99.284%
    • U-235: 0.711% 
  • low-enriched uranium (reactor grade)
    • 3 - 4% U-235
  • highly-enriched uranium (weapons grade)
    • 90% U-235
  • depleted uranium: the U-238 that is left behind after enrichment 

I finished reading  Gino Segre's Ordinary Geniuses: Max Delbruck, George Gamow, and the Origins of Genomics and Big Bang Cosmology on April 11, 2017. It's a very, very good read. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the history of biology and cosmology in the 20th century.

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