Monthly Archives: April 2012

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I’m a TV junkie. I watch so many TV shows that it’s a miracle I get anything done. So adding another show for me to keep up with was not in my plans, until I finally watched Girls from HBO. I’ll admit, the commercials for the show were frustrating, and as much as I love Lena Dunham, I just thought Girls did not look promising. I couldn’t have been more wrong about it though. The show is witty and has a certain “realness” to it. The people aren’t all gorgeously beautiful and perfectly done-up: They all look like real people you’d see walking down the street. And when comments are made about Hannah’s (Lena Dunham) weight, it’s refreshing that she legitimately is a few pounds overweight. I know that sounds horrible, but shows such as 30 Rock make jokes about Liz Lemon being overweight when Tina Fey is far from that. From the clothes to the make-up to the storyline, Girls actually feels honest and real, and that’s why I love it.

Nicolien Buholzer is a sophomore studying journalism and Culture Editor of The Post. Love to chat TV? Email her at or find her on Twitter @nicobuholzer.


By Nick Harley | | @Mick_Marley

Sometimes, usually a few times a year, sports consume public attention. Albeit for a short time, nationally broadcasted sports can take over pop culture for a week, especially in the slow ones we inhabit currently — the weeks before the summer movie season.

If you follow sports, you’ve obviously been aware of the looming NFL Draft that was upon us the past few days. ESPN analysts have been comparing mock drafts and trading possibly scripted quips (sorry, Skip Bayless) for months, almost ignoring the start of the MLB season.

But even if you haven’t been swept up in ESPN’s draft excitement tornado, you’re probably aware of the names RGIII, Andrew Luck and Cleveland’s new buddies Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden. They’ve crept into the news, their names have been trending on Twitter, and their faces are all over Facebook and Yahoo. Maybe this is because the NFL draft is just good, drama-filled television, with a production value that is higher than ever.

Coverage starts at 7:30 with the showcasing of the top prospects, the players invited to be in the audience of the proceedings. This year, when the players are selected they walk down a glamorous red carpet, as photographers are snapping cameras. Then they’re handed a nice fitted cap (which can be a lot of fun to watch some of the players put on).
The hats are the brand new Nike Team Caps, as Nike recently acquired a deal with the NFL for all uniforms, player gear and apparel. The players were also handed a jersey like always, but this year, to heighten the spectacle, for the first time ever the new Nike jerseys will have the player’s names on the back. Now that’s class!

Just like the heartwarming TV shows Undercover Boss or some silly home makeover show, viewers get to watch as young men — or in Weedon’s case, mature adults — receive life-changing deals. These players, some overcoming harrowing circumstances, as Chris Berman surely will yell at you, will be handed big money NFL contracts. The players who are drafted the highest get the biggest bucks, so there are definitely stakes on the line. Those players fortunate enough to go early walk across the stage with the biggest grins, along with the players who will receive new homes in places like Miami and San Diego.

If that’s not gripping enough for you, you can watch as mock draft experts like Mel Kiper Jr. try to remain cool as they watch their prediction boards go up in flames, victim to last minute, seemingly spontaneous trades of picks between teams. It’s pretty enthralling to watch NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell — amongst a chorus of boos, echoing from a mix matched, NFL-fan-littered crowd — announce that Dallas has jumped up eight picks to snag a top prospect.

I can mock the melodrama all I like, but I love the NFL Draft and I, being a Cleveland fan, always find it to be the most exciting night of NFL-brand entertainment all year. Every evening of the draft you can find me glued to the TV as all of the pop culture-sphere hushes and follows right along with me.

By Nicolien Buholzer | | @nicobuholzer
Community airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.
Rating: 4.5/5

I’ll admit I was slightly worried for tonight’s Community after last week’s dud, “Virtual Systems Analysis.” The hype about finally entering the Dreamatorium was huge, and then the episode simply flopped. With the similar buzz about “Basic Lupine Urology” (aka the “Law & Order episode”), I was definitely worried I’d end up disappointed.

Yet I was far from it. Tonight’s episode took a refreshing step back from the character studies that have been the focus of the last few episodes. While the insights into characters such as Abed (Danny Pudi) and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) were fascinating, Community was on its way to becoming too serious. The pointless, over-the-top goofiness wasn’t as prevalent, and it was definitely missed.

The episode opens with a Law & Order-esque introduction and then shows us the discovery of a smashed yam by the janitors. The yam turns out to be that of the study group. Although Professor Marshall Kane (Michael K. Williams) says he will give the group a “passing” grade, he also hints that if they can identify the person who smashed the yam, he will grant them a higher grade. Annie (Allison Brie), of course, insists on continuing on in the search for the culprit.

Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed take the traditional detective duo role, while Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) adopts the role as chief. Annie and Jeff (Joel McHale) act as attorneys, and Britta is the (unsurprisingly) incompetent tech gal.

The ensuing case is unbelievably hilarious. The entire episode is riddled with cop one-liners and a brilliant Troy-Abed dynamic. And Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) never fails to pop in with his ridiculous sexuality. And Britta’s 30-second scene in which she worked with a photo taken from someone’s camera phone was the perfect epitome of Britta being, well, the worst.

To avoid spoiling who the culprit is (as well as who dies at the end), I won’t say much more about the plot. This episode — written by Megan Ganz (my personal favorite Community writer) and Rob Schrab — proves Community has really hit its groove and deserves its season four renewal (so give it to them, already, NBC!).

By Austin Stahl | | @AustinStahl24

Today’s topic is food, specifically meat. Producing meat takes a significant amount of resources, and there is some debate over how we should raise meat. There is also agreement among environmentalists that we should probably consume less meat. Regardless of how much we consume, there is definitely a need and a movement to reduce the impact of meat and agriculture as a whole.

1.     “To Kick Climate Change, Replace Corn With Pastured Beef”

            The Midwest has long been known as the corn belt. But with global warming, researchers are saying that the prime corn-growing area will move northward into Canada. So what will we do with all that farmland? Make giant beef pastures that will help mitigate climate change, of course. Read on about King Corn and the fascinating proposal from researchers at the University of Tennessee.

2.     “The Myth of Sustainable Meat”

            Animal products have a serious impact on the environment because of the amount of resources they use. Because of this, James McWilliams argues that we should ditch meat entirely and that we really can’t raise “sustainable” meat.

3.     “Joel Salatin responds to New York Times’ ‘Myth of Sustainable Meat’”

            In response to McWilliams’ accusations, Joel Salatin, a leader in sustainable agriculture and the owner of Polyface Farms, gives an in-depth look into how meat can be produced in a more sustainable way. Marrying modern technology with the smaller-scale farms of the past could be the way to go.

By Ian Ording | | @IanOrding

Ask yourself: Does the idea of riding a dirt bike through the beaches of Normandy sound exciting? How about through an exploding factory? The set of the movie Inception?

If any or all of those scenarios capture your attention, the new Xbox Live Arcade release Trial Evolution should absolutely be on your radar. This downloadable title from RedLynx puts players in the seat of a bike with the simple goal of making it to the finish of each track. However, that simplicity can overshadow the difficulty of the levels in the latter half of the game. It is a game that has an easy door in and is as rewarding as a game can get for those who stick with it.

Trials has a control set that is as easy to grasp as it is difficult to master; the right trigger button accelerates and pushing left and right makes the rider lean back and forth. The game is set up on a two-dimensional plane, so the only directions you can go are forward and backward. These few actions must be used in increasingly difficult manners in order to come out on top of the tracks at the end of the game. That said, the game offers an almost incomparable level of relief when you finish a particularly grueling course.

Where Trials Evolution shines is in the replayability department. The courses vary greatly in both style and architecture, and each has requirements for bronze, silver and gold medals. Once you reach the levels labeled “Hard,” you will be hard-pressed to make it in the zero crashes required for the gold medals. And then, once you have unlocked the 135 medals required to win the game, the ability to win platinum medals is unlocked and you gain access to a set of “Extreme” levels that will have you pulling hair.

But don’t let the thought of constant crashing discourage you. The game employs a very forgiving checkpoint system that has little to no loading time. After almost every other jump is a checkpoint where your biker will return should you record a fault. This mechanic encourages you to keep trying to complete the levels, and after the repetition, familiarity in course setup will lend to cleaner runs. Trials is a game that will wave the players’ improvement in front of their faces.

When you feel like you’ve had enough of besting yourself, Trials Evolution allows you to take your skills online. The multiplayer of Trials allows for up to four-person races on tracks set up for the contests. It is a good diversion from hitting your head against the wall during your platinum medal runs.

Trials also provides tools for track creation. These user-made courses can be uploaded and downloaded to and from Xbox Live, making RedLynx’s dirt bike tour de force a communal project.

If you need further distraction from the excellent core gameplay, there is a set of minigames based on the biking gameplay. They include riding a course without the ability to tilt, wearing wings and making extra-long jumps and landing a flying saucer on landing pads. While these are mildly enjoyable, they will not merit your attention for very long. They offer an easy way to get a few medals if you are running short, though.

The only unfortunate misstep is in the soundtrack. The game opens with a grating rap-rock travesty and similar tunes play throughout your playtime. You may want to upload some songs onto your console to play, or mute the game and have Netflix or music on a nearby laptop as I did. It is an easily remedied issue, though one that stands out in an otherwise superb showing.

Trials Evolution is an excellent game that will suck away hours upon hours from your day. It epitomizes the “one-more-try” mentality with its medal rewards and outrageous difficulty. If you’re looking for an excellent game to thoroughly distract you, you need not look further. Trials Evolution is one of the best arcade games of this year. And at only $15, it provides a ton of fun for your money.



Resource extraction in Appalachia has taken several forms over the years. Here, I will focus on the lasting environmental impacts of coal mining and the emerging impacts of shale gas extraction.

Coal was mined for many years in Appalachian Ohio, leading economic development and great environmental impact. Coal was formed from buried plant and animal matter over a long period of time and both high temperatures and pressures underground. The atmosphere contained far less oxygen than ours does today. Coal and the rocks directly above and below it often contain both metals and sulfur, often in the form of pyrite or iron sulfide. When we mine coal, we expose the coal and the associated metals and sulfur to the higher level of oxygen in our atmosphere. In contact with both oxygen and water, the minerals release metals — particularly iron, aluminum and manganese, and sulfur — in the form of sulfuric acid. The resulting metal rich, acidic water is called acid mine drainage.

Acid mine drainage discharging from abandoned underground mines, abandoned surface mines or piles of mining waste (called gob piles or slag heaps) pollutes streams. The acid mine drainage acidifies streams and kills most aquatic life, including fish and bugs. Hundreds of miles of streams in Appalachian Ohio are polluted by acid mine drainage. Over the past decade, local watershed groups and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources have invested millions of dollars into treatment and have restored 46 miles of stream to good ecological standards. The slow progress and high cost of acid mine drainage treatment demonstrates the lasting legacy that a relatively short-term extractive industry can have.

The exploitation of natural gas trapped in deep shale formations is the newest round of resource exploitation hitting Appalachia. This exploitation is now possible due to advances in drilling technology; companies can now drill a horizontal lateral from a vertical bore very accurately using horizontal drilling technology. This so called ‘gas boom’ is fueled by large quantities of water, silica sand and chemicals. A horizontal shale well is first drilled over a mile deep and often up to a mile horizontally into the shale layer. The well is cased with steel that is concreted to the rock to try to protect groundwater supplies. The drilling process produces a large amount of drill cuttings that must be landfilled.

After the well is drilled and cased, the production casing (the layer of steel that is placed along the entire well bore) is perforated using charges deep underground. The fracturing fluid, a mix of water, silica sand and various chemicals, is then pumped under high pressure into the well bore to hydraulically fracture the shale to allow the gas to flow from the shale layer. The process is an industrial process that brings many risks with it. Each pad is about 5 acres of land and are placed about one half mile apart, about eight well bores are drilled on each well pad. Each well uses approximately 5 to 10 million gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluid made up mostly of water, usually made up of fresh surface water or of water from city supplies. Of this water, sand and chemical mix, about 25-40 percent of the water returns to the surface during production; the rest is removed from the surface fresh water cycle indefinitely. The produced fluid may be reused to drill more wells, applied to roads for dust and ice control or re-injected deep underground.

Ohio is the main recipient of this wastewater from Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Beyond the infrastructure damage caused by the industry, some of the key risks to water include large amounts of extraction to make up fracturing fluid, cracked or poorly cemented casings allowing for fluid migration, leaking holding ponds for produced fracturing fluid and truck crashes and spills. Given the time and money put into cleaning up streams in Southeast Ohio, shale gas exploitation poses huge risks to Appalachian water resources and threatens the future environmental quality of the region.

Natalie Kruse is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies in the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Kruse holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and Geosciences from Newcastle University, and a B.C. in Civil Engineering with a minor in Geological Sciences from Ohio University. A winner of the Marshall Scholarship, Kruse won the Best Paper award from Mine Water and the Environment in 2009. She also won the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and the Morris K. Udall Scholarship. 

By Austin Stahl | | @AustinStahl24

1. “Unilever’s Paul Polman: challenging the corporate status quo”

Many environmental leaders in various fields, whether it is scientists, businessmen, government leaders, or activists, have challenged us to start thinking differently and challenge the status quo. Check out how Paul Polman, the visionary CEO of Unilever, is acting on his vision for change.

2. “Engineer Arrested in BP Oil Spill Case”

It’s been just over two years since the BP Oil Spill, quite possibly the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. The first charges have just been filed, and many more could be coming soon. BP, which has already paid over $22 billion dollars attempting to clean up the spill, could also be hit with heavy fines from the government.

3. “Senate Hearing Focuses on Threat of Sea Level Rise”

The Senate had a hearing last week on how rising sea levels could affect us, specifically coastal energy facilities. Unfortunately, the hearing was marked by partisanship, as only one of the six senators was a Republican, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska. Still, one is better than none.