If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Washington Post)   From the "headlines that write themselves" file: Congress finds it hard to let Federal Helium Program run out of gas, as one Congressman comments, "Imagine a world without balloons"   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 96
    More: Stupid, Federal Helium Program, congressman, congresses, Congress finds, Texas Panhandle, Ron Wyden, gas  
•       •       •

1485 clicks; posted to Politics » on 27 Apr 2013 at 11:42 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



96 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all
 
2013-04-27 08:42:28 AM
Sure that's slightly unfortunate, but we can't just keep frittering it away. Your wistful fondness for balloons does not override the very important data about shortages.
 
2013-04-27 09:04:31 AM
"imagine a world without balloons"

Well, keeping children's attention would be extremely difficult, so Congress would probably devolve into daily food-fights.
 
2013-04-27 10:00:02 AM
I imagine it would be similar to a world without zinc.
 
2013-04-27 10:05:12 AM
i1079.photobucket.com
Balloon Balls...
 
2013-04-27 10:14:10 AM
Helium is used for a lot of things, probably the LEAST important of which is to fill up balloons. Plus, balloons float away and end up in the oceans, polluting the water and killing marine life.
 
2013-04-27 10:23:36 AM
Just fill the kids' balloons with hydrogen. What's the worst that could happen?
 
2013-04-27 11:54:44 AM
Helium a) can only be extracted in useful quantities from a very few sources, b) cannot be synthesized, c) leaves the Earth forever once it is released, and d) has no substitute for various important scientific and medical applications (such as MRI magnets).  If there is any resource that could use a "strategic reserve", it would be Helium.
 
2013-04-27 12:00:28 PM
Stop filling those balloons with helium, use methane instead.
 
2013-04-27 12:02:04 PM
The program, with 52 employees, pays for itself with proceeds from the sales.
 
2013-04-27 12:03:14 PM
Don;t worry folks, the reckoning will be coming long before we run out of helium.

A book written about a sky fairy and a zombie told me so.
 
2013-04-27 12:06:30 PM
Serious here, hopefully someone can fill me in:


Why not just sell the production facilities and stockpile to someone?
 
2013-04-27 12:06:31 PM
On the bright side, I was thinking of proposing a program to use helium filled balloons to keep Guam from tipping over.  At least I'm pretty sure to get Johnson's vote.
 
2013-04-27 12:07:20 PM
Imagine a Congress without buffoons.
 
2013-04-27 12:08:30 PM

miss diminutive: I imagine it would be similar to a world without zinc.


img367.imageshack.us

/the thing that you did there has been noticed by me
 
2013-04-27 12:09:03 PM

jcooli09: Why not just sell the production facilities and stockpile to someone?


Because the US should keep a reserve of strategic assets like gold, oil, and helium?
 
2013-04-27 12:11:12 PM

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: jcooli09: Why not just sell the production facilities and stockpile to someone?

Because the US should keep a reserve of strategic assets like gold, oil, and helium?


OK, keep the stockpile and sell the facilities?
 
2013-04-27 12:11:38 PM
Someone forgot their Lithium
 
2013-04-27 12:18:06 PM

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: jcooli09: Why not just sell the production facilities and stockpile to someone?

Because the US should keep a reserve of strategic assets like gold, oil, and helium?


Strategic reserves are for really important assets, like maple syrup.
 
2013-04-27 12:18:50 PM
Careful, he might hear you.
 
2013-04-27 12:20:44 PM

Last Man on Earth: Careful, he might hear you.

25.media.tumblr.com
 
2013-04-27 12:28:38 PM

LasersHurt: Sure that's slightly unfortunate, but we can't just keep frittering it away. Your wistful fondness for balloons does not override the very important data about shortages.


I can hear Republicans now, gnashing their teeth over the liberal scientists trying to ruin children's birthday parties.
 
2013-04-27 12:28:41 PM

TyrantII: Don;t worry folks, the reckoning will be coming long before we run out of helium.

A book written about a sky fairy and a zombie told me so.


i759.photobucket.com
 
2013-04-27 12:29:50 PM

Insertwitty Namehere: On the bright side, I was thinking of proposing a program to use helium filled balloons to keep Guam from tipping over.  At least I'm pretty sure to get Johnson's vote.


dammitsomuch that's what i came in here to say. YOU GIVE MY JOKE BACK NOW

/great minds, or something
 
2013-04-27 12:30:00 PM
Why don't they just increase the price so that private industries would have a reason to step in. This will also increase the government profits until they can shut it down.
 
2013-04-27 12:35:14 PM
These is serious. I'm only up to 95 Red Balloons and need to I finish this project rather quickly.
 
2013-04-27 12:38:55 PM
www.holidaylga.com

TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!

 
2013-04-27 01:04:54 PM
The squandering of helium is a great microcosmic example of the ignorance and self-destructiveness of human beings. Our ultimate fate is to slit our own throats.
 
2013-04-27 01:07:57 PM
Leave it to the US to strangle scientific/industry progress just so some retarded old fart in Congress can watch the boring-as-shiat Macy's Day balloon parade.  History books will remember this as America's "Dumb Era".
 
2013-04-27 01:11:48 PM
flondrix:
Helium a) can only be extracted in useful quantities from a very few sources,

Of course, one of those "very few" sources is "many natural gas fields," including a couple of the bigger ones in the United States. While the "helium fields" in the American Southwest are high in helium (7% or higher content in some natural gas fields), there are others with 1% or higher. A marginally higher price for helium makes the addition of a helium extraction stage commercially practical for the lower-yield reserves.

The natural gas companies don't currently extract the helium from their gas flow because - wait for it - the US government has been selling their reserve at below market prices. Now that the major US reserve is being removed from the equation, a lot more producers are starting to build helium extraction systems into their refineries. It's basically free money for some of them, once the hardware is paid off.

Meanwhile, there are several Russian gas fields that are fairly high in helium content, and Qatar is building a new helium production plant that will be the world's largest.
 
2013-04-27 01:15:29 PM
Imagine the world without MRIs.

They need liquid helium to work properly.
 
2013-04-27 01:17:58 PM
Helium was discovered on the Sun before it was discovered on Earth.
 
2013-04-27 01:17:59 PM

James F. Campbell: The squandering of helium is a great microcosmic example of the ignorance and self-destructiveness of human beings. Our ultimate fate is to slit our own throats.


No, it's an example of capitalism run amok.

The plan is to create scarcity and thus gouge the market creating mass profits.
 
2013-04-27 01:25:09 PM
I think it's because Industries don't think beyond their specific interests. For example, Coal plants scrub for SO2, while other companies mine sulfur to create SO2 as a precursor to SO3. Gas companies release Helium rather than capture it. Oil refineries burn off obviously flammable byproducts, rather than developing a mark for these byproducts.
 
2013-04-27 01:30:49 PM

flondrix: Helium a) can only be extracted in useful quantities from a very few sources, b) cannot be synthesized, c) leaves the Earth forever once it is released, and d) has no substitute for various important scientific and medical applications (such as MRI magnets).  If there is any resource that could use a "strategic reserve", it would be Helium.


You can make helium. It's expensive, but it can be done.
 
2013-04-27 01:36:21 PM
I can imagine a world without helium balloons. It's the world we will be living in soon if we keep squandering helium.
 
2013-04-27 01:40:30 PM

vygramul: flondrix: Helium a) can only be extracted in useful quantities from a very few sources, b) cannot be synthesized, c) leaves the Earth forever once it is released, and d) has no substitute for various important scientific and medical applications (such as MRI magnets).  If there is any resource that could use a "strategic reserve", it would be Helium.

You can make helium. It's expensive, but it can be done.


Hell, the Sun does it all long for free. Getting at it is just tricky.
 
2013-04-27 01:43:11 PM

vygramul: flondrix: Helium a) can only be extracted in useful quantities from a very few sources, b) cannot be synthesized, c) leaves the Earth forever once it is released, and d) has no substitute for various important scientific and medical applications (such as MRI magnets).  If there is any resource that could use a "strategic reserve", it would be Helium.

You can make helium. It's expensive, but it can be done.


Yes it can be done, by extracting it from the atmosphere... 1 atom at a time....

and it will happen, when we have used all the easy get helium.

And then the only people able to afford helium will research groups at insane costs.
 
2013-04-27 01:44:53 PM
lohphat:
No, it's an example of capitalism run amok.

No, it's an example of capitalism not getting into a market that the government was basically running at below cost.

There is a lot - literally trillions of cubic feet - of recoverable helium in the natural gas fields of the world. A large number - I've seen estimates of 1/3 of all fields - have high enough concentrations of helium to make commercial extraction a no-brainer. That is, if it wasn't for the artificially-low price enforced by the US government's near-monopoly on the world supply due to control of the very-high-concentration fields they own.

There are places in the US with high helium concentrations that aren't being used. There are some fields in the upper Midwest that were explored for natural gas in the 1920s, but were capped because "the natural gas didn't burn." There are also significant (but smaller) fields in Colorado and New Mexico that are currently untapped.

Russia, India, and other countries are starting to ramp up production. Australia built a new plant in Darwin that can supply about 100% of that country's helium demand. I mentioned the helium plant in Qatar in a previous comment. It opens next month, and will supply 38 million cubic meters of helium per year - about 22% of current world production.
 
2013-04-27 01:46:05 PM

Meh... we can always make more!


upload.wikimedia.org


Bring your own balloons though.

 
2013-04-27 01:48:26 PM
Raharu:
Yes it can be done, by extracting it from the atmosphere... 1 atom at a time....

and it will happen, when we have used all the easy get helium.

And then the only people able to afford helium will research groups at insane costs.


This will happen, with current probable reserves, in about 58,000 years. I'm pretty sure there's a workaround or two we can find by then.

(Note that "proven reserves" are only about 58 years - but "proven" and "we know it's there but aren't bothering to extract it" are two very different things - there is a LOT of helium in the natural gas reserves of the world).
 
2013-04-27 01:53:05 PM

James F. Campbell: The squandering of helium is a great microcosmic example of the ignorance and self-destructiveness of human beings. Our ultimate fate is to slit our own throats.


Actually, it can't be basic human nature to be self destructive, otherwise we'd have never crawled out of our caves. "Fark you all, I've got mine." is more of a learned American cultural trait based on how a lot of the rest of the developed world acts (like the whole thing on The Daily Show this week with Australia and their gun laws).
 
2013-04-27 01:59:18 PM

The Bananadragon: Insertwitty Namehere: On the bright side, I was thinking of proposing a program to use helium filled balloons to keep Guam from tipping over.  At least I'm pretty sure to get Johnson's vote.

dammitsomuch that's what i came in here to say. YOU GIVE MY JOKE BACK NOW

/great minds, or something


Dangit so much
 
2013-04-27 02:03:35 PM

Raharu: vygramul: flondrix: Helium a) can only be extracted in useful quantities from a very few sources, b) cannot be synthesized, c) leaves the Earth forever once it is released, and d) has no substitute for various important scientific and medical applications (such as MRI magnets).  If there is any resource that could use a "strategic reserve", it would be Helium.

You can make helium. It's expensive, but it can be done.

Yes it can be done, by extracting it from the atmosphere... 1 atom at a time....

and it will happen, when we have used all the easy get helium.

And then the only people able to afford helium will research groups at insane costs.


No, we can MAKE helium, not collect it.
 
2013-04-27 02:03:53 PM

LouDobbsAwaaaay: Leave it to the US to strangle scientific/industry progress just so some retarded old fart in Congress can watch the boring-as-shiat Macy's Day balloon parade.  History books will remember this as America's "Dumb Era".


"Oh, come on... He's just a poor kid from the stupid ages. "
 
2013-04-27 02:06:07 PM

LouDobbsAwaaaay: Leave it to the US to strangle scientific/industry progress just so some retarded old fart in Congress can watch the boring-as-shiat Macy's Day balloon parade.  History books will remember this as America's "Dumb Era".


Using hydrogen might make the parade less boring.
 
2013-04-27 02:09:08 PM

Raharu: Yes it can be done, by extracting it from the atmosphere... 1 atom at a time....


I believed he meant you can synthesize it from nuclear reactions - if we actually begin to make fusion power, helium would be the main byproduct of both the breeding of tritium and the fusion itself.  It can be done now but at a net energy loss.
 
2013-04-27 02:16:19 PM

lohphat: No, it's an example of capitalism run amok.


Fixed that for you. Also, my point stands.
 
2013-04-27 02:16:44 PM
Once it reaches an appropriate price point, private industry will step in with their spacecraft and mine it on the sun. The other thing you are forgetting is that within the next ten years you will be able to 3d print your own helium at home.
 
2013-04-27 02:17:27 PM

vygramul: Raharu: vygramul: flondrix: Helium a) can only be extracted in useful quantities from a very few sources, b) cannot be synthesized, c) leaves the Earth forever once it is released, and d) has no substitute for various important scientific and medical applications (such as MRI magnets).  If there is any resource that could use a "strategic reserve", it would be Helium.

You can make helium. It's expensive, but it can be done.

Yes it can be done, by extracting it from the atmosphere... 1 atom at a time....

and it will happen, when we have used all the easy get helium.

And then the only people able to afford helium will research groups at insane costs.

No, we can MAKE helium, not collect it.



Do tell.
 
2013-04-27 02:17:43 PM

Mad_Radhu: Actually, it can't be basic human nature to be self destructive, otherwise we'd have never crawled out of our caves. "Fark you all, I've got mine." is more of a learned American cultural trait based on how a lot of the rest of the developed world acts (like the whole thing on The Daily Show this week with Australia and their gun laws).


We have made it this far simply by virtue of not being able to wreak havoc on a species-wide scale. That is no longer the case.
 
Displayed 50 of 96 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report