There are some good reasons why tag clouds have become so popular on the web. They are actually useful. They offer a quick way of visualizing statistics. In this context, they tell you roughly how often a specific word appears in a text. This way you will know which topics are hot.
This script creates a tag wall based on a single RSS file. It will count all words present in the "title" element, which is the subject of the story. It makes sense to use this element because if the word is present in the subject, it means the word is important for the story. It reads the file from disk, runs the words trough a simple weighing algorithm, and then outputs the most common words found with a bold font. Below is an example output after scanning a BBC feed:
I also wrote another tag cloud script based on the nice service provided by TenByTen.org. By polling this service you can at any time display the top 100 words currently used in the world news. Below is a live tag wall made from that service displaying the top 10 words:
Don't like my tag clouds? Well, maybe you like this one better :-)