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Yonatan Zunger
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Attended Stanford University
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Yonatan Zunger

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Successful experiment tonight:

1 1/2 oz. Bulleit rye
1 oz. Dram pine syrup
6 shakes Dram "Hair of the Dog" bitters
2 oz. soda

Shake all ingredients but soda thoroughly with ice, strain and add soda.

It should have been in a shorter glass, used a better rye, and it could definitely use a maraschino cherry (a real one, not the fluorescent variety) as a garnish, but this definitely works.
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+Joel Webber​ if you'd like more pre-prohibition drinks, here's your guide: http://www.amazon.com/Elemental-Mixology-Andrew-Willett/dp/1300013524

+Yonatan Zunger​ that's an interesting choice. Isn't that a rather sweet mix? Or is pine syrup less sweet than I'd think? (If I were to try this, which I currently can't, I'd go for 1/2 fl.oz syrup and a scruple of bitters. There needs to be more research :)
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I just thought I would mark today with a post I made four years ago, welcoming everyone on board just a few minutes after we flipped the switch and launched Google+. 

Over the course of the week that followed, I decided to try something a bit crazy and not really "traditional Google:" I spent lots of time running around the service, talking to everyone I encountered, and welcoming them aboard. What I found was that there were tremendous numbers of people out there who wanted to talk: not just about the service, but about all the things they cared about in their lives, from their pets to geopolitics. And the results changed my life.

It's been an amazing four years here: I've seen the project grow from a crazy idea to a giant, thriving community, spread around the world.  I've had so many conversations on so many subjects, and learned so much in the process, that I can't even count. I've learned to write much more effectively, and what it is to have a real conversation about incredibly sensitive subjects where people nonetheless treat each other with respect and seriousness. I've made an amazing group of friends here, people I love and trust and talk to every day. And I even met the love of my life, my brilliant and beloved wife, through the service.

So looking back on four years of what we've built here, I can say: this is going really well. I'm exceptionally glad to have met all of you, and to have had some part in building this community we share, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the next four years take us!
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Looks like https://plus.google.com/112064652966583500522/posts/QabRqqXGBv3 on the 30th of June was my first post.

Then there is https://plus.google.com/112064652966583500522/posts/39PdKAkJAUX where I highlight something that mostly still is true:
"Ahh, the bliss of the first adopter period of any social network.
The lovely lack of information overload, and the opportunity to help shape the product and community. :D

Now let's hope they keep the gaming crap out of this one!
[…]
I also like how you can disable comments and re-sharing per post. "

I remember Google+ trying out Flash-based games for a bit, but with the change that it was on its own tab, and stayed out of the main Stream. I guess it resulted in too little interaction for it to become mainstream. ;-)
I do occasionally get a post with notification from some random stranger posting a link to some game on Google Play I'd never play, often in a language I don't speak myself, but that's prob more the fault of the app's developer sharing to both public and specific circles, or sending separate 'invites' to every contact... I usually tell the person to sod off, learn to use public sharing properly and circle sharing responsibly, and finish with a tasty block/report depending on how obnoxious the game and invite is.
These game invites luckily haven't been as annoying as Facebook's bug-all-your-friends-and-foes-with-daily-invites-and-'gifts' culture.

As for information overload: there is a lot more uninformative posts to wade through these days, but still a lot less memes, chain-shares (though Communities sadly still get far too many of those 'share this to at least 5 Communities or your puppy'll choke on your kitten' kind of carrot/stick-chainposts), and other 'look-at-me-I-can't-come-up-with-original-content' posts that are rampant on Facebook.
While I've complained in the past about a lack of a public API with write-access, I think it's also a reason why G+ still has a better signal-to-noise ratio than, let's say, Twitter. If I want to see someone's Foursquare check-ins, I'll follow them on Foursquare. By not letting 3rd party apps post directly to Google Plus, original content is encouraged more.

As for the last comment about being able to disable sharing and comments on a per-post basis: while I rarely have used it, it's still a nice feature to have, for instance to encourage comments on the OP.
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For those who didn't hear about this, CNN had an anxious and hand-wringing discussion about an ISIS flag waving at a Pride march. Except that it wasn't an ISIS flag. It was an ISIS flag with the Arabic text replaced with a bunch of sex toys. I can promise you that there are no letters in Arabic that look at all like butt plugs. 

For this to have made it on air, it had to have gone through producers, researchers, and anchors, some of whom are also journalists themselves. And none of them appear to either pay enough attention to their work, or have enough familiarity with the world, to stop and say "Wait a moment, I'm pretty sure that isn't Arabic. In fact, I'm pretty sure I had something a lot like that in one of my orifices recently."

/smh

You can read more, and watch the CNN clip, here: http://www.businessinsider.com/cnn-spots-isis-flag-at-gay-pride-parade-2015-6
 
You gotta have a great sensayuma to live in America:
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So, if you can figure out how to fool the media, you can get free publicity.
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As +Lauren Weinstein says, dealing with these things is incredibly difficult. Trying to figure out where to draw the line, what's a critical part of the news or the public discourse and what's simply evil for evil's sake, is one of the most challenging problems we face, both as an organization and as a society.

I'm proud of the team that worked on this for having figured out a good balance. (And am thankful not to have had to work on this particular project myself)
 
I'm incredibly proud of Google for this stance. Through my close work with them in the recent past, I have some insights into how complicated (and in many cases, emotionally exhausting) it is to figure out how to best draw the lines in such areas. To call it difficult would be a vast understatement, but the folks at Google who work on this are incredibly dedicated to doing the right thing.
Executives vow video site will not be used as a platform for ‘brutally violent propaganda produced by terrorists’, but argue against blanket censorship
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+Steve S Ok
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With Liberty and Justice for all -- and for one another.
Ten years ago, illustrator Mirko Ilic combined three visual cliches to create a fresh, enduring emblem for gay marriage.
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We got justice for same sex marriage in America.🗽 +Kacey Musgraves+Yonatan Zunger​
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Nota bene.
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In my exhaustive research for today's comic, I read that John Steinbeck often signed his books with a drawing of the Pigasus, a mythical flying pig. He also included the Latin motto "Ad astra per alas porci": "To the stars o...
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Grant Snider had created this as a three part comic. Visit his site for the rest. Good stuff. :+1:
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Yonatan Zunger

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This story is finally starting to hit the major press: in the past week, six black churches have burned down. Three of them are being investigated as arson, and the other three are still being examined by fire investigators -- but are highly likely to be arson as well.

I try to put this into my own world and imagine: if six synagogues had been torched the week after a major anti-Semitic terrorist attack, I would be thinking about nothing else. It would be front page, above the fold, in every newspaper in the country. Why, then, is this only now receiving proper coverage?

If you ask why these churches are so important -- why these aren't just ordinary arsons, or arsons against churches first and black churches second -- you can go back to what President Obama said in his eulogy for Clementa Pinckney a few days ago (which people are starting to refer to as "the 'grace' speech"):

The church is and always has been the center of African American life; a place to call our own in a too-often hostile world, a sanctuary from so many hardships.

Over the course of centuries, black churches served as hush harbors, where slaves could worship in safety, praise houses, where their free descendants could gather and shout “Hallelujah.” Rest stops for the weary along the Underground Railroad, bunkers for the foot soldiers of the civil-rights movement.

They have been and continue to be community centers, where we organize for jobs and justice, places of scholarship and network, places where children are loved and fed and kept out of harm's way and told that they are beautiful and smart and taught that they matter.

That’s what happens in church. That’s what the black church means — our beating heart, the place where our dignity as a people is inviolate.

"The place where our dignity as a people is inviolate:" one of the best distillations of an idea I have heard. A phrase likely to enter the English lexicon. These churches are not simply houses of worship to a god you or I may not share; they are the centers of their communities, and more, they are and have been the refuges and safe harbors of their communities since the days of slavery.

I am glad to see that the news is finally covering this, but why has it taken so long? And how long will it take to stop those responsible, and bring the ones who have already burned buildings to justice?

#WhoIsBurningBlackChurches  ?
All of them happened after the Charleston shooting, but none are being called hate crimes.
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So I wanted to see what Faux had to say about the fires.

"predominantly black churches" (does the predominantly qualifier suggest it isn't about race)?

"...not appear to have been intentionally set" (so one or more of the fires could be a coincidence)?

"...found no graffiti or other evidence that it was racially motivated." (so these fires are because?)

I stopped there ... if anyone wants to read the article the link is below. 

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/06/29/federal-officials-investigate-recent-fires-at-black-churches-though-blazes/
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Some excellent words from Bree Newsome on what she did, the story behind it, and why. 
 
"I removed the flag not only in defiance of those who enslaved my ancestors in the southern United States, but also in defiance of the oppression that continues against black people globally in 2015, including the ongoing ethnic cleansing in the Dominican Republic. I did it in solidarity with the South African students who toppled a statue of the white supremacist, colonialist Cecil Rhodes. I did it for all the fierce black women on the front lines of the movement and for all the little black girls who are watching us. I did it because I am free."  #takeitdown #keepitdown #blacklivesmatter  
Social justice activist Bree Newsome released the following statement exclusively to Blue Nation Review.
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+Deen Abiola

In Southeast Asia the Swastika is a holy symbol of good fortune, in Western countries it is a symbol of oppression and cruelty. The meaning of a symbol is culturally dependent.
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I don't normally post straight-up news bulletins, but today has been a day of so many events and changes that you may have missed some of the key things that happened.

If you're in the US, the two biggest stories were the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, and the President's powerful eulogy for Clementa Pickney. 

The other story likely to be very important was a sharp drop in the Chinese stock markets: 7.4% for the Shanghai Composite, 7.9% for the Shenzhen Composite. We've known for a while that these markets are likely to be in a bubble, but a one-day drop like this could well mean that the bubbles have popped. The consequences of this are likely to be very significant, as this could easily plunge China into a recession just as it's trying to figure out how to balance between an increasing urban/rural economic divide. (For comparison, the 1987 "Black Monday" crash which precipitated a serious economic crisis in the US was a one-day, 22% drop)

Beyond this, ISIS' call for terror strikes during the month of Ramadan appears to be being heeded: an attack on a mosque in Kuwait killed 27, an attack at a seaside resort in Tunisia killed 39, and in France, a man decapitated his employer and then set off a bomb. 

Rather depressingly, today's death toll of 67 dead only makes this the bloodiest day of terror attacks since January of 2014, when Boko Haram massacred 85 people in Kawuri. (There have been higher-death-toll attacks since, but they were spread out over several days; you can thank Boko Haram for those, as well)

(Stories:
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/06/26/world/middleeast/ap-ml-kuwait.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/27/world/africa/gunmen-attack-hotel-in-sousse-tunisia.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/27/world/europe/french-factory-lyon-attack-isis.html)

So it's been quite a significant day around the world.
Two major indexes fell sharply on Friday. Analysts had been warning for months about the risks of a stock market bubble.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates' upcoming book on race relations in the United States is likely -- if all the advance reviews, or his reputation as one of the great journalists of our day -- to be one of the most important books on the subject. I know of nobody who has both thought about it so deeply and who can speak about it so well. And the publisher has just moved the release date up, from September to July 14th!

I know what I'm reading as soon as I can get my hands on it. If you at all care about America, you should grab it, too.

Here's a blurb by Toni Morrison (yes, that Toni Morrison): “I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates. The language of Between the World and Me, like Coates’ journey, is visceral, eloquent and beautifully redemptive. And its examination of the hazards and hopes of black male life is as profound as it is revelatory. This is required reading.”
"Between the World and Me," originally planned for Sept. 8, will now be released on July 14 by imprint Spiegel & Grau.
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+Nila Jones Stop.  If he has anything to say it, he will.  Which I haven't.  Culture is great.  All about culture.  But let's not play little games about what I'm saying or put words in my mouth.  Race is bad news.  You want culture, fine.  You want to play race?  You're part and parcel of the problem.
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Today is not only a day of joy, but a day of mourning. President Obama delivered a eulogy for Clementa Pickney, murdered nine days ago today. And if you have the time -- he spoke for a full 40 minutes -- I encourage you to listen. This is one of those speeches that a written transcript doesn't really capture, because it's not a politician's speech.

In fact, I'd probably better give a warning here. Those of you who hate the President, per se, will not enjoy watching this; I'd simply skip it. Those of you who are unfamiliar with the language of the church may find it unusual or hard to understand, because it's very much not a political speech; it's a eulogy delivered by a man for his coreligionists, fitted deeply into the language of his religion. (Although for those who wonder about the significance and the importance of the church in African-American society, he explains it quite beautifully at 1:33:33

Those of you who want, however, to hear an extraordinary, heart-shaking speech, one full of all the things we have needed to say and we have needed to hear our leaders say for so long, should sit down and watch. You won't regret it.

He speaks about the man, he speaks about the church, he speaks about our society, and the meaning of this killing and of the society which allowed and created it. And what he has to say is wise and worth listening to.

For all that I have had my issues with him -- some very serious indeed -- on this matter, the President has stood up and made us proud.

(Edited to add: I just watched it a second time, and it's even better. The sermon he preaches, starting at around 1:37:00, is a joy to behold, and it's everything I never thought I would hear an American President say out loud in my lifetime.)
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"it's everything I never thought I would hear an American President say out loud in my lifetime"  Yes yes yes.  All of what you said.  I heard this in the car on the day he gave it, and was moved to tears.    Resharing with your commentary.  
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I've only just started to read today's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, and I'm in a hurry so forgive a slightly more technical post than usual. There's actually a lot of meat here, beyond the simple fact of the decision. A few things I've noticed so far:

(1) The decision is based on the fundamentality of the right to marry, and the issue of levels of scrutiny was not addressed. So no broader impact on anti-discrimination laws via setting intermediate scrutiny for sexual orientation. Not really surprising.

(2) The decision leaned heavily on Loving, Lawrence and Griswold. The latter is important: that's the underlying precedent that a lot of the fights about Roe v. Wade are actually about, and having another major case take it (and its arguments about "personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices defining personal identity and beliefs") as a precedent does a lot to strengthen it.

(3) The listed "third basis" was that the right to marry safeguards children. The phrasing here is important and is likely to have a strong effect on future cases involving rights to have children, adopt, etc. 

(4) The fourth basis talks about the "constellation of benefits" which marriage provides under the law. Together with the third, this is an extremely strong precedent for any future cases around this. It wouldn't at all surprise me to see sexual orientation become an intermediate-scrutiny suspect category within the next ten years.

(5) The decision made it clear that it takes effect immediately, not at some point in the future. The Court's general lack of patience with further legal manoeuvering was made pretty clear; as far as they're concerned, it's decided, it's done, do it now.

(6) I read the 5-4 as an interesting sign: Roberts is very concerned with the reputation of the Court (having been appointed Chief Justice in the aftermath of Bush v. Gore) and gets the creeping heebie-jeebies at the notion of a close split in a socially controversial case. I was anticipating 6-3, with him writing the opinion, simply because once it was clear which way it would go he would find a way to convince himself to join the majority just to avoid that. The fact that he didn't, if I'm reading the tea leaves correctly, tells me that he feels in his gut that this one isn't a long-term controversy, but really is largely settled as far as the country is concerned.

So with my apologies for the lack of time to write a proper article analyzing this, I'd say that it's time to celebrate a significant milestone -- but not too much. There are still many critical issues in this part of the law, and we can't consider the problem "solved" by any means.
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I was going to mention the church fires, but I'm on my phone and my pecking finger got tired. Part of my worry is indeed that the political leadership may simply lose control of the crazies, who will start indulging in freelance violence. I don't think the leadership actually intends for any violence or military confrontation, but they definitely seem to be hell bent on precipitating a "states rights" showdown, and directly challenge the 14th.

Amongst the plethora of scary things I'm seeing is just how easily lied to and manipulable the citizenry is, especially where the lies / propaganda align with what they want to believe. For example, most of the religious right around here have been led to believe that the SCOTUS decision means that churches are now being forced by Obama to perform same sex marriages.

Anyway. Time for some positive energy. I'm off to put in my hour of Spreading The Gospel of Bernie for the day. :) 
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Education
  • Stanford University
    Ph. D., Physics, 2003
  • University of Colorado, Boulder
    B. A., Mathematics, Physics, 1997
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Chief Architect, Google+
Introduction
Lots of people ask me what my job title means. I'm the senior engineer on the Google+ team, and my primary responsibility is to oversee and guide the technical design of Google+ and all of the things related to it. In practice, I'm also involved in lots of non-technical issues as well: my job is to make Google as fun, exciting, social, and pleasant a place to be as it can possibly be.

(I've been at Google since 2003, but you probably haven't seen me before this, because I worked deep in the back end: planet-scale storage, very large-scale search, ranking, and so on. Lots of teams whose unofficial motto is "if we told you, we'd have to kill you" -- as opposed to Google+, where we get to go out and talk and interact with our users.)

For those who just came here, welcome to the Google+ Project. It's something that we're all very passionate about, and which (as its name indicates) is going to continue to develop and improve at what we hope is an amazing rate. I'm avidly interested in hearing user feedback, and while I can't guarantee that I'll have time to respond to all of it, it will most certainly be listened to.

And the obligatory (very important!) disclaimer: I'm not on this system as an official representative. While I'm listening to user feedback and interacting about the system, I'm also here for perfectly ordinary social networking purposes. If I am saying something official on behalf of Google, I will make that explicitly clear; anything else that I say here is not the position of Google, or of anyone other than myself.

In fact, most of what I post about has nothing to do with CS at all. If you want a taste of it, take a look at my blog.
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