Skip to main content

Musings from the shed.

Rob Elshire

Furious blame game after 16,000 Covid cases are missed due to Excel glitch | Daily Mail Online

Here we go again. Wrong tool for the job. From the article:

The technical issue has now been resolved by splitting the Excel files into batches.

If you are still using Excel, then the technical problem has not, in fact, been resolved.


Rob Elshire

Guidelines for human gene nomenclature | Nature Genetics

The above article came through via this news story: Scientists rename human genes to stop Microsoft Excel from misreading them as dates.  The main issue here is that scientists are using the wrong tool. Just because Microsoft Excel works with data in tables does not mean it should be used for all data that comes in tables. It is bad enough that making manipulations via point-and-click software is inherently not reproducible, but on top of that Excel changes the data automatically to suit itself.

The solution to this problem is to change the way genes are named so that researchers can carry on using the wrong tool doing science that is not reproducible. The secondary issue is that the `Guidelines for human gene nomenclature' (the standard for naming human genes) is available only to those who can afford it -- either by being part of a large institution with a subsciption or renting / buying the article if you are not.

More via MetaFilter.