You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News.
John McCarthy, the American mathematician known universally as the father of Artificial Intelligence, died last Monday at his home in Palo Alto. He was 84.
WEEKEND EDITION's Math Guy, Keith Devlin, knew McCarthy and has this remembrance.
KEITH DEVLIN, BYLINE: I first got to know John McCarthy when I arrived at Stanford as a visiting professor in 1987. He was 60 years old at that time, with a towering and, to me, somewhat daunting, reputation.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. This week, the Congressional Budget Office released a report showing that the gap between wealthy and poor Americans has become much wider than it once was. We'll have a story on how changes in the tax code may have contributed to this situation, and we'll look at the Occupy Wall Street movement. But first, we turn to NPR's Andrea Seabrook and Robert Smith for a seasonably appropriate analysis of how the income gap has changed over the last 30 years.
SCOTT SIMON, host: This week, New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission reminded cabbies that honking is against the law except when warning of imminent danger. They could be fined $350 for using their horns, just to snagged affair, vent steam over traffic or jolt pedestrians are looking up at the skyscrapers and lingerie billboards to move more quickly. Mike Castillo has been driving for 30 years.
MIKE CASTILLO: Human stupidity in New York traffic is huge.
SIMON: And says cabbies ho when they spot dangerous less street smart drivers miss.
SIMON: And seven in ten Americans are planning to get their screams this year through decorations, costumes or creeping into a haunted house. NPR's Allison Keyes visited some haunts and reports on the industry's multi-billion dollar battle for your souls.
ALLISON KEYES, BYLINE: It's dark. The people in front of you are cringing. And, hey, what's that stuff hanging from the ceiling?
The Port of Entry at Nogales, Ariz., is in the midst of a massive upgrade to ease congestion caused by up to 1,500 Mexican trucks crossing each day. Nearly two-thirds of the produce consumed in the U.S. and Canada during the winter come through here.
These Mexican trucks stop at warehouses near the border to transfer their loads to U.S. trucks. That's the way it's long been done. Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, says that adds cost.
It's a huckster's dream: "Try the new Burmese Python Diet. No calorie counting or special foods. Eat whatever comes along, up to a quarter of your body weight. Not only is it good for your waistline; it's good for your heart."
Trouble is, what works in pythons probably won't work for humans.
Pythons employ what scientists call a "sit and wait foraging tactic." In other words, they lie around in a Burmese jungle and wait for the food to come to them. And of course, this can mean months between meals.
Attend just about any of the Occupy Wall Street-inspired protests across the country and you're likely to see a group of people dressed in matching union T-shirts somewhere in the crowd. Typically, they're older than your average Occupy protester but no less enthusiastic in their chanting.
"I've been doing this [protesting] for five decades," said Mike Wisniewski at a recent Occupy Philadelphia protest at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Wisniewski says he's a university library employee and has been a union member since 1972.
A suicide car bomber struck a NATO convoy on the outskirts of Kabul on Saturday, causing casualties among the NATO service members and Afghan civilians, the U.S.-led coalition said. Afghan officials said three civilians and one policeman were killed.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred near Darulaman Palace, the bombed-out seat of former Afghan kings on the southwest outskirts of the capital. It was one of three attacks in the day that targeted either the U.S.-led coalition or Afghan government offices in the country.
Special forces troops in Belize march through jungle looking for any sign of marijuana or drug smugglers. Drug traffickers have become increasingly active in Belize and other small nations in Central America.
A couple of decades ago, Colombian drug cartels dominated smuggling operations into the United States. In recent years, the Mexican cartels have taken over.
But Mexico's brutal drug war over the past five years is now pushing some of the drug trade into the smaller, weaker nations of Central America. And the traffickers are increasingly active in the region's least-populated and most vulnerable country, Belize.
A worker stands next to an array of Sharp solar cell modules at a power plant south of Tokyo in August. Sharp was one of 1,400 solar panel manufacturers in attendance at the Solar Power International conference, where industry optimism was high.
Solar power's image has taken a hit lately with the bankruptcy of Solyndra. The California solar panel manufacturer received more than half a billion dollars in Energy Department loan guarantees before going belly up.
But the industry is still optimistic — that much was apparent at the Solar Power International conference held in Dallas in mid-October. Walking into the big hall of the Dallas Convention Center, it was impossible not to be impressed by the huge array of black solar panels hanging from the ceiling.