Let’s hope the Super-Lightspeed travel thing pans out…

According to this article, party balloon suppliers are facing a shortage of the key input helium.

I have only an amateurish understanding of anything related to science, but I do remember learning that helium is the second most common element in the universe. So, if we’re really running out of it, and this shortage is not merely an artificial one, it seems to me that the remedy would involve travel to other parts of the universe–maybe just within the solar system, but it would still mean quite a bit of work. On the other hand, it might spur on the creation of an interstellar economy. That would be cool. Although I doubt party balloons will sufficiently justify the costs of it.

(Also, the word shortage is confusing because it has two meanings: the everyday usage of “not much of the stuff”, and the economist’s usage, which means a failure of supply and demand to equilibrate properly, usually due to some issue with the price mechanism. The point is, in the economic sense, you could have almost zero quantity of the good and high demand and still not have a shortage, if the market is operating efficiently.)

And once again, I remind you that my knowledge of science is purely from things I happen to read and things I vaguely recall from school. If anyone with actual knowledge in relevant fields reads this, feel free to comment.

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