Sherlock Holmes and Measurement

While preparing my lodgings for an extended period of paper writing that awaits me, I started listening to Stephen Fry’s reading of Sherlock Holmes books. I paused the audio when Holmes says this:

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.

As a network measurement researcher, I feel a sense of solidarity with Holmes. This is how we think while measuring networking phenomenon. Our version of Sherlock’s idea is “Packet captures or it didn’t happen.”