There’s a helium shortage on and though it <a href=http://www.decodedscience.com/helium-shortage-situation-update-one-year-later/42314>might get better in the distant future</a>, I’m not holding my breath. Places like Harris Teeter no longer give kids helium filled balloons because it’s too expensive, and a generation of nerds risks growing up without witnessing firsthand the enhanced humor value of dirty jokes told with a squeaky voice.

Today I swapped out an “owner tank” (small compressed gas bottle where you own it, as opposed to paying <a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demurrage>demurrage</a> to rent a tank from the compressed gas company). These are the same size as the 20-pound CO2 tanks that one sees connected to soda fountains, not the big cylinders that one typically sees in welding shops or at fairs for filling balloons.

Four years ago, a full owner tank was a shade under $70. Last year it was $78. Today it was $87 and change plus tax.

Ouch.