(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." <http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20051217/mathtrek.asp> You are a subscribed member of the infowarrior list. Visit www.infowarrior.org for list information or to unsubscribe. This message may be redistributed freely in its entirety. Any and all copyrights appearing in list messages are maintained by their respective owners.