I am listening to the Futures in Biotech podcast that I had the privelege of sitting in on this past Friday (April 16th), not because I didn't hear it at the time, but because the subject was so entertaining and informative. One of the first thoughts to enter my mind is how much of an advantage the school-aged kids have over me when I was their age. I didn't have access to this amount of current information when I was growing up, just what was in the newspapers, periodicals and the family encyclopedia. Learning about a topic such as parasitology or virology (or any number of other topics) was difficult since there were few TV stations broadcasting such programming. Today is a lot different because of the Internet and the many blogs, user-made videos and podcasts.
There are many podcasts out there that are created by university professors and professionals in their fields which means that the content presented is very high quality and accurate. Dr. Dickson Despommier, who was the guest on the aforementioned Futures in Biotech, produces his own podcast called This Week in Parasitism. He is a Columbia University professor and his show is basically an Ivy League lecture without the cost of tuition. The same goes for the podcasts on the TWiT Network such as Security Now which, now boasting 244 episodes, is an education in itself. Even though it doesn't result in a degree by itself, the information found online can open up a whole new world of information.
My life would probably be much different had I had the access to the level of information currently available online. There are many things that I am interested in that I didn't know existed so many years ago and now I am making up for lost time. My advice to anybody who has kids or to the kids themselves, start paying attention to everything out there and you will find something of interest for further study. The youth of today have a greater advantage than I ever did, now take it and run with it.