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Yonatan Zunger
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Attended Stanford University
Lives in Mountain View, CA
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Yonatan Zunger

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Several people have been asking me, and I can confirm that +Dave Besbris  is indeed going to be taking over as head of Google+. Bez has been with the project since its very beginning, and he and +Bradley Horowitz  have both been Vic's top lieutenants: if Google+ were its own company, Bez would have been its COO. He's also an amazing leader: someone who profoundly understands the subtleties of social, of apps, of engineering, of product, and of how to run an organization. Even though you haven't seen him talking in public as much as you've seen Vic, I expect that you'll be very pleasantly surprised when you see what happens with him at the helm. +Bradley Horowitz, in the meantime, will continue his role as the head of product -- where he will presumably continue to be one of the most thoughtful and intelligent men I've worked with.

A big leadership change like this is always a shock, but I'm very glad to see that we're maintaining core continuity, and that our new leader is someone I trust so deeply. Every hail and farewell is bittersweet, but I couldn't have hoped for better people.

You can also learn more at the Re/Code article ( which I think does a great job. (Although they slightly got wrong that Bez was somehow a surprise choice; I would have described him as the obvious successor)
The head of Google+ and Google’s social efforts, Vic Gundotra, announced that he’s stepping down today. Google has confirmed that his replacement will be, as Re/code sources speculated, the current vice president of engineering for Google+, David Besbris. Re/code broke the news of Besbris taking over according to its sources, but Google itself didn’t confirm […]
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+Paul Hosking I'm trying a vague sense of optimism for a change, mostly because I like +Yonatan Zunger.  But I do have a lump of rock salt handy at all times. :D
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This is a feature I've been really excited to see launch. It's not just for giant monuments - often, after a disaster, this can be the only picture someone has of their home. (We saw this happen during tests) Or it can let them visit how their old places used to be.

(I'm also fond of this feature for the more obscure reason that a key enabling technology for it was a planet-scale storage system I built a few years ago. It's really nice to see something you made make something awesome possible.) 
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+John VanRoekel This requires the "New" Google Maps, AFAICT, and in that interface, all Street View visuals are now datestamped (well, month and year, anyway).

There isn't satellite historical imagery there. You can get that only through the standalone Google Earth client right now, though GEarth doesn't make it entirely clear what the specific date of a given photo panel is, only that all imagery on screen is no newer than the date selected.
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New discoveries in science! The Juno and Izumo proteins may open up the door to both new methods of fertility treatment and of contraception.
What a protein named Juno might mean for the future of birth control.
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+John VanRoekel, :) 
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Yonatan Zunger

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Yeah, what +Matt Mastracci said. Via +fan tai.
Ooh that's good. 
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Have him in circles
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Yonatan Zunger

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+Vic Gundotra, you are an amazing leader, and I've felt honored to work with you these past few years. Both because I've learned so much, and because we've gotten to build something so amazing. The best of luck to you in what comes next!
And Then

Last month, my wife's uncle died in a tragic accident in LA when the bicycle he was using to get lunch was hit by a truck. At the memorial service his daughter relayed a very touching story. 

She said her dad (who was her best friend) called every day to talk. But instead of opening the call with the customary "How are you" or "What's going on", her dad always opened the conversation with "And then?" Her father viewed each conversation as a continuation of the last, and what pained her the most was that there were to be no more "and thens". I cried. 

Since then I've thought a lot about how similar this is to our life's endeavors. We pour our heart and soul into our work and it becomes something we love and cherish. But even the challenges we work on today will one day become "and thens" as we move on to the next. 

Today I'm announcing my departure from Google after almost 8 years.

I have been incredibly fortunate to work with the amazing people of Google. I don't believe there is a more talented and passionate collection of people anywhere else. And I'm overwhelmed when I think about the leadership of +Larry Page and what he empowered me to do while at Google. From starting Google I/O, to being responsible for all mobile applications, to creating Google+, none of this would have happened without Larry's encouragement and support.

I'm also forever in debt to the Google+ team. This is a group of people who built social at Google against the skepticism of so many. The growth of active users is staggering, and speaks to the work of this team. But it doesn't tell you what kind of people they are. They are invincible dreamers. I love them. And I will miss them dearly.

Finally, thank you to all those who I've met on Google+. The community here has been so supportive that I don't even know how to say thank you. You all make Google+. Without you, this social network wouldn't exist. Your support for Google+, and for me personally is something I will never forget. 

But, now is the time for a new journey. A continuation. An "and then". I am excited about what's next. But this isn't the day to talk about that. This is a day to celebrate the past 8 years. To cry. And smile. And to look forward to the journey yet to come.

And then....
+Vic Gundotra 

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All hail the zombie resurrection of Reader. 
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Yonatan Zunger

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+Richard Green gives a great illustration and explanation of the Lonely Runner Problem. Problems of this sort often arise in practical applications when you need to know if a bunch of independently changing quantities will ultimately give all possible configurations.
The Lonely Runner Conjecture

Suppose that six runners are running around and around a circular track, each running at a different constant speed, but in the same direction. Will each runner eventually be in a situation where each of the other five runners is at least 1/6 of a lap away? According to the Lonely Runner Conjecture, the answer is yes.

This animation from Wikipedia by Claudio Rocchini illustrates the situation for six runners. The runners are initially represented by black dots, which turn to yellow as soon as the corresponding runner has 1/6 of a lap of empty track both ahead of and behind them. Eventually, all the runners have had the experience of being in this state.

In general if the number of runners on the circular track is k, a runner is said to be lonely if each of the other runners is at least 1/k of a lap away. The conjecture is that if k is at least 2 and each runner runs at a different speed, then each runner will be “lonely” at some point.

The conjecture was originally made by J.M. Wills in 1967. Although it is easy to state, the conjecture is even now only known to be true in general for small values of k. The case k=2 is trivial, the case k=3 is not too hard, and the case k=4 was proved in 1972. A proof of the case k=5 involving a computer check was found in 1984, and a more elegant proof was found in 1998. The case k=6 was proved in 2001, with a shorter proof being found in 2004. The case k=7 was proved by Barajas and Serra in 2008, but the problem is still open if k is 8 or more.

The Lonely Runner Conjecture has points of contact with other areas of mathematics. As Barajas and Serra explain in the introduction to their paper (, the positive solution of the conjecture would prove a theorem about nowhere zero flows in regular matroids. The known results about the conjecture have also been used to compute chromatic numbers of distance graphs.

If all the runners' speeds are irrational multiples of each other, the problem becomes easy and the conjecture is known to be true. For this reason, attacks on the problem focus on the most difficult case, where all the speeds are rational multiples of each other. This case quickly reduces to the case where all the runners' speeds are integers with no common factor greater than one. We may also assume that one of the speeds is zero, meaning that one of the “runners” is stationary. 

In the case of six runners, the stationary runner will be lonely when the other five runners are bunched in the 4/6 of the track centred at the point diametrically opposite the stationary runner. This point of view can be used to recast the conjecture in terms of a line of sight problem in Euclidean space. My previous post on this topic goes into more detail about this aspect of the problem ( and provides a link to another relevant paper.

Picture source:

#mathematics #scienceeveryday #spnetwork arXiv:0710.4495
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I first thought the runners will become lonely all at the same time, which seemed possible. It's true for 2 runners, but I expect a counter example can be found relatively easy for more than 2 runners.
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Yonatan Zunger

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This device is bizarre but strangely beautiful. Using semiconductor heating elements and computer control, it can cook everything from toast to steak. It may not really be useful, but it is kind of cool.

Via +fan tai
Italy's Bugatti—no relation to the high-end car company—just debuted a glass-walled toaster that puts all others to shame, and it does so with advanced technology that's never before been used on a small appliance.
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Unfortunately would also see crumbs accumulating in the bottom too!
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Yonatan Zunger

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There is jumping the shark, and then there is excitedly fornicating with the shark on national television. I think that CNN is moving in the latter direction.

I'm trying to even imagine what a "rebranded KKK" would look like. "Yes, we want to ensure that political power is permanently in white hands and that any attempt by other races to establish their most basic civil rights is crushed, but look! We have suits on!" 
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Let's go for it and see if we can keep the post stream going for the record...  ;-p

 +Andres Soolo  I'm afraid it's not just Republicans or NSDAP that can get that dangerous.  Even those "soft" racists in Yonathan post yesterday can share a certain thing with a Black Democratic President who disavowed the Gulf War, yet can continue to rain down Hellfire (missiles from above) and witch-hunt whistle-blowers. This thing is a hardness, which is expressed in many forms but all forms share one thing in common -- an absolute belief in some dogma, in the absolute rightness & superiority of their position. Racism, ethnocentrism, absolutism, all those -isms respect no barrier of  skin colour, creed or climate.
Ascent Of Man, episode 11 - Knowledge Or Certainty
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There is some fairly deep thinking in this article (and in its comment thread) about the nature of racism, and of subtle aspects of politics and power. One of its most interesting observations, to me, was about how many of the players in the racial politics of the 1950's/60's did not object to giving individual black citizens access to political rights, the professions, and so on, but objected to any such allowance as a category. As Mayor Howard Lee observed, 

"Senator Sam’s position [against civil rights] was based to a great extent on a very unique position that many power brokers took within North Carolina and throughout the South. And that position is that if laws are enacted which give freedom to the whole then there is no longer the opportunity to give and take privileges. . . . With the enactment of civil rights laws, this whole process, this whole system crumbled.”

Much to think about in here.

via +Aleatha Parker-Wood.
This piece is long, and not all that easy going, but well worth it.

Bigotry is an inherently negative attitude. But racism is, essentially, just a hierarchical notion. It really has nothing inherent to do with hate. Bigotry says someone is bad. Racism says ‘I am better’. Which implies someone is worse. But it doesn’t necessarily dwell on it, darkly, let alone violently. Racism can walk on the sunny side of the street, in its mind.

Ervin does not seem to be bubbling over with race hate, in an emotional sense. This is why he felt that charges of racism, against him, were unjust. A racist is a bigot is consumed with hate. Ervin looked in his heart, saw no bubbling hate, per se, for the black man. He exonerated himself on that charge, and felt anger at his unjust accusers for calling him racist.

What he felt was love of hierarchy and order and preservation of social status.
My Chait thread was a moderate disaster. I was like: 'by saying X, I think Chait meant Y.' And you were like: 'by saying 'by saying X, Chait meant Z,' are you saying Q?' And I was like: what? Z? Q?...
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+Patrick Leonard As someone who knew Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles, I must agree with some of your comments and disagree with others. 

For 2,000 years Catholicism has been at war, violently or non-violently, with most other forms of Christianity. In parallel with that has been a Catholic opposition to learning - Martin Luther, for example, was a Catholic Priest and academic. There are way too many well known examples of Catholic oppression of scientists to mention here. 

In these circumstances, to cite any single example as being definitive of oppression of Catholics in abstract from Catholic oppression of other Christian sects is, I think, to say the least a bit "beam" rather than "mote" like. 

I would simply ask, what human achievements can Catholics be truly proud of? I am sure there are some but for the life of me I cannot instantly think of many. There is one notable exception Lord Acton. Sir John Dalberg-Acton, 8th Baronet from 1837 to 1869 and usually referred to simply as Lord Acton—was English, a devout Catholic,  historian, politician, and writer. Best know for the phrase: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." in reference to the power of the Pope.
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Have him in circles
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  • Google
    Chief Architect, Social, present
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Mountain View, CA
Boulder, CO - Rehovot, IL
Chief Architect, Google+
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.
  • Stanford University
    Ph. D., Physics, 2003
  • University of Colorado, Boulder
    B. A., Mathematics, Physics, 1997
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