Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Time for iMicrobe?

The American Society of Microbiology is doing Video PodCasts! If that isn't cool, I don't what is.

I'm really glad to see the microbiologists taking the lead in reaching out the public with cool new technology. My 11 yr old daughter showed me how to subscribe to podcasts and watch them with iTunes. Now, I'm all set for next week when the fun begins. (We also had a good language lesson, too, i.e. define the word "explicit." Luckily, at 11 she's not likely to search with that term and since she was properly horrified, she immediately deleted all the explicit podcasts that she'd already downloaded to her computer).

For years, I suffered as my husband and I took the kids to see IMAX movies on subjects like beavers, coral reefs, space, Mount Everest, and Jane Goodall. The kids were always a bit puzzled. How come scientists in the movies go to interesting places?

Yep, here's the rest of it: but you and dad sit in the office with computers?

Right. We don't even do cool things like run gels anymore or play tricks with pH indicators and dry ice. This change of venue is too bad in some ways. Our kids would enjoy the lab now and we wouldn't be so paranoid about bringing them through the door. When they were younger, our respective laboratories were places of peril filled with brightly-colored attractive boxes of radioactive waste and interesting glass objects always stacked precariously next to the sink.

So, I was really excited a few years ago when ASM debuted the "Intimate Strangers" documentary on PBS. And really disappointed when the children pronounced it "boring."

I liked it, but even a friendly coccus with sunglasses didn't interest the under 10 set.

Now, there's another chance. We've subscribed to the videopodcasts. When they begin on Tuesday, Jan. 31, we'll be ready.

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