The Edmond Sun

Features

November 21, 2012

Slate: Macy's parade contributes to loss of helium supplies

(Continued)

Producing helium artificially is possible in theory, but only through fission or nuclear fusion of two hydrogen atoms. Fission is impractical because enormous quantities of heavy metals like uranium and thorium would be necessary, and fusion won't work because of the high energies required to combine hydrogen atoms to form helium. Commercial fusion energy is the goal of much research around the globe but is very far from being a reality. (The New York Times recently questioned the DOE's investment in fusion research.) Even if fusion ever reliably produced more energy than is required to start the reaction, the industry would not take off for many decades, and the amount of helium produced would be marginal.

While helium can be replaced for some applications, in cryogenics there aren't any alternatives. As a result, nearly 6.4 billion cubic feet of helium are consumed globally per year out of a slowly dwindling supply of 1.87 trillion cubic feet. If the rate of helium consumption grows at 4 percent per year (as the National Academy of Sciences projects) the helium currently available, plus that estimated to be untapped underground, could all be lost to the atmosphere in 65 years. Once helium is released into the atmosphere-as when balloons are deflated — it becomes almost prohibitively expensive to retrieve and purify. The lower the helium content a gas has, the more expensive it is to separate out. No one knows exactly how much it would cost to purify it from the air, but Nobel Prize-winning Cornell physicist Robert Richardson (co-chair of the 2010 NAS report) estimates it may make the price of helium 10,000 times what it is now.

Of course, there are those that think the helium panic is overblown. Some estimates claim the global supply of helium will last at least another 300 years. As helium becomes more scarce and expensive to purify, recycling will become more widespread, but recycling is possible for only certain applications.

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Features
  • Preparing for a fall home garden

    Gardening can be a year-around activity for those that have an appreciation for fresh and nutritious vegetables. Some of the best vegetables in Oklahoma are produced and harvested during the cooler weather of fall. Successful fall gardens, however, require some work in the summer growing season. Factors to be considered are location, soil preparation, crops to be grown and how/when to plant.  
    The major consideration for garden placement is sunlight. All vegetables require some sunlight; the most popular vegetables require full sun. “Full” sun means at least 8 hours of intense, direct exposure.

    July 24, 2014

  • Fall gardening season has arrived

    Even though the temperature is hot and there are still summer vacations on the calendar, it is time to start thinking about planting your fall garden.
    Most Oklahoma gardeners are still reaping the rewards of their spring gardens, said David Hillock, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension consumer horticulturist, but it is not too early to plan for fall gardening crops.

    July 23, 2014

  • Receive 10 free dogwood trees from Arbor Day Foundation

    Add color to your landscape year-round by joining the Arbor Day Foundation in August.

    July 23, 2014

  • Authorities update Simpson’s saga

    Investigators are attempting to locate the owner of a dog named Simpson to determine whether or not his injuries were due to an accident or man-made, an official said.
    On July 1, the Logan County Sheriff’s Office investigated reports of an injured dog near the intersection of Western and Simpson in south Logan County, Lt. Tom Kutay said. Officers responded and took several statements of a dog being found with injures to its back, Kutay said.

    July 22, 2014

  • Whataburger celebrates children’s superhero spirit with ‘Super-Duper’ event

    It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Super Duper Celebration! In the heart of every child lives a superhero and on Thursday Whataburger restaurants will celebrate the superhero spirit in all of us with an evening of family fun from 5-7 p.m. at its location at 421 S. Broadway.
    Customers can spend quality time with their little heroes and treat them to a superhero-themed celebration of food, activities and giveaways. Children 12 and under dressed in a superhero costume will receive a free kid’s meal. There will be a Whataburger photo booth and Whataburger’s mascot, Whataguy, will also be present to join the fun.

    July 22, 2014

  • Shopping smarter for family necessities can help the environment

    There’s a growing trend among consumers to make choices reflecting the goals and values that matter to them most.  In fact, two out of five people say they’re more inspired to try a natural product that does something good for themselves, their family and the planet, according to a recent study conducted by Toluna for natural products brand Tom’s of Maine.

    July 21, 2014

  • Back to school lunch Build a better bag

    Brown bag lunches and back to school go hand in hand. As you’re gearing up for the start of a new school year, it’s the perfect time to stock the pantry with healthy sack lunch options and after school snacks, too.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pets

    This is a list of animals that have been found and are at the Edmond Animal Shelter, at Interstate 35 and Covell in the Cross Timbers Municipal Complex. Call the shelter at 216-7615 for more information.

    July 21, 2014

  • Kids Cook Simple ways canned foods get children cooking

    When it comes to teaching children about healthy eating habits, there’s no better classroom than the kitchen.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls The Canebrake offers summer recipe for Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls

    The Canebrake, a destination hotel and spa in Wagoner, is offering the following recipe from its restaurant for Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls with Avocado Wasabi Puree.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo