Friday, August 15, 2008
Not the helium!!
Did you know there's apparently a helium shortage? There is. I was as shocked you. I hadn't noticed the price of party balloons has gone up significantly in the past 2 years. It has. But apparently, the 2nd most abundant element in the universe isn't very abundant on earth. Really? Yes, really. I never thought about how they got it in the tanks, I figured it was a simple process since there's so much helium. But I didn't exactly ace my way through chemistry either (B+). Isn't helium around us in the air with all the other gases? Sort of. It floats up through the sky and gets burned up. I suppose it makes sense when you watch balloons, but again, it's not something I'd ever thought much about. I suppose we should all spend more time thinking about the noble gases. So why the shortage? Low production. It has to be extracted from natural gas refining. The US had a strategic reserve of helium but they're getting rid of it. Strategic reserve? There's a lot of strategic things you can do with party balloons.... So when do we panic? 5 years ago. In the meantime, let's enjoy the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade a little more this year.