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Joel Weinberger
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In bittersweet news, Sarah, Shira, and I are trading in the cool, brisk fog of San Francisco to move to the sunny beaches of Los Angeles.

We have previously considered a move to Los Angeles to be closer to family, and there's nothing like a baby to put cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents in perspective, and a few weeks ago I was offered an opportunity to join the security team at Snapchat, based in Venice, Los Angeles. After a lot of discussion, we decided that this is the best for our daughter and family.

While I'll be leaving Google and starting at Snapchat at the end of January, we'll remain in San Francisco until mid or late March. Initially, we plan on staying with Sarah's parents in Westwood in Los Angeles until we find a more permanent place to stay. Frankly, we don't know all that much about Los Angeles neighborhoods, so suggestions welcome.

While we are undeniably excited about our move to Los Angeles, we are devastated to be moving further from all of our friends, family, and colleagues in the Bay Area, which we've called home for the past 10 years. We love you all and certainly hope that we can convince you to come visit us. And, hey, we still have 2 months until we move, so plenty of time to consume Bay Area coffee, pizza, and Shalimar with all of you.

--Joel, Sarah, and Shira

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Great post by one helluva contributor, +Yoav Weiss.

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Interesting breakdown by +Devdatta Akhawe of how Dropbox stores passwords.

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Awesome memories of serving chicken at Burning Man two years ago today. Thanks, Google Photos :-)
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For decades, desalination was seen as a pipe dream: so costly in terms of energy that it could never be useful. Reverse-osmosis was hailed as a possible change, but the problem of "biofouling" -- basically, bacterial growth in the filters requiring constant chemical cleaning -- made it impractical. But a few years ago, this problem started to get cracked, and now Israel is doing something previously unthinkable: running a net surplus of water.

To give you some context for this: In 1948, Israel was more than half parched, nearly-uninhabitable desert. The steady northward spread of the desert had been greatly accelerated by Ottoman deforestation, and the whole ecosystem verged on collapse. David Ben Gurion, the first president, made it his crusade to make the country green: "There will be bears in the Negev (desert)!," he would famously say. This meant everything from aggressive water conservation across the country, to research in water technologies, to a steady program of reclaiming the desert, with schoolchildren routinely going out in large groups to plant trees.

Today, I can barely recognize the country of my childhood; as you go south of Jerusalem, miles and miles which I remember as barren deserts are now lush forests and farms.

But this was almost lost in the past decade, as powerful droughts -- the same droughts which triggered the Arab Spring -- have ravaged the Middle East. The Kinneret (also known as the Sea of Galilee) saw its water level drop terrifyingly, year after year, close to the threshold where osmotic pressure would fill it with salt and destroy it as a freshwater lake. The Dead Sea was shrinking into a giant mud puddle, and we talked about it meeting the same fate as the Aral Sea, now just a memory.

The rise of modern desalination has changed this calculus completely. Because it doesn't rely on boiling or similar processes, it's energy-cheap. It's maintainable, and while it requires capital outlays in the way that building any large plant does, it doesn't require astronomical or unusual ones. This makes it a technology ready for use across the world.

There is one further potential benefit to this: Peace. Water is a crucial resource in the Middle East (and elsewhere!), far more scarce than oil. It's needed not just for humans, but most of all for crop irrigation, as droughts destroying farmland have been one of the biggest problems facing the region. The potential for desalination to change this creates a tremendous opportunity for cooperation -- and there are nascent signs that this is, indeed, happening.

At an even higher level, relieving the political pressures created by lack of water, and thus lack of working farms, could have far more profound effects on the region as a whole. Even before the recent droughts, things like the steady desertification of Egypt's once-lush Nile Valley (a long-term consequence of the Aswan Dam and the stopping of the regular flooding of the Nile) were pushing people by the million into overcrowded cities unable to support them. Having farming work again doesn't just mean food, it also means work, and it means a systematic reduction in desperation.

Desalination looks to be one of the most important technologies of the 21st century: it's hard to overstate how much it could reshape our world.

Via +paul beard 

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In continuing our exploration of SF parks, panorama of a foggy SF from Holly Park in Bernal.

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First time visiting Billy Goat Hill, and what a day for the view it was.

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+Sarah Weinberger and I are thrilled to announce the birth of our daughter Shira Tova Weinberger. She was born on Thursday, June 16th, 2016 at 9:04 pm at Kaiser San Francisco (6.16.16 for those palindrome aficionados among us), weighing 7 lbs 4.9 oz, just in time to be the greatest Father's Day present imaginable. Mother and baby are healthy and well, and we're all at home now. Please feel free to text and email us, although we probably won't be getting back to you immediately :-)

We chose to name our daughter, Shira Tova, after Joel's Grandma Sherry, his paternal grandmother. Sherry passed away when Joel was only 7 years old, but he remembers their years together with extreme fondness, from their summers at Lake Buel in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, to her guitar playing and singing. She was a joy-filled, vivacious woman, who filled every room she entered. Her love resonated with everyone she met, but most especially through the family she built, who she still influences to this day. Her energy was always palpable, as we can already tell is with the case with Shira.

Besides the vocal similarity to the name "Sherry," the Hebrew word "shira" means "song" and "tova" means "good" or "beautiful," so together they literally translate as "beautiful song," which describes Sherry on many levels. Additionally, "Tova" was the Hebrew name of Sarah's grandmother, Tosia, and we are thrilled to be able to honor her as well.

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Excited to share +Adrienne Porter Felt and my SOUPS 2016 paper, "A Week to Remember: The Impact of Browser Warning Policies":
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