Archive for August, 2006

Data mining used to find new materials

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

 I just read an Eureka Alert (see also ZDNet’s blog)mentioning that a couple of researchers at MIT found new, potentially useful crystal structures with AI and Data Mining techniques. You can find the abstract of their paper here. I’ve seen randomness and Genetic Algorithms around alot lately (such as the self-reconfigurable-modular-robot/) and a robot that can do bioinformatics experiments (DNA sequencing) all by himself (link?). I think that this is a very useful application of AI. However, it is only an application of the scientific knowledge. It’s fast testing based on the current physical models and insights. It automates science to an extend, but does not come up with new insights. It’s more data without more people to add an interpretation. For example, it took a few years before somebody found an application for Teflon.

I haven’t seen this around (will search again), but what would be really interesting is an algorithm that can form a new hypothesis (e.g. a differential equation) based on outcomes from Physics experiments. An algorithms that explains the data and forms a theory. It’s probably harder to build than regression algorithms…



“Shockers” in the Mainstream Press

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

Lately I found a couple of “shockers” in the mainstream press. Shockers, because my impression is that the press does not try to offend anyone. The articles were challenging the current model in society of where man and woman stand and how things should be. No matter what’s your take on this issue, it’s a loaded topic and I was surprised to find something like this.


Gates Foundation helps company buy papers

Monday, August 21st, 2006

Here’s something strange I found:

Gates Foundation helps company buy news-papers – I wonder how that fits in with the whole charity thing.

See also: MediaNews Buying in California Boosted by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Table prefix in PHP Nuke…

Friday, August 18th, 2006

Ever tried to install some PHP app for your website? Especially the ones that come with a sql-schema file that you need to run through MySQL? What I wonder about is that many of these applications – PHPNuke for example – support prefixing table names. Having non-standard table names can be helpful in making SQL-injection attacks more difficult. Not impossible, mind you, it just adds another layer of obscurity – but of the shelf script-kiddie exploits won’t work anymore. And yet editing such a schema file is a pain for administrators. Which explains why people rarely do it…

Anyway… Here’s my perl one-liner for changing the schema files table names prefix for PHP Nuke:

perl -i -pe ‘s/(TABLE|INTO) (nuke_)/$1 qqq$2/g’ nuke.sql

This will change the default prefix “nuke” to “qqqnuke” in the schema file. Then you change the prefix in the config.php file accordingly (change $prefix and $user_prefix). Done…