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  1. #16

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    Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

    That's the problem with people today. They're not willing to have a few explosions and 3rd degree burns just to have a little fun.

    Cynicism aside, I loved balloons as a kid and seeing people around DL with the trademark mickey head balloon is a staple. If they can't discover some better lighter-then-air gas to use then just use one of the pre-existing ones and quit sweating the impact.

    I know that sounds irresponsible and maybe a little cavalier but I'm so tired of society deeming this or that is unsafe to the point that everything fun is outlawed. I get why lawn darts don't exist anymore, but we're talking about a frickin' BALLOON. I don't recall any news articles about "the great helium theme park massacre of '61" or similar. Just how much radiation would we get from hemium versus all the time we spend in the proximity of wireless communication devices, antenna's and repeaters, microwave ovens, and a slew of other lesser thought about ways that we're bombarded with radiation each and ever day?

    In the end, there might be a certain wisdom in just understanding that there will always be some risk and some trace amount of ( insert harmful substance here ) and the pursuit of avoiding it is ultimately just putting ourselves into some protective bubble and hoping the world doesn't hurt us.
    Your first, your last, your only defense against the scum of the ethereal plane.

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  2. #17

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    Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

    Helium shortage being felt / Disney Resort, hospital MRIs affected by lack of rare gas

    Fukutaro Yama****a and Hironari Akiyama / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writers




    A shortage of helium caused by increasing demand in emerging countries including China and India is beginning to affect Japan.
    Tokyo Disney Resort has suspended sales of Disney-character balloons, and at least one hospital has suspended use of magnetic resonance imaging.
    Helium is a rare resource mined as a byproduct in a limited number of natural gas fields in such places as the United States. Often used as a coolant because it has the lowest boiling point of all elements, the gas is used in the production of semiconductors and optical fibers. It is also used in MRIs and for low-temperature experiments.
    Oriental Land Co., the operator of Tokyo Disney Resort in Chiba Prefecture, stopped selling its character balloons on Wednesday because it had difficulty procuring the gas. This is the first time it has suspended sales of the balloons, which have been very popular among children since the amusement park opened in 1983. It has not decided when to resume balloon sales, the company said.
    In hospitals, liquid helium is used to cool electromagnets inside MRI machines when scanning patients' bodies. A source at the hospital that suspended use of MRIs said finding substitute material may take some time, considering the nature and price of helium.
    A gas wholesaler in Saitama Prefecture said its helium stock ran out in mid-November and that there would not be any available for shipment for a while.
    ===
    All helium imported
    Only about five nations have natural gas fields that can also produce helium. World production was about 168 million cubic meters in 2010.
    Although Japan's demand is a little less than 10 percent of world demand, it relies totally on imports, 95 percent of which come from the United States. The United States accounts for about 75 percent of world production.
    According to Iwatani Corp., a major liquefied petroleum gas company, the annual helium demand in Japan is about 13 million cubic meters. More than 40 percent of that amount is used for industrial applications such as optical fiber production, and less than 30 percent is used for MRIs in hospitals.
    Since 2000, demand for helium for both industrial and hospital use mainly in emerging countries such as China and India has rapidly increased. This has resulted in an at least threefold increase in helium prices in the last decade, greatly increasing the cost of semiconductor production, which relies heavily on helium.
    ===
    Calls for government help
    Furthermore, due to an accident at a helium production facility in the United States, the supply-demand balance has been very tight since July, according to an Iwatani division chief. The situation may not improve until next spring at the earliest, observers say.
    Meanwhile, the production of shale gas, a low-cost natural gas, is expected to grow in the United States. However, not much helium is expected from the deep underground shale layers from which shale gas is extracted. Therefore, many predict that the situation can only become worse in the medium or long term.
    LP gas firms in Japan plan to expand procurement from other nations, such as Qatar, starting next year. Some voices in the industry are calling for the central government to take measures to deal with the shortage.
    (Nov. 27, 2012)

    Helium shortage being felt / Disney Resort, hospital MRIs affected by lack of rare gas : Business : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)


    Bringing the Love since January 10, 2011
    We were sent over there with the message that only we would defend Disney quality.. We learnt quickly that the Japanese culture speaks to a level of quality that is hard to comprehend. They were all unbelievably skilled and willing to do the right thing.
    Craig Russell -Walt Disney Imagineering

  3. #18

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    Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

    Fascinating, Travis, thanks for that. Who would have thought helium was so rare there?
    Born in a shoebox and making the most of it.

  4. #19

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    Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

    I would be tempted to say this topic is full of hot air, but sounds like a serious situation.

  5. #20

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    Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

    Yes my son works at a party store and they have set limits on the sale of their helium filled ballons. I believe 1 Mylar per person and I think it was no more than 12 regular balloons. I never knew it was such a problem but apparently it does exists and has been for sometime. They began limiting their sales over the summer.

    A little off topic but I have also heard there is going to be a bacon shortage since most of the feed normally used to feed hogs has been used to produce corn for fuel. So if your a pork lover better start hoarding up.

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