Microsoft Office has long been prone to over-zealous auto-correction errors. From auto-numbering issues (if you’ve ever had to type a list using decimals such as 1.1.1, 1.1.2, etc., you know what I mean) to automatically selecting more text than you actually selected, undoing Microsoft’s “helpfulness” is usually more difficult and frustrating than it is worth.

Recently, researchers published a study in Genome Biology in which they found that fully 19.6% of peer-reviewed research in the field of genomics contain errors that were solely caused by Excel. Here is an excerpt from their report:

The problem of Excel software (Microsoft Corp., Redmond, WA, USA) inadvertently converting gene symbols to dates and floating-point numbers was originally described in 2004 [1]. For example, gene symbols such as SEPT2 (Septin 2) and MARCH1 [Membrane-Associated Ring Finger (C3HC4) 1, E3 Ubiquitin Protein Ligase] are converted by default to ‘2-Sep’ and ‘1-Mar’, respectively. Furthermore, RIKEN identifiers were described to be automatically converted to floating point numbers (i.e. from accession ‘2310009E13’ to ‘2.31E+13’). Since that report, we have uncovered further instances where gene symbols were converted to dates in supplementary data of recently published papers (e.g. ‘SEPT2’ converted to ‘2006/09/02’). This suggests that gene name errors continue to be a problem in supplementary files accompanying articles. Inadvertent gene symbol conversion is problematic because these supplementary files are an important resource in the genomics community that are frequently reused. Our aim here is to raise awareness of the problem.

The real issue that is causing the problem: researchers are copying and pasting data into Excel. Without formatting the cells to receive values such as “SEPT2” or “MARCH1” as text, Excel assigns the formatting itself to the cell.

The brilliant and always insightful Valeria Maltoni recently wrote a blog post at her site Conversation Agent about the importance of “Engaging Multiple Perspectives to Expand Opportunities.” She opens with the following: It happens in every industry, business, and (if we’re not careful) community—it becomes homogeneous over time. We gravitate toward people like us, and…

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Back in 1984, Newsweek created a short-lived technology-focused publication called Newsweek Access. Steve Jobs was featured in a cover story that discussed the business environment of the still nascent tech industry in Silicon Valley.

Here is a short excerpt of the interview between Tom Zito and Steve Jobs around the time of the launch of the original Macintosh:

Zito: Is the computer business as ruthless as it appears to be?

Jobs: No, not at this point. To me, the situation is like a river. When the river is moving swiftly there isn’t a lot of moss and algae in it, but when it slows down it becomes stagnant; a lot of stuff grows in the river and it gets very murky. I view the cutthroat political nature of things very much like that. And right now our business is moving very swiftly. The water’s pretty clear and there’s not a lot of ruthlessness. There’s a lot of room for innovation.

Zito: Do you consider yourself the new astronaut, the new American hero?

Jobs: No, no, no. I’m just a guy who probably should have been a semi-talented poet on the Left Bank. I got sort of sidetracked here. The space guys, the astronauts, were techies to start with. John Glenn didn’t read Rimbaud, you know; but you talk to some of the people in the computer business now, and they’re very well grounded in the philosophical traditions of the last 100 years and the sociological traditions of the ’60s. There’s something going on [in Silicon Valley], there’s something that’s changing the world, and this is the epicenter.

Over at Quartz, Olivia Goldhill is reporting on a major grant for some interesting philosophical research. Candace Vogler and Jennifer Frey are leading a multi-disciplinary study on the difficulty some people experience of “getting over themselves” on one level, but on another level, it seems the pair has received a grant to ultimately try to answer one of humanity’s greatest questions: What is the meaning of Life?

Of course, that question has already been answered. “The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything” is 42.

The importance of “getting over yourself”—or self-transcendence—is key to their major 28-month project on virtue, happiness, and the meaning of life. The research proposal received a $2.1-million grant from the John Templeton Foundation and unites a team of around 20 international scholars, working in philosophy, religion, and psychology…

This is where the idea of “getting over yourself” becomes worthy of serious philosophical contemplation. “If you really want to be participating fully in the kind of good there is for human beings in your life,” Vogler says, “you need to have a life that’s connected to something bigger and better than you are.”

The buzz word du jour, Big Data, is now coming to the legal profession. Forbes reports that the old stalwarts LexisNexis and Westlaw are facing some potential disruption from up-and-comer Ravel Law.

Here is some more information about the firm:

Established in 2012 by two lawyers with backgrounds in analytics, they provide services designed to help legal professionals draw insights and connections using advanced analytical algorithms.

One of their services– Judges Analytics – lets lawyers search through every decision made by particular judges to find those most likely to be sympathetic to their arguments. The data is visualized through Ravel’s dashboard in a way that makes it easier to spot connections and opportunities that otherwise would have been missed.

Two-factor authentication has long been seen as the ultimate security tool. It works by requiring a second-device for logging into the primary device. According to a blog post from Samsung, researchers have successfully tested an exploit that uses malware on an Android device to create s black door allowing attackers to circumvent two-factor authentication. Here is more:

The back door also has support for disabling and enabling silent mode, in addition to locking the device, so that the victim is not alerted during an incoming call.

Once the unconditional call forwarding is set on the victim’s device, the attacker—who has already stolen the victim’s credentials (the first factor in two-factor authentication and authorization)—can then initiate a transaction. As part of the design, when the system demands the victim to enter the second factor (i.e., the authorization token sent through a voice call), the attacker will get the call through call forwarding and enter the second factor as well to complete the transaction.

When my wife and I were first married, we lived in the North Park area of San Diego. Once a second child was on the way we knew we needed to find a better living situation, so we left. That was right at the beginning of the explosion of the craft beer scene.

There is an interesting pattern that seems to exist in any new high-growth industry: after early adopters open the door to a mainstream marketplace creating widespread demand (thereby “crossing the chasm”), and as a complete ecosystem develops around this burgeoning industry, next come the lawsuits, followed by standardized insurance policy provisions. Eventually the lawyers specializing in these areas of law will get together at annual conventions where they sometimes drink far too much.

This was the case with construction defect litigation industry in the mid-90s, the tech industry in the ’00s, and now it seems we are here with the craft brewers in the mid-10s. Samantha Drake reports in Quartz that the “anti-establishment” fans of craft brewers are not reacting well to the very much “establishment” practices of defending one’s intellectual property, trying to avoid confusion of consumers in the marketplace, etc.

The good news is that some breweries have taken some very positive and well-received approaches to resolving disputes:

Like many craft brewers, Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, California, is partial to thematically named beers and offers brews such as Redemption, Perdition, Benediction, Sanctification, Supplication, Damnation, Temptation, and Consecration. After Russian River added a Belgian-style ale named Salvation to the line-up, owner Vinnie Cilurzo realized Avery Brewing in Boulder, Colorado also made a beer called Salvation.

Cilurzo says he introduced himself to Avery Brewing’s owner Adam Avery at the Great American Beer Festival and pointed out the name problem. Avery visited Russian River and the brewers “noodled around” with various blends of the two Salvations before coming up with the new ale they dubbed “Collaboration not Litigation,” Cilurzo tells Quartz. Avery Brewing, which has the larger distribution capacity of the two breweries, still makes and distributes Collaboration not Litigation and Russian River sells the ale at its brew pub.

According to Forbes, here are the top 8 trends in the workplace that technology will bring this year:

  1. The Ability To Work From Anywhere, Anytime And On Any Device
  2. Video Content Management
  3. Smart Machines And Automation
  4. Mobile Computing And End-User Computing (EUC) Initiatives Merging
  5. Mobile Cloud Computing
  6. Wearable Devices Will Become The Next BYO Endpoint
  7. The Digital Enterprise
  8. Build Individual Work Style Preferences Into Your Mobile Strategy