A Message From Lucianne

The Future of Helium Is Up in the Air

Original Article

Posted By: MISteve, 5/20/2019 4:48:01 PM

Sorry to burst your balloon, but the world is currently experiencing its third major helium shortage in the last 14 years, putting more than just party decorations at risk. Heather Murphy at The New York Times reports that the shortage recently made headlines when Party City, the chain store perhaps best known for being the place to get bunches of helium balloons, announced the closure of 45 of its 870 stores. Many people, noting that recently some of the stores have been out or short of helium, blamed the low supply of the gas... ...Nevertheless, the story brought to light the fact that helium is currently being rationed.


This is real. Helium is mined. Helium atoms are too light to be captured by Earth's gravity, so once removed from the ground, they float away to space. Helium balloons are the dumbest things to do with a truly scarce resource. And why is the government closing the Reserve? Even dumber!

Post Reply

Reply 1 - Posted by: MattMusson 5/20/2019 5:31:48 PM (No. 67836)
Helium is a byproduct of aneutronic fusion. With luck we will soon be making our own.
2 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: DVC 5/20/2019 5:43:28 PM (No. 67840)
Not likely in the next 50 years, #1. It is fundamentally stupid to waste literally irreplaceable helium on stupid toy balloons. I has serious applications. Just raise the darned price, and people will stop wasting it on dumb stuff.
14 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: droopydog 5/20/2019 6:05:25 PM (No. 67851)
Unfortunately, Hillary sold 25% of our helium reserves to Putin. Now that despot has us right where he wants us.
3 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: Wendybird 5/20/2019 6:11:15 PM (No. 67854)
Say what they will. I believe that, like war, cancer and poverty, the Helium shortage is caused by Global Warming.
2 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: bad-hair 5/20/2019 6:18:25 PM (No. 67858)
Whatever floats your boat, as they say. As in the Hindenburg thing, beats the crap out of hydrogen.
3 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: 4Justice 5/20/2019 9:05:02 PM (No. 67892)
Helium has been in short supply for years. I am surprised they still waste it on balloons.
6 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: JHHolliday 5/20/2019 9:11:58 PM (No. 67895)
I am sure it’s Trumps fault or global warming.
2 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: TLCary 5/20/2019 9:24:33 PM (No. 67900)
Fracking. The big natural gas wells in Texas that had facilities to extract helium aren't being utilized as heavily because there are plenty of small wells throughout the East Coast. So the helium is still under ground waiting to be tapped. The National Helium Reserve was created for our military air power (blimps). After 100 years, (fighter jets, and drones) we are STILL FUNDING IT! So we've made it easier to waste a very limited resource that mankind will need forever on party balloons. Brilliant. Smithsonian and the manager about to be put out of a job are trying to drum up support to keep the 100 year old boondoggle alive to save party balloons. Always an agenda...
3 people like this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: DVC 5/20/2019 9:27:42 PM (No. 67901)
Helium is created on earth only by radioactive decay of rare isotopes deep inside the earth. All helium that is released into the atmosphere eventually floats up to the top of the atmosphere, and winds up being bumped off into outer space because it is so light that it is weakly held by gravity. There was a large discovery of helium a few years ago in Tanzania, but we really do need to stop wasting this on stupid party balloons. It is needed for various scientific devices, including the MRI machines and particle accelerators. The rate at which new helium is being made by radioactive decay is totally fixed and is extremely slow, so piddling it away on balloons is just dumb. It is rare to begin with, any lost is literally lost forever - off of the planet, and we do have serious needs for it. Unlike Paul Ehrlich and the other BS "we're running out of ________" stories, this really is an actual limited resource, and no real alternatives in some applications, at least at our current levels of technology. Of course, the sun has plenty, so we can just go and.....nevermind.
8 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: ColonialAmerican1623 5/21/2019 12:15:02 AM (No. 67929)
I seldom go to Party City because of the smell when they fill those balloons. When they first opened the local store, someone had the good sense to leave the front doors open. Is Dollar Tree aware of this ? They must sell millions. More concerning is all of the balloon trash when the excitement wears off.
0 people like this.

Reply 11 - Posted by: DaddyO 5/21/2019 3:18:12 AM (No. 67952)
Great.. no more donald duck voice. Really sucky monday.
0 people like this.

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The Future of Helium Is Up in the Air 11 replies
Posted by MISteve 5/20/2019 4:48:01 PM
Sorry to burst your balloon, but the world is currently experiencing its third major helium shortage in the last 14 years, putting more than just party decorations at risk. Heather Murphy at The New York Times reports that the shortage recently made headlines when Party City, the chain store perhaps best known for being the place to get bunches of helium balloons, announced the closure of 45 of its 870 stores. Many people, noting that recently some of the stores have been out or short of helium, blamed the low supply of the gas... ...Nevertheless, the story brought to light the fact that helium is currently being rationed.
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