I’m sitting here in the hotel room, flipping channels, too tired to do any real work. I run across these free lectures from Harvard, and two minutes later I’m listening to a presentation on Evolutionary Dynamics. Nice. I see there’s quite a bit more out there; here’s MIT’s contribution, and some music lessons from Berklee College.
I miss academia. You specialize in your narrow thesis topic, but also get exposed to any variety of topics you like, with a chance to interact with the source of the information, the presenter.
I realize I’m not exactly representative of the general populous, but I’ll take evolutionary dynamics over American Idol any day. I expect there’s a strange little topic for anyone out there that’ll interest them more than what’s on TV. More and more we can get these on our schedule, tuned to our particular taste, fairly easily. Capturing content gets easier and cheaper, distributing it becomes a non-issue. TV gets less interesting everyday.
Academia is a great source of content, at least for a subset of the population. I look forward to more of this. The Web has changed my reading habits so fundamently; I expect in 5 years it’ll have done the same to my viewing habits.