Often in my public lectures and workshops I point out the amazing revolution occuring in the amount of knowledge on the planet, and the access to it. There are debates about how fast human knowledge is doubling, but no doubt, the average doubling rate overall is within a decade now, and accelerating. More important for you and me is the amazing access now for the average person to knowledge from the greatest minds on the planet, sometimes by direct interaction with world-renowned experts online or via telephone seminars, webinars, etc. For the first time in human history, Nobel prize winners, university professors, experts, artists, musicians, and geniuses of all kinds can be conveniently viewed on video sharing sites such as YouTube.com, and Google Video. This fact is for the most part lost for older generations -- so far. Unbelievably, several top universities are offering their actual courses online, for free! One of the first, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has posted complete videos of all 1800 courses they offer, the FULL courses, in all 34 departments of the university:
Many of them on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/mit
So in effect, you can get an MIT education from home, FOR FREE! That is astounding, and speaks volumes of the ethics at MIT. People from all over the world, even in third world countries, are accessing an MIT education.
University of California, Berkeley has audio of their courses and special events online and as podcasts: http://webcast.berkeley.edu
Yale University has many of their courses on video: http://oyc.yale.edu
Stanford University Engineering School has courses online: http://see.stanford.edu/default.aspx
Here is a list of courses from several universities: http://budurl.com/v8vt
There are more, and the list is growing. Another great source of world-class knowledge are educational videos of all kinds on Youtube, Google, and others. For example, just type in "distinguished lecture series" on Google and see what it brings up.
This is truly a remarkable time to be alive!