My original angle for this post was to pick some online video gems to watch during your free time this holiday season. But, it seems much of southern Wisconsin is going to have lots of free time waiting for Blizzard Draco to pass, so here are a few picks from the WPT Video player to get you through the blizzard (and the holidays).
Here and Now “Sand Mining Industry Booming in Western Wisconsin”
The hydraulic fracturing (fracking) business of extracting natural gas from shale hasn’t directly impacted Wisconsin like it has eastern states like Pennsylvania. For now we’re still the beer and cheese state. But could we add sand to that list? Indirectly, Wisconsin has been a big player in the fracking industry because our state is a hotbed for frac sand. What’s frac sand? UW-Extension explains in this map and info sheet. In short, it’s sand that is suspended in a concoction of chemicals that’s pumped into the ground to extract natural gas. Here and Now’s Frederica Freyberg filed an insightful report that weighs the benefits and costs of Wisconsin’s sand mining industry. It’s a slim 8 minutes long (an eternity online, I know), but that’s 8 minutes longer you can put off shoveling the driveway.
Under the Ice
Earlier this week we posted the January broadcast schedule, and as I browsed the new programs this title caught my eye. I half expected to find a nature show filled with ambient music and underwater dreamscapes. But despite it’s title, this film is all about the fishermen – above the ice – on Lake Winnebago as they try to catch a glimpse at what lurks under the ice. And in this film, the what is sturgeon.
These aren’t no bluegills…they’re huge fish that require a 4’x6′ hole and a giant spear that would be fit for Disney’s King Triton. But what sounds like a real action-adventure sport actually entails a whole lot of waiting. One fishermen in the film has been fishing for 12 years and just saw (not caught) his first sturgeon last year. Nevertheless, the film offers an entertaining look at what goes on in the ice shanty while waiting to spear a fish. In addition to the people on the ice, you’ll meet the folks who go out to dine on the prehistoric fish and also meet advocates for sturgeon preservation.
This film by Michael Sternoff and Beth Bennett won a few awards when it hit the film festival circuit in 2010. Now it’s coming to Wisconsin Public Television, airing various times on The Wisconsin Channel in January. But why wait, you can watch Under the Ice online now.
Speaking of King Triton, if you’re looking for a steady stream of animation to entertain the kids who are home from school, check out the video player at PBSKids.org. The video player has great PBS KIDS videos featuring the Cat in the Hat, Curious George, Daniel Tiger and all of your child’s favorite PBS KIDS friends. Click on the snowflake icon for several games and activities that will entertain and educate all day long.
Of course there are plenty of other classic PBS programs just waiting to be watched. If you simply can’t keep up with all the episodes from Frontline, Antiques Roadshow and POV, the online video player is a great way to catch up. On my Watch List are Nature “Christmas in Yellowstone” (for the second time this season), NOVA “Mystery of Easter Island,” and Great Performances “Magical Mystery Tour Revisited.”. What will you watch as the snow flies this season?