Helium’s essential for party balloons, but also for MRI scanners, physics experiments and space rockets. But supplies on Earth are getting dangerously low, warns Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Earth | Comment 10 July 2019
Balloons

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WHEN I was 4, my favourite book was Balloonia by Audrey Wood. It tells the story of a little girl who realises that balloons have an afterlife when they float away. Wielding a sharp pin, she takes a balloon hostage, demanding that it take her to Balloonia. There, she experiences a world where everything is made of balloons, including the animals and the landscape they populate.

It is a wonderful tale. It is only later in life that I have come to worry it might be predicated on the continued availability of the second most …

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