QUESTION ASKED BY A POTENTIAL CLIENT:
How much are your balloons?
We have balloons in all price ranges, and in hundreds of styles and colors.
QUESTION ASKED BY A POTENTIAL CLIENT:
Why are your balloons so expensive?
We take great pride in our design work and decor work, the quality of the balloons we sell reflect that. Our customers really notice the difference and appreciate the extra care we provide.
Helium is a chemical element with symbol He and atomic number 2. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas that heads the noble gas group in the periodic table. Wikipedia
Atomic number: 2
Electron configuration: 1s2
Atomic mass: 4.002602 ± 0.000002 u
When the federal government nudges its way into an industry -- any industry -- breaking up is hard to do. Take helium. Yes, it's for balloons, but also big science and industrial uses.
Washington's been trying to get out of the way for decades. But it's on its way to failing again.
This is a serious subject. But even congressmen can't stop themselves from puns about the federal helium program "floating along," and "what goes up never comes down."
We at Marketplace would never do that. We go straight to the history of the program, to the 1920s and '30s.
The Frank Capra Film "Dirigible" portrayed government management of helium for military blimps meant to counter the Germans' Hindenberg. But the technology crashed in the film, as it did in real life.
And yet, the federal helium program continued. In fact, the government stockpiled the stuff in the '60s.
Today, geologist Chip Groat, co-author of a federal study on the helium market, says the element serves at least two big uses beyond balloons: research and cooling MRI machines.
"It creates a low temperature environment in which the atomic physicists experiment would matter," Groat says. "And in the MRI the low temperature environment is extremely important.
By the '90s, Congress tried to wind down the strategic helium reserve. But then, the world started running out. Some blamed artificially low prices the feds charged helium suppliers.
"If those companies can buy the federal helium gas at a relatively low price, there is less incentive to develop it," says Penn State physicist Moses Chan, a member of a National Academies of Sciences panel studying the helium reserve program.
So in comes Congress to the rescue again. The helium program that was supposed to die this year is poised for extension. That may open the system up to a true market price.
Whatever happens, helium supplies are tight. So there's new interest in conservation, and alternative sources say, for making your voice go Alvin-and-the-Chipmunks-squeaky.
Indeed, there's an app for that.
About the author
Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.
HARD ROCK is hosting tonight my client Big Shoulders.
They are one of the country's leading providers of video services to national television networks, TV programs, agencies and corporations.
Why the name?
by Carl Sandburg, 1914
Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen
your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have
seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of
women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud
to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is
a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with whiteteeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker
of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the
...And that's why.