Here is an easy way to stop all conversations at your holiday parties this season: start opining about the looming global helium supply crisis. Be sure to start with the phrase, "I was just talking to an astrophysicist on a plane and he said..." It works, I've tried it.

(but helium is in short supply. According to the Globe and Mail, "half of the helium used in the U.S. comes from a WWII reserve stockpiled to fill blimps" and we may be out by 2017. Though about eight seconds of searching reveals that this was a news story two years ago. Theoretically that would mean there is a great supply crisis today, but just try to get people to be concerned, chicken little.

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