Tuesday, August 19, 2014



In a nutshell:

The price of olive oil is going to go through the roof.

The world is running out of helium.

(But Lady Gaga is not running out of outfits to wear.)

Richard III was drunk a lot (which is not why he was found beneath a parking lot).

The horses...I mean donkeys and elephants... are starting to line up for the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

Below are references to some of the aforementioned.

A drought in the world's number one producer of olive oil has prompted fears of widespread shortages that could send the market spiraling upward.

Spain is the world's largest producer of olives, accounting for 50 percent of total global output followed by Italy at 15 percent, Greece 13 percent and Turkey 5 percent, IOC data show. Harvests in other major producers are expected to come in at average levels this year, but they're unlikely to be able to fill in for the Spanish shortages as dismal harvests in previous years mean stockpiles are low.



You may not realize, but helium is a highly necessary commodity in the modern world. Everything from MRI magnets to fiber optics and LCD screens needs the element (which has the lowest boiling point of any other material on Earth) to function, so without it, pretty much everything we've grown to depend on gets hit hard.

But that doesn't make any sense, you might say, how can helium stock be diminishing when I can still go pick up a bundle of helium-filled balloons for ten bucks? Well, you'd be right, it doesn't make any sense—but not for the reasons you might think. While we are indeed running out of the noble gas, that hasn't stopped the United States from continuing to sell the stuff by the barrel full, dirt cheap. And according to Cornell scientists Robert Richardson, we want it that way:

The US government established a national helium reserve in 1925, and today a billion cubic metres of the gas are stored in a facility near Amarillo, Texas. In 1996 Congress passed an act requiring that this strategic reserve, which represents half the Earth's helium stocks, be sold off by 2015. As a result, helium is far too cheap and is not treated as a precious resource.”

And when we do eventually run out of our current store, our only other option is to recover helium from the air—which will cost 10,000 times what it does today. So yeah, try not to dwell on all the thousands of dollars balloons you've watched float away into nothingness.





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