I should preface this by saying I think there are probably a lot of good things on television… however, these days I have four young children obsessing about the X factor, the dance factor or whatever other factor programmers have devised to hook their viewers. I do understand though: I can remember at various times being a little obsessed by Tom & Jerry and later Batman, Mission Impossible was great for a while too, and then there was Tomorrow’s World – I may have even sneaked a peek at The Waltons a few times. I remember how television influenced my view of what the world would be like. Tomorrow’s World not only gripped me, but it convinced me that many of the world’s problems could be solved by scientific advances. We would be able to deal with hunger, energy shortages, disease and other global problems by working together and investing in science, technology and medicine. Of course I hadn’t taken into account the one factor that is the lynchpin of every game show on television – the human factor. Much of what I saw on Tomorrow’s World was inspirational; it pushed many a youngster toward a career in science and must take credit for producing at least a handful of useful inventors. Sadly, the human factor is more likely to push today’s budding scientists to look for short term financial or celebrity gain than long term solutions to global problems. So instead of seeking tomorrow’s world solutions, prime time programming is now designed to inspire children to become pop stars, celebrities or hard nosed businessmen and women. And just in case they decide to look beyond those aspirations, it seems we now want to make it harder for them to afford a university education.