Distributed Computing
ETH Zurich

Here are my favorite videos, a new one each month!

December 2021

The Swiss government announced yet another lockdown. Even though Omicron is the best possible twist in the never ending Covid story. Anyway, here is a fun anagram: Delta Omicron = Media Control.

November 2021

After the groundbreaking They Shall Not Grow Old, we are treated with a heart warming Beatles documentary by Peter Jackson.

October 2021

"I wanna thank you for your friendship, your leadership, and most of all for your fidelity to the universal values that you embraced as a young girl in East Germany." Did Barack Obama just praise the Free German Youth (FDJ)?!

September 2021

Norm Macdonald RIP. In the video, Norm teaches the next best thing to flossing.

August 2021

10 years ago I linked an "oldie" by Moodymann. Here is another 15 year old track by SMD, still is as fresh as on its release day.

July 2021

One of my favorite channels with a surprising credit to Runaway.

June 2021

Jon Stewart brings back what has been missing on late night television!

May 2021

The Swiss German language, well explained.

April 2021

Jenny Hval is on an amazing roll.

March 2021

Bailouts for everybody!

February 2021

SOPHIE died in Athens, RIP. Here is one of my favorites from 2020.

January 2021

Same video as in March 2020, because, unbelievably, the Swiss government just announced a new lockdown. Instead of organizing vaccines (in time, and enough, and from every vendor!), the government again chooses the bluntest possible instrument. But do lockdowns at least work? Not really. Scientists "fail to find an additional benefit of stay-at-home orders and business closures". Freedom, please.

December 2020

When I clicked this video, Youtube gave me a "this video is potentially offensive" warning. Despite being pretty tame (and common knowledge, apart from that upcoming little Snowden reveal). Why the censoring and the warnings, Youtube? (On that subject, I recommend the recent JP Youtube censoring video.)

November 2020

Excellent mini series! But why does nobody take any interest in Beth Harmon for such a long time? If Beth actually existed, she would had been a big deal after winning Kentucky. Also, check out this insightful interview with Garry Kasparov.

October 2020

Explaining deep fakes, featuring Julie Andrews and others.

September 2020


August 2020

Best track in 2020!?

July 2020

19 time Emmy winner John Stossel. My favorite YouTube channel of 2020.

June 2020

Unfortunately, there is no variant of the future where Covid-19 ends quickly. People stopped obeying the "remain indoors" slogans. This is understandable. And a good thing. More infected people means more herd immunity after all. So here's the rest of Mitchell and Webb. Let's get back to life.

May 2020

The way this is going, I will be running out of Mitchell and Webb videos soon. So here is an interview with Anders Tegnell. He argues that most countries did not even have a first wave of infections. However, it turns out that also Sweden's infection rates are lower than anticipated, so Sweden is still quite far from herd immunity. In other words, we will have some more years of virus frenzy.

April 2020

Apart from Sweden, the Western governments are still celebrating their Covid-19 hysteria. Recently I learned that in Switzerland the virus reproduction number R stabilized around the nonproblematic value of 1 even before any drastic measures were introduced (see the figures in this article). Closing schools and shops had pretty much no effect at all on R. Similar picture in Germany. In other news: The unfortunate 9 year old Swiss Covid-19 victim turned out to be 109. Well, that's probably what you get when you rely on handwritten communication technology. Somebody should please wake up our government.

March 2020

Covid-19 time. The Swiss government is overreacting. In their defense one could argue that most governments are. The media stopped being critical and just echoes the government. Earlier this month I wrote down why I think we are going down the wrong path. Later I learned that this approach was known as "herd immunity", and actually practiced by Sweden. It's going to be interesting to see whether the Swedes were smarter than the Swiss.

February 2020

Sandy Alex G is coming to Zurich, this February!

January 2020

As usual, just the truth.

December 2019

10! Yes, 10 years ago I started this little video blog. My partner worked for YouTube, and I felt that I should somehow commemorate that. Nobody actually follows this blog; I am basically posting for myself... but I still enjoy it! (In other words, it's a little bit like writing research papers.) So what's the preeminent video to celebrate this 10th anniversary? Since a lot of videos were about music, let it be a music video. Now there is one album which I haven't stopped listening to ever since it was released in 2006: Donuts by J Dilla. Donuts is actually the exact opposite of a heavy-weight album: it's light and playful, basically just samples slightly rearranged. J Dilla died 3 days after Donuts was released. Though every single track on Donuts is excellent, I have chosen Lightworks, which is just a minor rearrangement of a mind-boggling time-travelling electronic track by Raymond Scott from 1960!

November 2019

After decades of Singstar and Ultrastar, my score on the FreddieMeter is a bit underwhelming.

October 2019

Phoebe Waller-Bridge talking about the hot priest.

September 2019

"Always ride your bike in the bike lane."

August 2019

Looking forward to my talk at Bosch! Luckily, the video doesn't get quite as dark as the Lonely Island original.

July 2019

Whenever I happened to be in London, I went to the basement of the Saatchi Gallery to see Richard Wilson's permanent 20:50 installation. Apart from music, the only art that ever truly touched me. Unfortunately, the installation was not as permanent as I thought. It is now at the MONA. Go see it, if you are ever in ... Tasmania.

June 2019

This classic.

May 2019

Listening to Big Thief's brillant UFOF album for the last two weeks. And I am not even into folk music. (UFOF does not yet have videos, so the video below is from an older album of Big Thief, but some songs of UFOF are online.)

April 2019

How could I have missed this outrageous bit by Sacha Baron Cohen?

March 2019

"Frequently, machines don't replace jobs so much as tasks." We actually wrote that paper!

February 2019

"It's been three days since I last used blockchains."

January 2019

Audis and other German cars are surprisingly unpopular in KSA.

December 2018

Five best albums 2018? Songs: Snail Mail and Boygenius. Tracks: Against All Logic, Jon Hopkins, and from my generation: DJ Koze.

November 2018

100 years ago, the First World War came to an end. Watch Peter Jackson's "They Shall Not Grow Old" documentary!

October 2018

My employer is collecting lots of downvotes for this video. For pandering? Because it is not dead serious? Because it is too serious? Because rap? While I agree that ETH should try not spend too much money on PR, I feel old when I read the Youtube comments. (Okay, I always feel old when reading Youtube comments.)

September 2018

Bo Burnham meets Anna Meredith.

August 2018

Whenever I need some energy to cancel a service, I watch Ryan Hamilton's excellent skit about trying to cancel his gym membership. It starts about 40 seconds in.

July 2018

"Children under five also have elevated levels of the pheromone Blink-182, produced by the part of the liver known as the Rita Ora. This allows nerve reflexes to travel along the Cardi B neural pathway to the Wiz Khalifa 40% faster, saving time and saving lives."

June 2018

The future of indie rock music: Lush by Snail Mail.

May 2018

Nobody told me that there's a new Weekend at Bernie's.

April 2018

When you think that ICOs are so 2017.

March 2018

Twenty years after Silentintroduction, Moodymann deserves snatching Pitchfork's best new track.

February 2018

If you can't relate to Lil Pump...

January 2018

Visiting Varanasi, India.

December 2017

[A comment about Swiss Politics, in German] Die PR-Leistung NoBillag = TeleBlocher des Nein-Lagers ist überraschend, und hat mich veranlasst, diesen Monat dieses Video hochzuladen. Ich muss aber gestehen, dass ich das Video nicht angeschaut habe; ich schaue weder TeleBlocher noch SRG. Hier mein Versuch, die Argumente der Befürworter sowie der Gegner der Initiative zu verstehen.

November 2017

Buster Keaton's voice is unexpected. This clip's audio reminds me of that Jamie xx and Gil Scott-Heron album.

October 2017

[A comment about Swiss Politics, in German] Im Anschluss an Ersatzwahlen des Bundesrats denke ich oft an Spieltheorie. Warum? Als Parlamentarier würde ich nicht die "besten" sondern möglichst "schlechte" Kandidaten der anderen Parteien wählen. Alle regen sich dann über den schlechten Bundesrat der Partei X auf, was direkt auf Partei X zurückfällt. Wenn man das aktuelle Personal des Bundesrats anschaut, dann glaube ich sogar, dass die Parlamentarier das schon länger so praktizieren, bewusst oder unbewusst. :-) Die "Zauberformel" mag in vergangenen Zeiten ohne echte Probleme eine gute Idee gewesen sein. Aber heute sollte man entweder die Linke (SP) oder die Rechte (SVP) in die Opposition (und somit aus dem Bundesrat) verbannen. Die übrige Koalition wählt dann eine gute Regierung mit den besten Leuten. Eine Regierung, die an einem Strick zieht. Die Bürger und Opposition haben über Initiative und Referendum weiterhin mächtige Mittel in der Hand, um die Politik des Landes zu lenken. Die Schweiz hätte eines der besten politischen Systeme der Welt. Man müsste nicht mal was ändern, nur endlich diese Zauberformel aus den Köpfen kriegen. Liebe Mitteparteien: Bitte setzt euch nach den nächsten Wahlen zusammen, und diskutiert, mit wem ihr nicht mehr regieren wollt!

September 2017

Who would have thought that reviewing The Emoji Movie is basically the same as reviewing the new iPhone X? Jack Douglass apparently. Anyway, "Welcome back, Apple!" (Mi Mix)

August 2017

If done well, video explanations do have an advantage.

July 2017

When setting up our new web page, we thought about playing some disco themed music. Here's my entry.

June 2017

Maya meets Machine Learning. A student project by Pascal Widmer.

May 2017


April 2017

Bill Wurtz again. Two minutes of physics, two minutes of biology & 15 minutes of history. Stylish as usual. Also, everybody will learn something.

March 2017

Manuel Stagars' documentary The Blockchain and Us is released. Here's my new shiny IMDB entry!

February 2017

This is spot on, even more so as Sing Street is mentioned in passing.

January 2017

Time travel.

December 2016

Best music this year? Somehow I'm listening to more and more female acts: Mitski, Julia Holter, Kate Tempest, Eleanor Friedberger, THEESatisfaction, Barbara Morgenstern, Wye Oak, and Elysia Crampton. The video is by Jenny Hval.

November 2016

"Do it!"

October 2016

100% accuracy.

September 2016

Our student Christoph Maurhofer has combined Maya/Miarmy with Python for more intelligent agents. Other examples include a more intelligent version of Dave Fothergill's hooligan carousel or some scary clowns.

August 2016

Why is college expensive? Professors & buildings together use about half of the budget, the other half is for administration. Indeed, admin staff is growing fast, and is currently 3.5x higher than 20 years ago.

July 2016

Simple yet effective.

June 2016


May 2016

Lichess has reignited my love for online chess. If you want, you can play chess as if it was a real time strategy game. If you want to play me, I usually do classic 5 minute blitz games, without increment.

April 2016

Hot Sauce.

March 2016

Sadly, this is turning into a mourning blog. Today, Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest passed away. When I was young, I was impressed not only by the amazing Dilla beats but also the thoughtful and mature lyrics of ATQC. Only now I learned that the members of ATCQ were actually younger than me. Rest in peace, Phife Dawg.

February 2016

History lesson by the jingle king.

January 2016

The best ever "one man band" passed away today. So many outstanding songs, which one should I choose? Rest in peace, David Bowie.

December 2015

While I am generally sceptical about explaining concepts by video, I think this one does a good job.

November 2015

The real video of the month is probably a bit too disturbing for my little video blog. Instead, let's have a video of the band called "Eagles of Death Metal". In spite of their band name, they always had catchy tunes, below one of my old favorites. In addition, a feel good article about the Bataclan venue. If you want to see the real video of the month, head over to Youtube, and search for something like Bataclan 2008 Threat.

October 2015

Today is the day in the future that Marty McFly visited in the "classic sequel" (oxymoron alarm!) Back to the Future II. According to the movie, in 2015 Swiss terrorists are a real menace! Proof in the video, at 2:22.

September 2015

Men have almost twice as many partners as women!? How can this be, after all every couple should count as exactly one for men as well as for women, right? There are even more men than women in the world, so if anything an average woman should have a (slightly) higher number! Men having more same sex partners might explain some of the discrepancy, but surely not all of it. Or maybe these numbers are medians instead of means, and some women "escort" many men? However, the numbers are not integers, so probably they are plain old arithmetic means, and not medians. So what is it?! I guess men "brag" and/or women "piously" underreport.

August 2015

Back to the Future.

July 2015

That's Numberwang!

June 2015

Jamie xx's album of the year is out. Here he is together with the legend, Caribou.

May 2015

Virtual Reality Soccer reminds me of Robocup Soccer (jump to 2:00).

April 2015

Da Fuh?

March 2015

In my dreams, the progressive US nation decides to drop their daylight saving time. The year after the EU follows suit. And then, two years later, also the Swiss can finally stop this thing.

February 2015

Mark your calendars, the best musician without a single album is going to be in town soon.

January 2015

Distributed Computing Meets Biology, with Saket Navlakha. The video mentions that stone-age model.

December 2014

The most political movie since Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a lowbrow comedy.

November 2014

Kleinrock stole my research philosophy, starting at minute 9.30.

October 2014

Hooligan carousel.

September 2014

Amazing visualizations.

August 2014

While I am skeptical about seeing general purpose robots anytime soon, I nevertheless join the side of the 48% that believe that recent advances in computer science and engineering will have a significant impact on our future, and governments need to start preparing. Check out the horse comparison starting at minute 3.30:

July 2014

I know Black People. A classic just a few years before Obama took office.

June 2014

I've recently seen a concert of We Were Evergreen, a cute band from France. Here is their artsy video.

May 2014

I'm not going to buy a PlayStation 4. I'm also not going to buy an Xbox One. I have been an avid video game player for many years (okay, decades), and I love playing video games with my friends. However, games for two or more players seem not to be supported anymore by the current generation of consoles. Party games? Split screen action? Apparently something from the past, only missed by old people. Even though the hardware should easily be able to handle four players, and TVs are much bigger than they used to be. So my friends and I keep using our old hardware and games. The video below is from a Micro Machines clone called Mashed Fully Loaded, our favorite four player game, released pretty much exactly 10 years ago!

April 2014

My partner is on YouTube! In case you wonder, she is on the right. On the left is Regina, a former PhD student of mine.

March 2014


February 2014

Harold Ramis, director and co-writer of one of the best movies ever, Groundhog Day (a RomCom but also so much more), died today. Rest in piece.

January 2014

Jerry Seinfeld is on the web, but only after I reddit, I knew! Best episodes so far: Louis C.K. in a Fiat, Chris Rock in a Lambo, Sarah Silverman in a Jag, Michael Richards in a VW Bus, and Larry David in a Beetle.

December 2013

That voice of that kid.

November 2013

Another great bit of a great video series, proving that videos can sometimes better explain than paper.

October 2013

Many years ago, I invited the fabulous writer Simon Singh to give a talk at ETH, and he came. Back then we chatted a bit what kind of book he could write in the future. He used none of my ideas (so far), but went on and wrote a book about The Simpsons. In the video Simon mentions that David X. Cohen published a paper on Pancake graphs, a topic originally developed by Bill Gates. This fun fact is not mentioned in the video, but I would be surprised if it was not in the book, as I told Simon about it back then.

September 2013

Sometimes, my job reminds me of that roman video tape skit by Mitchell and Webb.

August 2013

My sabbatical is over, I am returning to Zurich, Switzerland. Celebrating the occasion with the best band Zurich can offer.

July 2013

If only his best work was still available, I would totally buy it.

June 2013

Math done right.

May 2013

Politicians just love Apple.

April 2013

Super Hans and Jez. Blimey!

March 2013

This series is getting better and better. Von Neumann vs. Turing, please!

February 2013

Word is that Nike+ Kinect Training is the best workout software you can get for the Xbox 360 Kinect system. The game is generally helpful, however, after using it for a few months, I started to wonder whether the developers ever tested their program. There are many obvious mistakes, for instance calling the left leg the right leg in certain exercises. The most annoying feature of the game however is the obnoxious commenting behavior of the personal trainers. I just loathe when they say "These have caused some problems to you in the past, but today you really gonna get it" or "You've had some issues with these in the past, but today I know you're really gonna nail it" (or similar, there are a few variants). I would not mind if it was true, but I get these comments for exercises where I easily score the highest (three star) rating, always. Maybe, once, three months ago, a cat was walking into the scene, disturbing the kinect sensor, making it difficult for the program to understand what is going on. However, why does the silly personal trainer hold that against me after I did the exercise correctly so many times? Why can I not silence all the chit-chat, restricting the personal trainers to simple commands such as "up" and "down"?

January 2013

Was 2012 a bad year for music? I tend to think so. Still, there were some highlights: Django Django (Beta Band meets Calexico), Tame Impala (late Beatles), Thundercat, Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, and Alt-J (New School of Athens, see below).

December 2012

Because of Netflix I started watching documentaries more often. My personal favorite of the year 2012 is The Queen of Versailles, a movie based on an unbelievable (but true) story that magically carries both "compassion and Schadenfreude". Speaking of Netflix, I am astonished how bad their critically acclaimed recommendation system is; why for instance does my personalized "top 10" include movies which do have a really low (also personalized!) rating?

November 2012

Clever, Banksy.

October 2012

My oldest son's birthday. He is now old enough that we can buy presents for us, and nobody will notice.

September 2012

Another classic video.

August 2012

Moving to Puget Sound, home of the Sub Pop music label, which continues to be a real gem (regarding their music).

July 2012

Summer slump, a good time to sneak in an old geek classic.

June 2012

With my new glasses, I probably look a bit like Stephen Merchant, here explaining the origin of the Venn Diagram.

May 2012

Donna Summer and Adam Yauch leaving the stage forever. I just loved those "beastlie brothers" in the 80s and 90s, the wild party phase, and also the cool hipster phase.

April 2012

After 13 years on the air, today was the last edition of my beloved Gilles Peterson's Worldwide show on BBC 1.

March 2012

British Pie. Wow.

February 2012

2011 was a decent movie year, we had Attack the Block, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Super 8, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, or Bridesmaids (below), just to name a few that I enjoyed. The common denominator of these movies is that they were all not nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award. Indeed, going through the list of awardees and nominees, I can only come to one conclusion: For me the Oscars are irrelevant. Surely, every now and then there are nominations of movies that I care about (last 5 years we had Juno, Up, District 9, Inception), but by and large the nominees are at best orthogonal to my taste. For instance, computer animation has become mature recently, and surely changed Hollywood quite a bit since 1995. But brilliant recent animation movies such as Wall-E or Ratatouille were not nominated for best picture. Instead we now get the second ever Oscar for a silent film, the first one was very first Oscar in 1927. 1927 was also the year the first feature-length movie with synchronized dialogue was released. By the way, The Artist is quite charming. Five minutes into the movie my three year old said "this movie is mega-dumb", and fell asleep.

January 2012

Gervais is on a roll.

December 2011

Literal video, with astonishingly accurate vocals.

November 2011

I never quite understood why beauty contestants have to talk in the first place. Never mind, here is a fun video. If you want to see a sad video, you should check the original instead.

October 2011

Can't resist to post one more election video. This one is coming straight from the Dadaists, it seems. Translation -- Male: "I'm going to vote for party X, they make sense". Female (I'm smelling an Oscar here): "Me too!". Headline: "Don't offend the zebra. Vote for party Y." If you get the message, please tell me.

September 2011

Elections in Switzerland! Here's my favorite election video, from my favorite Aussie TV show. Disclaimer: This video should not transport any message whether I think one should or should not vote for the Green party. In fact, in Switzerland we have at least two Green parties, (i) left-wing Greens, and also (ii) middle-of-the-road Greens known as Green-Liberals.

August 2011

Artsy fun for kids.

July 2011

Detroit house is my passion. Alas, no videos. Today however there is the 15th birthday of one of the best house tracks ever, so I'll post even without proper video. The track sounds pretty fresh, despite technically being an oldie. As many house tracks, "I can't kick ..." is based on a disco classic. If you're old enough, try guessing which; if not, just hit this.

June 2011

The iPad is a fun portable gaming platform. The video shows Achtung, my favorite iPad multi-player game (runner-up: King of Opera). The best single-player game on the iPad is in my opinion Slay by Sean O'Connor, a turn-based strategy game with clever level design. Although the 400+ levels look random, I suspect that they can all be won, as I eventually managed to win the complete bottom "R" row of the level matrix. (Try the light version for free.)

May 2011

Our jukefox project, recently featured on lifehacker.

April 2011

In honor of TV on the Radio Bassist Gerard Smith.

March 2011

I'm not in the mood of posting a joyful video this month. My best wishes go to the people in Japan.

February 2011

The hilarious opening monologue from this year's Academy Awards! (Ugh, I mean that other award show, the funny one.)

January 2011

The revolution will not be televised, but is it on YouTube?

December 2010

My favorite music video 2010, speaks to the teenager in me. Yes, Arcade Fire's debut album is still unmatched. No, I can't explain the video.

November 2010

My all-time favorite Rube Goldberg machine (which is also a car commercial).

October 2010

Geek humor, even funnier than the original. (If the video does not work, try this copy instead.)

September 2010

Interview with my former student, entrepreneur Dominik Grolimund (in Swiss German).

August 2010

Microsoft invited me to try Kinect a few months before the release. Here's my brother and me making silly moves. (The video features a fancy electronic version of Olivia Newton-John's classic disco hit "Physical", which inspired my ICALP 2010 keynote.)

July 2010

My list so far is focussing on music and videos, so it's basically incomplete without OK Go. Like it? Here's another one.

June 2010

Not sure whether this is funny.

May 2010

His Exhibits A and C prove that he is the new J Dilla. But here is a classic with video instead.

April 2010

It's like Franz Ferdinand of forty-somethings.

March 2010

How to accept an award, Karin Dreijer Andersson style.

February 2010

Top Gear for kids.

January 2010

The honor of the first video goes to one made by some of my students. Interesting for music-loving Androids.