Who would have believed just two months ago that we would all be in isolation and the world would be shut down due to a simple little virus...

By now many of you are likely going crazy with boredom, and looking for productive things to do with your time. There is the temptation for all of us to waste this time binge-watching television or playing mindless video games. However today I would like to suggest a few ways that we can challenge ourselves and keep our minds active, while still respecting the need for isolation. These are just a few of the random things that I have been doing, and so I thought I would share them with all of you.

1. Take a class: Obviously we cannot sit in a classroom right now, but that doesn't mean we cannot learn new things. Online companies such as Udemy offer a wide range of tutorials, while companies like EDX and MIT Online provide real university level and graduate level courses on a variety of science and engineering fields. (They offer other subjects as well, but my audience is mostly science nerds :) ) Many of these courses are free, or charge a small fee for a certificate of completion. And of course there is always the ubiquitous Youtube - just type in a subject and you will find thousands of university classes taught by the best professors in the world, and all completely free.

2. Watch Youtube: Before you rush to find cat videos, let my clarify this suggestion. I mean look for educational and informative videos online. Personally I quite enjoy the chemistry videos by Periodic Videos and NileRed, but there are also a wide variety of videos on everything from high level mathematics research to introductory lessons on playing piano or guitar, to building interesting circuits and robotics, and pretty much everything else that you might want to study. And this option has the added benefit of providing some extra ad revenue to instructors and schools who might need a little help right now.

3. Citizen Science:  While the last two suggestions involved watching and learning, this is also a great time for people to actively contribute to the world of science. For twenty years projects such as SETI have been enlisting the aid of citizen scientists to help analyse data and provide the researchers with the computing power they need to move our scientific knowledge forward. One of my favourite websites is Zooniverse, which compiles hundreds of citizen science projects on topics ranging from identifying animals in different countries and continents to classifying distant galaxies and analyzing data from particle detectors and gravitational wave experiments. They really do have a project for every interest. And not only do you get to have some fun and learn about the latest scientific research, but you can be proud of making a contribution to serious scientific research.

So those are three of the things that I have been doing lately to break up the boredom of isolation, and I would encourage all of my loyal followers to do the same. When the current global nightmare has ended, let's all be able to come out of isolation as better people and more knowledgeable people than we were when it began.

Remember, wherever this pandemic takes us, we will survive it and we will rebuild our economies and societies. We will get through this. Be kind, be healthy, and stay safe.