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People must retain control of autonomous vehicles

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Driverless vehicles are being tested on public roads in a number of countries.Credit: Prostock/Getty Last month, for the first time, a pedestrian was killed in an accident involving a self-driving car. A sports-utility vehicle controlled by an autonomous algorithm hit a woman who was crossing the road in Tempe, Arizona. The safety driver inside the vehicle was unable to prevent the crash. Although such accidents are rare, their incidence could rise as more vehicles that are capable of driving without human intervention are tested on public roads. In the past year, several countries have passed laws to pave the way for such trials.


Ukraine: Recordings show Iran knew jetliner was hit by a missile

The Japan Times

KYIV – A leaked recording of an exchange between an Iranian air-traffic controller and an Iranian pilot purports to show that authorities immediately knew a missile had downed a Ukrainian jetliner after takeoff from Tehran, killing all 176 people aboard, despite days of denials by the Islamic Republic. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy acknowledged the recording's authenticity in a report aired by a Ukrainian television channel Sunday night. In Tehran on Monday, the head of the Iranian investigation team, Hassan Rezaeifar, acknowledged the recording was legitimate and said it was handed over to Ukrainian officials. After the Jan. 8 disaster, Iran's civilian government maintained for days that it didn't know the country's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had shot down the aircraft. The downing of the jetliner came just hours after the Guard launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. forces in retaliation for an earlier American drone strike that killed the Guard's top general, Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad.


The Cost of Defying the President

The New Yorker

A group of air-traffic controllers, their wives, and kids, we carry signs emblazoned with the logo of PATCO, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, and chant a medley of protest slogans most of us are learning for the first time. "United," we cry, "we will never be defeated." We are the only two black people in the group, but this isn't why we stand out. "I take it you're not in this for the sport!" he shouts. And when he throws his hands up and cries, "What, and leave show business?" he brandishes his placard like a spear. "Figure it out," he tells me when he mistakes the look on my face for confusion. Of everyone here, I'm the one who has the least trouble deciphering his private meanings. As the world's leading scholar on Gregory Pardlo, Sr., I know these pronouncements he's polished, these homemade koans impenetrable to reason, that were once the punch lines of tired jokes. The jokes themselves are vestigial. He no longer needs them, confident his enemies will notice the deft lacerations of his wit in some later moment of quiet reflection. Uncharacteristically reckless now, he heaves them with neither accuracy nor discrimination at the passing traffic. Highway grit settles across my brow and our picket line warps in the heat. Although many cars honk in solidarity with the air-traffic-controller strike, odds are the honk will precede a driver's flipping us the bird. Nothing, though, causes me to question the righteousness of our mission. In this, at least, I hold my father infallible. Sun catches in the penumbra of his hair when he turns to face me, and I squint until I fit into his shadow.


Late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein faced second probe, was seen with underage girls in 2018

The Japan Times

NEW YORK – A previously undisclosed federal investigation into Jeffrey Epstein included an examination of whether he was traveling with underage girls as recently as last year, newly released documents show. U.S. Marshals Service investigators spoke in July with an air-traffic controller who said she saw Epstein get off his private jet at an airport near his U.S. Virgin Islands retreat with two girls who appeared to be 11 or 12, according to the documents. The air-traffic controller said she saw Epstein another time with a girl who looked to be 16, 17 or 18 years old, according to the reports. She said both instances happened between June and November 2018. The Marshals Service interviewed the air-traffic controller July 10, four days after Epstein's arrest on sex trafficking charges, as part of a parallel investigation into whether he'd violated his status as a registered sex offender by not disclosing certain overseas travel.


struc2vec: Learning Node Representations from Structural Identity

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Structural identity is a concept of symmetry in which network nodes are identified according to the network structure and their relationship to other nodes. Structural identity has been studied in theory and practice over the past decades, but only recently has it been addressed with representational learning techniques. This work presents struc2vec, a novel and flexible framework for learning latent representations for the structural identity of nodes. struc2vec uses a hierarchy to measure node similarity at different scales, and constructs a multilayer graph to encode structural similarities and generate structural context for nodes. Numerical experiments indicate that state-of-the-art techniques for learning node representations fail in capturing stronger notions of structural identity, while struc2vec exhibits much superior performance in this task, as it overcomes limitations of prior approaches. As a consequence, numerical experiments indicate that struc2vec improves performance on classification tasks that depend more on structural identity.