Phippy and Zee Go To The Mountains

Written by: Dave Cadwallader

Illustrated by: Dave, Boden, and Zenna Cadwallader

Phippy and Zee artwork licensed under Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY). See


“Aunt Phippy, what’s that beautiful mountain?”, asked Zee.

“That’s Prometheus mountain!”, explained Phippy, “It’s made up of timeseries data. Its Y axis measures high into the sky, and its X axis stretches from the present to the distant past…”

“Wow”, said Zee, “Let’s go on a 4-dimensional hike!”


As they ascended up the slope, they came across a swarm of flies. “Those,” said Phippy, “are samples. Each one tells us a number and a time.”


“Are they wearing name tags?”, asked Zee.

“Yes,” said Phippy. Those are the labels. The labels tell us more about their story.


Zee noticed one fly with a tag reading “status: 404”. “That one looks lost,” Zee said. “I hope she finds her way home.”



They came to the top of a peak, overlooking a valley below. “I wonder how high up we are?” asked Zee, starting to feel lightheaded. From down below came the rumbling voice of a big brown bear, “10 feet up!”

Zee looked confused. “We must be higher up than that! And who said that anyway?”

“That,” said Phippy, “is an Instant Vector. He can only measure things right where he is.”



As Phippy and Zee hiked on, they came to a series of jagged peaks. Suddenly a hawk swooped down from the sky, scanned her eyes across the ridge, and loudly screeched a whole bunch of numbers.

“This is a Range Vector,” explained Phippy. She can see all the samples as far back as you ask her to.”



Suddenly the ground started to shake. Phippy and Zee jumped up in surprise as the shape of the mountain started to change underneath them. “What was that?!” cried Zee.

Phippy smiled and explained, “that was a function! Each function has magical powers to change the shape of the landscape. This one listened to the Range Vector and gave us a moving average.”

Just then Zee looked down and saw that the once spikey and precarious landscape was now smooth and easy to walk on. “Wow, that makes it much easier!” said Zee.



Phippy and Zee came to the edge of a cliff. “Where did our path go?” wondered Zee. “Prometheus mountain didn’t find any more samples, so our trail stops here,” explained Phippy. “In about 5 minutes, this trail will be marked stale and disappear. We’d better climb down!”

“Good idea,” agreed Zee. “But can we get a couple of Captain Kube’s Cliff Bars for the trip home?”


Thanks to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation for making Phippy, Zee, and their friends available under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). Please visit to find their other adventures.

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