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st: RE: statalist-digest V4 #2935 - strange world

From   "Allan Reese (Cefas)" <[email protected]>
To   <[email protected]>
Subject   st: RE: statalist-digest V4 #2935 - strange world
Date   Tue, 8 Jan 2008 11:03:16 -0000

Others have pointed out that "if x>y" in Stata evaluates as True when x is missing "." 

I've raised this before and had to accept as a feature of Stata that "." is a big number and "computers do what you tell them, not what you want."  Nevertheless, I remain of the opinion that it is counter-intuitive, logically incorrect, and undoubtedly leads to computer-assisted errors.  Changing the operation of Stata now would inconvenience most current users, but it would not be inconsistent if the kernel were adapted to output a warning after such calculations 
"Missing values included - check your results".

It's indeed a strange world where the priests of IT can claim "user error" when you fall into a trap they set.  Software will at some time come under the remit of health and safety legislation - IT's doin' me 'ed in! 


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