A Degenerate Binary Tree

A Degenerate Binary Tree, 2014, B. Trammell (balsa, dowels, nylon line and glass bead)

Shamelessly inspired by Alexander Calder, who I followed from Atlanta to Pittsburgh to Zürich, and inexpertly crafted from stuff I found at Migros, I present my first attempt at a mobile.

(And for those of you who have not yet heard, yes, this commission has a customer: we’re expecting a daughter in a few weeks. We won’t be boring the Internet at large with piles of baby pictures, though; there’s another private blog for that. Drop me a line for access details.)

The Measure of a State

This is going to make me sound somewhat more libertarian than I actually am, but here goes:

The most important duty of a state is its effective control over and responsible application of the monopoly on violence, delegated to it by its citizens, in the service of the protection of its citizens, and the protection of all people present within its territory.

All the other trappings of statehood — a currency, a post office, universal healthcare, the name of your state on a placard at the UN General Assembly, some transportation infrastructure of some sort, passports, some stamps you can apply to passports issued by other states, a national Olympic team and/or Eurovision Song Contest entry (as appropriate), a flag — are nice to have, but not really essential. Continue reading

d’Schwiiz inerem Schiffli: Pfäffikersee

So it hasn’t been all work: the weather (though it’s tragic today) has cooperated with my calendar on occasion, and I’ve had a few chances to throw the boat on the water. So this begins what I home will become an occasional series on paddling around Switzerland with a sea kayak.

The weekend before last, I decided to try out the Pfäffikersee (“Lake Pfäffikon”, though the lake isn’t really big enough to warrant a translation). At 2500m x 1200m, it’s possible to do a full roundtrip around the lake in about an hour without pushing too hard.

pfäffikersee-1

Continue reading

A quick introduction to IPFIX

I recently gave a full-day course on flow measurement at the University of Zürich’s IfI summer school. The course itself was more or less a stack of my current research interests stapled together; one product was a nice summary version of a tutorial on the IPFIX protocol (on which I’ve worked on and off for the past nine years), together with an iPython notebook on the subject.

Slides are here, and the notebook is here. The live version is available from GitHub in the britram/ipfix_tutorial repository.

And as a bonus on the subject, here’s a video of me giving an interview about all this last year in Berlin on way too little sleep.