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DailyDirt: The Second Most Abundant Element In The Universe...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Helium is a fascinating element that most people recognize as the stuff that you can inhale to make your voice sound funny. However, it has some really serious uses in MRI machines and rocket engines -- and if we're not careful, we could waste this precious material and not have any kind of replacement for it. Once we run out of helium on earth, there aren't a lot of great options for obtaining more. It's not like we can just swing by Jupiter and bring some back. Maybe we can recycle and conserve for a bit, and perhaps someday we'll figure out fusion. After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2016 @ 5:39pm

    We have plenty of hydrogen, who needs a lighter than air inert gas anyways ... it's the war on party balloons.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 2 Jul 2016 @ 6:26pm

      Re:

      Wouldn't it absolutely suck if someone finally invents a real, workable fusion power plant, one that will end our energy problems overnight...but nobody can build it because it needs helium and we used all of ours up on party balloons?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2016 @ 5:39pm

    Stupidium

    Every attempt to analyze, destroy, or reduce it results in greater quantities appearing from seemingly nowhere.

    Scientists eternally baffled!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Zem, 30 Jun 2016 @ 7:13pm

    Isn't peak helium just how high the balloon goes ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 30 Jun 2016 @ 7:40pm

    IF we get practical fusion energy production and *IF* it uses a method that requires Helium-3, that Helium-3 will still be far cheaper to obtain on Earth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2016 @ 9:35pm

    The second most-abundant element in the universe is daily dirt?

    Good to know.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 30 Jun 2016 @ 10:00pm

    “but party balloons are still cheap”

    What? You mean the all-wise Free Market has yet to price the imminent shortage of helium into its trades?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2016 @ 2:36am

    Surely, if not the first then the 2nd most abundant element, I would have thought is BULLSHIT!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 1 Jul 2016 @ 5:38am

    Singing

    Imagine a large helium leak that spread around the world. Then imagine everyone singing "We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz." That would be amazing... Disclaimer. I am not going to be held responsible for my post if a lawsuit happens. I give that people portion to Techdirt. But if this comment makes the funny list. Or praised in any form without chance of me getting in trouble. Then it is so mine baby....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 1 Jul 2016 @ 5:38am

    Singing

    Imagine a large helium leak that spread around the world. Then imagine everyone singing "We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz." That would be amazing... Disclaimer. I am not going to be held responsible for my post if a lawsuit happens. I give that people portion to Techdirt. But if this comment makes the funny list. Or praised in any form without chance of me getting in trouble. Then it is so mine baby....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    beech, 1 Jul 2016 @ 8:55am

    IIRC, the helium used in party balloons is worthless for MRIs and rocket engines, those needs a specific isotope of helium

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 1 Jul 2016 @ 10:54am

      Re:

      Not for rocket engines.

      The helium is used to maintain the pressure in the tanks as the fuel drains out. Helium is of course very light, which saves weight. Its lower density stops it from mixing with the fuel. (You REALLY don't want bubbles in the fuel being fed into your engines.) And being inert it doesn't react with the fuel.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 1 Jul 2016 @ 10:56am

    Helium is the second most while whatever toxic gas came not of politicians mouths is the first.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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