I’ve been trying to put together better notes on elementary category theory; which is an engaging exercise, but that doesn’t lead to anything very interesting to report here. Another thing occupying me on and off has been writing quite extensive comments on a draft book by an ex-colleague: but although that does raise very interesting issues, it mostly wouldn’t be appropriate to rehearse them here.
Then there have been time-consuming domestic chores — including tackling the Book Problem once again. This time round, it’s been the non-work books. Piles around the house acquired over lockdown (and I’m not the only guilty party) were beginning to totter. So it’s been the occasion for an overdue major sort-out, with re-shelvings, donations of bags of books to Oxfam, and all those discussions “are either of us ever going to read that/read that again?”. Yes, I would for example, have liked to have read the massive biography of Darwin: but life is too short (a phrase that becomes ever more telling as the birthdays clock by). That’s a precious three inches of shelf-space reclaimed. And so on it goes … But hardly the topic for a riveting essay here!
But perhaps the main reason for the lack of many posts recently has been low spirits as much as anything: try as you might, the state of the world just gets you down, no? The grim uncertainty of it all. But then,
… these things every one doe enwrap and entangle silly mortall men, void of all forecast and true understanding: so as this only point among the rest remains sure and certain, namely: That nothing is certaine …
Thus Pliny, “done into English” by Philemon Holland.