Federal Government Passes Gas

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Rep. Chris Cox's office writes to note that the privatization of the country's precious, precious helium reserves is slated to become the third largest sell-off ever, displacing ConRail. Call it a decent start, but I can't help worrying: How will we fuel our militarily essential blimp fleets now?

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  1. The irony is, the Navy is going to start using airships again.

  2. Airships, MIGHt make a comeback… areostats ae coming back for surveillance. The 1980’s saw a move for blimps and airships for ASW and reconaissance missions.

  3. Hoarding helium helped us stick it to the Nazis. With it now being privatized, what will keep future dictators from building blimps of mass destruction?

  4. Now let’s get rid of the mohair subsidies that have enabled Sam Donaldson to supplement his paycheck so nicely.

  5. Never mind the airships. How will we be sure we can fill our helium balloons, and inhale to sound like Minnie Mouse Oops! Sorry, I don’t inhale!

  6. Heh, heh. You know, the cheaper you make something the more they’ll use it. Think of all those folks running around sounding like Daffy Duck.

  7. We could have a national Talk Like Micky day!

  8. Todd Fletcher,
    How about inhaling helium, then Talking Like a Pirate Day?
    Arrrggh!

  9. DEA to crack down on Helium trafficing in 3 … 2 … 1 …

  10. Excuse my ignorance, but does helium have any uses beside blimps, balloons, deep sea diving and making people talk like Donald Duck?

  11. “Hoarding helium helped us stick it to the Nazis. With it now being privatized, what will keep future dictators from building blimps of mass destruction?”

    Ooooooh THE HUMANITY!!!

  12. To overlord, I believe that helium is used semiconductor and fiber optic manufacturing. Its also quite rare on earth. Check out this article: http://www.science.edu.sg/ssc/detailed.jsp?artid=5005&type=6&root=2&parent=2&cat=22

  13. Helium is critical in many technology and research applications, since it is easily liquified, has a high heat capacity and is very stable chemically.

    My research group in undergrad went through thousands of gallons of it per experimental run. In addition to helium-4 for cooling, we used helium-3 for other things, which is really only available from nuclear disarmament programs.

    A _small_ strategic helium reserve makes sense.

  14. No! Not the Strategic Helium Reserves!

    My grandfather knew this guy whose uncle was one of the brave men who worked those deadly East Virginia helium mines back before the war; to think we would let the fruit their many sacrifices simply go to the highest bidder is, well, unthinkable.

  15. Cinsidering how expensive jet fuel and other petroleum products are getting, I’m surprised helium blimps for passenger service aren’t making a comeback.

  16. I’ve been a subscriber to Reason for several years now and cynicism seems to have taken the place of actual thinking.

    Congratulations to Rep. Cox and his colleagues for the achievement.

  17. “Considering how expensive jet fuel and other petroleum products are getting, I’m surprised helium blimps for passenger service aren’t making a comeback.”

    Well actually petroleum is in long term real price decline. It only got back up to ’91 real prices because some idiot started a war in the main oil producing region. Unless you think that idiots will start wars for about 4 more years continually it would be stupid to think feul costs are going up. By the way who won the election?

  18. “Considering how expensive jet fuel and other petroleum products are getting, I’m surprised helium blimps for passenger service aren’t making a comeback.”

    Well actually petroleum is in long term real price decline. It only got back up to ’91 real prices because some idiot started a war in the main oil producing region. Unless you think that idiots will start wars for about 4 more years continually it would be stupid to think feul costs are going up. By the way who won the election?

  19. Julian,

    How about helping build momentum on further privatizations with an article of what its like to actually live in a country where the people manage their own Soc. Sec.-type accounts? Maybe your boss will agree to send you to to Chile or some other country for a few days that has privatized their public pension programs.

    Excuse me for being selfish, but I’d like to know what its like to have my own account. Many articles and analysis have been written about how to do it and how it advances freedom, but I have not read one that explains the influence on the people and culture of a country.

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