Monday, March 23, 2020

What to do while ``stuck'' at home/Other thoughts on the virus

Lance had a great post on what to do while you are stuck at home, which is of course relevant to whats happening now. Lance's post is here.

I will add to it, and then have other comments.

1) In our current electronic society we can do a lot from home. Don't think of it as being `stuck at home'

2) Lance points out that you should read a paper, read a textbook, etc. I of course agree and add some advice. Be Goldlocks!

This paper is too hard (e.g., a text on quantum gravity)

This paper is too easy (e.g., a discrete  math textbook for a freshman course)

This paper is just right (e.g., working out the large canonical Ramsey theorem)

3) If you catch up on your TV viewing on your DVR then beware: you will see commercials for Bloomberg.

4) DO NOT binge watch TV.  You will hate yourself in the morning.

5) Simons Inst Theory talks:

TCS+ talks


The Gathering for Gardner records all of their talks and puts the on you-tube
so goto youtube and search for Gathering for Gardners. These are Goldilocks talks since they
are easy but on stuff you prob don't know.

6) Keep fit. I used to go on treadmill for 45 minutes a day, now I am doing an hour.

7) Go for walks with a person who already shares your house, but avoid other people.

8) Book reviews, surveys, orig articles, that you were putting off writing- now write them.
but see next item.

10) Catch up on your blog reading. My favorite was Scott Aaronson's blog post about Davos:here. I also read every single comment. I hated myself in the morning. So that part may have been a mistake.


1) Do you really have more free time? No commuting, no teaching, but you still have the rest of your job, and perhaps it is harder if some things are easier at work. And calling relatives and friends to make sure they are okay, and just to talk, is a great thing to do, but its time consuming.

2) I'm beginning to lose track of what day-of-the-week it is since I don't have school to keep me on track, and I only watch TV shows on DVR so I watching a show on a day does not mean I know what day it is.

3) Avoid being price-gouged. The first few days that I tried to buy TP for my mom on amazon (I do this in normal times--- I order lots for my mom on amazon--- she is tech shy. She is also over 90.) her usual brand was out of stock, and the other brands were either higher quality so higher prices or just
absurdly priced. She wisely said to wait a week. She was right- it was easy to get at the usual price.

4) More generally, it seems like the shortages are people-created. For example, if in a store you see they are low on X, then you buy LOTS of X, and everyone does that, so then their really is a shortage of X. But I think thats calmed down some.

5) It important to have a `we will recover from this, life will go on' attitude (while following the things ALL experts say- wash your hands a lot, drink lots of water, get lots of sleep, which is prob
good advice anyway) and hence I will try to, for the next few weeks, blog on NORMAL things----Hilberts's 10th problem, Large Ramsey, etc.

ADDED LATER- there is a very nice contrarian view in the comment by Steve, the first comment. You should read that!

1 comment:

  1. This post (and the first part as well) are nice and helpful.

    Let me offer a contrarian advice. You read several of these well-meaning blog posts about how to be productive while stuck at home during the crisis. You start to get frustrated about not using the time as productively as you could and not getting enough done.

    Don't be. Sleep those extra one or two hours you always wanted to. Don't be harsh on yourself if a few days go by and you haven't done anything. Look out of the window and watch the spring slowly arrive. Reflect on the shortness of life and the futility of the frenetic human activity. Read an old book (if you feel like, but don't feel guilty if you don't). Imagine a world where your last/first ten papers have not been written, and think of how the outside world would be different.