Helium Deadline Hangs over the Economy

Vince Jesaitis photo

We’re in the middle of summer and, as usual during this travel season, gas prices have been rising.  Thankfully, we haven’t seen the severe volatility in gas prices like we have in summers past, but most of us can recall from recent memory when an international crisis or environmental incident affected the U.S. oil supply – some kind of source disruption that curtailed a small percentage of our nation’s supply – and gasoline prices at the pump soared. 

Now imagine how bad things could get if 40 or 50 percent of the nation’s oil supply were taken off the market.  Dramatic supply shortages likely would trigger rationing, astronomical price increases, and an economic slowdown.  

A similar troubling scenario could play out in the near future for another commodity that’s increasingly critical for the economy and especially for the U.S. technology sector -- helium.  Helium is an essential and irreplaceable element for manufacturing fiber optic cable, semiconductor chips, many medical devices, as well as for operating MRI machines and conducting research.  The federal government controls roughly 40 percent of the world’s helium supply, and sells much of it to the private sector.  Unfortunately, the authorization for the government to make those sales will expire on October 7.  Without Congressional action, that 40 percent of the world’s supply will be taken off the market.  Industries which rely on a steady, affordable supply of helium would face a severe economic shock.

The House of Representatives earlier this year passed legislation that would avert this impending crisis.  The Senate was poised to pass a similar bill, which would have made it possible for the two bills to be reconciled during August, passed in September when Congress returns, and sent to the President’s desk before that October 7 deadline.  Unfortunately, the Senate could not approve its bill before leaving for the August legislative recess -- not because of the substance of the helium provisions, but because of disagreements about how the money raised from the sale of the helium is spent.  Meanwhile, companies that will be affected by a 40 percent reduction in the helium supply are being left in the lurch. 

Congress returns to Washington on September 9, which means they would have less than a month to address this issue.  Leaving it unresolved is not an option.  Domestic manufacturing jobs, medical jobs and procedures, and critical research and academic progress hinge on congressional action. Congress needs to work out the unrelated spending issues and send the legislation for the President’s signature by October 7.  

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  • Marcel Sat., October 5, 8:20 PM
    oh she is such a pretty baby, I love these! Congrats on your first nerwbon shoot and you've smashed it as usual. I love the feel of this series of images, soft, delicate natural moments with the baby doing what babies do naturally. My faves are ${esc.hash}2,5,6,8,9,10,16,21. I don't think there is anything you wouldn't be able to photograph Monika. http://ohrfcp.com [url=http://petpqnqoue.com]petpqnqoue[/url] [link=http://qkcolcitqcw.com]qkcolcitqcw[/link]
  • Ariel Sat., October 5, 7:37 PM
    Beautiful job Monika!!! I am so thankful that you were able to crputae my family and me. It is so wonderful to be in some photos for a change as well! My favorites are the ones with sun flare (I know the sun was fleeting that day) and the ones in the leaves and the pensive one of Gavin and, well you get the idea. Thank you so much!!! I am so glad that we are able to meet in person and form this friendship. I can't wait until the next meet up. We had a blast. http://gigglk.com [url=http://zykyww.com]zykyww[/url] [link=http://cuymoqsau.com]cuymoqsau[/link]
  • Saeed Wed., October 2, 7:15 PM
    My parents imrmigated from Holland to America just before my birth and they brought with them this lovely tradition of decorating the house so that when we woke up on out birthday the house was a cheerful surprise. I have since carried the tradition on to my three children. I love this idea and if I can get a tall enough ladder I may just try this next time on my high ceilings. Beautiful and simple!
  • Omar Wed., October 2, 12:38 PM
    As a guy, I approve this mesagse. :)I will say that once you do marry, God redeems all the time you thought was lost many times over.And as hard as it is, ladies, to be patient for the right guy to pursue, make him pursue you! If women only knew the power they have to motivate men to action. They would rule the world. http://fqyknm.com [url=http://hmkxaff.com]hmkxaff[/url] [link=http://crfsksweiwd.com]crfsksweiwd[/link]
  • Naiea Wed., October 2, 12:32 PM
    I wonder when vtoaaicns go back to be relaxing? I guess when the kids are grown and then we'll miss the days of the un-relaxing vtoaaicns, lol. Oh well, gotta think of the memories we're creating for our children, right? In a little over a month we're heading to NH for a week where we rented a chalet. So I won't have maid service in the room and we won't be eating out. I'll still be cooking and cleaning, lol. We needed the space and the laundry facilities though ;). Out in the woods for a week with my family, I'm definitely looking forward to it. But when we come home I know I'll want to sleep for a month.
  • Yuliana Wed., October 2, 6:04 AM
    Oh sweet Shelly. This is a beautiful post. And so true! Why do we trust God to meet our gresteat need (Salvation) and not to meet all the rest?! He is all we need and I am reminded of that even in marriage. If I count on my husband to meet my every need he is destined to fail and what an unfair expectation of him! It is not something you learn just in singleness, (although I did!) indeed it is a constant throughout life. :) Love you. http://zxkihzel.com [url=http://hdymbmq.com]hdymbmq[/url] [link=http://jonkcdrnrwk.com]jonkcdrnrwk[/link]
  • Bocah Wed., October 2, 12:06 AM
    shelly God has given me both a peace and a strong comnmad to stay true to Him for He is our husband we are His bride. What a blessing it has been to learn this over the past 9 months or so. When my eye/mind wanders He grabs my chin and pulls my gaze back to His. It is beautiful. Thank you so much for this encouragement it fits RIGHT in to what He is teaching me! You are a blessing girl! I'll be back at SWO next fall I hope to see you there!
  • ProsTo Tue., October 1, 11:24 PM
    Gorgeously done! Just wondering how long these laestd? Since you used wallpaper glue, does it harden the lace enough that it'll stand up by itself after the balloon starts to shrink after a week or so? I have seen this concept with doilies and modpodge, where they pop the balloon afterward and use the shell as a hanging lamp covering, for example, but I just wondered how this compares. Thanks! Again, beautiful job!
  • Dogukan Tue., October 1, 1:18 PM
    I wonder if the short life had annihtyg to do with the balloons themselves, or if perhaps the place where they got inflated just didn't add any Hi-Float (or other similar product). Last time I got balloons the woman who inflated them asked me if I wanted to pay an extra 25cents/balloon for this stuff they pump into the balloon prior to inflating. It greatly increases the life of your balloons.Anyways, those balloons do look great! Thanks for sharing:)
  • Nicolas Tue., October 1, 4:46 AM
    High (pitched) timesWe've all done it. Sitting there, staring at that heulim balloon as it beckons to us with its siren song promise of the dulcet tones of Donald Duck upon inhalation and subsequent speaking, and the laughter that is sure to follow. Eventually the temptation becomes unbearable. The balloon comes down, the end untied or delicately snipped off, the contents inhaled then the squeaky voice and the burst of laughter. (Then comes the lightheadedness and the headache if one keeps doing it. Rather like being drunk, you're most likely lying if you say you've never been there.) So what causes that? Stand by for science.The unbearable lightness of breathingOf course we all know that heulim is lighter than air, with air in this case being a convenient shorthand for the Earth's atmosphere which is made up of various gases. That's why balloons, blimps, and other various heulim filled things float.Well, not only is heulim lighter than air, the speed of sound is three times greater in heulim than it is in air. As a result here comes the science, hang on since the fundamental frequency of a gas-filled cavity (in this case, your lungs and larynx) is proportional to the speed of sound in the gas, this results in a corresponding increase in the pitches of the human voice thus creating the duck-like effect and the corresponding hilarity.BalloonacyAlso of note: this can work in reverse, too. For example, if you inhale a dense, non-toxic gas such as sulfur hexafluoride or xenon, you end up sounding like Barry White or Penn Jillette.Don't believe me? Fine, check out Adam from Mythbusters .Stuff the lawyers make me sayI feel obligated to point out that inhaling heulim (or sulfur hexafluoride, for that matter) in excess can, in fact, be deadly. Not because small quantities of the gas itself is harmful it's actually inert. But because when you're inhaling pure heulim, you're not inhaling any oxygen and if you didn't sleep through 5th grade science, you'd remember that your body needs oxygen in order to function.If you continue breathing pure heulim continuously, you will at the very least pass out and wake up with an awful headache. If you keep breathing it after you've passed out, you will die. Also, due to the extremely high pressure in most gas tanks, breathing it directly from the tank is highly dangerous, as you can fatally rupture your lung tissue.So if you must, stick to balloons.GD Star Ratingloading...
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