(c/o Dan)

Science News has an article by the inimitable Ivars Peterson about
how the improper use and interpretation of spreadsheets can cause
bad, serious and even disastrous business decisions. SN calls it "The
Risky Business of Spreadsheet Errors", but I like the allusion of the
title in the subject line above. The story makes the case that not
only are spreadsheets used (and abused) by people who are neither
professional mathematicians nor professional financial analysts, but
that they are coded by people who are neither of those things either.
The story is well reasoned, but I love the scare quote:

"It is completely within the realms of possibility that a single,
large, complex but erroneous spreadsheet could directly cause the
accidental loss of a corporation or institution. If the uncontrolled
use of spreadsheets continues to occur in highly leveraged markets
and companies, it is only a matter of time before [some random] event
occurs, causing catastrophic loss."


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