Because we sell anything and everything, we often get ads for the interesting, the unusual and the extremely specialized. One of the best parts of working here is that we learn so much about so many different things. Here’s where we feature an ad that made us sit up and take notice.

We’re making a concerted effort to keep our voices from taking on the dulcet tones of cartoon characters as we present this week’s ad *ahem*:

R-20 HELIUM TANK & REGULATOR blows up approx. 50-12″ balloons w/every fill-up, save lots of money, refill is less than $20., w/regulator, $100. +(DURYEA) 570-451-1265; 570-983-9965

You know us, and it will come as no surprise that we wondered why inhaled helium makes your voice sound so odd. It turns out that helium is far less dense than the air that we normally breathe, so sound moves much more quickly through it. As wild as it seems, the speed of your vocal frequency is increased, giving your voice that weird sound.

(While helium itself is non-toxic, we need to remind you here that helium inhalation is not a particularly safe practice, and it’s especially important that you never, ever inhale it from the tank. To do so might result in lung damage and even death.)

Aside from the purpose pointed out in the ad (balloons!), helium is also used in arc welding, cryogenics and is combined with oxygen to help deep-sea divers avoid nitrogen narcosis (a state of mental confusion caused by the effects of nitrogen on the brain).

This week’s ad? A gas!