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The Academics Thread


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17 hours ago, Pariah said:

I expect there are lower bars to clear, but I can't think of any at the moment.


13 hours ago, Bazza said:

I can. Easy. 


Well, to be clear, so can I. But doing so outside of the Politics thread is likely to arouse the Wrath of Simon.

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I would generalize that to Microsoft, but you should ALWAYS turn off autocorrect, AND go back and turn it off AGAIN when an update is rammed down your throat because M$ tends to override your personal settings whenever it wants.

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No argument there.


Don't think I ever used Excel for my astronomy research, or even used it at all until after I bailed out of academia and into my job with the insurance company in 2000.  Even then, it was clear to me that it had fatal shortcomings.


The most spectacular of them was when I was surprised to see that Excel at the time claimed to be able to do Fourier transforms.  Since I was dealing with some internal messaging issues that might have been time-dependent, and I had been a user of Fourier analysis using FORTRAN libraries for about 20 years at that point, I fed some data to Excel and let it do its thing.  And I found ... it could not read its own output


Intrinsically, if you Fourier transform a set of data into the frequency domain, and then transform it back, a correctly-functioning transform code will give you back the original data.  That is The First Test you do with a new Fourier analysis library, always, because it is so simple and easy to perform the check, and errors are really obvious.  But when Excel's transform code could not read what it had output, all you can do make the Pauliesque dismissal that it can't even get to the point of letting you see if it fails.


The next version of Excel silently lost the Fourier stuff.

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