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Markus Stocker

Between information technology and environmental science with a flair for economics, the clarinet, and the world of soups and salads.

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Data Analysis on Interoperable Infrastructure

Serving a scientific community in aerosol science with data analysis on interoperable Research Infrastructures and e-Infrastructures.


Reconciling Research and Knowledge Infrastructures

Research infrastructures are artifact systems of knowledge infrastructures.

Love Is

Our wedding on September 28, 2016, in Hannover.


Identifying Interpretation

From observations to identified information via interpretation.

Goodbye Kuopio

A few thoughts while awaiting my departure from Finland.

Northern Midnight Sun

The post that attempts to capture a bit of the midnight sun at 63°N.


Northern Seasonal Change

Picture series that attempts to capture the annual seasonal change at 63°N.


Building on situation theory and a corresponding ontology, the post discusses how an environmental monitoring system can obtain knowledge about observed situations.

Dataset Observations

Using the RDF Data Cube Vocabulary, the post illustrates how to represent datasets in RDF.

Sensor Observations

Using the Semantic Sensor Network ontology, the post illustrates how to represent sensor data in RDF, as observations.

Sensing Devices And Their Metadata

A walk-through the extraction of metadata about sensing devices used in net ecosystem exchange (NEE) research from various (PDF) documents, and the representation of such metadata using the Semantic Sensor Network and GeoSPARQL ontologies.


RDFS & OWL: A Short Intro

RDF Schema (RDFS) and the Web Ontology Language (OWL) are languages intended to structure RDF resources. By structuring RDF resources we tell what RDF data mean. Following the short intro on RDF, this post is a short intro on RDFS and OWL.

RDF: A Short Intro

The post describes how RDF can be created from natural language sentences; how it can be improved, in order to take advantage of some of the RDF features; how RDF is typically visualized and serialized; and how it can be queried. Some of the well-known software tools and libraries are also mentioned.

Spring, One Year And The Next

Things at latitude 63 degrees North can be more exciting than the regularity suggested by Winter and Summer patterns overall.

Schaffhausen Missed An Opportunity

Unsurprisingly, 85% think that it is fine for immigrants to, you know, pay taxes but the right to take part in cantonal political development ought to be off limits.

The Panettone Crisis

A few months ago--it was around Christmas, so perhaps more than a few--I had the sweet idea of sending azizam a panettone. She likes the sweet bread loaf with candied fruits and raisins. I contacted my favorite panetteria pasticceria (a bakery, anonymous, read on to understand why) in Ticino and asked if it is possible to send a panettone to Iran, noting that I couldn't pick it up myself and mail it, because I am in Finland.


The Wavellite Software Framework

Environmental sensor networks generate data. Large networks can consist of dozens, in some cases hundreds, of sensors and generate a considerable amount of data. Small networks with sensors sampling at several kHz can also generate a lot of data. Data is accessed and encoded in various ways. Some sensors implement a tiny web server and data is retrieved via HTTP. The data of other sensors is copied on a USB memory stick and processed from there. Data may be streamed on demand, pushed to a queue, persisted to a store. Data may be binary encoded or plain text, formatted in csv or xml or otherwise. The store may be a relational database systems, a non-standard database, a bunch of files. Clearly, sensor data is heterogeneous.

My Travel Mug

On my recent travelling I boarded enough airplanes to realize that I could easily bring my own mug, instead of wasting all that plastic and paper. Today I brought one with me.


Conferences aside, I don't travel much. But when I do I seem to like doing it so that in a few days I get enough of it for some time.

Food Culture in Kuopio

Kuopio is a relatively remote place on Earth. Perhaps you shouldn't expect too much with respect to food culture. While I like some of the Finnish culinary curiosities, like Rosvopaisti or Kalakukko, I have found Kuopio to be relatively poor in world foods choice.


Some Thoughts On My Silence

February is almost gone and I have yet to write my first post this year. I have been wondering why. Looking back, starting October, this blog has seen 15 posts in 2008, 77 in 2009, 44 in 2010, and 14 in 2011. What happened between 2008 and 2012? Am I running out of topics to write about?


Ecological Limits And Global Poverty

According to Tim Jackson, and others, beyond a certain income rising GDP per capita is no reasonable proxy for rising prosperity, because once basic needs such as for food, shelter, security, education, health are met, prosperity correlates with the ability to flourish as human beings -- i.e. the strength of our relationships, trust in the community, satisfaction at work, shared sense of purpose, participation in society -- rather than with income.

The Time Of The Year That ...

Together with spring, fall is the time of the year that sees a spectacular natural phenomenon unfolding here in Kuopio, Finland. The city has a total area of 2,317.24 square kilometre and water area of 719.85 square kilometre. Thus, about a third of the total area is water. That is a fair amount of water. In comparison, water area in Washington, D.C. is just about 10% of the total area.


It has, I believe, been often remarked, that a hen is only an egg's way of making another egg. -- Samuel Butler

Offsetting My Own Flight Emissions

By adding 96 Euro to the ticket, Uirapuru 5437 is going to offset the carbon dioxide emitted by my seat.

Offset Emissions By Protecting A Tree

Many of us fly, nowadays. If not everybody, the vast majority engages in a number of activities with, among others, carbon dioxide emissions. Flying is an example. Have you ever thought of offsetting the carbon dioxide emissions of your flights by protecting a tree? To do so is, in principle and in an approximative way, not as difficult as it may sound.

Biomimicry In Economic Systems

If I say algae what comes to your mind? The green color? Slippery stones on a lake shore? Sushi?

It’s A Human-Built World. Not.

Jeffrey Tucker of the Ludwig von Mises Institute (LvMI) recently posted a message with a link to the Timelapse—The City Limits video by Dominic Boudreault noting that `it’s a human-built world`. Provocatively, I'm adding here *not*. Jeffrey's post has drawn a few comments, including from me.

Italian Referendum

Awhile ago an Italian friend sent me an email referring to the upcoming abrogative referendum held in Italy on 12 June and 13 June 2011, which I had not heard of before. The referendum includes questions on the privatisation of water services, a return to nuclear energy, and criminal procedure (specifically immunity of the Prime Minister from prosecution). I consider the *yes* to say *no* to special legal treatment for certain people obvious. Thus, I'm discussing only the first two areas, to which my friend votes yes to say no, too.

Back Online

After a virtual private server upgrade to Debian 6.0 and a magnificent 1 GB RAM, which is rather awesome from the previous 128 MB, as well as a complete redesign, the blog is finally back online.

The Mystery Of The Melody. Solved.

About 11 years ago, A., who was then my girlfriend, shared with me part of the opera she, as far as I remember, liked the most.

Snapshot of Reality

What was it, now, atmospheric nuclear weapon testing? A moment of human foolishness? The reason for opportunities we would not have had else? Something else? Suddenly things are not clear-cut anymore.

Zeitgeist. A Comment.

If you haven't seen it, Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, by Peter Joseph, might be worth your time. The first part on Human Nature is actually very good, in particular the discussion on how biology can only be understood within the context of the environment.

Growing Out

First there was the black sheep. Then the black ravens. Then the black minarets. The message is always the same. Provocative to say the least. Offensive is more to the point.

The New Year Text Message Flood

According to NZZ, 2010 has seen 116.1 million messages.


Searching The Delta

One of the tasks a doctoral student cannot avoid is finding the delta, unless it is given.

Emeritus and Slides

Coming up in January is a lecture by Emeritus Ossi V. Lindqvist.

Trust Your Neighbor, If You Can

It strikes me each time anew when, on my way to the office, I bike past a dozen children walking alone, or in groups, from home to elementary school, generally without adult supervision. Each time I wonder is this still possible? Apparently yes, at least in Kuopio.

Influence Of Sense Beyond Obvious Meaning

Do you think your first language influences how you feel for, or think about, events you come across during your lifetime?

When Being Divided Improves Things

With a divided government, there's less chance that Congress will pass aggressive actions in any area.

A Moment

Certain things ought to be familiar but I keep forgetting this one.


Amelia is uttermost disgusted by what P&P P represents.

Politic's Fear of Sanity?

US politics is far less attractive than the variegated landscape of opinions for which its people stand up, tirelessly.

Discovery On Twitter

The first time I actually experienced how Twitter can connect people, at least for short lived exchanges, in rather curious ways, indeed.

Social Sketches

The next time you are faced with something that is unexpected, unwanted, and uncertain consider that it just may be a gift.

My Experiences As A Writer

Because details sometimes matter, nowadays I can spend considerable time discussing the aesthetics of setting a period inside or outside quotation marks.

A Note On Erroneous Data

If you analyze data you realize, time and again, that you need to familiarize with a rather messy ensemble of rows and columns. That they are all nicely aligned is misleading.

Summer Suomalaisittain

The next winter is approaching, it is time to note some thoughts on my first Finnish summer.

A Week's Unique Places

Traveling back to what I used to call home.

What Is Your Ability To Pay Taxes?

Taxes should be set according to the taxpayer’s ability to pay.

Environmental Informatics Tweets

When @envinf joined Twitter.

RESTful Sensor Server

Serving sensor data.

Kuopio, Café & Opening Hours

If you live in Kuopio, or you are an attentive tourist, you are likely to notice a peculiarity of the city in a matter of days, weeks at most. Most locals I have talked to agree: Kuopio lacks a few cozy coffee shops with opening hours beyond 7 pm.


The tantalizing idea of Nothing.

To Bring News To A Boil

The most hilarious gaffe was cooked by CNN Breaking News.

Twitter Is Not The World

Sunday I was back from three days without computer and any type of connectivity. Unusual circumstances, nowadays.

Serving Sensor Data

I'm assuming a given repository for time-series as it is common for sensor data. Such a repository may be any kind of RDBMS. In the following, I discuss what may be one possible way to serve data managed in the repository to client applications.


The single most important reason why I consider living abroad interesting is because living and working abroad is more, at least to me.


The teacher-to-student ratio of a class.

When Things Are Not Perfect

It is about you being unable to accept reality, not about reality.

BP. Oil. Consumers.

I think it's funny how people are so righteous and indignant about the big bad oil companies, yet fail to take an honest look at their own connection to the situation.

Folks, Fasten Your Seat Belts!

Pointing at Goldman Sachs for having the ultimate tricks to pull white rabbits out of black top hats might not be completely wrong but not complete either as the magician was most likely hired to perform the tricks.

From GIS Polygons To RCC Regions

For a seminar at UEF I'm looking into ways to translate quantitative polygon data digitized in ArcGIS into qualitative data represented with the Region Connection Calculus.

When «li-mo-ne» Gets «limone»

Not to share thoughts may well avoid the pain of exposing others to 80% of nonsense but it will equally not expose others to the 20% that may actually be interesting.

Winter Suomalaisittain

In four months only snowflakes had been falling from the skies; coming back to a wet umbrella seeking season feels, indeed, like if I had been an actor in a fairy tale, you know those dreamful stories of far away land and their mysterious inhabitants. In my role, I might almost have forgotten one or two things.

To Relocate. Or Not.

OK, but as soon as I get a chance I'll move out again.

Memorable Days

She had no idea a women's day exists.

Blood Donation Suomalaisittain

To donate blood in Finland is not straightforward.

Is There Anybody Out There?

Please do not reach over the wall, I am comfortably numb. A poem on social interaction in Finland.

Exams Suomalaisittain

University course exams in Finland and Switzerland, Part II.

Ihanaa Ystävänpäivää

On Valentine's day in Finland. (Hint: It is actually sweet and cute.)

«It's The Bank Secrecy Law, Stupid!»

Government. Power. Germany. Switzerland, and the global fight against the 'bank secrecy'.

A Case Against 'All-Inclusive Lease'

Lack of tangible incentives to do anything to reduce consumption.

Environmental Awareness

The main effect of environmental information.

First Article On Wikipedia

Environmental informatics.

The State Of World Religion

If the world does come to an end [...] let's remember what the real problem was: that we learned how to precipitate mass death before we got past the neurological disorder of wishing for it.

New Blog Features

The old times of Wordpress.

A Spot From Which I Make Sense

The measurements of the costs of health impairing pollution depends on the foregone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality. From this point of view a given amount of health impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages. I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that. --Homo Economicus

On The Affinity Of Individuals

Perhaps the beauty rests in our ability to distill diversity into shared knowledge to create a tightly coupled web connecting the dots in the corners of a vast space.


On Mutual Respect

The Xmas present that never ought to be.

Avaaz And Copenhagen

Leaders disappointed the entire world in Copenhagen last weekend. If you had any exceptations.


In months, I think it was the first utterance of local syllables starting and ending with a pause that I understood, natively.

On The Beauty Of Forgetting Intoxication

Forgetting well is almost as important as remembering well.

Do Conventional Plastics Internalize Costs?

Would biodegradable plastics already be competitive with conventional plastics if goods based on conventional plastics would internalize the cost of being permanent waste and a stress on the environment?

Confident Hope For Lukewarm Worries

The press: like a flag in the wind.

Democratization Of Consumption Data

Knowing what you consume is, perhaps, a building block for making informed decisions.

Breathe Private Quality Air

If one day breathable air will be scarce, you will have to pay for it.

The Rationale Of Burning Profits

Come on, you creative minds out there: How can we fully internalize social, health and environmental costs in every human action?

Do Stamps Internalize Costs?

From Finland, to post an A4 letter in a C6 envelope to Switzerland requires a stamp worth 0.80 euro. The same letter to the USA requires a stamp worth 0.80 euro, too.

International Day Of Climate Action

Distressing, I believe, is the hope many have for global negotiations, the belief a bunch of people sitting around a table will do the right thing. Folks, they are politicians.

Hope. Defrauded.

Hope has a t-shirt, a poster, a font, a sticker, an artist.

Tragedy. Designed.

How far do you go to get something you can hardly get?

The Warmth Of Flames

When will we stop to fear or to criticize religions and other people's beliefs, expressions or traditions; stop advocating our belief is the only, the right; stop pointing at the other labeling her socialists, Christian, communists, Muslim, capitalists, Buddhist instead of seeing us as a people with different answers to the same questions?

A Curious Detail

Finnish vs. Swiss grading.

Listen, Leaders Are Talking

Almost certainly, an arbitrary Buddhist monk would come up with far superior solutions. Too bad, they don't wear a suit & tie and well polished black shoes, not even white socks.

Some 100 Heads Are Talking

I believe, most of us hope and wait way too much and way too long for them to decide, to take action, to do something and tell us what to do. We spend so much time discussing with friends, lovers and families the products of those 100 heads. Whatever they come up is printed in the media, analysed and perpetuated in all world languages.

Getting The Price Right

When the market fails because it lacks information. Often. Perhaps mostly.

To Mandate Blood Donation?


What Switzerland Is Known For. A New Chapter.

Not chocolate and watches but banksters.

Ginger Tea. The Gap. Dwindle Away.

Just make it.

The Best Ginger Tea Ever

It was at big bear cafe in Washington, DC.

Attractors For Opinion

To hold onto any particular view is to freeze Reality, to try to encapsulate the world into thought. To take a view is like taking a snapshot -- you've frozen the scene right there.

Do We Need Perfect Information?

The smartest guys in the room.

What Moves Shares & (Some) Faces?

What you typically get to know long after the fact. And war. And misery.

Artificial Boundaries

The emotional separation that is typically enforced following the breakup of a (romantic) relationship is an artificial construct. In fact, one that requires a whole lot of energy to keep the walls from what they continuously and naturally do: Fall down.

Which Countries Border The Czech Republic?

A post on PelletSpatial.

On The Privilege Of Having Nothing

Immigrants are human beings with the courage to leave the comforts of home.

09/01 - The Nowhere District

Thoughts on Washington, DC. Written in Italian, sometime in Summer 2005.

To Consider Or Not To Consider Foreign Law

It is complicated.

Who Gets The Price Right?

Probably no one.

On The Swiss Army

There are two groups of people: those who like the war toys and those who don't.

Does The Environment Have Intrinsic Value?

Of course, also if you would not exist to contemplate it.

Global Interconnectedness

Should we split in a billion small communities or mature to a truly global community? It depends whom you ask. Some say, f*** your neighbor.

A Lady And Her Cellphone

We went on for awhile, scrolling through inbox, outbox, drafts; what a pain all those messages put in imaginary boxes, she felt.

Too Big To Fail. Too Dangerous To Release.

A conversation between Moon and Earth.

A Note To Myself


Job (Non-)Acceptance Reactions - A Note

Jobs extinguish like burnt out candles.

On The Worth Of Inexistent Drama

The episode is inexistent. What exists is altered reality. What counts is how peacefully you adapt to it.

A Political Round Table

People discussing politics always seem to have answers; does anyone have questions?

Linden Pollen

Saving is a dilemma.

Nature's Unappreciated Work

It is a fight against entropy.

Maximize Your Self An Optimization Problem?

When does a kid recognize itself in a mirror?

A Semi-Inspired Thought

What if Earth is the Easter Island of modern times?

An Uninspired Thought

Things are crazy.

The Caterpillar Train

A story of a morning event while on the way to a distant library.

Self-healing Technology

Generally, a healthy body has an amazing capability of wound healing. Can technology (self-) heal?

A One-for-All, All-for-One Endeavor

You may say that I'm a dreamer.

Blood Donation

What is tested? It depends (at least on the country).

Water Flows Down The Sink

On water consumption while shaving.

Experiment. Stock Markets.

Government against, or for, the capitalist?

What Moves Stock Markets?

You can learn it.

Pursuit Of Peace

Do we strive enough for peace?

The Conservation Of Money

The financial world has mostly been exploiting small investors, the same people who now are expected to bailout the industry, and beyond.

Das Zugsfenster

Travelling by train through darkness.

It All Makes Perfect Sense

It does.

We Have Exciting Times Ahead

Aren't we in recession? Yes, we are but it will not last. What will last are the exciting times or, I'm afraid, nothing.

Earth & Moon Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The world without us.

Why Can't We All Be Friends

Anthony Pape's question to the new guy in the White House.

Anthony, You May Want To Take Notes

The IRS war on Swiss financial privacy.

Earth & Moon Agent Orange

War? Crimes? War crimes?


In return for making nice on ... give this and that.

08/14 - We The People

Thoughts on Philadelphia. Written in Italian, sometime in Summer 2005.

Sound of Water - Noise of Cars

The constant loud sound feels relaxing. The discontinued low noise feels annoying.

Seed in Spoon of Honey

Vulnerable hope to germinate.

Hi Jamie, ...

Remember, phone numbers are not unique identifiers.

Earth & Moon Clean Coal Technology

It may be catchy in politics; in practice, perhaps not so much.

IRS. Swiss Banks. Fraud.

The scapegoat seems to be the Swiss law and in particular the Swiss bank secret, rather than people who exploit it.

08/11 - La Nuova York

Thoughts on Manhattan, NY. Written in Italian, sometime in Summer 2005.

Today is Sunday

A memorable Sunday in Washington, DC.

All Are Equal (With Some Exceptions?)

If all are equal, why must an option exist that allows to reinstate what was and would be an unequal treatment for some?

Inauguration 2009

A memorable day in Washington, DC.

Earth & Moon Could the Moon be Right?

Bi-gendered fish as a consequence of chemicals in rivers?

Earth & Moon on Humanity

The war in Gaza. Again.

Do You Spend or Save?

Unless you spend we are f*****.

The Value of No Value - The Power of Scale

The NYE SMS deluge.

NYE. Resolutions. 2009.

Don't even start.


The Christmas Tree

Seriously, my first Xmas tree couldn't have been a worse experience.

Don't Give Up

Yeah, sometimes it is freaking easy to just give up.

Try to Understand

Sometimes there is just nothing to understand. Or nothing worth understanding.

Madness Is ..., cont'd

The military-industrial complex.

On Spreading Offensiveness

Infecting others with crap.

A Curiosity

How would the shape and size of a thing be that represents the anger in the world?

Madness Is ...

The military-industrial complex.

The Obama Post (Interactive!)

What do Europeans think about the new President Elect of the United States.

Something Just Came to an End

The Bush administration.

The Chance of a Human Life

Are you grateful to exist?

Home Improvement

Feng Shui and some (perhaps rather obvious) ideas.

On Parked Cars and Running Engines, cont'd

Isn't it plain stupid to let the car engine running while waiting somewhere? Gosh, people.

Bad Communication: A Universal Problem

On fighting with others.

I Have a Story to Tell

And the engines run, and run. For what?

Will My Blog Survive This Time?

A fresh start.