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Joseph Smarr
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Some news on me: I've recently joined the Google Assistant team! Excited my NLP degrees will once again be useful!

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Love this short video that +Dan Ambrosi commissioned of me and +Christopher Lamb explaining the tech behind our Dreamscapes!

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Here's an update with tons of news & photos of the amazing progress of our Dreamscapes project (including the tech talk and exhibit we had at Google)!

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Super easy yet powerful way to fix your out of order photos from your next trip (or when a bunch of people share photos from an event with you).
Web update: Easily adjust the date & time of multiple photos

You took a bunch of great photos with your camera. But when you uploaded them to Google Photos, you realized you forgot to correct the time zone after your last trip. So now you’re stuck with a disorganized photo library, and the thought of changing each time stamp individually makes your head hurt.

Thankfully, adjusting the time or date for a range of photos is now fast, easy, and intuitive.

On, just select the group of photos you’d like to adjust and click “Edit date & time” in the menu dropdown. You’ll be able to shift or set the time stamps, and preview the changes before saving.

In addition, you can now delete photos directly from an album – just select photos and click “Move to trash” in the menu dropdown.

These updates are rolling out now on

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Thomas Frank is back with a vengeance, this time turning his brilliant, sardonic, barbed tongue towards the Democrats who, he argues compellingly IMO, have consciously chosen to abandon the working class in favor of the professional "creative class" that is winning in the new economy. He traces the arc from McGovern through Bill Clinton, Obama, and even Hillary, showing how they spoke as if they were still the party of the FDR and the protectors of the middle class, but their policy agenda instead exacerbated income inequality and the precariousness of the less fortunate.

His point is that blaming Republicans (as he's done so effectively for years) for the problems we face today as a nation is insufficient, and likewise another term with a Democratic president is not on its own going to necessarily do much to fix things. The left's failure to take seriously the plight of the working class is also what has created the space for alternatives like Trump (the same case made by George Packer, author of the haunting The Unwinding, in his latest essay: In the 90s, the theory was "these people have nowhere else go [politically]". Frank points out this theory is now dangerously out of date.

Those of you who have been Feeling the Bern will no doubt be nodding your heads as you read this book, tho curiously Frank scarcely mentions Sanders. He explains why in an interview ( Sanders's career has not actually been as a Democrat, and he's only running as one now because there isn't really an alternative. So although Frank is an admirer and thinks his campaign is helping fix this problem on the left, he didn't consider him to be a refutation of the core criticism against the mainstream Democratic party of the last thirty+ years).

If you've never read any of Frank's writing before, you're in for a real treat, and if you have, you're no doubt eagerly licking your chops as I was. He's true to form and tho it can be painful to hear his frustration and despair with folks closer to home than his usual fodder, it's nonetheless thought provoking and extremely timely. So put this near the top of your reading list and lemme know what you think when you're done!

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I finally tried sous vide cooking at home! Have you ever done it? I collected some tips for things that weren't obvious to me as a first timer...

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Here's a great new smart album from a recent trip to Mexico by our PM +Francois de Halleux -- you may recognize a few faces ;) 

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Nice review of smart albums by +WIRED, calling them 'a souped-up version of the existing “Stories” feature'--indeed! 

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The best of stories, now in Google Photos albums

With today’s update, albums in Google Photos are becoming smarter and more expressive, powered by many of the best ideas and technology from stories. There’s now one simple way to view, personalize, and share your life’s adventures. I hope you’ll agree it combines the proactive smarts and context awareness of stories that we all love with the enhanced editing and collaboration features of photo albums. Let us know what you think!

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Substituting 2:1 vs. 1:1 simple syrup?

While reading Jeffrey Morgenthaler's justifiably lauded The Bar Book (, he often prefers 2:1 "rich" simple syrup to the classic 1:1 variety. Makes sense--less volume, stores better, etc. But he doesn't mention how to calculate the appropriate quantity of 2:1 simple syrup you need in a recipe that calls for 1:1. Any tips?

Is it as simple as the straight math: 2/3 volume is sugar vs 1/2, so use 3/4 as much (2/3 * 3/4 = 6/12 = 1/2)? I notice he often uses 3/4 oz lemon/lime juice to 1/2 oz 2:1 simple syrup, whereas normally you would use 3/4 oz 1:1 simple syrup, and 3/4 * 3/4 = 9/16 ~= 1/2 so maybe that checks out? But I couldn't find anything definitive about this on the web, so I'm turning to the mixology community here. :)
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