Monthly Archives: December 2012

Things are getting better, part 2


A comparison of the labor needed now vs. 1958 to purchase three items. All the items are cheaper in real terms, including the toaster, and the TV and music player are absurdly better than their 1958 counterparts. I wasn’t around in 1958, but I did live through much of the sixties, and trust me: now is better — way better.


Ban helium balloons

Dr Peter Wothers, a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a University of Cambridge chemist, will use this year’s Royal Institution Christmas Lectures to argue that there will be “serious problems” in 30 to 50 years’ time if the lighter-than-air gas continues to be wasted in party balloons.

I’ve been saying this for over ten years. It sounds silly, but the point is obvious, when you think about it: unlike most elements, when you discard helium it floats to near the top of our atmosphere. There’s not a lot of it, and it’s not available as part of a non-gaseous substance the way hydrogen is. We should not be wasting it.