July 2011 Archives

Fri Jul 1 16:39:29 PDT 2011

Adding Some News Items

Flushed with my success in predicting the number of employees of Google, Yahoo, and Accelrys, I decided to experiment with extracting and posting news about molecular systems from various news sources. This is not completely trivial, sadly, because although many organizations like to dissemintate news, few like to do so in a manner which is helpful to others.

But, I persisted, and created a crude amalgamation of news stories which are generated automatically using rss feeds. The most important command is provided by 'XmlStartlet' which is a cunning small utility, most often encountered on Linux, which allows you to carry out automated operations on xml files, which is what rss feeds actually are.

The command in question was as follows:

...incoming rss standard in... | xml sel -t -m "///item" -c . -n

This was followed by a certain amount of massaging and processing - and the resulting web page can be seen here.

Of course, whether this page is updated regularly will depend on whether I remember to run the appropiate commands, but I'll try to do that.

I wanted to create this page to keep an eye on the way in which the media are covering and presenting the concept of molecules. In general, it is impressive how widely appreciated chemical and molecular concepts are. And every now and again, one sees a reminder that Universities and government laboratories have too many people working in their PR departments...

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