Afternoon InquisitionSkepticism

AI: End of the Year Regrets

One of the favorite websites I read is “Regret the Error.” It makes me feel a bit better when I screw things up.  As hard as we try, even with spellcheck and editors, mistakes still happen.  Sometimes, spell check is the source of the problem.  I still remember with some fondness an 8-page paper I once received from a student on “Attention Defecate Disorder.”

A UK style guide requires automatically replacing ‘The Queen” with the name of “Queen Elizabeth.” So… this happened.  WIN.

Queen Elizabeth lays up to 2000 eggs per day

I turned off the autocorrect features of both my phone and my computer word processing programs, but I’m thinking I might be missing out.

What is the best typo you’ve seen this year? Do you enjoy the Random Word Salad Zen of autocorrect? Or does it just annoy you?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm ET.

Featured image courtesy of DamnYouAutocorrect. If they have an image use policy, I couldn’t find it.


Bug_girl has a PhD in Entomology, and is a pointy-headed former academic living in Ohio. She is obsessed with insects, but otherwise perfectly normal. Really! If you want a daily stream of cool info about bugs, follow her Facebook page or find her on Twitter.

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  1. Thank you for this, Bug_girl.
    It really did brighten my day.

    -“I still remember with some fondness an 8-page paper I once received from a student on “Attention Defecate Disorder.””

    A paper about a lack of fiber in one’s diet? :)

    Lacking a smartphone, I haven’t had such autocorrect issues. And the one on the laptop I use seems to not have such craziness.

    How about cases where one DOESN’T spell check?
    On second thought, that might not as funny….

  2. Autocorrect annoys the shit out of me, but sometimes it’s handy and makes the right choice. My iPhone often corrects “sec” to “sex” which can be embarrassing.

    And I’ll just leave this here:


  3. MOst of my autocorrects are pretty ignorable, but when my phone changed Jeter (name of a product) to heterosexual the recipient of the text was surprised. We don’t usually associate sexual orientation with our computer hardware.

  4. Since what I do for a living is copy edit, autocorrect has become the bane of my existence. And when you’re dealing with the somber stories that have been part of the media frenzy this weekend, you do not want to be the one who allows a super inappropriate typo to escape. Just ask my colleagues at NBC News who were in such a rush to be first with the story, and they were, they ended up stating that the astronaut “Neil Young” passed away.

  5. My sister sent me a text where she had typed “Nick’s” and it somehow got autocorrected to a certain offensive slang term for African Americans.

  6. I was tweeting at an event once and my iPad changed “biochemistry” to “brioche” or some reason.

    Autocorrect is simply stupid. I have never, ever used it and gotten the right word, ever. It’s like there’s some kind of mind reading thing in the CPU that is bent on frustrating me.

    But then, I still use a rotary phone… :-)

    (I don’t hate technology generally. When I was a teenager I loved tinkering. I am just at the point where I am sick of hearing people tell me how wonderful it is. You are officially old when you see new devices, software and upgrades to same as simply efforts to frustrate your ability to get a damned thing done).

  7. Yeah, I turned autocorrect and auto-suggest off. I will generally spell a word right, on my own, and the unintentional hilarity and miscommunications are simply not worth the “convenience”

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