A commenter points out that the "Cupertino effect" I mentioned yesterday is not limited to word-processing programs. Microsoft Excel's eagerness to fix supposed errors, for example, has long bedeviled scientists who study genes.
Genes have names based on abbreviations, such as DEC1, for "Deleted in Esophogeal Cancer 1." Trouble is, Excel wants to read DEC1 as a date: 1-Dec. And it will go ahead and make that change on its own.
The problem afflicts at least 30 genes. Before geneticists became aware of Excel's overaggressive tendencies, crucial datasets were being routinely vandalized, sometimes irretrievably. This article explains the problem, and includes screen shots.
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