OMG! Helium Crisis, Nebraska Husker Balloon Release Canceled
Traditions run high in college football where every moment has an impact on fans, players, and spectators. That is the case in Lincoln, Nebraska every gameday when the Husker football team charges out of the tunnel to over 90,000 screaming fans.
One tradition at Memorial Stadium has come to an end. For over 60 years fans have purchased red balloons and released them upon the first Husker scoring of the game.
Nebraska Athletic Director Trev Alberts delivered the deflating news:
"While we're still concerned about the environmental impact of the balloons, the reality is acquiring helium in today's day & age given some of the challenges and some of the production of it is really challenged and it's been hard to get," Alberts said on his monthly radio show. "And so we've been asked by the university that the helium we are getting as a university we need to use for medical purposes at UNMC in Omaha. And so, we are this year not going to be providing the red balloons for the first time at Memorial Stadium."
Now for the Cliff Clavine moment. Helium is a noble gas. That means it's nonreactive, nonflammable, colorless, and odorless. And a non-renewable resource.
In the tech world, one of the largest applications for helium is used in MRI scanners at your local medical center. Used to cool the superconducting magnets. Plus, the gas is used to power our internet.
I'll bet you didn't know, like me, that the U.S. has a Federal Helium Reserve along the panhandles of northwest Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
Internationally, the world has been getting its share of helium from Qatar along the northeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. That plant was shut down in 2017 but reopened recently as a result of a merger.
The next time you go to a party store, flower shop, or birthday party, just look around and see if any balloons are standing tall.
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